Promotional poster
Directed by Derek Jarman
Paul Humfress
Produced by Howard Malin
James Whaley
Written by Derek Jarman
Paul Humfress
James Whaley
Starring Leonardo Treviglio
Barney James
Richard Warwick
Neil Kennedy
Music by Brian Eno
Andrew Thomas Wilson
Cinematography Peter Middleton
Edited by Paul Humfress
Distributed by Cinegate
Release dates
  • 15 December 1976 (1976-12-15)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language Latin

Sebastiane is a 1976 Latin-language British historical thriller film written and directed by Derek Jarman and Paul Humfress. It portrays the events of the life of Saint Sebastian, including his iconic martyrdom by arrows. The film, which was aimed at a gay audience, was controversial for the homoeroticism portrayed between the soldiers and for being dialogued entirely in Latin.


In the fourth century CE, Sebastiane is a member of the Emperor Diocletian's personal guard. When he tries to intervene to stop one of the Emperor's catamites from being strangled by one of his bodyguards, Sebastiane is exiled to a remote coastal garrison and reduced in rank to private. Although thought to be an early Christian, Sebastiane is a worshipper of the Roman sun god Phoebus Apollo and sublimates his desire for his male companions into worship of his deity and pacifism. Both incense Severus, the commanding officer of the garrison, who becomes increasingly obsessed with Sebastiane, tries to assault him, and ultimately presides over his summary execution for refusing to take up arms in defence of the Roman Empire. Justin, one of his comrades in arms, is also in love with Sebastiane, albeit necessarily unrequited, but he forms a friendship with the stubborn celibate pacifist. Adrian and Anthony, two of Sebastian's fellow soldiers, are gay and in obvious love with one another.


  • Barney James as Severus
  • Neil Kennedy as Maximus
  • Leonardo Treviglio as Sebastian
  • Richard Warwick as Justin
  • Donald Dunham as Claudius
  • Daevid Finbar as Julian
  • Ken Hicks as Adrian
  • Lindsay Kemp as Dancer
  • Steffano Massari as Marius
  • Janusz Romanov as Anthony
  • Gerald Incandela as Leopard Boy
  • Robert Medley as Emperor Diocletian

The Emperor's guests included such notables as Peter Hinwood, Nell Campbell, and Patricia Quinn (all of Rocky Horror fame), Jordan, Philip Sayer, Charlotte Barnes, Nicholas de Jongh, Duggie Fields, Christopher Hobbs, Andrew Logan, and Johnny Rozsa.


Margaret Walters, author of The Nude Male, commented that Sebastiane, "where male nudes in various stages of ecstacy positively littered the screen", was "successfully aimed at a very specialized homosexual audience."[2]

See also


  1. "SEBASTIANE (X)". British Board of Film Classification. 13 September 1976. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. Walters, Margaret (1978). The Nude Male: A New Perspective. London: Paddington Press. p. 299. ISBN 0 7092 0871 5.
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