Federico Fellini makes his most decadent, undisciplined work in this free adaptation of Petronius' famous farcical chronicle of ancient Roman life. The film opens with Encolpio (Martin Potter) vying with his friend Ascilto (Hiram Keller) for the affections of a young effeminate lad named Gitone (Max Born). When the youth chooses his rival or him, Encolpio begins a journey that has him encountering Romans of every stripe and color. He drops in on an orgy thrown by Trimalchio (Mario Romagnoli), a wealth-loving ex-slave who has spurned his wife in favor of a pleasures of a young boy; he toils on a slave galley, fighting off the advances of Lichas (Alain Cuny) -- the ship's burly wall-eyed captain; he steals an albino hermaphrodite demi-god who is reputed to be able to tell the future; and fails to summon the enthusiasm to make love to a whore-priestess. Along the way, we witness a parade of prostitutes in ancient Rome's pleasure quarters; watch performance by Vernacchio (Fanfulla), an actor whose on-stage specialties include farting and public amputation; and the wonton devouring of a human corpse for financial gain.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis