GLADIATOR

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This film is quite simply a masterpiece. The musical score and opening sequences set the mood immediately.  The cast could not have been better chosen - each carries off their part with absolute believability. The first action scene is brilliant, also telling the audience that they're in for a good ride.  Russell Crowe is Maximus, his adversary Joaquin Phoenix, Commodus.  A great goodie and a great baddie.  Stunning locations and scenery add to the occasion, a recreation of the Roman Empire at time of change.  The direction and acting is flawless, from the main characters and supporting cast. For this reason the epic film is my favorite* and is bound to become an all time classic. NK

 

PLOT SUMMARY

 

In the final days of Marcus Aurelius' reign, the aging emperor angers his son Commodus by making it known that he wants Maximus, a fearsome and respected Roman general, to be his successor.  Maximus is a powerful Roman general, loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before his death, the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir over his own son, Commodus, and a power struggle leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death. 

 

 

 

 

Power-hungry Commodus kills his father and orders the death of Maximus. But the latter flees, only to discover that his wife and child have been murdered by Commodus. The powerful general is unable to save his family, and his loss of will allows him to get captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. 

 

Captured, Maximus is forced into slavery, where he is sold to Proximo, a former gladiator who serves as both mentor and slavemaster. Maximus trains as a gladiator in the arena, where his fame grows. He goes to Rome, intent on avenging the murder of his wife and son by killing the new emperor Commodus. 

 

Maximus has learned that the one power stronger than that of the emperor is the will of the people, and he knows he can only attain his revenge by becoming the greatest hero in all the empire.  The greatest champion of Rome is brought out of retirement in an attempt to kill Maximus. Tigers held in position with rope and a great fighter await Maximus in the great Colliseum of Rome. Maximus ultimately continues on his quest to fulfill the wishes the previous emperer has asked of him.

 

The only desire that fuels him now is the chance to rise to the top so that he will be able to look into the eyes of the man who will feel his revenge.  The movie ends with Maximus taking a new name, "General." The Emperer Commodus then attempts to take Maximus out of the picture. The Emperer meets Maximus in the arena and meets him with sword himself. The future of Rome is determined.

 

 

  

 

 

Tagline: What We Do In Life Echoes In Eternity.

 

 

Also Known As:
Gladiators
Production Status: Released
Logline: When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by a corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Genres: Action/Adventure and Drama
Running Time: 2 hrs. 30 min.
Release Date: May 5, 2000 Nationwide
MPAA Rating: R for intense graphic combat.
Distributors:
DreamWorks SKG
Production Co.:
Red Wagon Entertainment, Scott Free Productions
Studios:
DreamWorks SKG, Universal Pictures
U.S. Box Office: $187,670,866
Filming Locations:
Ouarzazate, Morocco, Malta, Shepperton Studios, England, United Kingdom Farnham, England, Italy
Produced in: United States

 

 

 

Gladiator is the product of the carefully choreographed sword fights (by Nicholas Powell, who also choreographed Braveheart's sword fight scenes); of magnificent set design, especially the reconstruction of the Coliseum (by production designer Arthur Max); accurate costume designs (by Janty Yates); and weaponry design (by supervising armorer Simon Atherton). Gladiator captures most of its glory in the heroism of its main character Maximus, the General/Gladiator. The character's strength and appeal derives from a well-developed role and from Crowe's accurate personification and skillful performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, Director Ridley Scott proves to be as professional as one can be. The recreation of ancient Rome is splendid, with all its magnificent buildings and atmosphere and he is able to show with all brightness the greatness of the Roman Empire, with its political problems and military discipline, and love and treason, of hate and jealousy, that still have a place in our world today. But the story has a glow of its own, to which all the beautiful scenery (believe me, it's awesome!!!) and great cinematography are just balancing factors. The plot is a rich one, that is as dynamic as it is present. He once again, after Blade Runner, 1492, and others helps us visit the depths of the human soul, which remains the same over all our historical and social experience. Even the fights, are displayed in such a way that all the blood is quite discrete, but still, making us feel like screaming and jumping out of our seats. I would also like to point out the performances of the cast, that is surprisingly good. We have some actors and actresses, who are not Hollywood icons, but are are greatly able to move the audience among screams and tears. All in all, we have guys like Russel Crowe, who are coming out to be part of a new and extremely promising harvest of people who are making each time more fans around the world. Well, you should see for yourself!

 

 

 

Actors
Russell Crowe Maximus
Joaquin Phoenix Commodus
Connie Nielsen Lucilla
Oliver Reed Proximo
Richard Harris Marcus Aurelius
Derek Jacobi Gracchus
Djimon Hounsou Juba
David Schofield Falco
John Shrapnel Gaius
Tomas Arana Quintus
Ralph Moeller Hagen
Spencer Treat Clark Lucius
David Hemmings Cassius
Tommy J. Flanagan Cicero
Sven-Ole Thorsen Tiger
Omid Djalili Slave Trader
Nicholas McGaughey Praetorian Officer
Chris Kell Scribe
Tony Curran Assassin No 1
Mark Lewis (VII) Assasin No 2
John Quinn Valerius
Alun Raglan Praetorian Guard No 1
David Bailie Engineer
Chick Allen German Leader
David J. Nichols Giant Man
Al Hunter Ashton Rome Trainer No 1
Ray Calleja Lucius' Attendant
Giannina Facio (II) Maximus' Wife
Giorgio Cantarini Maximus' Son
Billy Dowd
Ralf Moeller

 

Directors
Ridley Scott Director
Alexander Witt Director (2nd Unit)

Writers
David Franzoni From Story
David Franzoni Screenplay
John Logan Screenplay
William Nicholson Screenplay
Robert Kamen Writer (Uncredited)
Djordje Milicevic (II) Writer (Uncredited)
David H. Franzoni Screenwriter
John Logan Screenwriter
William Nicholson Screenwriter

Producers
Walter F. Parkes Executive Producer
Laurie MacDonald Executive Producer
Robin Shenfield Executive Producer (visual effects supervisor--Mill Films/London)
Douglas Wick Producer
David Franzoni Producer
Branko Lustig Producer
Terry Needham Associate Producer
David H. Franzoni Producer
Steven Spielberg Producer

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLADIATOR TRIVIA:

 

  • Like modern day athletes, ancient Roman gladiators did product endorsements. The producers considered including this in the script but discarded the idea as unbelievable.

  • Russell Crowe began shooting for Gladiator a few months after The Insider (1999) wrapped. He had gained upwards of 40 pounds for his Oscar-nominated role in The Insider and yet lost it all before Gladiator began. He claims he did nothing special other than normal work on his farm in Australia.

  • Lou Ferrigno was originally cast as Tigris of Gaul, but was replaced during production by Sven-Ole Thorsen who had been lobbying hard for the part.

  • Oliver Reed suffered a fatal heart attack during filming. Some of his sequences had to be re-edited and a double, photographed in the shadows and with a 3D CGI mask of Reed's face, was used as a stand-in. The film is dedicated to his memory.

  • Connie Nielsen found the 2000-year-old signet ring which she wears in the movie, in an antique store.

  • In the Colosseum scenes, only the bottom two decks are actually filled with people. The other thousands of people are computer-animated.

  • Among the chanting of the Germanic hordes at the beginning of the film are samples of the Zulu war chant from the film Zulu (1964).

  • In the Spanish dubbed version Maximus says he is from Emerita Augusta (now called Merida). The Spanish dubbers claimed that, "Trujillo doesn't combine the 'qualities' to be cradle of the gladiator."

  • The wounds on Russell Crowe's face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.

 

 


  • Maximus' ('Russell Crowe' ) description of his home (specifically how the kitchen is arranged and smells in the morning and at night) was ad-libbed - it's a description of Crowe's own home in Australia.

  • Character actor Sven-Ole Thorsen not only played Tigris the Gaul but doubled as one of the spectators during that same battle.

  • The yak helmet worn by the gladiator who was slain by Hagen, is the same one worn by the warrior slain by Sean Connery, in Time Bandits (1981).

  • Some of the battle music on the soundtrack interpolates variations on "Mars, the Bringer of War" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets".

  • During filming, director Ridley Scott wore the red cap worn by Gene Hackman in the movie Crimson Tide (1995), which was directed by Ridley's brother, Tony Scott.

  • Richard Harris, who plays Marcus Aurelius, was originally set to play Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) (but left the film due to artistic differences with director Anthony Mann and was replaced by Christopher Plummer).

  • At one point, Commodus mentions the emperor Claudius to Lucilla and Lucuis. Derek Jacobi, who plays Gracchus in this film, played Claudius in the BBC TV series "I, Claudius" (1976) (mini).

  • The real-life Commodus was in fact the only Roman Emperor in history to fight as a gladiator in the arena. However, he did it several times, not just once. Also, he was not killed in the arena but was strangled in his dressing room by an athlete named Narcissus.

  • Although much of the movie is fictitious, it's interesting to note that emperor Commodus' historically accurate killer, Narcissus, was born in the same Roman African province as the one in the movie where Maximus becomes a gladiator.

  • In the original drafts of the script, the name of the main character was not "Maximus" but "Narcissus" the name of the man who killed Commodus in real life.

  • Mel Gibson was offered, but turned down the part of Maximus.

  • Contrary to rumor, Enya didn't record any music for the soundtrack of this film. The song simply sounds like something she would have recorded. The song, and in fact much of the soundtrack, was composed and sung by Lisa Gerrard.

  • Writer David Franzoni started developing the story in the 1970s when he read "Those Who Are About To Die," a history of the Roman games by Daniel P. Mannix; Franzoni later discussed the idea with 'Steven Spielberg' during their work on Amistad (1997), saying that he envisioned Commodus as being something like Ted Turner in the way he combined politics and entertainment to establish a base of influence.

  • Ridley Scott was persuaded to do the film when DreamWorks head Walter F. Parkes and producer Douglas Wick presented him with a reproduction of the 1872 painting "Pollice Verso" ("Thumbs Down") by Jean-Leon Gerome, in which a gladiator stands over the opponent he has beaten.

 

 

  • On visiting the real Colosseum, Ridley Scott remarked to production designer 'Arthur Max' that it was "too small," so they designed an outsized "Rome of the imagination" which was inspired by English and French romantic painters, as well as Nazi architect Albert Speer.

  • Writer William Nicholson added the aspects of the film in which Maximus discusses the afterlife, seeking to make the character more accessible to audiences.

  • Over the course of the gladiatorial scenes, Russell Crowe broke bones in his foot and his hip, and injured both bicep tendons.

  • Writer David Franzoni chose not to use the end of the film to note that Rome did not, in fact, become a republic again, because he thought most audiences would already know that.

  • Among the changes necessitated by the death of Oliver Reed was the final scene, as it was supposed to have been Proximo who buried the figures in the sand of the Coliseum.

  • Editor Pietro Scalia added the shot of Maximus moving through a wheat field to the beginning of the film; it had been filmed for the ending.

  • Some shots of Oliver Reed had to be faked with CGI after his death, at an estimated cost of $3 million.

  • Maximus' Spanish heritage meshes interestingly with his choice of arms - as a General riding with the cavalry of the Felix Legion, (in the opening battle) he wields a sword known as a "Spatha", popular among the continental tribes especially in Spain and southern Gaul. As a Gladiator, he uses a sword similar to the spatha in appearance but shorter and broader. This weapon is known as the "Gladius Hispaniensis", and was adopted by the Roman infantry after Scipio's invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in the II century B.C., after the end of the 2nd Punic War. Roman infantry wore the gladius on the right side - this, facilitated by the short blade length, allowed the legionary to draw his weapon on the same side as his sword arm; cross-drawing would be hindered by the scutum (the large rectangular shield) while in formation.

  • The short sword used by the Roman army, the Galdius Hispaniensis, is seen being used by many gladiators in the film. The version used in the arena in the film is accurate as depicted; it was often shorter than the military version. The use of the gladius is actually the source of the word "Gladiator".

  • Various historians have tried to find proof that the awning in the Coliseum really was used as a cooling system.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

[DVD - Widescreen, Dolby, With Book]
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek ...
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating:  ****
List Price: $39.98
Our Price: $31.98
Add to Cart
Rated: R
Genre: Drama,Epic
Studio: DREAMWORKS VIDEO
Release Date: 08/23/2005
Running Time: 154 minutes.
Original Language: English
Subtitled: Spanish, French, English
Dubbed: French
Also in DVD Widescreen, Dolby $15.98 Add to Cart

 

In this epic of a movie. a man robbed of his family, name and dignity strives to win them back and gain revenge on the evil Emperor of Rome. 

 

An epic historical drama from director Ridley Scott, set in the year 180, begins with the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) which throws the Roman Empire into chaos. 

 

Maximus (Russell Crowe) is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ascends to the throne, Maximus is condemned to be executed to perfect the deception. 

 

But Maximus escapes from his executioners in a brilliant frosty morning wood scenario, is subsequently captured by slave traders, renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator by Proximo (Oliver Reed - who died of a heart attack midway through production). 

 

Maximus battles to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences. His battle skills serving him well.  He becomes one of the most famous and admired men to fight in the Coliseum. Determined to avenge himself against the evil Emperor Commodus, who took away his freedom and laid waste to his family.  Maximus learns that he can use his fame and skill in the ring to avenge the loss of his family and former glory.

 

As the gladiator begins to challenge his rule, Commodus decides to put his own fighting mettle to the test by squaring off with Maximus in a battle to the death, having first fatally wounding Maximus while he is helplessly bound.

 

Gladiator also features Derek Jacobi, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou.

 

 

* Please note: The listing order of films is subject to review and comparrisson with other films, and is the personal opinion of Nelson Kruschandl, not the opinion of any film company or broadcasting organisation.

 

 

 

A - Z FILMS INDEX

 

 

 

 

 

 

A - Z ACTORS INDEX

 

 

 

Anthony Hopkins

Arnold Shwazenneger

Arnold Vosloo

Brad Pitt

Brendan Fraser

Bruce Willis

Charlize Theron

Chris Cooper

Clint Eastwood

Daniel Craig

Demi Moore

Denzel Washington

Eric Bana

Eva Green

George Clooney

Gerard Depardieu

Goldie Hawn

Gregory Peck

Halle Berry

Humphrey Bogart

Ian Holm

Ingrid Bergman

Jack Black

Jack Nicholson

James Cromwell

 

 

Jean Reno

Jeff Bridges

Jim Carrey

Joaquin Phoenix

John Hurt

John Travolta

John Wayne

Johnny Depp

Judi Dench

Julia Roberts

Julie Andrews

Kate Winslett

Keanu Reeves

Keira Knightley

Kirsten Dunst

Kurt Russell

Leonardo di Caprio

Liam Neeson

Linda Kozlowski

Mads Mikkelsen

Marlon Brando

Mel Gibson

Michael Cain

Michael Douglas

Michael J Fox

 

 

Michael Keaton

Naomi Watts

Nicholas Cage

Nicole Kidman

Orlando Bloom

Paul Bettany

Paul Hogan

Pierce Brosnan

Rachel Weisz

Robert de Niro

Roger Moore

Russell Crowe

Sam Neil

Sandra Bullock

Sean Connery

Sigourney Weaver

Stanley Baker

Steve Martin

Steven Segal

Slyvester Stalone

Tobey Maguire

Tom Cruise

Tom Hanks

Tommy Lee Jones

Willem Dafoe

 

 


 

 

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