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Gladiator is a brilliant film, with an ever changing story, which i find brilliant in a film of this genre. This film actually won best picture and best actor, a total of five academy awards where won with this film, which gives just a small hint of how good this film actually is.
The Films Plot:
Gladiator has a twist and turn at every point in the film. Maximus, (Russle crow) is a commander of a roman legion. The film starts with a war against the Barbarians which Maximus leads to victory. After the battle, Maximus is summoned to speak with the Caesar who asks him to take command of Rome until the Sennet is ready to rule. His son does not approve of this, that he will not be emperor, so he kills his father. Maximus is then sentenced to death by the wrongly appointed emperor, which he escapes.
Maximus travels to his home where he finds his wife and son murdered. He is then kidnapped and sold to Proximo, who uses Maximus as a gladiator. The rest of the film is about his struggle to fight through the hordes, get his freedom and kill the emperor Claudius who had his family slaughtered. He was the general who became a slave, the slave who became a gladiator, and the gladiator who defied an emperor.
I do not like the ending of this film because Maximus dies. Although he rejoins his family in the after life, i think it would have been much better if he had survived so that he could retake control of his armies, that way there could have been a second film made which i would have really liked to see.
All in all, i think this is a truly fantastic film that people should watch. Given that this is a fairly old film, it rivals a lot of the films made today, although the graphics of today are much much better than when this film was first made.
I like films but am not an avid film watcher. I have eventually got round to watching Gladiator.
Historic film based in.
Russell Crowe plays Maximus, a Roman who is captured and fights with others to conquere Germania for the empire.
When an the dying Emperor tells Maximus that he'd like him to rule Rome once he's gone others are not happy. On returning home Maximus discovers the vengence someone has against him.
Maximus is brought as a slave and is told he must kill or be killed himself.
I am always sceptical of films where the hero is undefeatable, where if it was 100 against 1 you know he will come out on top. Putting that to one side for a moment and you have probably the best film you will ever see. Russell Crowe is amazing and any man watching this film will feel inadequate after. My sceptical nature was put to shame and when the film had ended I knew I would not see a film anything like as good for a long time.
I actually borrowed this film but can be brought off Amazon at the moment for £3.46
~If there is anyone out there as slow as me and not seen this film. Get it it's agreat film to watch for all the family~
Even though the name Ridley Scott sounds promising this movie could've been better. It's a story about a perverse Emperor jelaous of an honorable general. A classic "good boy" beats the "bad boy" story, wrapped in death games, political treason and memories of a past love. Such plot could've been a good basis for a picturesque movie. Still, with only a few elaborated characters the plot is fluent but diluted. It won't leave you breathless but there are a few "tears and chills" moments.
Gladiator (2000.), adventure, drama
Director: Ridley Scott
Richard Harris...Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Connie Nielsen... Lucilla
Joaquin Phoenix... Commodus
Derek Jacobi..... Gracchus
Duration: 2 hrs 35min
Maximus (Russell Crowe) is a Roman general who's been fighting in Germania for almost three years and all he wants is to go home to Spain to his wife and son. On the day of the last battle against the Germans Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) invites his daughter Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) to meet him and Maximus at the battlefield. Commodus is hoping his father will announce his heir and expects it will be him. Still, Marcus Aurelius offers Maximus his powers. Dissapointed and bittered by his choice of heir Commodus suffocates Marcus Aurelius the same night and proclaims himself a Caesar. He asks Maximus to pledge loyalty to him as the new Emperor but Maximus refuses and Commodus orders his execution. Maximus manages to escape and runs home, in fear for the lives of his wife and son. He arrives too late, finding his family killed and his home burned. Slave merchants take him to the Roman province Zucchabar, where he is trained at merchant Proximo's camp to become a gladiator.
Back home in Rome, Commodus is welcomed as the new Emperor. Still, he learns that the golden laurel crown can't bring him the respect of the Senators, led by Gracchus (sir Derek Jacobi), or the love of his sister, who he desires.
To distract the Senat, before he dissolves it, and win over the mob Commodus gives the people of Rome 150 days of bread and circuses. Lucilla, being friends with Gracchus, warns him about her brother's plan as well as his other actions that will damage the people of Rome. She wishes Commodus dead but Gracchus advises to wait a suitable moment for action. And from afar comes somebody else wishing to confront Commodus - Maximus can't wait to get to Rome. Lucilla sees how powerfull her ex lover is in the arena and convinces him to help her and Gracchus kill Commodus and give the power to the Senat. The same night the plan is made Commodus finds out about the conspiracy, locks Gracchus into a cell and blackmails Lucilla to give him an heir. As for Maximus - Commodus decides to fight him in the greatest of all battlefields - the Colloseum.
And so they fight - the Emperor, lord of the cold marble palace, and the gladiator, master of the blood soaked arena. But which one will be honored as the true ruler of the people's will?
Gladiator has a fluent plot and it is a very faithfull display of the brutal killing games in the Roman Empire, but that is all. The story of a general who wants to avenge his family somehow got lost in all the bloodshed that Maximus had to go through to stay alive. Crowe tried to be a grieving widower and father, a loyal soldier and an ex lover but all those parts of his role somehow got suffocated and he focused only on playing a killing machine in sandals.
Connie Nielsen is lifeless as Lucilla. She played her part of a conspirator and a sister trapped by her perverse brother a bit too much by the book, and her act looks artificial and arid. An ex lover to a gladiator, an ally to the enemy of the throne and a possible "mother of the Republic", a sister avoiding her brother's sexual harrasment... Nielsen had so many chances to evolve her character but somehow failed to do so.
Joaquin Phoenix is very good as a perverse and sadistic Emperor Commodus, playing a cruel ruler as well as a man fighting his own demons. He showed how a young, spoiled hier grew into a frustrated Emperor whose perversity and envy festered until they destroyed him.
Sir Derek Jacobi as Senator Gracchus has a few scenes, but they are enough to see the wisdom and dignity of a Roman politician. Distant, honest, cautious, determant, sir Jacobi delivered all the qualities of Senator Gracchus.
The scenery is great because it's moderate and that's what makes it authentic.
The movie music fans could enjoy the patriotic and mediterranean melos themes, composed by Hans Zimmer, and Lisa Gerrard's vocal performance.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
For years the Emperor of Rome has been served faithfully by General Maximus Decimus Meridias so on his death bed he names him his successor much to the disgust of his son Commodus. Maximus soon finds out that Commodus has ordered for him to be killed so he flees home to Spain only to find his wife and son murdered. As a result Maximus is captured and taken to a life of Gladiator training by Proximo. He starts his training and proves to be very good at it.
The Gladiators are soon moved to Rome where a major event is taking place over a large number of days and Maximus has to fight for his life and hope that one day he will be able to gain his freedom and fulfil the wish of the Emperor who named him success of Rome. Maximus make a plea to Proximo to fight for his freedom but can he win and get his freedom or will he be destined to a life of fighting?
I have only given a very brief plot summery for this film as I believe giving any more away will spoil it for those who have not seen the film yet, I have made a point of saying this as there really is a lot more to the film and I don't want you to think this is all it is about and not bother to watch it. The storyline for me was excellent and shown so well. We know that this did go on back in the days of the Romans and so this made it more watch able in my eyes. I loved how they were shown as scruffy men and not always prim and properly dressed and clean as this added to the authenticity of the film and storyline.
The lead role of Maximus was played by Russell Crowe and I have to say he did an outstanding job. I loved his character and enjoyed getting to know about his past as this helped me understand why he did what he did now. He came across for the majority of the film as a hard tough man who was emotionless but we did get to see a different side to him when he remembered his family and I enjoyed this as it showed he did have feelings and emotions. He looked great when dressed as a gladiator and he really did suit the costume and look the part.
We had a whole wealth of supporting actors and the few which really stood out for me were, Joaquin Phoenix who played Commodus as he was an angry man who hated his fathers decisions and wanted to rule his way, he acted the part excellently and made me dislike him from his very first scene. Another was Oliver Reed who played Proximo as he too gave a super performance and made me feel so many different emotions towards his character. One which was only a small part but a good one was that of Omid Djalili who played a slave trader, he bought a small amount of humour to the film. Other included Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Connie Nelson and Richard Harris. They were all very good and bought different elements to the film and storyline.
The film was about Roman gladiators so was set back in the Roman times and for the majority of the film it was based in Rome, the sets and scenery which were used and created for the film were amazing and looked so realistic. I loved all of the costumes and makeup which was used and thought a lot of time and effort was put into making it all look so realistic and authentic. The film was shot in Morocco and so some of the views were lovely. A lot of attention to detail could be seen in the clothes they all wore and I loved how real the weapons looked. Right from the start of the film I noticed the music, for me this was wonderful, it had a very dramatically and classical feel and it really did help with the emotions and story telling. The special effects right from the start of the film were excellent and very well made and produced, they all fitted effortlessly into the film and none of them looked out of place. They were not over the top so suited the film very well.
As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to speak about. The running time of this film is a massive 155 minutes and I did initially find this a bit scary but once I got into the story I completely lost track of the time and found the storyline moved at a constant good pace from the very start to the very end. The film does have a 15 certificate and I do agree with this. The DVD can be bought for just a few pounds now on sites such as Amazon and EBay but personally I would not buy it as this is shown on the TV quite a lot.
This film gets the full 5 stars from both me and hubby as the storyline is great and not overly complicated, the acting is also excellent and so to is the whole way this film was put across. It seemed to not be overly glorified and full of good looking clean and tidy men, we got the gritty dirty men which made this more believable and authentic to watch.
This is just a film Review.
Maximus (Russel Crowe), a powerful Roman general, loved by the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir when he dies over his own son, Commodus.
A power struggle leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death.
Maximus is unable to save his family, which leaves him with no will or hope and his loss of will allows him to get captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. 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.
This film is probably one of the most memorable films that will go down for all time.
This movie was made in 2000 and director by Ridley Scott.
This film has definitely left a benchmark in the movie world, like Braveheart and The Lord of the rings, just to mention a couple.
There are a few people who believe this movie to be based on true events but it is only loosely based on the period of the time, there was some discrepancies when the film was in development but the final product left a lasting impression on the whole world whether it be good or bad.
Director Ridley Scott has produced and Directed a lot of films , all you have to do is look at his long list of credits to see exactly how much this one man has done, but in this long list he has got no real movies that have left a major mark on him showing just how talented he is. That was until "Gladiator". When he made this movie it really did show how intense a film can get and how graphical you can take a film before it becomes too much to bear.
As great as the movie is, it does remind you a bit about Braveheart, first, all is well, then no hope, fight to survive, then starts the uprising.
It didn't ruin the movie for me, I wasn't sitting there comparing them, but while I was watching this film I was thinking "I wonder if Mel Gibson turned this movie down and then was offered to Russel Crow?" (maybe it's an Australian thing) it is such a Mell Gibson sort of film.
The most amazing part of this movie was the action scenes, they look so real, I know what you're going to say "that's the whole point of a movie" but you have to admit that it's very rare that you see this much fighting with such detail and precision, the shots being so close that you can see their sweat.
Now to my surprise there were some CGI in this movie, but what surprised me even more was the way they used it, they never used it in the places you would expect them too, they used it for shots like when they shot an arrow on fire into the sky the CGI added more distance than an arrow could actually fly, smoke trails was another added effect and also how to make 2,000 people look like 30,000, it's very tedious work, especially if you're part of that 2,000.
The story to this is not hard to follow, but instead of getting you to follow the story, Ridley Scott wanted to make us feel like we were part of the journey, following Maximus's path to see if he gets his revenge and ultimate victory. So as you can see the Gladiator story is not a complicated plot full of twists and turns of events that put you on a road to unraveling the truth, no, it's pretty much as it is.
Russel Crowe Played the part of Maximus with just the right amount of talent to pull it off.
His character wasn't a complicated character to understand, there was no hidden agendas, he just showed on his face and his body language (and the way he would act) all the trials and tribulations he had been through to get to this point, and with not much too really play with he performed extremely well.
Just like Mel Gibson Is for Braveheart, Russel Crowe is for Gladiator.
In my opinion this is the film that made Russel Crowe.
Although there was a great cast that workd with him, including Oliver Reed as Antonius Proximo an old and gruff gladiator trainer who buys Maximus. A former gladiator himself, he was freed by Marcus Aurelius, and gives Maximus his own armor and eventually a chance at freedom.
Unfortunately This was Reed's final film, he died during production.
The camera realy gets in there and captures every detail that one could want in a action scene and more but, there's one thing this movie does which is it showed you a lot of blood and guts that in some movies you would agree that it just wasn't necessary, but this movie is an acception . It really takes you to the heart of the film and reveals what it really wants to say.
Russel Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius
Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus
Connie Nielsen as Lucilla
Djimon Hounsou as Juba
Oliver Reed as Antonius Proximo
Derek Jacobi as Senator Gracchus
Ralf Moeller as Haken
Spencer Treat Clark as Lucius Verus
Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius
Tommy Flanagan as Cicero
Tomas Arana as General Quintus
John Shrapnel as Gaius
David Schofield as Senator Falco
Sven-Ole Thorsen as Tigris of Gaul
David Hemmings as Cassius
This film is a fantastic film to watch and own. Even years down the line it will still be a fantastic movie to watch, it's like another old film, Sparticus, that was amazing and a film that will always be remembered and admired.
Just like this film.
The running time for this movie is 155 minutes and is well worth the time, but if you can see the epic version which runs at 177 minutes I would advise you to see it
You can pick this up from Amazon for £3.99
Last night I found out my neighbour had never seen this film and I would not let him leave my flat till he watched the movie, It was the 10th time I've watched this movie and I just get so much joy from seeing other people enjoy it like I do. I personally will go as far a saying that I think it is the best movie of all time and I never get bored of watching it.
This film is a true epic and if you liked the old classics like Ben Hur and Spartacus you won't be disappointed. In fact I'll go as far as to say this is an improvement because you have brilliant performances, cinematography, sound track, choreography and with the help of modern technology it has allowed this film to capture the realism of second century Rome. So if I may be so bold it is the new improved Ben-Hur/Spartacus.
So why is this film so great?
Directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien) you now your on to a winner.
Legendary actors like Richard Harris (Marcus Aurelius) and Oliver Reed (Proximo), in his last role and God bless him he done himself proud.
Music that was in total harmony with every scene.
Russell Crowe plays Maximus and make the role his own and is fabulous as the Roman General.
Some of the most realistic and brutal fight scenes I've have ever seen, one can only imagine the work that must have gone into created this level of realism.
Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the emperor's only son who is just pure creepy evil and power mad and plays the perfect villain. His performance nothing short of perfection.
What are the best scenes in my opinion?
The fight scene when Maximus fights the undefeated Gladiator champion whilst trying to negotiate Tigers. Wow!
The scene when Maximus takes off his masks and announces himself to Commodus.
The final scene when Maximus and Commodus fight to the death.
There are so many more brilliant scenes and sitting through this 3 hours plus movie will not be a problem because it is the real deal. This movie is nothing short of a mater piece so is a definite must see.
Gladiator is a film that I had been wanting to see for a long time before I actually watched it, I have always been fascinated in the Roman times, watching many historic programs and histories of the battles as well as being intrigued at their idea of sports, which is something that drew me to gladiator the movie.
The movie tells the story of a general called Maximus, he is the main character and the good buy in the movie, he is liked by everybody and is great at being general however the emperors son, through jealousy betrays him and he is locked up as a slave and has to fight his way to freedom.
The film is beautifully shot, it has some great battle scenes in the beginning which is some of my favourite parts of the movie, however has a great story all the way through and the acting is also fantastic. The fighting in the actual arena is really good too and the film never really has a dull moment.
The film has some really good feel moments as well as some quite sad moments in too, but its one of those films that I can just watch again and again and I always think its amazing no matter how many times I see it, really if you haven't seen this one before you need to, its fantastic.
I absolutely loved this film there is so much passion involved with it!
The film is about a roman general who Cesar wants to give the thrown too. However, his jealous, deranged evil son decides to have him killed and for no body to hear about his fathers so called betrayal.
Russell Crow's performance is superb in this (which I think is actually a rarity). As they take him to be exercuted his instinct and fighting skill enables him to brake loose of the guards grasp, kill them, and escape.
The screen work is fantastic here and the German country is in winter with snow flakes gentle falling everywhere. The camera captures the sombre and sad mood the general feels after being betrayed.
With a deep wound the general tries to make his way home to his wife and child only to find them dead. The passion Crow exhorts when seeing this horrible scene is powerful. The sound track is one of the best pieces of work and compliments the scenes with perfection.
I love the use of effects when Crow is nearly dying and feels himself pop in and out of reality. With the sun blazing furiously down on him and an obviously infected wound the tension builds when he is brought to the bottom of the food chain as a gladiator.
The sward fighting is performed effortlessly and Crow fits into the role as the 'Spaniard' naturally. The sadness he feels and anger toward is mortal energy is powerfully seen through his eyes.
'Are you not entertain' the films excellent sets give you a real sense of verisimilitude. Many of the scenes are in a Moroccan City where this is actually real and the stadium is also real but I believe it is in Tunisia.
Great film and one that has got my respect!
Gladiator came out in 2000 and is one of my favourite films and certainly in my top ten. It was fantastic on the cinema and equally as good now I've watched it again on DVD. It was very hyped up before it's release and susequently won many awards and was a huge hit at the box office.
The story itself is based around the ancient Rome era. Maximus is played by Russell Crowe and is a Roman General. He is exiled when his mentor dies and is succeeded by his power hungry son Commodus played by Joaquin Phoenix. Now, Commodus wants Maximus out of the way so he is banished and his family murdered. While in exile, Maximus trains as a gladiator and swears he will gain revenge on Commodus for what he has done to him.
The movie, from director Ridley Scott, is an epic masterpiece not just in the sheer scale of the film but in the visually brilliant depiction of ancient Rome. The battle scenes are staged spectacularly against the wonderful backdrop.
There is actually not too much talking in this movie, but there are some very poweful scenes nontheless. Not least when Maximus comes face to face with Commodus for the very first time.
Russell Crowe supposedly lost 40lbs of weight and built up his muscles to play the part of Maximus and he really fits the part of a Gladiator really well and puts in a great performance. Joaquin Phoenix is equally good as the tyrant he portrays with no remorse for any of his actions. Unfortunately Oliver Reed who also stars died part way through filming so his remaining scenes were generated using a stand-in and computer trickery.
There is a fair bit of violence in the movie as you might expect from this type of film, but I don't think it every really goes over the top like some films and keeps the realism of that age going very well. It is approximately 2 and a half hours long which is probably just enough.
Overall this is a great movie and a true epic. It has a load of action and also the human element of pain and suffering throughout.
You don't get many truly epic films these days, sure we have plenty of mulit million dollar budget films that take over our cinemas every summer, but not many can claim to be truly epic. Gladiator however bucks that trend and director Ridley Scott achieves exactly what he set out to do, to bring back epic cinema to the 21st century.
For me this almost the perfect film, it has everything - action, romance, stunning cinematography, great acting (particularly Joaquin Phoenix), excellent CGI (the recreation of Rome) and Hans Zimmer's musical score is a modern day classical masterpiece, it manages to add to the excitment in the action scenes and will bring you close to tears during the more tender moments.
The opening scenes where we see Maximus (aka The General, aka The Spaniard, aka The Gladiator etc etc) leading his troops into battle set the pace for the rest of the film and I guarantee you'll be hooked from the moment he utters the immortal lines "On my signal, unleash hell!" - Just brilliant.
Gladiator is one of the few films that will stay in your mind long after the end credits roll, and you'll feel like you experienced something rather just watched a film - it really is that good.
If you haven't seen Gladiator yet, then do yourself a favour and rent or buy it as soon as you can. Play it on a big screen with surrounnd sound, turn up the volume and let yourself be taken away by one of the best films made for a long long time. Stunning.
It is the year 180 AD and the elderly Emperor Marcus Aurelius passes away at the hands of his own son. This leads to a storyline of betrayal and punishment as the battle for either Emperor rule or Senate rule ensues in Rome. Aurelius had wanted the decent minded Maximus to restore Senate rule. The murdered Emperor's son Commodus banishes the Senate supporting Maximus to exile by killing his wife and son. The film then charts Maximus's journey to becoming a gladiator in northern Africa and then to his final showdown in Rome as an unknown fighter in the Colosseum.
This is an epic film in all aspects, the sets, the scenes and the storyline. Ridley Scott has rendered a great vision of ancient Rome carrying with it the life and death stories of Gladiators. There is a lot of intrigue provided by the cloak and daggers nature of Commodus, played expertly by Joaquin Phoenix. Russell Crowe is also well cast as the put upon hero Maximus. Other greats in this film include Oliver Reed and Richard Harris. The movie plays out like acts in a theatre play, moving to different scenes and ending up back where it began.
I have a lot of time for Ridley Scott's films and this one doesn't disappoint. The story is believable and interesting. The style and look is arresting. The acting and dialogue is excellent. The story is told well, however some parts are a bit confusing and maybe could have been a bit clearer. A very good film.
Loosely based around two Hollywood films from the 1960s (Spartacus and The Fall of the Roman Empire, the latter a flop, incidentally), Ridley Scott's 2000 film Gladiator revolves around Maximus (Russell Crowe), a Roman General of high standing with the ear of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris). Aurelius' son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) seeks to be Emperor, and indeed he is rightful heir, but when Aurelius makes it clear to Commodus that he intends to make Maximus Emperor instead, Commodus kills his father and orders Maximus to be executed, along with his wife and child, who are summarily slaughtered on the family's lush Italian villa. Maximus survives however, only to be captured, exhausted and grief-stricken, by a slave trader, played brilliantly by Oliver Reid, who died halfway through filming, yet not before completing enough of the film for the remaining parts of his role competed with clever use of editing and CGI.
Maximus proves to be more than a match for the various gladiators his is up against, and the film excells in its portrayal of the splendour and brutality of life in the gladiatorial ring, working his way up through the ranks through numerous superb combat scenes in an attempt to get his revenge on Commodus. Commodus learns that he is alive, but as Maximus is the people's hero he dare not have him openly executed for fear of reprisals. Thus the film becomes a tense struggle for superiority between the wronged General and the scheming Emperor, with lots of exhilerating violence and dramatic dialogue along the way.
The acting is excellent all round, as is the photography, and the sets are particularly good, which is unsuprising given that the film is directed by Ridley Scott. Essentially a modern remake of the 'swords and sandals' epics of the 60s, Gladiator gets the formula just right and works brilliantly both as a historical epic and modern action-filled popcorn film. There is the odd bit of ropey looking cgi (in the overhead cityscape shots for example) but this is a very minor point indeed, and Gladiator is a hugely entertaining film that remains engaging from start to finish.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
The film revolves around Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe), a noble soldier who believes that a man, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) is responsible for the death of the Emperor so that he himself can take the throne. When asked to be loyal to Commodus, Maximus refuses, and Commodus, greatly offended at this gestures, orders that Maximus be executed and his family also murdered. Maximus escapes but returns home to find his wife and young son murdered. He swears revenge and plans to kill Commodus - of course, this is going to be difficult, considering that he's the Emperor and therefore has a fleet of loyal guards.
Sword-and-sandal epics are a dime a dozen, but this is one that really stands above the rest. It features a marrying of direction, acting and writing that elevates it beyond the often cheesy cliches of the genre. This is a film that's got great action but also has a wealth of emotional resonance thanks to the emotional bond between Maximus and his family, and the spiritual approach taken to the revenge plot - he wants revenge, but he also wants to be reunited with his family, making this a more complex revenge story than simple heroic bloodshed. The film also allowed the Gladiatorial epic to be revived, with numerous films such as 300 being released following the success of this film.
Whilst Gladiator gets off to a slow start due to the preambles, once it gets into the meat of the matter, this is an intense and emotionally charged film about courage and heroism. Crowe is brilliant as the protagonist, and Phoenix likewise as the antagonist. The political aspect to the film was highly intruiging, and as always with Ridley Scott, the action was directed as masterfully as the lush cinematography.
Director Ridley Scott's Oscar winning epic Gladiator tells the story of Maximus (Russell Crowe), a Roman general who is bestowed the honour of becoming the protector of Rome according to the wishes of dying emperor Marcus Aurelius. But before Maximus can assume this role, the emperor's cowardly and corrupt son Commodus (Jaoquin Phoenix), angered at his father's decision to overlook him as heir to the throne, orders the execution of Maximus and his family.
Maximus manages to escape death but is taken as a slave and forced to fight as a gladiator in a remote area of the Roman Empire. Thus his long journey to the Colossuem in Rome begins, a journey driven by his desire to meet his nemesis Commodus and avenge the death of his family....
Gladiator is a sure fire masterpiece, reminiscent of the grand epics of the past (Spartacus and Ben Hur spring to mind). This starts of with an excellent script, the prose is like poetry, delivered by actors at the top of their game. This is arguably Crowe's best ever performance, he convinces as a tough but fair General, a grieving father and widow and a man driven by revenge. Phoenix also excels as the cowardly Commodus, a man whose own insecurities and ambitions govern his policy making in Rome. The supporting cast is also stellar, the old boys Richard Harris and Oliver Reed (this was his last film) match the young guns in the scenes they share....
The cinematography in this film is also quite beautiful, from the bleak, desolate Roman province of North Africa to the imperious, colossal colosseum in Rome, you are transported back to a time where the glory of Rome is all encompassing. This is complimented by a beautiful soundtrack (is there anyone better than Hans Zimmer today)? Lisa Gerrard's haunting voice is put to great use for more poignant scenes, whilst roaring trumpets and beating drums accompany intense battle sequences. On that subject, the battle scenes are action packed - gory, realistic and thrilling.
I won't give away the ending, but it is poignant and in my opinion fitting.
Many films have tried since (Alexander/Troy/300) but Gladiator is the original and best modern epic.
Okay, seeing the huge amount of positivity posted on here about this "classic" I don't know if the the wisest move is to put up this old review I published on Amazon back in 2002, but I thought I would give it a shot. It would appear that, unlike Titanic, time has not changed the general consensus of opinion on this multiple Oscar-winning picture:
I am probably amongst the very few who were a little disappointed by Gladiator. Judging by just about every review given here, Gladiator has been accepted as a classic example of modern filmmaking and a successful take on the Roman epic not seen since the sixties. The films' ejaculatory response at the Oscars seemed very reminiscent of Titanic and like the aforementioned film, appeared to be a bit over the top. This is not to say I felt the film wasn't any good; on the contrary I recommend it to any DVD/Video collector who is a fan of Ridley Scott films, Roman epics or general big budget blockbusters. I am not going to argue its deserving of a place amongst them, but rather where that place should be.
At face value Gladiator has a bevy of ingredients that should ensure a cinematic work of art. This includes a strong cast, a great director and a huge budget. The ingredients proved to score both at the box office and with the critics, but in hindsight I can't help wonder what all the fuss was about.
Ridley Scott is a master at creating visual masterpieces. His movies are a joy for the contemporary cinema-lover and home-cinema owner. From the opening credits to the final reel you always that you are a part of a major event. Having said this, Scott is often criticised for sacrificing substance for style. I don't believe this is fair criticism, but having said this I don't consider Gladiator a good example to defend my case. Likewise, Russel Crowe is an excellent actor, but compared with previous and later roles, the lead character, Maximus, is not a great example of his talent. He is a straightforward hero who is shown to be a near indestructible warrior yet humble and gracious. There certainly is something of the Shakespearian tragedy running through Gladiator, but the virtuous Maximus shares more in common with an American action hero than the flawed Hamlet, which is the most obvious comparison.
Joaquin Phoenix tackles a far more complex role and should have been given a best-supporting actor Oscar for it. The character of Commodus shares little in common with the insane real-life Roman ruler, but - who cares- the film never pretends to be historically accurate. Phoenix's character is not a Byronic-hero type baddie, but more of a reflective pantomime villain. He appears fully aware of his own evil, but rather than revel in it seems almost helplessly held in it. Like all the best villains he not only arouses the audience's negative feelings towards him, with his skulduggery and generally evil ways, but also stirs an emotion usually reserved for the good guys. You can't help but feel some sympathy for the character.
Oliver Reed is fine form in his final role, placing his tongue firmly in his cheek and helps lift us above the computer-generated backdrops. At first, these landscapes do appear impressive, but after a while you can't help feel you are in the middle of a video game. Derek Jacobi's presence sadly only serves to remind me of the far better written Roman drama he starred in, I Claudius. For anyone who is seriously interested in dramatisations of the Roman Empire, this series is a must to buy on video.
In comparison to its rivals I would Gladiator as an above average film. Compared to Ridley Scott's films it is better than GI Jane, on a par with Hannibal, but not as good as Alien or Bladerunner. Rating it against other Roman epics it is superior to The Robe and beats Cleopatra hands down, levels with its almost overly clever and historical contemporary The Fall of the Roman Empire, but falls short of its obvious rival Spartacus. Finally, as a big budget extravaganza it easily beats Independence Day, is at least equal to Titanic, but is no Lord of the Rings.
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, and Richard Harris star in the Ridley Scott blockbuster that claimed five Oscars including Best Film and Best Actor.