For me, three years after seeing Gladiator for the first time, the dominant images are no longer those of the life-or-death competition but rather, of the opening scenes when Maximus leads his troops to victory against the Saxons, later when he returns to his farm, and still later when he and Juba nourish their friendship with exchanges of confidences. How ironic that a film so filled with brilliantly-staged violence should persist in my memory because of images wholly unrelated to that violence. It received an Academy Award as best film as well as for best costume design, sound, and visual effects. I think it is a notch or two above earlier and similar films such as The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) but not quite in the same league with the director's cut version of Spartacus (1960). One man's opinion.
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