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A 2000 movie starring Russell Crowe

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Prepare yourself for a wild ride into history...

  • Sep 7, 2000
  • by
Pros: Non-stop action, good plot twists

Cons: Minor plot hicups

The Roman Empire, third and largest of the three ancient Western Empires (Greece and Egypt being the other two), was at a turning point at the time of Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus death in 177 AD (CE). Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to 180, Marcus Aurelius (his shortened name), was considered an accomplished leader who was responsible for securing the Roman Empires northern boarders against the Germanic hordes. Upon his death, his son Commodus ascended the thrown, and thus began the long painful decline, and eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.

Gladiator takes place during this period. Though historically accurate in some places, the movie cannot be taken as an accurate representation of history; Russell Crowe’ General Maximus, for instance is fictional. That being said, Gladiator was a grand roller coaster ride through the Empire that was Rome. From the opening sequence at the northern frontiers of the Roman Empire in which the last battle of the Danubian wars with the barbaric tribes of Germinia is fought, to the closing sequence is which the final confrontation takes place, the movie barely slows enough to allow the viewer to catch his or her breath.

The Plot: the emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) is dead at the hands of his son Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus (Joaquin Phoenix). However, before he is killed he names his successor in General of the Roman Northern Armies, Maximus Decimus Meridius played with great skill by Russell Crowe. The late emperor had requested the General Maximus—because his heart was pure and uncorrupted by the politics of Rome—take the throne and eventually restore the Roman Republic.

But in bestowing the thrown upon Maximus, Marcus Aurelius, must deny the honor to his son (which is why his son killed him), whom he does not trust to do the right thing by the Roman people. Thus begins an epic confrontation between good and evil, right and wrong, noble and dishonorable.

After Maximus foils an assassination attempt and returns home, he is captured by slave merchants (here the plot goes astray somewhat), and sold to a greedy ex-Gladiator named Proximo (Oliver Reed), who forces Maximus to fight for his life. Maximus is eventually taken to Rome to fight in the Great Coliseum, for the entertainment of the new emperor and the people of Rome.

The movie unfolds in grand style, with sweeping scenes depicting the Roman countryside, distant Roman provinces, and finally the grand, wondrous, and beautiful city of Rome herself. One has to marvel at the city that was, and feel an ache in your heart that she is gone (well at least I do!).

The tightly choreographed action sequences throughout the movie are somewhat gruesome to watch, especially if you have a little one in tow. The action is non-stop and I could tell when a scene was computer generated vice real, but it was fun to watch nonetheless. All of the actors turned in fine performances and I enjoyed the evilness of Commodus, played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix, as much as Crowe’s performance, despite myself. Honorable mention must go to Connie Nielsen (Lucilla, sister to Commodus), and Djimon Hounsou (Juba, companion to Maximus, and fellow gladiator).

Despite the minor plot hiccup towards the beginning of the movie, in which Russell Crowe is captured on his own turf, Gladiator was an enjoyable ride to embark upon, and I will even be temped to get the DVD whenever it is released.

Those interested in the historical record behind this film might want to check out the following website: (http://www.exovedate.com/the_real_gladiator_one.html).

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: Scott, Ridley
Running Time: 2:34

Primary Cast Members:

Russell Crowe: General Maximus Decimus Meridius
Richard Harris: Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Joaquin Phoenix: Commodus
Connie Nielsen: Lucilla
Djimon Hounsou: Juba
Oliver Reed: Proximo
Derek Jacobi: Gracchus
David Schofield: Falco
John Shrapnel: Gaius


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More Gladiator reviews
review by . September 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
From the moment the movie starts the imagery grabs the audience and draws them in with action.  The movie keeps the audience interested in what is going on with strong performances of Russel Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Neilsen, Djimon Hounsou, and many others.  All emotions were felt as real from the actors.  The fight scenes were filmed showing the power and the emotion of the soldiers, not just the fighting for the sake of it.   Crowe's performance brought me close …
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the few that touched my heart to much that it made me cry.
Quick Tip by . June 14, 2010
favorite line: what you do in life echoes in eternity
review by . May 17, 2009
Gladiator is an overrated nightmare. Whoever wrote this screenplay did not research their history very well. The acting was mediocre and it's filled with numerous flaws and wholesale gaps of logic. I hate when film makers do this. Why not make it a farce. People (like me) would have accepted it as such if they did. If you're going to do a report or a research paper on the Roman Empire, you'll fail if you copy from this movie. But, I was impressed with the recreation of the games in the Roman Colosseum.  & …
review by . May 27, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Gladiator is one of my favorite movies. It has action, drama, great cinematography, outstanding fight scenes, love, great acting, and most importantly, it's a great story.For those who haven't seen it I don't want to give away the entire plot. Briefly, Maximus, the virtuous and victorious commander of the Roman army over the Visigoths, is asked by the dying Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, to become the protectorate of Rome upon his death and return the rule of law to the Senate, making Rome once again …
review by . August 12, 2003
My rating indicates my regard for this film in terms of its entertainment value. The plot is essentially uncomplicated and too often predictable. There is almost no character development. And there is only one conflict, really, whose resolution occurs long after the most thrilling action has occurred. However, Russell Crowe's performance as Maximus is (no pun intended) commanding, the special effects are first-rate, and -- from beginning to end -- this film is visually stunning. The plot (such as …
review by . January 27, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Many years ago, Hollywood mass produced epic movies that were not only monuments of spectacle, but also contained meaningful messages that gave films moral magnitude as well. There are several reasons why Hollywood stopped making epic movies and just a few short years ago the great movie epic was said to be dead.Well, the great movie epic is back. It began with BRAVEHEART in 1995 and reached new and different heights with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in 1998. The tradition coninues with GLADIATOR.GLADIATOR …
review by . March 28, 2001
Gladiator has somehow garnered adulation. It snagged the Oscar for Best Picture (no mean feat), made lots of money, and collected a reasonable share of critical acclaim. But even after watching it (twice), I steadfastly stick to my conclusion that Gladiator is not a great movie...not even a good one.Gladiator holds promise for a heroic story with a liberal dosing of medieval battles. In the end, I am left with a feeling that the film is a blatant retread of Braveheart and other more successful varieties …
review by . February 23, 2001
Goodbye, to another hard hit-negative review. Here is the revision of a review written months ago. Gladiator is a delivery of a story told in the form of many movies, but not in character. Maximus is a man troubled with loves past and desires nothing but to go home once the barbarians are destroyed. Before granting his wish the Emporer asks him to take rule of Rome, Leaving his own son without a throne. Joaquin Pheonix plays a terrific sadistic maniac that would do anything to claim the throne, …
review by . July 18, 2000
Pros: Roman epic!     Cons: none     What a powerhouse film. I am so glad that a true Roman era epic can still make a splash. I have heard many comparisions to Brave Heart but i disagree. Other than the brief fighting scenes in the beginning of the film, but that's about it.      The real meaning of this film is of longing for home and family. A simple but great man who fights in Rome's legions only to find that life is meaningless without …
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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #187
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie


Ridley Scott (BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN) transports Hollywood to second-century Rome in this rousing historical epic that proudly hearkens back to such films as BEN-HUR and SPARTACUS. Russell Crowe plays Maximus, a Roman general who leads the troops in conquering Germania for the empire. When an aging Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) tells Maximus that he'd like him to rule Rome once he's gone, a classic confrontation ensues between the brave and charming soldier--who wants to return home to his wife, son, and farm--and the jealous and conniving Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the emperor's only son, who is thirsty for power. Bought as a slave by the profiteering Proximo (Oliver Reed, in his last role), Maximus must kill or be killed in the ring, battling to save not only himself but the future of the very empire that he loves and honors. The film features a terrific battle sequence (that recalls the beginning of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), huge crowd scenes of thousands of people, and even a little romance, albeit mostl...
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