(detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)
Gladiator is a 2000 movie directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. It won five Academy Awards in the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony, including the prestigious Academy Award for Best Picture. Gladiator is a commercially successful film but, like most films based in antiquity, it was criticized by historians for its inaccuracies . Nonetheless, it is considered a classic among many youth generations, because of its epic nature, and praised direction from Ridley Scott.
A farmer-turned-soldier by the name of Maximus Decimus Meridius (played by Russell Crowe) is one of the top generals in the Roman army. He leads his men to many victories and gains the support from the masses and even the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. The emperor is dying, and because he trusts Maximus over his only son Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix), the emperor appoints temporary leadership to Maximus in order to return the power to the Senate. When Commodus realizes what is about to happen, he murders his father in order to acquire the position through being next in line. At the same moment, he also orders his men to murder Maximus before he can claim his rightful position, as well as orders the murder of his family. Maximus escapes his fate and gallops to his home only to find that he was too late, and his family has been slaughtered. Maximus is taken by slavers as he sleeps by his family's grave, and must then start over and work his way up by fighting as a gladiator in various arenas. To gain success and power, he appeals to the Roman people, under the name and title, "Spaniard". His power and fame continue to grow until he finally reaches the historic Roman Colosseum and comes into contact again with his true enemy, Commodus. When realising that the famous "Spaniard" is his arch enemy, Commodus is forced to let him live due to the cries of the crowd. Maximus later survives an indirect attack on his life when he is forced into a match against the "only undefeated champion in Roman History."
At one point, Maximus makes an attempt to rejoin his army and make a coup on the city of Rome. However the emperor gains knowledge of this by means of his eight year old nephew and the coup fails. Commodus then realises that he has to get rid of Maximus, and arranges a fight with him in the arena but stabs him before the match starts. Maximus still manages to kill him but dies soon after, passing on the wishes of Marcus Aurelius.
Maximus is tested both physically and emotionally. He must avenge the death of his wife and son and honor the final wishes of his true emperor.
Overall, Gladiator cost a collected 145.7 million dollars to make and advertise, with the main part of the production costs spent on computer special effects. However, the movie grossed over 187 million dollars in American theaters alone and after earning more than 269 million dollars overseas, Gladiator proved to be a huge success at the box office.
Actor Oliver Reed died in Malta during the filming of Gladiator; as a result, a body double and digitally altered outtake footage of the actor were used in his absence, at an estimated cost of $3 million. The film is dedicated to his memory.
The soundtrack was composed by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, and conducted by Gavin Greenaway. Most of the film was shot in Morocco and Malta where a replica of the Colosseum was built.
One of the much-praised CGI
shots of Rome
The Roman emperors portrayed in the movie are Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris), who ruled AD 161–180, and his son, the deranged Commodus, who ruled between 180–192, and scandalized Roman society by appearing in the Colosseum as a gladiator, and spent most, if not all, of his time as Emperor in staging gladiatorial combats, seemingly obsessed with the sport. The film's characterization attempts to reflect Marcus Aurelius's reputation for wisdom but does so by placing a modern democratic slant to his actions and beliefs. The representation of Commodus is extremely watered down, as Commodus was far more insane and bloodthirsty than he appears in the film. While Commodus was the only Roman Emperor to fight as a gladiator (discounting reports of Caligula having done the same, as there is no record outside of Suetonius that he ever did so), he was not killed in the arena, as the film suggests.
Lucilla was Commodus’s sister and was married to Lucius Verus, her father’s co-emperor until his death in 169. The incest, or attempted incest, in the movie is not historically accurate. Lucilla was in fact implicated in plots with members of the senate to kill her brother. In 182, following an assassination attempt on Commodus, Lucilla was exiled to Capri and subsequently executed on her brother’s orders.
Gladiator also implies that "Rome was founded as a Republic" and that it returned to republicanism upon the death of Commodus, neither of which are true.
The opening battle most likely depicts the last fight of the Marcomannic wars.
The city of Rome is seen in all of its glory, and the Colosseum is accurately seen as the stadium and theater for the Roman people.
The character of Maximus is entirely fictional, though he is similar in some respects to the historical figures of Narcissus (the character's name in the first draft of the screenplay and the real killer of Commodus), Spartacus (who led a significant slave revolt), and Cincinnatus (the saviour of Rome who wished nothing more than to return to his farm).
The film's plot basically comes from two 1960s films of Hollywood's sword and sandal genre, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Spartacus.
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) tells the story of Livius, who, like Maximus in Gladiator, is Marcus Aurelius's heir. Both films tell the story of Commodus' murder of Marcus Aurelius and his seizure of power when he learns that the old emperor is planning to appoint Livius/Maximus as his successor. Livius/Maximus are exiled and seek to avenge Marcus Aurelius by killing Commodus.
Spartacus (1960) provides the film's gladiatorial motif, as well as the character of Senator Gracchus, a fictitious senator (bearing the name of a pair of revolutonary Tribunes from the 2nd century BC) who in both films is an elder statesman of ancient Rome attempting to preserve the ancient rights of the Roman senate in the face of an ambitious autocrat — Marcus Licinius Crassus in Spartacus and Commodus in Gladiator. Interestingly, Gracchus was played in Spartacus by Charles Laughton, who played Claudius in the 1937 film I, Claudius, while he was played in Gladiator by Sir Derek Jacobi, who played Claudius in the 1975 BBC adaptation.
Additionally, Maximus, Quintus and other characters, as well as the opening sequence of the film (set in Germany), are inspired by a work of historical fiction by Wallace Breem, Eagle in the Snow (set some 200 years later).
The film's depiction of Commodus's entry into Rome borrows imagery from Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will (1934), although Ridley Scott has pointed out that the iconography of Nazi rallies was of course inspired by the Roman Empire.
Gladiator was nominated in 36 individual ceremonies, including the 73rd Academy Awards, the BAFTA Awards and the Golden Globe Awards. Of 119 award nominations, the film won 48 prizes.
The film won five Academy Awards and was nominated for an additional seven, including Best Supporting Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Director for Ridley Scott. There is controversy over the film's nomination for Best Original Music Score. The award was officially nominated only to Hans Zimmer, and not to Lisa Gerrard due to Academy rules. However, the pair did win the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score as co-composers.
- ↑ The Movie "Gladiator" in Historical Perspective, a review of Gladiator's historical innacuracies by Allen Ward of University of Connecticut.
- ↑ Gladiator total gross at Box Office Mojo
- ↑ Gladiator awards tally at IMDB
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