Up 32,056 this week

The Gladiator (1938)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.1/10 from 65 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A man returns to college and is talked into joining he football team and is a real joke on the team, until he is given a drug that gives him super strength.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 2009 titles
created 28 Jul 2012
a list of 511 titles
created 23 Nov 2012
list image
a list of 9998 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 70 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Gladiator" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Gladiator (1938)

The Gladiator (1938) on IMDb 6.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Gladiator.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A show troupe, led by Dan Dixon and traveling in a trailer, is stranded in Paraguay. Dan is all set to be booked in the theatres controlled by Don Luis Garcia until the latter discovers Dan... See full summary »

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Leo Carrillo, Beverly Roberts
The Gladiator (TV Movie 1986)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A road warrior vigilante avenges his brother's death at the hands of a crazy motorist by using his souped-up pickup to apprehend drunken drivers and others who abuse their driving privileges.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Ken Wahl, Nancy Allen, Robert Culp
Sons o' Guns (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Broadway star Jimmy Canfield stars in a patriotic show on the great white way during WWI. He plays the heroic soldier, but he is doesn't want to join the Army. To evade some troubles with ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Joan Blondell, Beverly Roberts
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The first of the Edward L. Alperson "Alson Productions" for 20th Century-Fox distribution, featuring the return to the screen, after nearly a four-year absence, of comedian Joe E. Brown, in... See full summary »

Director: Harold D. Schuster
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Richard Lyon, Noreen Nash
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Frank R. Strayer
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Marguerite Chapman, William Wright


Complete credited cast:
June Travis ...
Man Mountain Dean ...
The Wrestler
Lucien Littlefield ...
Robert Kent ...
Tom Dixon
Ethel Wales ...
Mrs. Danner
Donald Douglas ...
Coach Robbins


A man returns to college and is talked into joining he football team and is a real joke on the team, until he is given a drug that gives him super strength.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Kicking the pigskin for a skinful of laughs ! See more »


Comedy | Fantasy





Release Date:

15 August 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Gladiator namens Hugo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The novel on which this film was based was reputedly one of the principal inspirations for the creation of Superman, who made his first appearance the same year. See more »


On To Victory
Written by Walter G. Samuels and Charles Newman
Performed by Joe E. Brown and June Travis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A great story idea indifferently executed.
19 April 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

During the early to mid-1930s, Joe E. Brown was a hot commodity at Warner Brothers. He was a top start and he commanded top money to make a long string of agreeable comedies. However, in a bone-headed career move, Brown was convinced to sign with tiny David Loew Productions and his career was in a tailspin. I've seen four of the six Loew films with Brown and most of them are adequate but no more--the best of which was the first, "When's Your Birthday?". The final two, this film and "Wide Open Faces" are on the same disk.

Aside from the usually cute and perfect-looking child actor (I suspect he was a robot), Dickie Moore, this film has nothing but unknown actors in supporting roles--and so it's up to Brown to carry to carry this movie. Fortunately, the plot idea is strong.

The film begins with Brown losing his job at the hospital. Although he's great with these kids in the pediatric ward, they want a college educated person for the position. But, when Brown wins $1500 soon after this, he decides to return to college and get his degree.

Soon after he arrives, the students learn that his father was the captain of their football team and his grandfather was a track and field star. So, they expect him to follow in his family's footsteps. But, they don't realize that he's no athlete--that is, until the wacky professor injects him with a formula that makes him like Superman! In fact, the film was inspired by the same story that inspired the writers of the Superman comic. Now, Brown is an amazing athlete--but the Professor is worried--worried Brown is SO powerful that he kill kill the other players! And when Brown realizes this, he doesn't want to play ball either--until he's tricked into doing it by a pretty co-ed.

Where all this goes next you'll just have to see for yourself. I found the film to be enjoyable--one of the better Loew productions. I think the story idea was a 'can't miss' plot and so it's not surprising that the film worked. However I can't help thinking that it could have been a lot funnier given the great story. Worth seeing but not nearly as good as his Warner Brothers films.

A couple final observations. Brown was actually 46 when he made this film--a bit old to be on the college team--and to be taking all those hits and wrestling with Man Mountain! Also, like most college films of the era, did you notice that no one ever seems to go to classes?! Not a single scene of him in class or doing classwork occurs!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Gladiator (1938) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: