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Spartacus (1960)

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The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

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(screenplay), (based on the novel by), 2 more credits »
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Title: Spartacus (1960)

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Storyline

In 73 BCE, a Thracian slave leads a revolt at a gladiatorial school run by Lentulus Batiatus. The uprising soon spreads across the Italian Peninsula involving thousand of slaves. The plan is to acquire sufficient funds to acquire ships from Silesian pirates who could then transport them to other lands from Brandisium in the south. The Roman Senator Gracchus schemes to have Marcus Publius Glabrus, Commander of the garrison of Rome, lead an army against the slaves who are living on Vesuvius. When Glabrus is defeated his mentor, Senator and General Marcus Licinius Crassus is greatly embarrassed and leads his own army against the slaves. Spartacus and the thousands of freed slaves successfully make their way to Brandisium only to find that the Silesians have abandoned them. They then turn north and must face the might of Rome. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The thrilling adventure that electrified the world! See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spartacus: Rebel Against Rome  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(premiere) | (1968 re-release) | (1967 re-release) | (1991 restored) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints, original release)| (1991 restoration)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although some reviews noted the story's unreliable correlation to history, many of the film's characters were derived from real figures, including Spartacus (d. 71 B.C.), Marcus Licinius Crassus (d. 53 B.C.) and Caius Sempronius Gracchus (d. 121 B.C.). As accurately depicted in the film, Spartacus was a Thracian slave who broke out of a Capuan gladiators' school to lead a revolt that was eventually suppressed by Crassus, who then crucified his captives by the hundreds. Spartacus was killed in battle - not, as stated in the film, captured and then crucified - after which Crassus ruled Rome in a triumvirate with Pompey and Julius Caesar. Gracchus lived decades earlier, and helped organize a social reform movement that lasted only a few years before its reforms were repealed. He was killed in a series of riots protesting the repeals. General Crassus was reported to have been put to death by the Parthians after losing the battle of Carrhae, by being forced to drink a goblet of molten gold, symbolic of his great wealth. See more »

Goofs

The 'rocks' Spartacus carries in his basket in the quarry scene behave as styrofoam and when they are dropped fragments of styrofoam break off and blow away. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: In the last century before the birth of the new faith called Christianity, which was destined to overthrow the pagan tyranny of Rome and bring about a new society, the Roman Republic stood at the very center of the civilized world. "Of all things fairest," sang the poet, "first among cities and home of the gods is golden Rome." Yet, even at the zenith of her pride and power, the Republic lay fatally stricken with a disease called human slavery. The age of the dictator was at hand, ...
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Crazy Credits

The opening titles appear in a montage of silhouetted Roman sculptures and tablets, which according to title designer Saul Bass is meant to evoke the strength and power of the Roman Empire. The montage ends with a zoom into the eye of a crumbling Roman bust, which hints at the Empire's coming decline and fall. See more »

Connections

Featured in Smashing UK Top 10: Top 10 Historical Dramas (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Triumph of Spirit Over Oppression?
24 May 1999 | by (Adelaide, Australia) – See all my reviews

As a historical epic, 'Spartacus' stands out from the crowd.

The film has the basic theme of 'force' versus 'an idea'. One man - Spartacus- has the idea of freedom, which is pitted through his slave army against the entire force of the Roman Empire.

In Spartacus's eventual defeat, force seems to be victorious, but we know with hindsight that it is Spartacus' idea that finally prevails, albeit long after his death, with the abolition of slavery. As the opening narration makes clear, as a young man Spartacus would dream of the death of slavery - "two thousand years before it finally would die." Kirk Douglas gives an inspiring performance as the brutalised and uneducated slave rising above his degradation to find love, leadership and high ideals.

The film closely interweaves the fate of Spartacus with that of Roman politics. His slave rebellion contributes to the fall of Gracchus, the main Republican advocate, and the corresponding rise of authoritarian Crassus. In a way, Spartacus is portrayed as a catalyst for a new era of Roman dictatorship under the Caesars; by suppressing his slave rebellion, Rome sets itself irrevocably on a path away from Republic and freedom, and perhaps confirms its eventual downfall. Some historical licence, no doubt; but a thought-provoking concept.

Unlike many other Roman epics such as 'Ben-Hur' and 'The Robe', the film does not have a Christian motif. However, 'Spartacus' epitomises the triumph of the human spirit in a way that few movies do. Even after his death, not only Spartacus' son but his spirit lives on,if only in man's perennial cry for freedom. The slave leader's resolve, and his will to freedom, remain true to the end.

Considering that it was made in 1960, the film's confronting of hard themes is notable. For example, we have the hint of forbidden homosexual/ bisexual desires from Crassus to Antoninus; the seeming death and failure (but perhaps ultimate victory)for the hero, who traditionally should triumph; and unpleasant scenes involving battlefields and rows of crucified bodies.

The movie is helped by an excellent cast, an evocative score and Stanley Kubrick's direction. The sets and costumes also show great attention to detail, so that ancient Roman society comes alive.

Overall a most entertaining and inspiring movie.


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Please explain why I, a 17 year old, didn't like it. WhyNotTheJackal
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Hard to watch after Spartacus the series miausquirrel
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Best Performance - Laughton? Olivier? Ustinov? JazzyBee04
'The pagan tyranny of Rome' raistlin-26
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