Gladiator
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Gladiator can be found here.

Maximus conducts the same war ritual four times in the film: he picks up a small quantity of the ground beneath his feet and rubs it between his hands. He also smells his hands after rubbing them but this is only seen in the first two occurrences. He does so each time before he is involved in combat. These are:

1. Before the start of the opening battle sequence in Germania, while he is talking to Quintus.
2. Before the start of his first gladiator fight in Zucchabar, while Proximo gives the pep talk.
3. Before the start of his first gladiator fight in Rome (the Colosseum), while in the armoury.
4. Before the start of his first duel in the Colosseum with Tigris of Gaul.
5. Very weakly before the start of his final duel in the Colosseum with Commodus.
The practical reason for conducting this ritual is to make friction (by absorbing the sweat) between his hands and the object he is holding: it is to form a better grip on his sword, like chalk. The personal reason is to remind Maximus of his villa, which is full of rich memories of the harvest, his wife, his son, his horses and general actions akin to the soil. Director Ridley Scott points this out during his DVD commentary. During the victory celebration after the battle in Germania, there is conversation between Maximus and two of his officers which relate to his villa:

Valerius: Back to your barracks, General, or to Rome?

Maximus: Home. The wife, the son, the harvest.

Quintus: Maximus the farmer. I still have difficulty imagining that.

Maximus: You know, dirt cleans off a lot easier than blood, Quintus.

Most likely he means to say "Ihr seid verfluchte Hunde!", which means "You are (a bunch of) cursed dogs!" It is not the German language as we know it today. In the time the movie is set, there was in fact no common "German language" but a whole lot of different tribal languages and dialects like those of Angeln, Friesen, Sachsen etc. Those languages were the base of today's German but also (mixed up with the colloquially Latin brought in by the Romans) of many other European languages.

Most notable is his next-to-final scene when he gives the keys to Maximus. You can tell that he was digitally removed from another scene because the focus doesn't change on anything, even though he is moving closer, the lighting is different enough to stand out, and all his new lines are said by an impersonator(added later) while Proximo is off screen. Also, his final line, when he is looking up and says "shadows and dust." right before the soldiers stab him, it's taken from the earlier scene where Maximus argued with him about the vision of Rome and Proximo shouted "We mortals are but shadows and dust! Shadows and dust Maximus!" Look in the background during his last line and it is clearly from the arena barracks.

Most characters playing inhabitants of Rome speak English with a British accent. Russell Crowe's Australian accent indicates that he is from a different region within the Empire. In this case, Hispania (present day Spain), which was a region previously conquered by the Romans, so they would have spoken Latin with an accent. Concomitantly, Hagen (the German gladiator) and Juba (the African gladiator) speak English with a German and African accent respectively.

Maximus had disarmed Commodus fairly in combat and Quintus was observing the rules. Commodus may be emperor but in challenging Maximus to combat, he subjects himself to the same rules as his opponent. His only choices at that point are to retrieve the sword he lost or draw another weapon, and he chose the latter, only to be defeated. The extended edition adds a good deal more to his character's arc than the theatrical version. Two scenes in particular help illustrate this. When Quintus first turns on Maximus he does display guilt to the point that he avoids looking at his old friend, indicating that he was not completely happy with what was going on from the start. A key deleted scene features Commodus forcing Quintus to execute the two Praetorian scouts who reported back that they found the bodies of the men sent to execute Maximus, but mistakenly speculate that they got killed in a barbarian raid. Quintus tries to assert the character he and the other Praetorians know them for and that it was an honest mistake but Commodus does not relent and tests Quintus' loyalty by pressuring him to order their deaths even though he desperately doesn't want to. He ultimately begrudgingly does however. (This also helps in explaining why the other Praetorians could be swayed to defy Commodus in the end as well) Later on, in another deleted scene, before Commodus has his final exchange with Maximus before their duel Quintus goes to him first attempting to clear his conscience of all that has transpired by saying, "I'm a soldier. I obey." Maximus rejects him however. Having seen firsthand the dangerous and mad side of Commodus along with his own guilt, as well as adhering to the rules of the match, leads him to ultimately defying him and ultimately redeeming himself. Which helps give Maximus a greater chance at winning, and ultimately also decides to help try and carry out Maximus' mission when he relays it to him as he dies.

Juba had said he was a hunter. The slave trader probably didn't want Proximo to buy Juba because he could have been sold at a higher price elsewhere to a different customer. However, Proximo saw right through the ruse knowing that Juba would make a great gladiator -- not even the slave trader could hide Juba's muscular physique.

Several years after its initial release an Extended Cut got published on DVD (and later on Blu-Ray) that runs approx. 16 minutes longer than the more familiar theatrical version. All of the scenes that were restored for this version had previously been included as deleted scenes on previous DVD releases. The restored scenes are mainly character moments, though some deserve singling out, e.g., (1) Proximo tells Maximus to be "entertaining" before his first fight as a Gladiator. This gives context to Maximus shouting the question "Were you not entertained?!" and throwing his sword into the balcony after his victory; (2) Lucilla is seen secretly meeting with the senators, Graccus and Gaius, for the first time, much earlier in the narrative than in the theatrical cut of the film. This indicates far earlier her unhappiness with Commodus' rule, even stating her brother has to die; and (3) There are the various scenes featuring Maximus' former ally, Quintus, being forced to follow Commodus' orders, leading to the soldier eventually betraying his Emperor. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

Zucchabar was located in modern-day Algeria, in the north part of the country. The area is now referred to as Miliana. More info can be read here.

They're going though a semi-audition to find out if they'll make good or great gladiators. When Juba fights with Hagen (using wooden swords), he fights pretty fiercely and receives a red mark on this tunic on orders from Proximo himself. Proximo seems to be the the sole judge of the candidates. He sees that Juba has a fighter's spirit & it puts him at the top of the running. Maximus blatantly refuses to fight and receives a yellow mark that puts him somewhere in the middle of the candidates, however Proximo probably senses that Maximus will one day become a great gladiator. He does, primarily because of his need for revenge.

Historians and archeologists have been searching for many years for evidence that there was an awning or velarium to provide shade. Coins and other artifacts have been found showing the Colosseum with the awning and there are pieces of stone called corbels on the outer facade of the Colosseum that would have supported wooden masts for this purpose. In May of 1998 the PBS show NOVA had some archeologists attempt to reconstruct two different types of Colosseum awning systems on an old bullfighting ring in Barcarrota, Spain with varying degrees of success. That episode can be seen here.

Commodus was clearly always jealous of Maximus. Marcus always favoured his General Maximus over his own son, Commodus. Marcus even privately told Maximus that he was the son he should have had. Commodus was also in love with his own sister, Lucilla. But even she loved Maximus. (It's implied that Lucilla and Maximus had a relationship when they were younger). Commodus had grown up with the expectation of succeeding his father as Caesar. When Marcus breaks the news that Maximus would succeed him and not Commodus, it was more than Commodus could take. Enraged, he murders his own father, before he could make the public announcement of succession. This makes Commodus the rightful heir as far as the public knows. Commodus offers his hand to Maximus, essentially saying that Maximus can continue being a loyal servant to him. Maximus refuses, knowing that Commodus killed Marcus. Commodus takes this opportunity to order his Praetorians to secretly kidnap Maximus and have him executed. Commodus also orders the death of Maximus' family as a token of vengeance due to Commodus' own family choosing Maximus over him.

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