Edit
Gladiator (2000) Poster

(2000)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (1) | Spoilers (11)
As Oliver Reed died with three weeks of principal photography remaining and as he was considered a key character, a clause in the insurance coverage on the movie would have allowed the film-makers to shoot all of Reed's scenes with another actor, with the insurers footing the cost (estimated at $25million). However, most of the actors and crew were exhausted from the punishing schedule and Ridley Scott did not want to lose Reed from the movie, so the script was rewritten and CGI used to give Reed's character a plausible resolution.
Joaquin Phoenix ad-libbed his scream of "Am I not merciful?", and Connie Nielsen's reaction of frightfully pulling away from him was genuine, since she wasn't expecting it.
5 tigers were brought in for the sequence in the arena where Maximus fights Tigris the Gaul. A veterinarian armed with tranquilizer darts was in attendance for the entire length of shooting. For safety's sake, Russell Crowe was kept at least 15 feet away from the tigers.
Over the course of the gladiatorial scenes, Russell Crowe broke bones in his foot and his hip, and injured both bicep tendons.
Oliver Reed suffered a fatal heart attack during principal photography. Some of his sequences had to be re-edited and a double, photographed in the shadows and with a 3D CGI mask of Reed's face, was used as a stand-in. The film is dedicated to his memory.
The wounds on Russell Crowe's face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.
Maximus' (Russell Crowe) description of his home (specifically how the kitchen is arranged and smells in the morning and at night) was ad-libbed - it's a description of Crowe's own home in Australia.
This is Russell Crowe's favorite of the American films that he has done. He also cites Maximus as his favorite character that he's played so far.
During filming Russell Crowe became friends with Richard Harris. However, it was the opposite with Oliver Reed who took an instant dislike to Crowe and at one point challenged him to a fight.
Mel Gibson was offered the lead role, but turned it down because at 43 he felt he was too old to play Maximus.
From the outset, Ridley Scott made it quite clear that this "sword and sandals" movie would not feature any of the genre's clichés of people lounging around eating grapes and drinking from goblets. He intended to create a more realistic vision of ancient Rome.
In reality, Aurelius died of the plague and Commodus ascended to the throne. He was a much loved emperor by the army and the lower classes.
Connie Nielsen found the 2000-year-old signet ring which she wears in the movie, in an antique store.
Oliver Reed's main motivation for taking the part of Proximo was because he fancied a "free trip to London to see a couple of shows".
The opening battle scene was filmed in Bourne Woods, in the English county of Surrey. The Royal Forestry Commission had originally slated the area for deforestation so Ridley Scott eagerly offered them his facilities to burn the woods to the ground. The Commission happily accepted.
Although Commodus was initially favored by the people of Rome, he lost that status through dramatic actions of megalomania, and is often considered to be the initiator of the fall of Rome. During his reign he had much of the language changed to incorporate his own name into many of the common terms used, such as the terms for money and the people. Eventually both the citizens and the senate had enough and he was poisoned. When he vomited out the poison he was then choked to death in order to finish the job. The senate then returned the language back to what it was before Commodus, and also took down the many statues that he had put up of himself.
Russell Crowe was continually unhappy with the screenplay, rewriting much of it to suit his own ends. He would frequently walk off the set if he didn't get his way. The famous line "In this life or the next, I will have my vengeance" he initially refused to say, telling writer William Nicholson "Your lines are garbage but I'm the greatest actor in the world and I can make even garbage sound good".
The blur effect that appears halfway through the war scene between Maximus' army and the Germanic tribes was not originally intended. The scene was shot in the early evening, but continued too long and the light was drastically diminished. In order to keep the continuity of the scene's lighting and avoid shooting another day on the location, the DP chose instead to shoot the scenes with a very low frame rate. To compensate for the loss of frames, the frames that were shot were duplicated several times in post, and edited into the film in a way that made the switch look natural.
Russell Crowe began shooting for Gladiator a few months after The Insider (1999) wrapped. He had gained upwards of 40 pounds for his Oscar-nominated role in The Insider and yet lost it all before Gladiator began. He claims he did nothing special other than normal work on his farm in Australia.
That's not Russell Crowe's hand you see in the iconic shot of Maximus's hand brushing the stalks of wheat, but that of Crowe's double, Stuart Clark (credited as Stuart Clarke).
Maximus's companion is his pet wolf, played in the film by a German Shepherd. The production was unable to use real wolves because England's strict anti-rabies laws prevented them from importing any of the animals.
Commodus was known as a "Gladiator Emperor", routinely making appearances in the arena to take down wild animals, among other challenges. He charged Rome an exorbitant amount of money for each of his appearances, which eventually devalued Roman coins; the start of his influence on the fall of Rome. In his egotistic bravado he would often take cripples into the arena, or people with missing limbs, and tie them together and club them to death. Initially revered for his hunting and combat prowess, his sickening arrogance turned the populace against him.
Costume designer Janty Yates and her team created more than 10,000 costumes for the cast and extras.
Like modern day athletes, ancient Roman gladiators did product endorsements. The producers considered including this in the script but discarded the idea as unbelievable.
When Commodus goes with Lucius to meet Maximus at the Colosseum, he tells Maximus that Lucius insists Maximus is Hector reborn. Then Commodus asks Lucius, "Or was it Hercules?" The real emperor Commodus believed *he* was Hercules reborn.
On visiting the real Colosseum, Ridley Scott remarked to production designer Arthur Max that it was "too small," so they designed an outsized "Rome of the imagination" which was inspired by English and French romantic painters, as well as Nazi architect Albert Speer.
The film had surpassed its $103,000,000 budget within 2 weeks of release.
David Hemmings' pointed eyebrows were his own.
The real life Marcus Aurelius died from the Plague, while in the film he dies from being smothered (during an embrace) by Commodus. Later on in the film, Gracchus asks Commodus the ironic question if he had ever "embraced someone dying of plague."
Due to Academy regulations at the time, co-composer Lisa Gerrard was denied an Oscar nomination while Hans Zimmer received one, which created a huge controversy over the Academy's snubbing of Gerrard's from the nomination. The two, however, did win the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score - Motion Picture as co-composers.
Temperatures in the gladiator arena would frequently top 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many of the animals featured were loaned to the production from the zoo in Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, as a way of getting round the country's strict animal importation rules.
Richard Harris would frequently ignore any newly rewritten scenes as he couldn't be bothered to relearn his lines.
The script had called for a battle scene between Maximus and a rhinoceros. Since it was too difficult to train and CGI could not make it realistic enough, the rhinoceros was omitted.
Some shots of Oliver Reed had to be faked with CGI after his death, at an estimated cost of $3 million.
In an example of "translation convention" all characters in the movie speak modern languages: English for the most part but also Italian (Maximus' son), German (the Barbarian chief before the battle) and even Zulu (the ancient Germanic war chant). Russell Crowe even wanted to go a step further and speak his lines imitating Antonio Banderas' accent in order to show Maximus' non-Italic origins, but Ridley Scott disapproved the idea.
Editor Pietro Scalia added the shot of Maximus moving through a wheat field to the beginning of the film; it had been filmed for the ending.
Lou Ferrigno was originally cast as Tigris of Gaul, but was replaced during production by Sven-Ole Thorsen who had been lobbying hard for the part.
The short sword used by the Roman army, the Gladius Hispaniensis, is seen being used by many gladiators in the film. The version used in the arena in the film is accurate as depicted; it was often shorter than the military version. The use of the gladius is actually the source of the word "gladiator".
Though dozens of versions of the script were written, the original 130 page draft, dated October 1997 by David Franzoni, is "... different in almost every detail from the finished movie." (As quoted by 'David S. Cohen' in his book 'Screen Plays'.)
In the Colosseum scenes, only the bottom two decks are actually filled with people. The other thousands of people are computer-animated.
For the crowd scenes in the Colosseum, in addition to the real life extras and the digital ones, 400 cardboard cut-outs of spectators were also used.
A replica of about one third of Rome's Collosseum was built in Malta to a height of 52 feet, mostly from plaster and plywood. The remainder of the building was added in digitally. It took several months to build at a reputed cost of $1 million.
Oliver Reed insisted to director Ridley Scott that his life was his own after 5 o'clock. Scott readily agreed to that.
The real Lucius Verus, who is portrayed as a young kid in the movie, was Marcus Aurelius' adopted brother and died 8 years into his reign. Commodus' selection as Caesar was made when he was 5 years old and coins were made with his likeness on it.
Ridley Scott was persuaded to do the film when DreamWorks head Walter F. Parkes and producer Douglas Wick presented him with a reproduction of the 1872 painting "Pollice Verso" ("Thumbs Down") by Jean-Léon Gérôme, in which a gladiator stands over the opponent he has beaten.
Various historians have tried to find proof that the awning in the Coliseum really was used as a cooling system. Coins and other images of the amphitheater have been found showing a canopy system. In May 1998 a few scientists on PBS's NOVA series constructed two different canopy systems on an ancient amphitheater. One of those designs appears to be the inspiration for the canopy system seen in this film.
The production company offered the Roman sets to the Maltese authorities as the basis of a theme park but the authorities dithered in their reply so most of the set was struck.
Jude Law was considered for the role of Commodus.
During the opening battle we see roman soldiers marching to meet the barbarians in open combat with their pilas (javelins) in hand as if they were spears, in reality they were thrown at the enemy before the two sides would meet; Pilas (pural for pilum) were too fragile to be used as spears because the main tip was design to break and bend after contact to disallow the enemy to throw them back at the legionaries.
Antonio Banderas was also considered for the role of Maximus.
Jack Gleeson modelled his character Joffrey Lannister in Game of Thrones (2011) after Emperor Commodus.
Maximus's tattoo "SPQR" stands for "Senatus Populusque Romanus," which translates to "The Senate and the Roman People". This was one of the main slogans of Rome throughout its history (as well as today, e.g. manhole covers etc.).
Character actor Sven-Ole Thorsen not only played Tigris the Gaul but doubled as one of the spectators during that same battle.
The real life Commodus was born to a mother who was rumored to have either slept with a Gladiator or had bathed in the blood of one. Many took the myth as legend, believing that such led to the resulting "Gladiator Emperor."
The Germania battle sequence took 20 days to complete.
Contrary to rumor, Enya didn't record any music for the soundtrack of this film. The song simply sounds like something she would have recorded. The song, and in fact much of the soundtrack, was composed and sung by Lisa Gerrard.
During filming, director Ridley Scott wore the red cap worn by Gene Hackman in the movie Crimson Tide (1995), which was directed by Ridley's brother, Tony Scott.
Writer David Franzoni started developing the story in the 1970s when he read "Those Who Are About To Die", a history of the Roman games by Daniel P. Mannix; Franzoni later discussed the idea with Steven Spielberg during their work on Amistad (1997), saying that he envisioned Commodus as being something like Ted Turner in the way he combined politics and entertainment to establish a base of influence.
Writer William Nicholson added the aspects of the film in which Maximus discusses the afterlife, seeking to make the character more accessible to audiences.
Maximus' Spanish heritage meshes interestingly with his choice of arms - as a General riding with the cavalry of the Felix Legion, (in the opening battle) he wields a sword known as a "Spatha", popular among the continental tribes especially in Spain and southern Gaul. As a Gladiator, he uses a sword similar to the spatha in appearance but shorter and broader. This weapon is known as the "Gladius Hispaniensis", and was adopted by the Roman infantry after Scipio's invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in the II century B.C., after the end of the 2nd Punic War. Roman infantry wore the gladius on the right side - this, facilitated by the short blade length, allowed the legionary to draw his weapon on the same side as his sword arm; cross-drawing would be hindered by the scutum (the large rectangular shield) while in formation.
After finishing his college education, David Franzoni spent a year traveling around the world. During his adventures he would run into networks of international travelers who would get together and trade books that they had read on the road. This is how he came across the book "Those Who Are About to Die" by Daniel P. Mannix.
Writer David Franzoni modeled Proximo very consciously on a Hollywood film agent.
With 2 weeks to go before filming, the actors were still complaining of problems with the script. William Nicholson was brought to Shepperton Studios to make Maximus a more sensitive character, reworking his friendship with Juba and developing the afterlife thread. Nicholson went back to David Franzoni's original script and reinstated a lot of the scenes that John Logan had taken out.
Jennifer Lopez auditioned for the role of Lucilla.
Maximus refers to the two horses on his breastplate when talking to Lucius as being called "Scarto" and "Argento" - translated from Italian they are "Waste/scrap" and "Silver". Another meaning of "Scarto" in Italian is "a sudden move of a horse due to fear", in English "to shy"
24 chariots were built for the film although 6 only appear on screen.
Hugh Jackman was considered for the role of Maximus.
On the Special Edition DVD, the making-of documentary, Strength and Honor: Creating the World of 'Gladiator' (2005), at nearly 3 and a half hours, is an hour longer than the film itself.
This was DreamWorks' first double-disc DVD.
David Franzoni was given a three-picture deal with DreamWorks as writer and co-producer on the strength of his work on Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997). One of his initial pitches was for "Gladiator".
While looking at the dailies, Ridley Scott noticed that Joaquin Phoenix was gaining weight. Scott spoke to the line producer about it, who then went to Phoenix and told him, "Ridley says you're fat." The next day, Phoenix, in full armour, came to Scott and said, "I hear I look like a little fat hamster. I thought it was the right thing to do. I'm the emperor of Rome, why would I not look a little more debauched?" Phoenix then didn't eat for weeks.
A small section of the background noise (about 5 seconds) just before the battle in Germania was taken from the movie Zulu (1964). Heard was part of the Zulu warrior's taunting chant also used just before battle.
In the Spanish dubbed version Maximus says he is from Emerita Augusta (now called Mérida). The Spanish dubbers claimed that "Trujillo doesn't combine the 'qualities' to be cradle of the gladiator."
Ridley Scott resisted any suggestion that Maximus and Lucilla should have a sexual relationship as it would decrease his need to be with his murdered wife and son.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Tigers are impossible to train but remarkably the production found that several days into filming with them, the tigers got used to being in the midst of a film crew and weren't unduly bothered by all the activity going on around them. In fact, one of the bigger challenges was goading them into action when it came time for them to perform.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
British post-production house "The Mill" was responsible for most of the CGI effects in the film. Among their responsibilities were to composite real tigers filmed on blue screen into the fight sequences, and adding smoke trails and extending the flight paths of the opening battle's flaming arrows. They also used 2000 live actors to create a CGI crowd of about 35,000 people. One of their major hurdles was to create a digital body double for the recently deceased Oliver Reed.
Richard Harris, who plays Marcus Aurelius, was originally set to play Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) (but left the film due to artistic differences with director Anthony Mann and was replaced by Christopher Plummer).
Luciano Pavarotti was asked to perform on the soundtrack and turned down the opportunity, something he later regretted.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Joaquin Phoenix was always Ridley Scott's first choice to play Commodus.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
A surprising fount of information in terms of Roman history was Connie Nielsen who has always been fascinated by the period. She would be frequently consulted over accurate historical details.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film influenced the Geonosis arena battle in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002).
7 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film is credited with sparking a revival in big historical epics. In the preceding years since its release, we have been given films like Troy (2004), King Arthur (2004)_, Alexander (2004), 300 (2006), Noah (2014), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Robin Hood (2010) and Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), the last three all having been directed by Ridley Scott.
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Only the second DVD to sport a 6.1 DTS sound mix.
8 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Historically speaking, Gladiators were owned and trained by Lanistae and kept at a Ludus. Neither elements were incorporated into the film, and the character Proximo was never mentioned to be a Lanista by trade.
7 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film started shooting without a locked screenplay in place.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Over 27,000 pieces of armor were made specially for the film.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Hans Zimmer originally wanted Israeli vocalist Ofra Haza to provide the background vocals to his score, having worked successfully with her on The Prince of Egypt (1998). However, Haza died unexpectedly in 2000 of AIDS-related pneumonia so Lisa Gerrard was drafted in instead.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Hans Zimmer's score is one of the bestselling movie soundtracks of all time.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The first film to win the Best Film Academy Award and not Best Director or Screenplay since Robert Rossen's All the King's Men (1949).
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Russell Crowe's depiction of Maximus has been commemorated in Australia on an official stamp.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Oliver Reed was asked to read for the part of Proximo, something he always refused to do. However, as he sensed that this was a great opportunity, Reed relented his usual rule and read for Ridley Scott.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The production used up all the plaster on the island of Malta where they were filming so more supplies had to be shipped in.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The young actor who plays Maximus' son, Giorgio Cantarini, also played Guido's son Joshua in Life Is Beautiful (1997).
6 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
One of the very first DVDs to be released in the UK to come with DTS sound.
8 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film was disliked by film critic Roger Ebert.
The prop snow in the opening battle scene and aftermath was created by using little pieces of rolled up paper.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Shot over a period of 18 weeks.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Over 20,000 arrows were created for the opening battle in Germania.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Writer William Nicholson had thought that his time on the film was over when he returned home to England only to receive a phone call almost immediately, telling him that Oliver Reed had just died and that he needed to return to Malta to rework the script. Nicholson jumped on the first plane out.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Historically speaking, the real Commodus himself did fight in the arena, but unbeknownst to him, soldiers while preparing the gladiator to fight the emperor they would stab him in the back to weaken him in the same way the Commodus does to Maximus in this film.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Russell Crowe explained why he said yes to the film: "They said, 'It's a 100-million-dollar film. You're being directed by Ridley Scott. You play a Roman General.' I've always been a big fan of Ridley's."
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Ricardo Cruz, horse stunt specialist, took the white horse Montero that Russell Crowe rode to The Texas Hollywood Studios, Tabernas, Almeria, Spain to be used as Captain Grisham's horse in the TV series Queen of Swords (2000) for which he was the series horse stunt coordinator.
4 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The Holst Foundation actually sued Hans Zimmer for similarities in his score to Gustav Holst's "Mars: The Bringer of War". The suit was dismissed.
1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The Mill used 2,000 live actors to create a computer-generated crowd of 35,000 virtual actors that had to look believable and react to fight scenes. They accomplished this by shooting live actors at different angles giving various performances, and then mapping them onto cards, with motion-capture tools used to track their movements for three-dimensional compositing.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The opening battle scenes in the forests of Germania were shot in three weeks in the Bourne Woods, near Farnham, Surrey in England. When Ridley Scott learned that the Forestry Commission planned to remove the forest, he convinced them to allow the battle scene to be shot there and burn it down.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Ridley Scott and cinematographer John Mathieson used multiple cameras filming at various frame rates and a 45-degree shutter, creating stop motion effects in the action sequences, similar to techniques used for the battle sequences of Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
To construct the arena where Maximus has his first fights, the crew used basic materials and local building techniques to manufacture the 30,000-seat mud brick arena.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In preparation for filming, Ridley Scott spent several months developing storyboards to develop the framework of the plot.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Over six weeks, production members scouted various locations within the extent of the Roman Empire before its collapse, including Italy, France, North Africa, and England.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
All of the film's props, sets, and costumes were manufactured by crew members due to high costs and unavailability of the items.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
One hundred suits of steel armour and 550 suits in polyurethane were made by Rod Vass and his company Armordillo. The unique sprayed-polyurethane system was developed by Armordillo and pioneered for this production.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Over a three-month period, 27,500 component pieces of armour were made.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Originally, Maximus was supposed to fight Proximo in the Colliseum after being captured, probably as a penultimate blow from Commodus. Oliver Reed's death forced a rewrite.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The scene where Maximus finds his family's corpses originally called for him to do a normal discreet-few-tears-down-each-cheek dignified cry... but Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott agreed that what Maximus was seeing demanded (as Crowe put it) a "full blown snot-fest".
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
This is the only film to feature both Oliver Reed and Richard Harris, though they don't have any scenes together.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In Malta, a replica of about one-third of Rome's Colosseum was built, to a height of 52 feet (15.8 meters), mostly from plaster and plywood (the other two-thirds and remaining height were added digitally). The replica took several months to build and cost an estimated $1 million. The reverse side of the complex supplied a rich assortment of Ancient Roman street furniture, colonnades, gates, statuary, and marketplaces for other filming requirements. The complex was serviced by tented "costume villages" that had changing rooms, storage, armourers, and other facilities. The rest of the Colosseum was created in computer-generated imagery using set-design blueprints and textures referenced from live action, and rendered in three layers to provide lighting flexibility for compositing in Flame and Inferno software.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The character of Maximus is fictional, although in some respects he resembles the historical figures Narcissus (Commodus's real-life murderer and the character's name in the first draft of the screenplay) Spartacus (who led a significant slave revolt), Cincinnatus (a farmer who became dictator, saved Rome from invasion, then resigned his six-month appointment after 15 days), and Marcus Nonius Macrinus (a trusted general, Consul in 154 AD, and friend of Marcus Aurelius).
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
A study by the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Bern examined gladiator bones and found out that gladiators were mostly vegetarian. Yet in the film they are shown eating meat.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The scars on Maximus' face in the opening scene are real. Russell Crowe was hit in the face by a tree branch while riding his horse.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the original script, Lucilla and other senators were to be executed by being burned alive inside a giant bull.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The death and vision of General Maximus influenced similar scenes in The Assassin Next Door (2009) and Hirokin: The Last Samurai (2012). In the former, a dying Galia (Olga Kurylenko) dies from her gunshot wound and has a vision, which she is standing a field and sees her daughter on the other side waving back at her and in the latter, Hirokin (Wes Bentley) dies, when he fights and defeats The Griffin (Julian Sands) and has a vision, which he is walking through a field.
1 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Both Joaquin Phoenix and Spencer Treat Clark appeared in different M. Night Shyamalan films: Clark in Unbreakable (2000) and Phoenix in Signs (2002).
0 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Richard Harris was considered for the part of Proximo.
0 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Cameo 

Brian Blessed:  a Coliseum spectator during the games.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The real-life Commodus was in fact the only Roman Emperor in history to fight as a gladiator in the arena. However, he did it several times, not just once. Also, he was not killed in the arena but was strangled in his dressing room by an athlete named Narcissus.
Historically speaking, the real Commodus himself did fight in the arena. Unbeknownst to him, the soldiers preparing the gladiator to fight, would stab the opponent in the back to weaken him in the same way that Commodus himself does to Maximus in this film.
Joaquin Phoenix got so involved in the scene where Commodus murders his father that he actually fainted afterward.
In the original drafts of the script, the name of the main character was not Maximus, but Narcissus, the name of the man who killed Commodus in real life.
Among the changes necessitated by the death of Oliver Reed was the final scene, as it was supposed to have been Proximo who buried the figures in the sand of the Coliseum.
Ridley Scott initially thought that writer David Franzoni's dialog was too "on the nose", so he hired John Logan to rewrite the script. Logan rewrote much of the first act and made the decision to kill off Maximus' family as motivation for the lead character.
In the original script Proximo (Oliver Reed) survived. After Reed died of a heart attack during filming the fate of Proximo was changed.
Writer David Franzoni chose not to use the end of the film to note that Rome did not, in fact, become a republic again, because he thought most audiences would already know that.
Although much of the movie is fictitious, it's interesting to note that Emperor Commodus' historically accurate killer, Narcissus, was born in the same Roman African province as the one in the movie where Maximus becomes a gladiator.
Maximus's death and the speech Lucilla gives to the Roman spectators and the Roman Centurions and the Gladiators was mirrored in Doctor Who: The Doctor's Daughter (2008), where the Tenth Doctor gives a speech to the humans and the Hath, when Jenny dies.
9 of 12 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Derek Jacobi's character Grachus was originally set to die.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page