Verus, a slave captured in the Balkans, sees a gladiatorial career in the arena as a preferable alternative to life in a rock quarry.



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Credited cast:
Jamel Aroui ...
Hichem Rostom ...
Dorra Zarrouk ...
Imperial Lady
Narrator (UK version) (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeffrey Gibson ...
The Poet Martial (voice)
Verus (voice)
Himself - Narrator (voice)


A semi-documentary about the life of Verus, a captive from the Rome's Balkan province of Moesia, who is pressed into the harsh life of a slave in Italian rock quarry. He sees no long term future there, so when the owner of a gladiatorial school comes there to recruit prospective fighters for his school, he purposely picks a fight with another slave to attract attention. Both he and Priscus, the Celtic slave, join the school, become friends, and build careers as renowned gladiators, adored by the crowds in the arena and desired by women of the aristocratic class. The Emporer Titus completes his father Vespasian's pet project, the Colosseum, and wants the inaugural games worthy of his memory, so he specifically selects Verus to fight in them. Written by

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Release Date:

14 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colosseum - Arena des Todes  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


£2,169,571 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)


Aspect Ratio:

16: 9 Enhanced
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Did You Know?


The Emperor Titus died six months after the opening of the Colosseum from a mysterious illness in the same farmhouse where his father Emperor Vespasian died. Titus was the first Emperor to succeed his father. He was succeeded by his brother Domitian. See more »


Verus: [Referring to life in the rock quarry] We had a saying. There are no old bones in the pit.
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User Reviews

Docu/drama of the gladiator Verus' fight in the Colosseum
17 March 2006 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

The way documentary and drama are mixed is excellent. The data on which the documentary parts are based are up to date and well-researched, and the dramatic parts are credible and give a good impression of life in Rome in the Flavian era. The voice-overs switch between first-person (Verus) and narrator; towards the finale, the narrator follows the texts of the Roman poet Martial. A very good counterweight against implausible fiction like Gladiator and The Arena. (By the way, the actor playing Verus' friend and colleague Priscus played a gladiator in Gladiator as well.) I was charmed especially by the Latin dialogue between the characters themselves. Well done!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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