In 73 B.C., a Thracian slave leads a revolt at a gladiatorial school run by Lentulus Batiatus (Sir Peter Ustinov). 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 (Charles Laughton) schemes to have Marcus Publius Glabrus (John Dall), 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 (Sir Laurence Olivier) 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
Stanley Kubrick was not given control of the script, which he felt was full of stupid moralizing. After he finished this movie, he always kept full control over all aspects of his movies. See more »
During the gladiator battle, the black slave just barely catches the right heel of Spartacus with his net, tipping him over. In the next shot, the net is tightly bound around both his knees. See more »
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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The six main cast members are accompanied by an item that represents their character (a chain, a Roman eagle, a wine jug, a couple of hands - one wielding a snake, and a sword). See more »
The film premiered at 202 minutes. However, the prints from the premiere were lost in the 1970s when Universal threw out all the film's tracks, outtakes, additional prints etc. (This was parallel to 'John Landis'' claim during his work on creating the director's cut of The Blues Brothers). The Criterion Collection has 4 minutes of lost scenes involving the Gracchus subplot:
1.) After the first senatorial meeting scene, Gracchus and Caesar walk around the market discussing the dirty tactic of fishing votes. (Shown in production-still form)
2.) Gracchus commits suicide by slitting his wrist in the bathtub. This occurred immediately after he closes the curtain near the end of the film. Only the audio track was found in the studio vault.
A very moving and compelling story of epic proportions. The plot is relentless, propelled by a dazzling screenplay. Kubrick draws some of the greatest performances of the cast, and fills the screen with images that fascinate throughout. Well paced for a movie of this magnitude.
To those who complain of anachronisms and poetic license with historical events, I say to them, 'Remember, it is a movie.' To be truly accurate, the cast would be delivering their lines in Latin and ancient Greek, with English subtitles. Whatever Kubrick might lose with historical inaccuracies, he gains far more in his ability to convey the story to the viewer. Even though it is over forty years old, the film tells us more of the present day than it does of the past.
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