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
Tony Curtis split his Achilles' tendon while playing tennis with Kirk Douglas, and was placed in a cast from heel to knee. His scenes were then delayed until his leg healed. See more »
During the final battle sequences the slaves drag down burning hay rollers. One of the slaves in Sparacus's army overshoots the end of the run and a Roman soldier generously drops his sword in order to catch him. 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 »
European prints of the film contained a scene in which a nude Jean Simmons bathes in a pond. Stills and lobby cards exist, but the scene has not appeared in any re-issue. See more »
Spartacus is a Roman epic with Laurence Olivier in one of the greatest performances I think I've ever seen. It's also an ambitious early vehicle for Stanley Kubrick. And, it's an important point in cinematic history because it was the first film to openly defy the black list by using the work of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and billing him. The most entertaining thing about it, aside from Olivier's fierce, intense, and successfully infuriating performance, is the dated look of the lavish and obviously fake sets, the bright and blown out Technicolor cinematography, the opening slave revolt and the costumes and weapons and firetruck red blood. It's a movie of the times. It also marks my confirmation that Laurence Olivier is a brilliant actor. He draws such an intimidating facade for his prideful and puerile militarist, hiding his weak fear for humiliation in his battle for power against the truly confident Gracchus. I have seen Olivier in Sleuth, in which he gave a wonderful performance, but he didn't shoot to the top of my list as he does here.
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