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
Contrary to what the book and movie portray, the historical Spartacus was born free in Thrace, a region divided amongst modern-day Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. He may have served in the Thracian Army or the Roman Army in Macedonia. Rome often impressed soldiers of armies it had defeated into its own army. It is thought that he was either captured in battle, or deserted the army, and was later captured, and then sold into slavery. 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 opening titles appear in a montage of silhouetted Roman sculptures and tablets, which evokes the strength and power of the Roman Empire. The montage ends with a zoom into the eye of a crumbling Roman bust, which hints at the Empire's coming decline and fall. 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 »
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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