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Spartacus (1960)

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2:43 | Trailer
The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (screenplay), Howard Fast (based on the novel by)
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Popularity
2,136 ( 13)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Spartacus
Laurence Olivier ... Crassus
Jean Simmons ... Varinia
Charles Laughton ... Gracchus
Peter Ustinov ... Batiatus
John Gavin ... Julius Caesar
Nina Foch ... Helena Glabrus
John Ireland ... Crixus
Herbert Lom ... Tigranes Levantus
John Dall ... Marcus Publius Glabrus
Charles McGraw ... Marcellus
Joanna Barnes ... Claudia Marius
Harold J. Stone ... David
Woody Strode ... Draba
Peter Brocco ... Ramon
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Human Desires so Strong they changed the course of History...of a Rebellion that shook a Civilization in a Pagan era, 71 B.C....the grandeur and might of Rome and the challenge of an immortal gladiator...of a love that changed the world. See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to producer James B. Harris, director Stanley Kubrick would repeatedly see Charles Laughton, Sir Peter Ustinov, and Sir Laurence Olivier seemingly whispering to each other. Afraid they were gossiping about him, Kubrick leaned in to hear what they were saying, and each was just reading the script aloud again and again to themselves. See more »

Goofs

When Spartacus is scored by the trident in the gladiatorial battle the three steaks of 'blood' are already on his chest. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: 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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Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

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.
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Connections

Referenced in Peep Show: Dream Job (2003) See more »

User Reviews

 
The Eternal Cry For Freedom
6 March 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

From what little I've read of this film it was lucky to have been made at all. Some very big talents had some very big egos and those egos clashed repeatedly. Original director Anthony Mann was replaced by Stanley Kubrick by Producer/Star Kirk Douglas among other clashes.

But the result was all worth it. The stars all give top notch performances, but the mark of a really great film is the memorability of each individual in the ensemble. To give a few examples, Charles McGraw as the sadistic trainer at the gladiatorial school, John Dall as Sir Laurence Olivier's protégé, and John Ireland as Kirk Douglas's fellow gladiator trainee are all memorable in the brief roles they have.

Kirk Douglas wisely opts for a straightforward interpretation of a hero in the title role of Spartacus. He's a BC everyman, born into a world which hadn't heard anything about human rights, he knows and feels he's not just cattle. Catch the alternating scenes of Douglas and Sir Laurence Olivier addressing the slave army and the Roman Army. Olivier with his years of Shakespearean training coming across as the tyrant to be, and Douglas in simple prose talking about the slaves fighting for their hopes and dreams. Very effective.

The plot concerns a revolt at a gladiatorial school which mushrooms into a crisis for the Roman Empire. Political factions led by Olivier as Crassus and Charles Laughton as Gracchus seek to use the slave revolt to further their own ends.

Laughton as always is a wonder. It's a bit of unusual casting for him because his parts are usually those of very tortured souls. His Gracchus is a sly rogue, but a decent man. One of my favorite movie lines of all time is delivered by him addressing the Roman Senate where he says he'll "take a little republican corruption for a little republican freedom."

Another sly rogue in the film is Peter Ustinov who won the first of his two Oscars as Batiatus the owner of the gladiatorial school. Like so many others I'm sure in those days, he's just trying to come out on the winning side when doing so could be a life or death situation.

Jean Simmons as Varinia, beloved of Spartacus, has the only woman's part of any substance. But when was Ms. Simmons bad in anything. One of the most underrated and under-appreciated actresses in the history of film.

The lessons about man's desire for freedom and to control his own destiny are eternal and valid. And this film will be also.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1960 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Spartacus: Rebel Against Rome See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,162, 28 April 1991

Gross USA:

$1,830,650

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,844,917
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryna Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1968 re-release) | (1967 re-release) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints) (1991 restoration)| DTS (DTS: X)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.25 : 1
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