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
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 »
Kirk Douglas, as co-producer of the movie (through his company, Bryna Productions), insisted on hiring Hollywood Ten blacklisted openly Communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to adapt the movie. Douglas also hired blacklisted character actor Peter Brocco to play a supporting role. See more »
As the gladiators revolt, a Roman soldier is killed, falls off a balcony and then crawls into a partially opened door below the balcony. 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 magnificent movie deserving of every accolade heaped upon it. Watch out, especially, for the credit sequence at the beginning. It is truly worthy of this epic.
Unless you are watching it at home (and can rewind), it might just pass you by before you are settled in. And that would be a pity. So get comfortable quickly before the movie starts. Be prepared for a real treat.
Whoever put the credit sequence together ought to be commended. Coincidentally, Alex North also composed the music of the other epic with a great credit sequence, Cleopatra.
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