Maximus is a powerful Roman general, loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before his death, the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir over his own son, Commodus, and a power struggle leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death. The powerful general is unable to save his family, and his loss of will allows him to get captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. The only desire that fuels him now is the chance to rise to the top so that he will be able to look into the eyes of the man who will feel his revenge.Written by
Chris "Morphy" Terry
Although much of the movie is fictitious, it's interesting to note that Emperor Commodus' historically accurate killer, Narcissus, was born in the same Roman African province as the one in the movie where Maximus becomes a gladiator. See more »
At the end of the Roma-Carthage reenactment, Maximus picks up a spear and holds it up while mounted on the white horse. Commodus then asks who he is and what he is called. While Maximus explains, he throws the spear into the ground. After Commodus says "I'd like to meet him," Maximus throws the spear down again. See more »
Lucius will stay with me now. And if his mother so much as looks at me in a manner that displeases me, he will die. If she decides to be noble and takes her own life, he will die.
And as for you, you will love me as I loved you. You will provide me with an heir of pure blood, so that Commodus and his progeny will rule for a thousand years. Am I not merciful?
[Lucilla turns her head]
AM I NOT MERCIFUL?
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Both the Dreamworks & Universal logos are altered to appear gold in color so they match the opening theme of Maximus walking through a wheatfield. See more »
There are a whole slew of unused shots and sequences compiled into a short film. Some of those sequences are:
A few new shots of Commodus riding to meet his father along with his entourage.
New footage of Maximus riding to flank the Germanians.
A whole Alternate Sequence of the Death of Maximus's Wife and Son. In this version we see him ride through many different scenes and he overlooks the farm seeing his son getting trampled by horses and his wife screaming. He screams and he reaches forward with his open hand. He pulls it back and there is blood. He cries out loud in pain over the death of his family.
New footage of the Arabs and the Gladiator Training Grounds.
Commodus not-so-warm reception in Rome. We see people graffiting his name on walls.
New footage of the first Gladiator Chain-Gang battle. We see an Alternate Take of Hagen impaling the man on a spike protruding from a wall. We also see that after the battle is over, a huge man wearing a mask walks out and kills the wounded.
Hagan in a bath accompained by exotic women.
Germanian Ground Battle footage of Maximus fighting of many Germanians!
Germania, 150 AD, the setting of Gladiator's opening scene. Far from the blazing sun and dazzlingly beauty of ancient Rome, Ridley Scott shoots the opening sequence in a subdued light. The Roman legions are nonetheless impeccably turned out as they face the comparatively disorganised rabble that inhabits this miserable environment. Caesar's soldiers seem somewhat misplaced here. However, Russell Crowe is at home in this environment of knee-deep mud and merciless snow. He commands the screen with all the virtues of his motto: Strength and Honour.'
The plot, with its hero-to-zero-to-hero nature, runs through Gladiator's every vein. As General Maximus, Russell Crowe is welcomed by Marcus Aurelius Caesar (Richard Harris) to take the Roman throne as Emperor of a new Republic. All does not run smoothly however as mislead heir to the throne Commodus (Phoenix) takes over Rome with ill-gotten domination, having dispatched his own Father. Maximus is cast out to find his family murdered and his Spanish farm burnt to the ground. Taken in as a slave by Proximo (Reed), Maximus becomes a Gladiator and starts his journey to the Coliseum and revenge against Commodus.
Scott's cast is powerful and he is not left wanting as powerful performances are delivered by all. Due to his untimely mid-production death, Oliver Reed is created in some scenes by the grace of computer graphics, which are as convincing as they come; sometimes making it difficult to differentiate between Reed himself and his computerised counterpart.
It is, however, the supporting actors who create many of Gladiator's best dialogue-based scenes. In an accomplished demonstration of her acting ability as Lucilla, Connie Nielsen saves the occasional scene as Joaquim Phoenix shows us that he can do evil', but is less convincing when it comes to the more emotional qualities of his role.
As a vehicle for the plot, Scott's beautifully created and highly symbolic (there is an image of fire in nearly every shot of the film) dialogue scenes are of a certain merit with digitally created backgrounds that encompass the meticulous nature of the Roman Empire. However, dialogue alone does not an epic movie make, and it is in the film's spectacular action sequences that Gladiator come into its own. Shot on location in Malta, Scott's first arena was built by an army of locals and commanded some 5000 extras (a large majority of whom were of a cardboard variety). All of this pales in comparison as we arrive in a digitally created Rome which makes some scenes in Ben Hur some somewhat small scale. The Coliseum is immense, both inside and out, and the computerised provides the electric atmosphere in which Crowe and his feline companions (four sizeable, and real, Bengal tigers) perform.
The battle sequences are perfectly choreographed and shot as iconic masks and typically Roman chariots are abundant in their power and imagery. As swords clash and heads roll, Ridley Scott is triumphant in the application of special effects technology and his directorial prowess.
Always one to embrace technology, Scott's views over Rome's landscape are reminiscent of the beautifully created cityscape of Blade Runner. This is a film that fears so little and boasts so much, even a lady archer being sliced clean in half by a spiked chariot wheel!
All those involved with Gladiator should be delighted and confident with their creation, for indeed this is a convincing and enthralling display with epic proportions to take the wind from James Cameron's titanic sails.
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