Joaquin Phoenix: Commodus
Commodus : Rise. Rise.
[Maximus stands up, clenching an arrow head in his right hand]
Commodus : Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don't think there's ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man, he insists you are Hector reborn. Or was it Hercules? Why doesn't the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name? You do have a name.
Maximus : My name is Gladiator.
[turns away from Commodus]
Commodus : How dare you show your back to me! Slave, you will remove your helmet and tell me your name.
Maximus : [removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
[Commodus trembles in disbelief]
Quintus : Arms!
[Praetorians point their spears at the gladiators while the Colosseum crowd chants for them to live. Commodus shakes his head and motions the crowd for silence. He then raises his fist and reluctantly gives the thumbs-up signal]
Commodus : The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena?
Maximus : You would fight me?
Commodus : Why not? Do you think I am afraid?
Maximus : I think you've been afraid all your life.
Maximus : I knew a man once who said, "Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."
Commodus : I wonder, did your friend smile at his own death?
Maximus : You must know. He was your father.
Commodus : You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn't it? Smile for me now, brother.
Marcus Aurelius : Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?
Commodus : Yes, father.
Marcus Aurelius : You will not be emperor.
Commodus : Which wiser, older man is to take my place?
Marcus Aurelius : My powers will pass to Maximus, to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a republic again.
Commodus : Maximus?
Marcus Aurelius : Yes.
[Marcus Aurelius tries to comfort Commodus by reaching out his hand to touch him on the face but Commodus pulls his head away from Marcus Aurelius' hand in disgust]
Marcus Aurelius : My decision disappoints you?
Commodus : You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but... there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn't want me for your son.
Marcus Aurelius : Oh, Commodus. You go too far.
Commodus : I search the faces of the gods... for ways to please you, to make you proud. One kind word, one full hug... where you pressed me to your chest and held me tight. Would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years. What is it in me that you hate so much?
Marcus Aurelius : Shh, Commodus.
Commodus : All I've ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar. Father.
Marcus Aurelius : [Marcus Aurelius gets down on his knees] Commodus. Your faults as a son is my failure as a father.
[Marcus opens up his arms to Commodus and gives him a hug]
Commodus : [Commodus hugs Marcus and cries] Father. I would have butcher the whole world... if you would only love me!
[Commodus begins to asphyxiate Marcus while they hug, Marcus grunts]
Commodus : If you're very good, tomorrow night I'll tell you the story of emperor Claudius who was betrayed by those closest to him, by his own blood. They whispered in dark corners and went out late at night and conspired and conspired but the emperor Claudius knew they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you've been doing busy little bee or I shall strike down those dearest to you. You shall watch as I bathe in their blood." And the emperor was heartbroken. The little bee had wounded him more deeply than anyone else could ever have done. And what do you think happened then, Lucius?
Lucius Verus : I don't know, uncle.
Commodus : The little bee told him everything.
Commodus : [to Falco] 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.
Commodus : 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]
Commodus : AM I NOT MERCIFUL?
Commodus : What am I going to do with you? You simply won't... die. Are we so different, you and I? You take life when you have to... as I do.
Maximus : I have only one more life to take. Then it is done.
Commodus : Then take it now.
[Maximus pauses, then turns around and walks away]
Commodus : They tell me your son...
Commodus : ...squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. And your wife... moaned like a whore when they ravaged her again and again... and again.
Maximus : The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.
Maximus : Highness.
[Watching Lucius sleep]
Commodus : He sleeps so well because he is loved.
Commodus : I think I understand my own people.
Gracchus : Then perhaps Caesar will be so good as to teach us, out of his own extensive experience?
Commodus : I call it love, Gracchus. The people are my children, I am their father. I shall hold them to my bosom and embrace them tightly...
Gracchus : Have you ever embraced someone dying of plague, sire?
Commodus : No, but if you interrupt me again, I assure you that you will.
[during the fight with Maximus, Commodus loses his sword]
Commodus : Quintus, sword!
[Quintus does nothing]
Commodus : Give me your sword!
[Quintus does nothing]
Commodus : [to his guards] Sword, give me a sword!
[the guards unsheathe their swords]
Quintus : Sheathe your swords! Sheathe your swords!
[the guards sheathe their swords]
Commodus : Your Emperor asks for your loyalty, Maximus. Take my hand, I only offer it once.
Commodus : And now they love Maximus for his mercy. So I can't just kill him, or it makes me even more unmerciful! The whole thing's like some crazed nightmare.
Falco : He is defying you. His every victory is an act of defiance. The mob sees this, and so does the senate. Every day he lives, they grow bolder. Kill him.
Commodus : No. I will not make a martyr of him.
[Commodus walks around]
Falco : I have been told of a certain sea snake which has a very unusual method of attracting its prey. It will lie at the bottom of the ocean as if wounded. Then its enemies will approach, and yet it will lie quite still. And then its enemies will take little bites of it, and yet it remains still.
Commodus : So, we will lie still, and let our enemies come to us and nibble. Have every senator followed.
Commodus : It vexes me. I'm terribly vexed.
Commodus : It's a dream, a frightful dream... life is...