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Challenge of the Gladiator (1965)

Il gladiatore che sfidò l'impero (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 4 April 1965 (Italy)
Treacherous Roman senator Lucius Quintilius plans a secret journey into Thrace to recover a legendary treasure. He is accompanied by his daughter Livia posing as a Christian slave girl, his... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
... Spartacus (as Rock Stevens)
... Senator Lucio Quintilio
Livio Lorenzon ... Commodio
Gloria Milland ... Livia
Piero Lulli ... Consul Metello
... Terenzo
Dario Michaelis
Franco Ressel
Bruno Scipioni
Giulio Tomei
Giovanni Petrucci
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Storyline

Treacherous Roman senator Lucius Quintilius plans a secret journey into Thrace to recover a legendary treasure. He is accompanied by his daughter Livia posing as a Christian slave girl, his cruel henchman Commodio, and Terenzius, an ex-gladiator and Nero look-alike who fools the local Thracians into believing he is the real Emperor. But Lucius's plans are thwarted by Spartacus and his band of rebels who succeed in capturing the treasure for Thrace. When news arrives from Rome that the real Nero has died, local Roman governor Consul Metellus joins forces with Spartacus to defeat the traitors. Written by Jim Marshall

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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4 April 1965 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Challenge of the Gladiator  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Peter Lupus shaved his chest for this movie, giving his torso the smooth, oily, suntanned look popularized by Steve Reeves in his "Hercules" roles. (Lupus's naturally-hairy chest can be seen on display in his centerfold photos in the August 1974 issue of 'Playgirl' magazine.) See more »

Quotes

Livia: You're not a Christian?
Spartacus: That's the sort of thing that I don't have time to be bothered with.
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User Reviews

 
Above average Sword & Sandal with one problem
27 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

CHALLENGE OF THE GLADIATOR is an above average Peplum with many things going for it: excellent cast, excellent music score, solid if workman-like direction, excellent production values. The film could have been great but it's not because of one main problem: the story/script.

I don't think I've seen such a daft script in any Peplum. It's almost impossible to explain. There's Spartacus (played by humongous Peter Lupus). There are Romans trying to invade Thrace. Those Romans are lead by Metello, who's controlled by a corrupt Senator who hires a gladiator who looks like Nero. The Senator has plans to usurp the real Nero with the look-alike but also wants to get hold of a treasure that's somewhere in Thrace, which Spartacus has secretly hidden in a cave somewhere. To make matters more unbelievable, Spartacus falls in love with the daughter of the evil Senator. Anyway, that's the most I could figure out from it. There's also some plot point about an emerging Christian religion. Anyway, there are so many improbabilities in the story that I just couldn't take it seriously for one second.

There are several highlights in this film, certainly when Peter Lupus is chained to a torture device. What's a Peplum without an over-the-top torture scene? All in all, this film is fairly good, even if it's a bit difficult to see beefy Lupus as Spartacus. If you overlook the wonky script, this is one of the better Peplums for sure.


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