Watson names his Magic Dinobot: Anthony
Maximus Antonious Decimus Meridius - after his hero in Gladiator
Gladiator is a 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson.
The budget was $103 million, box office $503.2 million. Hence, there
could have been a sequel, or a prequel, except that the original cast
and director, that made the whole thing work, have moved on.
It was released by DreamWorks Pictures in North America, and Universal Pictures internationally through United International Pictures. It stars
Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Tomas Arana, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed (in his final role),
Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, Richard Harris, and Tommy Flanagan. Crowe portrays
Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus, the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus becomes a gladiator and rises through the ranks of the arena to avenge the murders of his family and his emperor.
Inspired by Daniel P. Mannix's 1958 book Those About to Die (formerly titled The Way of the
Gladiator), the script, initially written by Franzoni, was acquired by DreamWorks and Ridley Scott signed on to direct the film. Principal photography, which began in January 1999 and wrapped up in May of that year, was known to have a set of problems due to the script being unfinished. Several of the cast complained about the writing quality throughout the nineteen-week shoot in Fort Ricasoli, Malta, forcing many rewrites. Complications of the film's production were made worse when Reed died of a heart attack before production could be wrapped up. British post-production company The Mill, which constructed the film's computer-generated imagery effects, had to create a digital body double for the remaining scenes involving Reed's character Proximo.
Despite its troubled production, Gladiator was anticipated to be one of the year's most successful films. On its release, the film grossed over $503 million worldwide, becoming the second highest-grossing film of 2000 behind Mission: Impossible 2. Critics praised the acting, particularly Crowe's and Phoenix's performances, Scott's direction, visuals, screenplay, action sequences, musical score, and the production values, though its dark and brooding tone was criticized by some. Winning numerous accolades, Gladiator won five Academy Awards at the 73rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe. Gladiator revitalized or established the careers of its cast and crew, elevating Crowe to leading man status and turning Phoenix into a celebrity.
Since its release, Gladiator has been critically reevaluated. It is considered one of the best films of the 2000s and one of the greatest historical epic films ever made. It has been credited with reinventing the sword-and-sandal genre, after it waned in the public eye during the 1960s and the film rekindled interest in entertainment centered around the cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and other time periods throughout world history. Several films have attempted to emulate Gladiator's visuals, style, and tone with varying degrees of success. The film has been analyzed for its themes of revenge, violence, masculinity, and stoicism. In 2021, Scott announced that writing had begun on a sequel, which is scheduled to be released in the US on November 22, 2024.
In 180 AD, Hispano-Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius intends to return home after he leads the Roman army to victory against the Germanic tribes near Vindobona on the Limes Germanicus. Emperor Marcus Aurelius tells Maximus that his own son, Commodus, is unfit to rule and that he wishes Maximus to succeed him, as regent, to save Rome from corruption and restore the republic. In response, Commodus privately murders his father.
Commodus proclaims himself the new emperor, asking Maximus for his loyalty, but he refuses. Maximus is arrested by the Praetorian Guard and is told that he and his family will die. He kills his captors and, wounded, rides for his home near Turgalium, where he finds his wife and son crucified. Maximus buries them and collapses from his injuries. Slavers find him and take him to the city of Zucchabar in the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis, where he is sold to gladiator trainer Proximo.
Maximus reluctantly fights in local tournaments, his combat skills helping him win matches and gain popularity. He befriends two other gladiators: Hagen, a German; and Juba, a Numidian. Proximo reveals to Maximus that he was once a gladiator who was freed by Marcus Aurelius, and advises him to "win the crowd" to win his freedom.
When Commodus organises 150 days of games to commemorate his father's death, Proximo takes his gladiators to Rome to fight in the Colosseum. Disguised in a masked helmet, Maximus debuts in the Colosseum as a Carthaginian in a re-enactment of the Battle of Zama. Unexpectedly, he leads his side to victory, and Commodus enters the Colosseum to offer his congratulations. He orders the disguised Maximus, as leader of the gladiators, to reveal his identity; Maximus removes his helmet and declares vengeance. Commodus is compelled by the crowd to let the gladiators live, and his guards are held back from striking them down.
Maximus's next fight is against a legendary undefeated gladiator, Tigris of Gaul. Commodus arranges for several tigers to be set upon Maximus during the duel, but Maximus prevails. Commodus then orders Maximus to kill Tigris, but Maximus spares his opponent's life; in response, the crowd chants "Maximus the Merciful", angering Commodus.
Maximus discovers from Cicero, his ex-orderly, that his former legions remain loyal. He meets in secret with Lucilla, Commodus's sister and once the lover of Maximus; and Gracchus, an influential senator. They agree to have Maximus escape Rome to join his legions, topple Commodus by force, and hand power back to the Roman Senate. Commodus learns of the plot when Lucilla's son, Lucius, innocently hints at the conspiracy. Commodus threatens Lucilla and Lucius, and has the Praetorian Guard arrest Gracchus and attack the gladiators' barracks. Proximo and his men, including Hagen, sacrifice themselves to enable Maximus to escape. Maximus is captured at the rendezvous with Cicero, where the latter is killed.
To win back public approval, Commodus challenges Maximus to a duel in the Colosseum. He stabs Maximus in the lung before the match to gain an advantage. Despite his injuries, Maximus disarms Commodus. After the Praetorian Guard refuse to aid him, Commodus unsheathes a hidden knife; Maximus overpowers Commodus and drives the knife into his throat, killing him. Before Maximus succumbs to his wounds, he asks for political reforms, the freedom of his gladiator allies, and the reinstatement of Senator Gracchus. As he dies, Maximus has a vision where he reunites with his wife and son. His friends and allies honor him as "a soldier of Rome", at Lucilla's behest, and carry his body out of the arena.
That night, Juba visits the Colosseum and buries figurines of Maximus's wife and son at the spot where he died.
David Franzoni, who wrote the first draft, dropped out of graduate school in 1972 and took his downtime to ride across Eastern Europe on a motorbike. During his trip, Franzoni was amazed that "everywhere I went in Europe, there were arenas. Even as I went east, going through Turkey, I began to think to myself this must have been a hell of a franchise." During a stop in Baghdad, Iraq, he stopped reading a book about the Irish Revolution for another one: Daniel P. Mannix's 1958 novel Those About to Die. These experiences planted the seeds of inspiration for a story about gladiators set in the Roman Empire.
Twenty-five years later, Franzoni wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's Amistad, which was the director's first film for DreamWorks Pictures. Though Amistad was only a moderate commercial success, DreamWorks was impressed with Franzoni's screenplay and gave him a three-picture deal as writer and co-producer. Remembering his 1972 trip, Franzoni pitched his Roman history idea to Spielberg, who immediately told him to write the script.
In the first draft, dated April 4, 1998, Franzoni chose to base his story on Commodus after reading the ancient Roman text Historia Augusta. He later named his protagonist Narcissus, a wrestler who, according to the ancient sources Herodian and Cassius Dio, strangled Emperor Commodus to death.
Ridley Scott was approached by producers Walter F. Parkes and Douglas Wick. They showed him a copy of Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1872 painting entitled Pollice Verso (Thumbs Down). Scott was enticed by the idea of filming the world of Ancient Rome. However, he felt Franzoni's dialogue was too "on the nose" (lacking subtlety) and hired John Logan to rewrite the script to his liking. Logan rewrote much of the first act and made the decision to kill off Maximus's family to increase the character's desire for revenge.
While the script was being revised and the production crew was being assembled, DreamWorks began circling several potential partners to help cover the film's budget and costs. Co-financing between studios became increasingly common during the late-1990s as production and marketing costs and the potential for losses spiralled upward. DreamWorks saw success with its split-rights deals as the studio shared financing and distribution for the 1998 films Saving Private Ryan and Deep Impact with
Pictures. On November 12, 1998, Variety reported that Universal Pictures reached a deal with DreamWorks to help finance the film, as well as obtain international distribution rights and split worldwide proceeds 50–50 with DreamWorks, which would distribute the film in North America.
While writing the script, Franzoni expressed interest in Antonio Banderas as the lead role, but he declined. Mel Gibson, Tom Sizemore, and Tom Cruise were considered for the film, but the producers and studio had Russell Crowe at the top of their list after his breakout performance in L.A. Confidential (1997). Crowe was initially hesitant to join the project due to gaining forty pounds for The Insider (1999), but director Michael Mann convinced the actor to take the role. He eventually signed on to play the main character in September 1998. Crowe would later state that he was pitched by Parkes with the script still unfinished. In his interview for Inside the Actors Studio: "They said, 'It's a 100-million-dollar film. You're being directed by Ridley Scott. You play a Roman general.' I've always been a big fan of Ridley's."
Jude Law auditioned for the role of Commodus, but Scott landed his number-one choice, Joaquin Phoenix. Jennifer Lopez reportedly lobbied for the role of Lucilla, but lost out to Connie Nielsen. Crowe initially suggested his Insider costar Christopher Plummer prior to Richard Harris being cast in the role of Marcus Aurelius . From there, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Tommy Flanagan joined the cast as pre-production was ready to commence.
In preparation for filming, Scott spent several months developing storyboards to develop the framework of the plot. Over six weeks, production members scouted various locations within the extent of the Roman Empire before its collapse, including Italy, France, North Africa, and England. All of the film's props, sets, and costumes were manufactured by crew members due to the high costs and unavailability of the items.
Scott and Franzoni drew on several influences for Gladiator, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, La Dolce Vita and The Conformist. The film's plot was influenced by two 1960s Hollywood films of the sword-and-sandal genre, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Spartacus, and shares several plot points with The Fall of the Roman Empire, which tells the story of Livius, who, like Maximus in Gladiator, is Marcus Aurelius's intended successor. Livius is in love with Lucilla and seeks to marry her while Maximus, who is happily married, was formerly in love with her. Both films portray the death of Marcus Aurelius as an assassination. In The Fall of the Roman Empire a group of conspirators independent of Commodus, hoping to profit from Commodus's accession, arrange for Marcus Aurelius to be poisoned. In Gladiator, Commodus himself murders his father by smothering him.
In the course of The Fall of the Roman Empire, Commodus unsuccessfully seeks to win Livius over to his vision of empire in contrast to that of his father, but continues to employ him notwithstanding; in Gladiator, when Commodus fails to secure Maximus's allegiance, he executes Maximus's wife and son and tries unsuccessfully to execute him, too. Livius and Maximus both kill Commodus in single combat for the greater good of Rome in addition to personal motivations: Livius to save Lucilla and Maximus to avenge the murder of his family.
Scott cited Spartacus and Ben-Hur as influences on the film: "These movies were part of my cinema-going youth. But at the dawn of the new millennium, I thought this might be the ideal time to revisit what may have been the most important period of the last two thousand years – if not all recorded history – the apex and beginning of the decline of the greatest military and political power the world has ever known."
Spartacus provides the film's gladiatorial motif, as well as the character of Senator Gracchus, a fictitious senator, bearing the name of a pair of revolutionary tribunes from the 2nd century BC, who in both films is an elder statesman of ancient Rome attempting to preserve the ancient rights of the Roman Senate in the face of an ambitious autocrat – Marcus Licinius Crassus in Spartacus and Commodus in Gladiator. Both actors who played Gracchus (in Spartacus and Gladiator) played Claudius in previous films: Charles Laughton of Spartacus played Claudius in the unfinished 1937 film I, Claudius and Derek Jacobi of Gladiator played Claudius in the 1976 BBC adaptation. Both films also share a specific set piece wherein a gladiator (Maximus here, Woody Strode's Draba in Spartacus) throws his weapon into a spectator box at the end of a match, as well as at least one line of dialogue: "Rome is the mob", said here by Gracchus and by Julius Caesar (John Gavin) in
The film was shot in three main locations between January and May 1999. The opening battle scenes set in the forests of Germania were shot in three weeks in the Bourne Woods, near Farnham, Surrey, in England. When Scott learned that the Forestry Commission planned to remove a section of the forest, he persuaded them to allow the battle scene to be shot there and burn it down. Scott and cinematographer John Mathieson used multiple cameras filming at various frame rates and a 45-degree shutter, creating stop motion effects in the action sequences, similar to techniques used for the battle sequences of Saving Private Ryan (1998).
The scenes of slavery, desert travel, and the gladiatorial training school were shot in Ouarzazate, Morocco, just south of the Atlas Mountains over a further three weeks. To construct the arena where Maximus has his first fights, the crew used basic materials and local building techniques to manufacture the 30,000-seat mud brick arena. The scenes set in Rome were shot over a period of nineteen weeks in Fort Ricasoli, Malta.
In Malta, a replica of about one-third of Rome's Colosseum was built to a height of 52 feet (16 meters), mostly from plaster and plywood. The other two-thirds and remaining height were added digitally. The replica took several months to build and cost an estimated $1 million. The reverse side of the complex supplied a rich assortment of Ancient Roman street furniture, colonnades, gates, statuary, and marketplaces for other filming requirements. The complex was serviced by tented "costume villages" that had to change rooms, storage, armorers, and other facilities. The rest of the Colosseum was created in computer-generated imagery using set-design blueprints and textures referenced from live action, and rendered in three layers to provide lighting flexibility for compositing in Flame and Inferno software.
While Crowe and Harris became good friends during filming, the actor did not get along with Reed. In a 2010 interview with GQ, Crowe stated that he "never got on with Ollie. He has visited me in dreams and asked me to talk kindly of him. So I should... but we never had a pleasant conversation." Crowe was uncomfortable with Reed's excessive drinking during filming. Phoenix was initially anxious about filming and requested Scott he drop out early in production. To help calm the then 25-year-old Phoenix's nerves, Crowe and Harris decided to get him drunk. "It was actually Richard Harris' idea," Crowe later recalled, "because Joaquin was very nervous on the set and I went to Richard and said, 'Mate, what are we gonna do with this kid, he's asking me to abuse him before takes.'"
Throughout filmmaking, the actors complained about problems with the script. William Nicholson was brought to Shepperton Studios to make Maximus a more sensitive character. Nicholson reworked Maximus' friendship with Juba and developed the afterlife thread in the film, saying, "he did not want to see a film about a man who wanted to kill somebody." The screenplay faced many rewrites and revisions, with several actors providing changes. Crowe questioned every aspect of the evolving script and strode off the set when he did not get answers. According to Nicholson, Crowe reportedly told him that his "lines are garbage, but I'm the greatest actor in the world and I can make even garbage sound good."
According to a DreamWorks executive, Crowe "tried to rewrite the entire script on the spot. You know the big line in the trailer, 'In this life or the next, I will have my vengeance'? At first he absolutely refused to say it." Crowe described the script situation: "I read the script and it was substantially underdone. Even the character didn't exist on the pages. And that set about a long process, that's probably the first time that I've been in a situation where the script wasn't a complete done deal. We actually started shooting with about 32 pages and went through them in the first couple of weeks."
Of the writing and filming process, Crowe added, "Possibly, a lot of the stuff that I have to deal with now in terms of my 'volatility' has to do with that experience. Here was a situation where we got to Morocco with a crew of 200 and a cast of a 100 or whatever, and I didn't have anything to learn. I actually didn't know what the scenes were gonna be. We had, I think, one American writer working on it, one English writer working on it, and of course a group of producers who were also adding their ideas, and then Ridley himself; and then, on the occasion where Ridley would say, 'Look, this is the structure for
it – what are you gonna say in that?' So then I'd be doing my own stuff, as well. And this is how things like, 'Strength and honor,' came up. This is how things like, 'At my signal, unleash hell,' came up. The name Maximus Decimus Meridius, it just flowed well."
Maximus' habit of rubbing soil before each fight references the attachment and affection to his former life as a farmer. In a conversation with Marcus Aurelius, Maximus says the fecund soil of his farm is "black like my wife's hair". Crowe wrote the speech himself, drawing on his feelings of homesickness for his own farm.
- Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius: A Hispano-Roman legatus forced into becoming a slave who seeks revenge against Commodus. He has earned the favor of Marcus Aurelius and the love and admiration of Lucilla prior to the events of the film. His home is near Trujillo in today's Province of Cáceres, Spain. After the murder of his family he vows vengeance.
- Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus: The amoral, power-hungry, psychopathic son of Marcus Aurelius. He murders his father when he learns that Maximus will hold the emperor's powers in trust until a new republic can be formed. After gaining power, he seeks to weaken the power of the Senate and establish absolute rule.
- Connie Nielsen as Lucilla: Maximus's former lover and the older child of Marcus Aurelius. Lucilla has been recently widowed. She resists her brother's incestuous advances while protecting her son, Lucius, from her brother's corruption and wrath.
- Oliver Reed as Antonius Proximo: An old, gruff gladiator trainer who buys Maximus in North Africa. A former gladiator himself, he was freed by Marcus Aurelius and becomes a mentor to both Maximus and Juba. This was Reed's final film appearance, as he died during the filming. In the original film script Proximo was supposed to live. Richard Harris, who was later cast as - Marcus Aurelius, was considered for the part.
- Derek Jacobi as Senator Gracchus: A member of the Roman Senate who opposes Commodus's rule and an ally of Lucilla and Maximus. In the original film script Gracchus was supposed to die.
- Djimon Hounsou as Juba: A Numidian tribesman who was taken from his home and family by slave traders. He becomes Maximus's closest ally and friend and inspires Maximus to bring down Commodus for the greater good before he joins his family in the afterlife.
- Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius: The old and wise emperor of Rome who appoints Maximus, whom he loves as a son, to be his successor, with the ultimate aim of returning Rome to a republican form of government. He is murdered by his son Commodus before his wish can be fulfilled.
- Ralf Möller as Hagen: A Germanic warrior and Proximo's chief gladiator who later befriends Maximus and Juba during their battles in Rome. He is killed by the Praetorian Guard during Maximus's attempted escape from Rome.
- Tommy Flanagan as Cicero: Maximus's loyal servant who provides liaison between the enslaved Maximus, his former legion based at Ostia and Lucilla. He is used as bait for the escaping Maximus and eventually killed by the Praetorian Guard.
- David Schofield as Senator Falco: A patrician, a senator opposed to Gracchus. He helps Commodus to consolidate his power.
- John Shrapnel as Senator Gaius: A Roman senator allied with Gracchus, Lucilla and Maximus against Commodus.
- Tomas Arana as Quintus (loosely based on Quintus Aemilius Laetus): A Roman legatus, commander of the Praetorian Guard, who betrays Maximus by allying with Commodus. In the extended version, Quintus sees the mad side of Commodus when he is forced to execute two innocent men. Quintus later redeems himself by refusing to allow Commodus a second sword during the latter's duel with Maximus and promises to honor Maximus's last wishes.
- Spencer Treat Clark as Lucius Verus: The young son of Lucilla. He is named after his father Lucius Verus, who was co-emperor until 169 AD. He is also the grandson of Marcus Aurelius. He idolizes Maximus for his victories in the arena.
- David Hemmings as Cassius: The master of ceremonies for the gladiatorial games in the Colosseum.
- Sven-Ole Thorsen as Tigris of Gaul. The only undefeated Gladiator was brought out of retirement by Commodus to kill Maximus.
- Omid Djalili as a slave trader.
- Giannina Facio as Maximus's wife.
- Giorgio Cantarini as Maximus's son, who is the same age as Lucilla's son, Lucius.
- John Quinn as Valerius, a Roman general in the army of Maximus Decimus Meridius.
Gladiator was released in the United States and Canada on May 5, 2000. During its opening weekend, Gladiator earned $34.8 million across 2,938
theaters - an average of $11,851 per theater - making it the number one film of the weekend, ahead of U-571 ($7.8 million), in its first weekend, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas ($7.6 million), in its second weekend. The film not only leapt over Scream 3 to achieve the year's highest opening weekend, but also earned the third-highest opening weekend for an R-rated film ever, trailing only Air Force One (1997) and Interview with the Vampire (1994). The film's positive word of mouth and the sex appeal of Crowe helped with bringing in a female audience during its opening weekend, with the percentage of women buying tickets increasing from 35% on its opening day to 45% the following day.
The film remained number one in its second weekend with $24.6 million, ahead of the debut of Battlefield Earth ($11.5 million). During its third weekend, Gladiator fell to second place with $19.7 million, behind the debut of Dinosaur ($38.5 million). By Memorial Day, it had already earned a total of $127.2 million, surpassing Erin Brockovich to become the highest-grossing film of the year. Without regaining the number one spot, Gladiator spent ten weeks in the top ten at the box office. The film was in theaters for over a year and finished its theatrical run on May 10, 2001. Gladiator grossed $187.7 million in the United States and Canada, finishing as the fourth highest-grossing film of 2000 behind Mission: Impossible 2 ($215.4 million), Cast Away ($233.6 million), and How The Grinch Stole Christmas ($260 million).
Outside of North America, Gladiator is estimated to have grossed over $272.9 million internationally. This gave the film a cumulative gross of over $460.6 million worldwide against a budget of $103 million. It was the second highest-grossing film of 2000 behind Mission: Impossible 2 ($546.4 million).
Due to an increase in ticket prices, 2000 set a new record of $7.7 billion at the domestic box office, exceeding the previous year's $7.31 billion. However, attendance was estimated at being down 2.5% from 1999. Industry executives blamed the decrease in attendance on the year's slate for its lack of commercial appeal, a dearth of female-driven films and sleeper hits, as well as several exhibition chains filing for bankruptcy. Nevertheless, Gladiator was considered to be one of 2000's biggest blockbusters due to strong word of mouth, contributing to its long-lasting box office performance and DreamWorks' improving fortunes.
Upon its initial release, Gladiator opened to generally positive reviews. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
The performances and the cast were praised by critics, with Crowe and Phoenix being considered by critics as the main highlights. Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter said Crowe "solidly anchors this epic-scale gladiator movie - the first in nearly four decades - by using his burly frame and expressive face to give dimension to what might otherwise have been comic book heroics." In his positive review for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgensten said that Crowe "doesn't use tricks in this role to court our approval. He earns it the old-fashioned way, by daring to be quiet, if not silent, and intensely, implacably strong," and that the film "rests on Mr. Crowe's armor-clad shoulders, and he carries it remarkably well." Empire's Ian Nathan, giving the film four stars, wrote that Phoenix displayed "gleeful hamminess" in his performance.
Writing about the film as a whole, Nathan expressed that "while it's all grand opera, and driven by sweeping gestures and pompous, overwritten dialogue, it is prone to plain silliness - especially in granting us the big showdown at the close. But the sheer dynamism of the action, coupled with Hans Zimmer's lavish score and the forcefield of Crowe, still makes this a fiercesome competitor in the summer movie stakes." Geoff Andrew of Time Out praised the film, saying that "the cast is strong (notably Nielsen as Commodus's vacillating sister, and the late Oliver Reed, unusually endearing as a gladiator owner), the pacing lively, and the sets, swordplay and Scud catapults impressive. Roger Ebert, who was otherwise critical in his two-star review, praised Nielsen for having the most depth in the entire film. On the other hand, Camille Paglia, who called the film "boring, badly shot and suffused with sentimental p.c. rubbish," criticized Crowe and Phoenix's performances.
Scott's directing was generally praised by critics, who called it a return to form for the director. In her A- review for Entertainment Weekly, Lisa Schwarzbaum praised Scott's directing, particularly during the opening battle sequence. Schwarzbaum writes that with the battle sequence, "Scott lets loose his own extraordinary assault. It's a bravura sequence of flaming arrows, falling horses, and mortal combat that doesn't copy Private Ryan's famous opening tour de force of carnage so much as raise a banner in admiration. It's Scott the visual artist at his most deluxe." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote that "Scott really scores in his big Rome set-pieces, especially Crowe's combat with men and tigers in a computer-enhanced Colosseum much bigger and more monumental than the original," and that "for all of its implausible silliness and towering high camp, Scott's movie tells an engaging story, and the central arena fight-sequence in which Maximus and his gladiators playing the doomed Carthaginians end up defeating the Romans and reversing history "to the emperor's horror" is wittily and adroitly done: a sly demonstration of the confluence of politics and mass entertainment." Michael Wilmington of The Chicago Tribune gave praise to Scott's direction, comparing the visual style of the film to that of Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner.
Critics generally praised the production values of the film, with the costumes, production design, and visual effects. Todd McCarthy, praising the film for Variety, said Gladiator "revels in both the glory and the horror that were Rome," with "details in Arthur Max's brilliant production design and Janty Yates' highly diversified costume design that offered up in wonderfully offhand fashion," while also commanding the "CGI effects that have allowed numerous sets, notably the Colosseum, to be enhanced in size and spectacle value; the stunts, fights and battles are as forceful and realistic as anyone could want, John Mathieson's widescreen cinematography is magnificent, and the pacing across 2½ hours is well modulated." Ebert criticized the film for looking "muddy, fuzzy and indistinct." In his two-star review, Ebert also derided the writing, saying it "employs depression as a substitute for personality, and believes that if characters are bitter and morose enough, we won't notice how dull they are."
When the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama at the 58th Golden Globes, media outlets began viewing Gladiator as the front runner for the Academy Awards. Its subsequent wins for the BAFTA Award for Best Film and Produces Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture solidified Gladiator's front runner status for the Oscars.
When nominations for the 73rd Academy Awards were announced on February 13, 2001, Gladiator received the most nominations with twelve, while Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had scored ten. On March 25, 2001, the film won five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor for Russell Crowe, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Costume Design. It was nominated for an additional seven: Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Director for Ridley Scott, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Film Editing.
It was the first film to win Best Picture without winning either a directing or screenwriting award since All the King's Men at the 22nd Academy Awards in 1950. This was also the second consecutive DreamWorks film to achieve an Oscar for Best Picture after American Beauty the previous year. Due to Academy rules, only Hans Zimmer was officially nominated for Best Original Score, and not Lisa Gerrard. However, the pair did win the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score as co-composers. Of its one-hundred and nineteen award nominations, Gladiator won a total of forty-eight prizes.
Gladiator has been considered a cultural phenomenon since its release. Prior to the release of Gladiator, the swords and sandal genre had fallen out of public popularity following a string of expensive box office flops such as
Cleopatra (1963) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964).
Gladiator is considered to be one of the greatest action films ever made, one of the greatest historical epic films ever made, and one of the greatest films of both the 2000s decade and 21st Century.
And that includes Ben
Hur, the 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston.
On their "100 Best Movies Of All Time list", Empire ranked the film as the thirty-ninth best film ever made, and ranked the film as the twenty-second best film of the 21st Century. Gladiator was named one of the best films of the 21st Century by The Guardian, and was included in Rotten Tomatoes "The 140 Essential 2000 Movies."
OUTLINE - SECTASAUR
THE MAGIC DINOBOT
- From Jameson Hunter, an
original short story with potential for adaptation as a TV series idea, germinated in 2016.
While attending a school
in Hailsham, Jimmy dreams of building a giant
robot ant as a special project, then one day his dreams come true when the robot he
has built is transformed into a living, breathing, companion. NOTE:
This story is Copyright © Jameson Hunter
Ltd, March 30 2016. All rights
reserved. You will need permission from the author to reproduce the book
cover on the right or any part of the story published on this page. JIMMY
His mother, Marion, teases her son about his dreams to build a large robot ant with a
drawing of her son riding on the ant's back. Then it comes true.