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Film Talk: ‘Aren’t You Entertained?’ Back to Gladiator

Russell Crowe as Maximus in 2000s Gladiator

Directed by Ridley Scott, 2000’s Gladiator is a no-frills masterpiece that remains one of its esteemed director’s greatest efforts to date.

An epic tale of bloodshed, honor, empire and revenge, this gripping historical drama was written by David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson, and was co-produced by DreamWorks and Universal.

Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen and Oliver Reed, the film tells the story of proud Roman general Maximus (Crowe) and the quest for revenge that brings him to the gladiator arena after his family is killed on the order of the intrigue. new emperor, Commodus (Phoenix).

Inspired by Daniel P. Mannix’s 1958 book Those About to Die, Gladiator’s screenplay, originally written by Franzoni, was acquired by DreamWorks and Scott signed on to direct. Principal photography began in January 1999, before the script was actually finished, and ended in May of the same year, with the Ancient Rome scenes shot over a 19-week period in Malta.

With a supporting cast including Ralf Möller, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Richard Harris and Tommy Flanagan, Gladiator has hoarded talent like there was no tomorrow. The budget was more than enough and the pressure was definitely on, but the buzz was high. However, would Gladiator take the win, or would it be a “thumbs down” in the arena all the way?

In the year 180 AD, the mighty Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius has just defeated the last of the German tribes and is beloved by both his soldiers and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius (Harris).

Before his death, the Emperor chose Maximus to be his successor, acknowledging Maximus’ modesty as the thing that made him perfect for the role, and abandoning his own ambitious son, Commodus.

However, once Commodus learns of his father’s intentions, he assassinates him before news of his wishes can reach the Emperor’s inner circle, including Commodus’ sister Lucilla (Nielsen) and the powerful. Senators Gracchus (Jacobi) and Falco (Schofield).

When Maximus refuses to embrace Commodus as the new emperor, the once-beloved general is forced to flee for his life and return home to protect his wife and son from Commodus’ wrath.

However, as tragedy strikes, he soon finds himself captive and forced into slavery. Taken to Africa, Maximus is bought by gladiator trainer and former arena champion, Proximo (Reed). Although at first reluctant to fight in the arena, Maximus wins success after success and becomes a fan favorite. When Commodus announces 150 days of gladiatorial games in Rome in honor of his late father, Maximus soon realizes that this may be his chance to once again get close enough to the new emperor to get the revenge he research…

Grossing $187.7 million in the United States and $457 million worldwide, Gladiator was a fantastic box office success. The film garnered praise for its acting and Scott’s direction, as well as the visuals, script, action sequences, and musical score. The second-highest-grossing film of 2000, Gladiator won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe, and four BAFTAs, including Best Picture.

A triumph of a movie that was perfect for the big screen experience, Gladiator has stood the test of time for two decades. It also paved the way for films such as 2003’s The Last Samurai, 2004’s Troy, and 2005’s Kingdom of Heaven – the last of which, by the way, was also directed by Scott.

An unquestionably brilliant turn from Crowe in front of the camera and Scott behind it, Gladiator provided a fantastic canvas for the excitement of the ancient world to return to cinema, and a perfectly superb scene for the brilliant Oliver Reed’s final outing.