Friday, January 29, 2021

Movies XIV - Gladiator

 Gladiator makes this list for a number of reasons.

It is an epic movie, more like the spectacles of the 1950s  than anything made recently. It uses CGI but only to create the world and frame the action in believable ways. From the opening battle scene to the Colosseum you find yourself looking at the details and immersed in the world.

The character played by Russell Crowe, Maximus, is not really a protagonist. He is the person we follow and we see much of the action from his perspective, but a protagonist is by definition changed by in the course of a story and Maximus does not change. He is himself right from the first battle and while he undergoes great changes in his situations, he remains himself.

Great music.

Great ideas. Revealed in the course of the movie, it is the Roman ideal of Stoicism that Maximus portrays.

"What we do now echoes in eternity."

--Marcus Aurelius

 Here's the opening scene.

11 comments:

Beans said...

One of the more historically accurate movies of the Roman era.

And, really, just a damned good story.

The Unspoken greatness? They handled the death of Oliver Reed very well. Yes, died before filming was completed, so... they killed him off in the movie. In a very Julius Cesaer way.

Will Brown said...


+1 Gladiator. Epic entertainment.

LoFan John said...

Just a sort of footnote: in that opening scene, the call-and-response chants of the barbarians before the battle are Zulu, from the movie "Zulu". Check out the opening attack on Rorke's Drift and see.

HMS Defiant said...

Watched the full movie when it came out. Watched a few scenes later again and again. YT is good for that. Crowe was an amazing actor. He was one of those that came, performed superbly and got off the stage well.

Glen Filthie said...

Point of order, ASM - from the Picking-The-Fly-Chit-Out-Of-The-Pepper Dept: a protagonist is a character in the story that we are supposed to empathize with and see as a “good guy.” In this case Maximus is very much changed, he goes from being an honoured general to an expendable slave. He loses his family and dreams of the good life after decades of hard and loyal service of the empire, an empire that ultimately betrays him. If I understand my history correctly, the legionnaires held gladiators largely on contempt, thinking of them more as paid showboats than actual fighters. They were banned from the arena because if they did compete, the legionnaires would slaughter the gladiators every time. Gladiators were the WWF wrestlers of their day, whereas legionnaires fought for real and were far better conditioned than gladiators.

Fredrick said...

As the soon to be Praetorian Prefect put it to Maximus "A people should know when they are conquered". A message for our times.

Matthew W said...

Can't say I'm much of a Russell Crowe fan but he did well in this movie and he played a great character.

Favorite quote from the movie:

Quintus: People should know when they’re conquered.
Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?

Borepatch said...

This was an enjoyable flick. The "Restoration of the Republic" bit at the end was a bit much - in 200 AD nobody would have known how to do that, even if they had wanted to.

Still, I quite enjoyed it. The action scenes were very well done and felt entirely authentic.

libertyman said...

"Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"

LSP said...

What an awesome flick.

John said...

Saw it twice on the big screen. Was a Latin IV Language student in HS. Loved that movie.
To see Rome as it was in its prime and the Legions in battle was a treat I never forget.