Gladiator (2000)

IMDB Rating 8.1/10  155 min - Rated 15 Action | Drama

Stars:           Russell Crowe,  Joaquin Phoenix            Director:     Ridley Scott

AD 180. General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Crowe) is named 'Keeper of Rome' by the dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius after successfully vanquishing the Barbarian hordes. But the Emperor's son, Commodus (Phoenix) has other ideas. Following a foiled execution, Maximus flees to his Spanish home to discover his wife and son have been murdered. Enslaved and trained as a gladiator, Maximus is one of a troupe of warriors called to Rome for the gladiatorial games where he is soon involved in plots to overthrow the emperor.  With a mammoth $100 million budget and a four-month shoot in four countries, director Ridley Scott aimed, with Gladiator, to revive the genre of teh 'ancient epic'; a genre which had not proved to be much of a crowd-puller since the international voguein the 1960s for 'swords and sandals' spectaculars such as Spartacus (1960) and The Fall and Rise of the Roman Empire (1964). Today, the thousands of extras mandatory in such epic undertakings may be multiplied thanks to CGI, and Gladiator is one of the prime examples of the new cinematic fashion for 'pixellated antiquity'. As well as using CGI to recreate the Colosseum in Rome - where the authentically bone-crunching, blood-soaked gladiatorial combat is staged as recreations of famous battles - there was another, unexpected use found for Scott's special effects team: the death, during filming of Oliver Reed (playing the gladiator trainer, Proximo) called for a stealthy dose of digital reanimation.


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