Gladiator (2000)

gladiator poster 2000 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Some great visuals, Joaquin Phoenix

So-so story and acting in parts

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Gladiator

Studio:  Scott Free Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Drama/War

Release Date(s):  May 5, 2000 (US)/May 12, 2000 (UK)

MPAA Rating:  R


Two against one…fair fight…

Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) is a general for the forces of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris).  When Marcus Aurelius is killed, Maximus suspects his son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), and only Maximus knows Marcus Aurelius’ true wishes for who should rule.  Deemed a threat, Commodus orders Maximus and his family killed, but Maximus survives to be enslaved in world of the gladiator arena battles.  Maximus finds himself battling for his life and realizes as he grows in fame and popularity that it could be the only way to bring down  Commodus forever.

Directed by Ridley Scott, Gladiator is a throwback to older epic gladiator pictures like Ben-Hur and Spartacus.  The movie was well received and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Crowe), Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, and Best Sound with nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Phoenix), Best Art Decoration and Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Screenplay.


You are the worst fighters ever!

I enjoyed Gladiator when I saw it.  There were a number of critics who took a hard stance on the film which was mostly an action picture and had little historical accuracy (I remember Ebert was particularly harsh).  The movie is fun but definitely not perfect.

Go into Gladiator for the spectacle of the picture.  The movie is big and booming and very stylized in its shooting.  The big fights in the open and the gladiator fights with fast edits and shuttery frame rate looks awesome.  It doesn’t have the same weight as old epic pictures where when they needed a crowd, they got a crowd instead of creating them with computers, but it does feel like something that hasn’t been seen in awhile.


So, you’re family’s dead…I like that…what are you going to do Gladiator-boy?

The acting is so-so.  I love Russell Crowe in L.A. Confidential but often he just comes off as a monotone actor to me.  He does play a great fighter however.  Oliver Reed died during the making of the film so you get this weird computer generated image thing for a scene he wasn’t able to film which is too bad (like The Sopranos when Nancy Marchand died during production).  I think the real star of this film is the Joaquin Phoenix who gets to play a great bad guy.  I actually feel sorry for him in the opening scenes where his father is criticizing him, but then he turns dark…real dark.  If  Benicio Del Toro hadn’t made Traffic watchable, Phoenix would have won here.

Gladiator was a fun movie…Best Picture?  Probably not, but it was fun (I preferred Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but many also picked Traffic).  The movie is an easy action picture  without much thought and that is pretty unusual for a Best Picture winner.  Just sit back and watch Gladiator, but don’t try to overthink it, or you will be disappointed.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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