Gladiator

Braveheart Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning 1995 Braveheart is an impassioned epic about William Wallace, the 13th-century Scottish leader of a popular revolt against England's tyrannical Edward I (Patrick McGoohan). Gibson cannily plays Wallace as a man trying to stay out of history's way until events force his hand, an attribute that instantly resonates with several of the actor's best-known roles, especially Mad Max. The subsequent camaraderie and courage Wallace shares in the field with fellow warriors is pure enough and inspiring enough to bring envy to a viewer, and even as things go wrong for Wallace in the second half, the film does not easily cave in to a somber tone. One of the most impressive elements is the originality with which Gibson films battle scenes, featuring hundreds of extras wielding medieval weapons. After Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight, and even Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, you might think there is little new that could be done in creating scenes of ancient combat; yet Gibson does it. --Tom Keogh Gladiator A big-budget summer epic with money to burn and a scale worthy of its golden Hollywood predecessors, Ridley Scott's Gladiator is a rousing, grisly, action-packed epic that takes moviemaking back to the Roman Empire via computer-generated visual effects. While not as fluid as the computer work done for, say, Titanic, it's an impressive achievement that will leave you marveling at the glory that was Rome, when you're not marveling at the glory that is Russell Crowe. Starring as the heroic general Maximus, Crowe firmly cements his star status both in terms of screen presence and acting chops, carrying the film on his decidedly non-computer-generated shoulders as he goes from brave general to wounded fugitive to stoic slave to gladiator hero. Gladiator's plot is a whirlwind of faux-Shakespearean machinations of death, betrayal, power plays, and secret identities (with lots of faux-Shakespearean dialogue ladled on to keep the proceedings appropriately "classical"), but it's all briskly shot, edited, and paced with a contemporary sensibility. Even the action scenes, somewhat muted but graphic in terms of implied violence and liberal bloodletting, are shot with a veracity that brings to mind--believe it or not--Saving Private Ryan, even if everyone is wearing a toga. As Crowe's nemesis, the evil emperor Commodus, Joaquin Phoenix chews scenery with authority, whether he's damning Maximus's popularity with the Roman mobs or lusting after his sister Lucilla (beautiful but distant Connie Nielsen); Oliver Reed, in his last role, hits the perfect notes of camp and gravitas as the slave owner who rescues Maximus from death and turns him into a coliseum star. Director Scott's visual flair is abundantly in evidence, with breathtaking shots and beautiful (albeit digital) landscapes, but it's Crowe's star power that will keep you in thrall--he's a true gladiator, worthy of his legendary status. Hail the conquering hero! --Mark Englehart

Genre: Action, Drama, Sport
Director(s): Rowdy Herrington
Production: Dreamworks Distribution LLC
  Won 5 Oscars. Another 53 wins & 101 nominations.
 
IMDB:
8.5
Metacritic:
67
Rotten Tomatoes:
77%
R (Restricted)
Year:
2000
155
Website
8,855 Views

Maximus:
You sent for me, Caesar?

Marcus Aurelius:
Tell me again, Maximus, why are we here?

Maximus:
For the glory of the empire, sire.

Marcus Aurelius:
Ah, yes. Ah, yes, I remember. Do you see that map, Maximus? That is the world which I created. For 25 years, I have conquered, spilt blood, expanded the empire. Since I became Caesar, I have known four years without war, four years of peace in twenty. And for what? I brought the sword. Nothing more.

Maximus:
Caesar, your life...

Marcus Aurelius:
Please. Please, don't call me that. Please, come sit. Let us talk together now, very simply, as men. Maximus, talk.

Maximus:
Five thousand of my men are out there in the freezing mud. Three thousand of them are bloodied and cleaved. Two thousand will never leave this place. I will not believe that they fought and died for nothing.

Marcus Aurelius:
And what would you believe?

Maximus:
They fought for you and for Rome.

Marcus Aurelius:
And what is Rome, Maximus?

Maximus:
I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light.

Marcus Aurelius:
Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become. I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end... he wants to know there was some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher? The warrior? The tyrant...? Or will I be the emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish... it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter. Maximus, let us whisper now, together, you and I. You have a son. Tell me about your home.

Maximus:
My house is in the hills above Trujillo. A very simple place. Pinkstones that warm in the sun. A kitchen garden that smells of herbs in the day, jasmine in the evening. Through the gate is a giant poplar. Figs, apples, pears. The soil, Marcus- black. Black like my wife's hair. Grapes on the south slopes, olives on the north. Wild ponies play near my house. They tease my son. He wants to be one of them.

Marcus Aurelius:
Remember the last time you were home?

Maximus:
Two years, 264 days, and this morning.

Marcus Aurelius:
I envy you, Maximus. It's a good home. Worth fighting for. There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home.

Maximus:
What would you have me do, Caesar?

Marcus Aurelius:
I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you to one end alone: To give power back to the people of Rome, and end the corruption that has crippled it. Will you accept this great honor I have offered you?

Maximus:
With all my heart, no.

Marcus Aurelius:
Maximus, that is why it must be you.

Maximus:
But surely a prefect, a senator, somebody who knows the city, who understands her politics?

Marcus Aurelius:
But you have not been corrupted by her politics.

Maximus:
And Commodus?

Marcus Aurelius:
Commodus is not a moral man. You have known that since you were young. Commodus cannot rule. He must not rule. You are the son that I should have had. Commodus will accept my decision. He knows that you command the loyalty of the army.

Maximus:
I need some time, sire.

Marcus Aurelius:
Yes. By sunset, I hope you will have agreed. Now embrace me as my son, and bring an old man another blanket.

Marcus Aurelius:
Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?

Commodus:
Yes, father.

Marcus Aurelius:
You will not be emperor.

Commodus:
Which wiser, older man is to take my place?

Marcus Aurelius:
My powers will pass to Maximus, to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a republic again.

Commodus:
Maximus.

Marcus Aurelius:
My decision disappoints you?

Commodus:
You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness. Courage. Perhaps not on the battlefield, but … there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. [choking up] Even then it was as if you didn't want me for your son.

Marcus Aurelius:
Oh, Commodus. You go too far.

Commodus:
I search the faces of the gods … for ways to please you, to make you proud. One kind word, one full hug … where you pressed me to your chest and held me tight … would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years. What is it in me that you hate so much?

Marcus Aurelius:
Shh, Commodus.

Commodus:
All I've ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar, father.

Marcus Aurelius:
[gets down on his knees] Commodus, your faults as a son is my failure as a father. Come.

[They hug]

Commodus:
[crying] Father. I would have butchered the whole world … if you would only love me! [presses Marcus against his breast and asphyxiates him]

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