SpartacusDirector: Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons
Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is a rebellious slave purchased by Lentulus Batiatus (Peter Ustinov), owner of a school for gladiators. For the entertainment of corrupt Roman senator Marcus Licinius Crassus (Laurence Olivier), Batiatus' gladiators are to stage a fight to the death. On the night before the event, the enslaved trainees are "rewarded" with female companionship. Spartacus' companion for the evening is Varinia (Jean Simmons), a slave from Brittania. When Spartacus later learns that Varinia has been sold to Crassus, he leads 78 fellow gladiators in revolt. Word of the rebellion spreads like wildfire, and soon Spartacus' army numbers in the hundreds. Escaping to join his cause is Varinia, who has fallen in love with Spartacus, and another of Crassus' house slaves, the sensitive Antoninus (Tony Curtis). The revolt becomes the principal cog in the wheel of a political struggle between Crassus and a more temperate senator named Gracchus (Charles Laughton). Anthony Mann was the original director of Spartacus, eventually replaced by Stanley Kubrick, who'd previously guided Douglas through Paths of Glory. The film received 4 Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Ustinov. A crucial scene between Olivier and Curtis, removed from the 1967 reissue because of its subtle homosexual implications, was restored in 1991, with a newly recorded soundtrack featuring Curtis as his younger self and Anthony Hopkins standing in for the deceased Olivier.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
- [Wide Screen]
- [DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
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Cast & Crew
|Alexander Golitzen||Production Designer|
|Fred A. Chulack||Editor|
|Kirk Douglas||Executive Producer|
|Russell A. Gausman||Set Decoration/Design|
|Joseph E. Gershenson||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Marshall Green||Asst. Director|
|Julia Heron||Set Decoration/Design|
|Joe Lapis||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Alex North||Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Vittorio Nino Novarese||Consultant/advisor|
|Bill Thomas||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Arlington F. Valles||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Irene Valles||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Waldon O. Watson||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Harry L. Wolf||Camera Operator|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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A compelling story of epic proportions. The plot is relentless, propelled by a astounding screenplay. Kubrick draws some of the greatest performances of the cast, and fills the screen with images that fascinate throughout. Well paced for a movie of this magnitude.
Just replacing my VCR version with a DVD, it's a classic.
Spartacus is another great movie about a roman slave purchased to fight. It has a great script and storyboard.It is about a gladiator who escapes with his fellow gladiatoral friends who form an army. They wander around Italy battling and conquering anyone who stands against them. Overall, It's a great classic!
'Those who are about to die salute you!' was the traditional gladiator salute to audiences prior to commencing their spectacle of death. In this historical movie, Stanley Kubrik brings the audience into another epoch were life was nasty, brutish, and short for virtually everyone: especially for slaves and gladiators. The all-star cast of Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, and Peter Ustinov, more than makes up for Kirk Douglas' frequent forced acting. The love story could have been shorter and more interesting it covered Spartacus' actual historic lover instead; a wild woman who claimed to be a prophetess and practiced sorcery. The movie, being based on Howard Fast's novel, has a strong Communist undertone to it accentuated by Alex North's brilliant score. If one listen's carefully, many elements of the music are borrowed from the Internationale which was the Soviet national anthem. The film itself skews the social and cultural norms of ancient Rome to present a class conflict theme and plot structure that fits Fast's original communist message; the Romans are portrayes as corrupt MCarthyists/capitalists against the poor but dignified slaves/Bolsheviks sacrificing all their labor for their commarades. The truth is that most of Spartacus' followers were exactly the gang of thieves and brigands that Kirk Douglass doesn't want them to be in the movie; more interested in quick plunder and mayhem than fighting for a desperate cause that no one at the time cared for anyway. Spartacus himself, given his overwhelming familiarity with legionary tactics, was (as historical sources suggest) probably a former auxillary or legionnaire who was condemned to slavery. The movie also wants to suggest that slavery was a product of pagan ignorance that needed the salvation of Christianity to see its cruelty. The legitimacy of slavery (spoils of war mostly) was the dominant world view in antiquity. Actually, early Christians were even more ardent believers of slavery than their pagan counterparts: believing that it was an immutable condition imposed by God. The truth is that slavery was mainly a product of agrarian economics and its end had more to do with the politics of capitalist industrialism than religious beliefs alone: the U.S. Civil War perfectly demonstrates that fact. Much of the dialogue in the movie is exquisite; following exactly the type of intellectual wit and humor that the Romans cherished. The worst dialogue and acting seems to come from the method actors in the movie (Douglass, Curtis, and Simmons.) Kubrick's rendition of the battle is extremely well done and the movie is worth watching or owning for that scene alone. The legionary formations and tactics were meticulously researched even though the campaign against Spartacus depicted in the movie wasn't accurate. Actually, contrary to what is depicted in the movie, Crassus had confined the gladiator army near Rhegium by building a pallisade of several miles from north to south, sea to sea. It was only by desperation and attrition that Spartacus was able to break through and attempt a final push back north. Unlike the movie, there's no historical reference to suggest that the 'I'm Spartacus!' event ever occurred. All historical sources conclude that Spartacus was cut to pieces in the heat of battle. The character of Marcus Licinius Crassus played is brilliantly played Olivier but the movie again takes great poetic license to support its theme of class conflict. A patrician noble, Crassus was richest man in Rome who boasted that no man was rich unless he could maintain his own legions. Although he was extremely ambitious, he had no dictatorial aspirations as suggested in the movie. Crassus was a traditional republican politician whose politics were essentially no different than those of his nemesis in the movie, Graccus, played by Charles Laughton. The movie falsely portrays Crassus as a hard-line optimate to the likes of Cato Uticensis or Sulla which he was not