4.4 12
Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons


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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.… See more details below


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.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Stanley Kubrick's first big-budget movie, a rousing testament to the unquenchable human thirst for freedom, was phenomenally successful when first released in 1960 and is today regarded -- rightfully so -- as one of the truly great cinematic spectacles. It was certainly a career highpoint for Kirk Douglas, who is superbly stoic as Spartacus, the former gladiator who led an army of fellow slaves against their Roman oppressors. But his was only one of many vivid characterizations. Equally memorable are Laurence Olivier's deliciously sly aristocrat, Peter Ustinov's conniving promoter, Jean Simmons's adoring maiden, Tony Curtis's rebellious slave, and Charles Laughton's wily senator. Kubrick's legendary perfectionism (which sparked repeated on-set clashes with producer/star Douglas) manifested itself in astonishingly intricate period re-creations and large-scale stagings of battle scenes. He added his own flourishes to the script, written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, and never allowed spectacle, action, or pageantry to overshadow human emotion. An enormous influence on Gladiator, this sprawling epic has consistently thrilled moviegoers.
All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
A remarkably expensive production for the time ($12m) that took 167 days to film, Spartacus has been lauded as the "thinking man's" epic because it lacks a happy ending and places as much emphasis on oration as action. The slave revolt storyline, penned in part by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, is clearly meant to parallel contemporary American political reality. The decadent Romans are grotesquely shaped versions of the Hollywood movie moguls gleefully leeching the talent, who come in the form of noble battling gladiators in the film. The optimistic liberal message is delivered with a heavy handed via speech spouting slaves, and led director Stanley Kubrick, who was not a big fan of the final product, to complain that the film "had everything but a good story." Kubrick was brought aboard after Kirk Douglas and the film's original director Anthony Mann clashed very early in the production. Although Douglas gives a strident and muscular performance, it is the supporting cast, led by Academy Award winner Peter Ustinov and Laurence Olivier who steal the picture. While it suffers from some of the flaws of epics of this era-such as an overly sanitized portrait of life at the time, and anachronistic visions of fashion and lifestyle-Spartacus also boasts some stirring action and intelligent dialogue. The final scenes of crucified rebel slaves lining the roads to Rome are unforgettably powerful. Propelled by Alex North's triumphant score and filmed in glorious "Super Technirama" 70mm, the wide screen format serves the stirring and spectacular action sequences, some of which used up to 8500 extras, very well. Oscars went to Ustinov, for best supporting actor, art direction, costume design and cinematography.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kirk Douglas Spartacus
Laurence Olivier Marcus Licinius Crassus
Jean Simmons Varinia
Charles Laughton Sempronius Gracchus
Peter Ustinov Lentulus Batiatus
Tony Curtis Antoninus
John Gavin Julius Caesar
Nina Foch Helena Glabrus
Herbert Lom Tigranes
John Ireland Crixus
John Dall Glabrus
Joanna Barnes Claudia Marius
Harold J. Stone David
Woody Strode Draba
Peter Brocco Ramon
Paul Lambert Gannicus
Robert J. Wilke Guard Captain
Nick Dennis Dionysius
John Hoyt Caius
Dayton Lummis Symmachus
Arthur Batanides Actor
Buff Brady Actor
Jerry Brown Actor
Bob Burns Actor
Paul E. Burns Fimbria
Joe Canutt Actor
Chuck Courtney Actor
Dick Crockett Actor
Ted de Corsia Actor
Terence de Marney Major Domo
Seamon Glass Actor
Harold Goodwin Actor
Sol (Saul) Gorss Actor
James Griffith Otho
Brad Harris Actor
Harry Harvey Actor
Joe Haworth Marius
Vinton Haworth Metallius
Chuck Hayward Actor
Hallene Hill Beggar Woman
Charles Horvath Actor
Jill Jarmyn Julia
Harold Kruger Pirate
Carey Loftin Guard
Cliff Lyons Actor
Bob Morgan Actor
Eddie Parker Actor
Harvey Parry Actor
Regis Parton Actor
Leonard Penn Garrison Officer
Gil Perkins Slave Leader
Larry Perron Actor
Chuck Roberson Slave
George Robotham Actor
Wally Rose Gladiator
Autumn Russell Actor
Russell Saunders Actor
Aaron Saxon Actor
Rube Schaffer Soldier
Tom Steele Actor
Bob Stevenson Legionnaire
Kay Stewart Actor
Ken Terrell Actor
Lili Valenty Old Crone
Wayne Van Horn Actor
Dale Van Sickel Trainer
Louise Vincent Slave Girl
Carleton Young Herald
Jo Summers Actor
Tap Canutt Actor
Charles McGraw Marcellus
Frederic Worlock Laelius
Anthony Hopkins Marcus Licinius Crassus (some scenes, 1991 restoratio
Alex North Conductor

Technical Credits
Stanley Kubrick Director
Alexander Golitzen Production Designer
Fred A. Chulack Editor
Kirk Douglas Executive Producer
Edward Lewis 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
Robert Lawrence Editor
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Alex North Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Vittorio Nino Novarese Consultant/advisor
Robert Sculte Editor
Clifford Stine Cinematographer
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
Dalton Trumbo Screenwriter
Arlington F. Valles Costumes/Costume Designer
Irene Valles Costumes/Costume Designer
Waldon O. Watson Sound/Sound Designer
Bud Westmore Makeup
Harry L. Wolf Camera Operator

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