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What we do in life echoes in eternity. 

Year: 2000 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Ridley Scott 
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen  
An image from Gladiator

‘There was once a dream that was Rome.’

In 180 CE Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) died whilst touring the frontline of his campaign against the Germanic tribes. Though the empire was constantly at war during his reign, by the time of his death he had brought much expansion, wealth and prosperity to the empire. He was succeeded by his son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) which began a period of turmoil, corruption and decay that would inevitably lead to the downfall of Rome herself.

But what if, in the twilight of his years, the old stoic had grown weary of an empire constantly racked by corruption, betrayal, nepotism and extravagance? What if he dreamed of a republic reborn?

Knowing that he has little time left and that he does not have the strength to see his last task through, he journeys north to find the one man that he can trust to complete it, General Maximus (Russell Crowe). But Commodus, discovering his father’s plot and fearing for his throne and birth right, engages in patricide and orders Maximus’ exile.

Journeying home only to find his family murdered, Maximus sets out on a quest for vengeance, to regain his honour and to see Aurelius’ last wish completed; a quest that sees him become one of the most famous gladiators of Rome before he is pitted against Commodus and his cruel machinations.

Russell Crowe’s talent lends itself well to the role of the vengeful downtrodden “Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.” Phoenix is supreme as the fiercely jealous psychotic antagonist – a performance that Nero himself would be proud of.

One of director Ridley Scott’s best; winner of five Oscars including Best Actor and Best Visual Effects, and with one of Hans Zimmer’s more emotive scores – Gladiator is a cut above the rest even when slated in a Best Picture season.

Timothy Green

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Screenings of this film:

2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Autumn Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Spring Term (digital)
2015/2016 Spring Term (35mm)