Gladiator Reviews

Manohla Dargis
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
January 8, 2014

Gladiator is filled with brilliant filmmaking and features outstanding performances, but it's neither profound enough nor pop enough to be great -- it's mournful, serious, beautiful and, finally, pointless.

David Denby
New Yorker
Top Critic
January 8, 2014

Ridley Scott thrusts us so close to the combat that all we see is a lot of whirling and thrashing, a sword thrust here and there, a spurt of blood, a limb severed. There's hardly a scene that is cleanly and coherently staged in open space.

Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
Top Critic
January 8, 2014

If there's a soft spot in your heart for the sword-&-sandal epic, then you'll swoon with giddy delight over Gladiator.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
January 8, 2014

Crowe doesn't use tricks in this role to court our approval. He earns it the old-fashioned way, by daring to be quiet, if not silent, and intensely, implacably strong.

Desmond Ryan
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
February 24, 2013

The fusion of the ancient and the modern -- even to the point of some sly echoes of our own sports-mad society -- is seamless. Gladiator does indeed deliver the glory that was Rome, but it also clinically dissects the assumptions on which it was built.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Keith Phipps
AV Club
Top Critic
February 24, 2013

In the end, Gladiator is overdrawn and too insubstantial for its own good, just like the old days, but it satisfies as entertainment on a grand scale.

David Edelstein
Slate
Top Critic
February 24, 2013

Gladiator's combination of grim sanctimony and drenching, Dolby-ized dismemberings left me appalled.

David Germain
Associated Press
Top Critic
February 24, 2013

Time for a little gladiatorial gore with your Milk Duds. Gladiator is here, and it's big, glorious and eminently dumb.

Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
Top Critic
April 27, 2007

Ultimately, Gladiator is an honorable and inoffensive spectacle with nothing extraordinary to recommend it.

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
February 6, 2007

Though the digital effects lack the weight and conviction of their equivalents in old Cecil B. De Mille movies, Ridley Scott's sword-and-sandal epic has some of the intensity of old Hollywood in terms of storytelling, spectacle, and violence.

Geoff Andrew
Time Out
Top Critic
June 24, 2006

The cast is strong (notably Nielsen as Commodus's vacillating sister, and the late Oliver Reed, unusually endearing as a gladiator owner), the pacing lively, and the sets, swordplay and Scud catapults impressive.

Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
March 19, 2002

The Roman costume drama, all dressed to the IX's, has taken a long holiday from the big screen.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Susan Stark
Detroit News
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A visually astonishing picture that brings script, performance and, alas, displays of violence up to the modern standard.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

| Original Score: B+
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Highly visual entertainment with lots of blood and action.

Robert Horton
Film.com
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator derides 'entertainment' while hustling like crazy to provide two and a half hours' worth of same. The heroism and the tigers and the epic grandeur all leave behind the flavor of cynicism.

J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Self-proclaimed 'world-creator' Scott only intermittently obliterates the turgid narrative and mediocre dialogue.

James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

This is filmmaking on a grand scale.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

The most visually spectacular of all Roman Empire epics.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator is what championship is all about. Thrilling and exciting, it embraces technical standards of filmmaking rarely anticipated in earlier epics.

Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A truly transporting trip back nearly 2,000 years.

Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator pours on the usual Caesar dressing.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator charges into heart pounding battle.

Full Review | Original Score: A-
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

The film looks muddy, fuzzy and indistinct.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

If spectacle, not plot, is your plate of pasta, you'll find Gladiator as much fun as a Roman holiday.

Gene Seymour
Newsday
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Ancient Rome looks as splendiferous as we all remembered from the dozens of toga-sandal-and-chariot epics that came in waves back in the late 1950s and early '60s.

Ted Fry
Film.com
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

This tale of power and revenge proves that there are still some people in the movie business who know what they're doing.

Steven Rosen
Denver Post
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

This film is the first 'sword-and-sandal' epic since the mid-1960s.

Cody Clark
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

The movie's production values are peerless.

Jay Carr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

With its conspicuous display of prefascist trappings, it says more about our time than about Rome.

Sean Means
Film.com
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator doesn't have enough plot to be a Roman epic ... and too much plot to be a summer action movie.

Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A movie that revels in the primal thrill of swords tearing into flesh and blood spraying in huge, arterial gouts.

Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Without Russell Crowe's dynamism holding it all together, Gladiator might have devolved into a rash of overblown pandering.

Louis B. Parks
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

There's nary a dull moment in the film.

Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A smart movie and sumptuously executed.

Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

This Ridley Scott film, his best in years, re-envisions ancient Rome for the aughts and makes it safe to go back in the Colosseum.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Action-packed and passionate.

Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator suggests what would happen if someone made a movie of the imminent extreme-football league and shot it as if it were a Chanel commercial.

Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator is not as nimble outside the arena as inside.

Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator is a canned experience, a film that flails around awkwardly trying to find a reason to exist.

Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

An exhilarating, sweeping epic that begs to be seen on the largest possible screen.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Visually stimulating.

Desson Thomson
Washington Post
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator is one extended guilty pleasure.

Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

It is undeniably a triumph, muscular and entertaining.

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Gladiator is quite a good movie -- a big, fat, rousing, intelligent, daring, retro, many-adjective-requiring entertainment.