Gladiator Reviews

Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
February 22, 2015
Gladiator is a triumph. On the surface, it's a terrific yarn with strong, rounded characters, agonizing suspense and visceral thrills. Look closer and you'll find rich historical themes, and a harrowing critique of violence as amusement.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
L.A. Weekly
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.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
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.
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
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
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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.
Top Critic
Desmond Ryan
Philadelphia Inquirer
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
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
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.
Top Critic
February 24, 2013
Gladiator's combination of grim sanctimony and drenching, Dolby-ized dismemberings left me appalled.
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
February 24, 2013
Time for a little gladiatorial gore with your Milk Duds. Gladiator is here, and it's big, glorious and eminently dumb.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
April 27, 2007
Ultimately, Gladiator is an honorable and inoffensive spectacle with nothing extraordinary to recommend it.
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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.
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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.
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
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
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 1, 2000
| Original Score: B+
Top Critic
January 1, 2000
Highly visual entertainment with lots of blood and action.
Top Critic
Robert Horton
Film.com
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.
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
January 1, 2000
Self-proclaimed 'world-creator' Scott only intermittently obliterates the turgid narrative and mediocre dialogue.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
This is filmmaking on a grand scale.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 1, 2000
The most visually spectacular of all Roman Empire epics.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
January 1, 2000
Gladiator is what championship is all about. Thrilling and exciting, it embraces technical standards of filmmaking rarely anticipated in earlier epics.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
January 1, 2000
A truly transporting trip back nearly 2,000 years.
Top Critic
Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
January 1, 2000
Gladiator pours on the usual Caesar dressing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 1, 2000
Gladiator charges into heart pounding battle.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
The film looks muddy, fuzzy and indistinct.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 1, 2000
If spectacle, not plot, is your plate of pasta, you'll find Gladiator as much fun as a Roman holiday.
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
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.
Top Critic
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
January 1, 2000
This film is the first 'sword-and-sandal' epic since the mid-1960s.
Top Critic
Cody Clark
Mr. Showbiz
January 1, 2000
The movie's production values are peerless.
Top Critic
Jay Carr
Boston Globe
January 1, 2000
With its conspicuous display of prefascist trappings, it says more about our time than about Rome.
Top Critic
Sean Means
Film.com
January 1, 2000
Gladiator doesn't have enough plot to be a Roman epic ... and too much plot to be a summer action movie.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 1, 2000
A movie that revels in the primal thrill of swords tearing into flesh and blood spraying in huge, arterial gouts.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 1, 2000
Without Russell Crowe's dynamism holding it all together, Gladiator might have devolved into a rash of overblown pandering.
Top Critic
Louis B. Parks
Houston Chronicle
January 1, 2000
There's nary a dull moment in the film.
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
January 1, 2000
A smart movie and sumptuously executed.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
January 1, 2000
Action-packed and passionate.
Top Critic
Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
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.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
January 1, 2000
Gladiator is not as nimble outside the arena as inside.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
January 1, 2000
Gladiator is a canned experience, a film that flails around awkwardly trying to find a reason to exist.
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
January 1, 2000
An exhilarating, sweeping epic that begs to be seen on the largest possible screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
January 1, 2000
Visually stimulating.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
Gladiator is one extended guilty pleasure.
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 1, 2000
It is undeniably a triumph, muscular and entertaining.
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
January 1, 2000
Gladiator is quite a good movie -- a big, fat, rousing, intelligent, daring, retro, many-adjective-requiring entertainment.