Critics Consensus

Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.



Total Count: 194


Audience Score

User Ratings: 34,128,168
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A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his people, in this epic historical drama from director Ridley Scott. In the year 180, the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) throws the Roman Empire into chaos. Maximus (Russell Crowe) is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ascends to the throne, Maximus is set to be executed. He escapes, but is captured by slave traders. Renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator, Maximus must battle to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences. His battle skills serve him well, and he becomes one of the most famous and admired men to fight in the Colosseum. Determined to avenge himself against the man who took away his freedom and laid waste to his family, Maximus believes that he can use his fame and skill in the ring to avenge the loss of his family and former glory. As the gladiator begins to challenge his rule, Commodus decides to put his own fighting mettle to the test by squaring off with Maximus in a battle to the death. Gladiator also features Derek Jacobi, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou, and Oliver Reed, who died of a heart attack midway through production. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Russell Crowe
as Gen. Maximus
Oliver Reed
as Proximo
Richard Harris
as Marcus Aurelius
Derek Jacobi
as Gracchus
Tomas Arana
as Quintus
Omid Djalili
as Slave Trader
Nicholas McGaughey
as Praetorian Officer
Chris Kell
as Scribe
Tony Curran
as Assasin No. 1
Mark Lewis
as Assassin No. 2
John Quinn
as Valerius
Alun Raglan
as Praetorian Guard No. 1
David Bailie
as Engineer
Chick Allen
as German Leader
David Nicholls
as Giant Man
Al Ashton
as Rome Trainer No. 1
Billy Dowd
as Narrator
Ray Calleja
as Lucius' Attendant
Giannina Facio
as Maximus' Wife
Giorgio Cantarini
as Maximus' Son
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News & Interviews for Gladiator

Critic Reviews for Gladiator

All Critics (194) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (148) | Rotten (46)

  • Russell Crowe solidly anchors this epic-scale gladiator movie - the first in nearly four decades - by using his burly frame and expressive face to give dimension to what might otherwise have been comic book heroics.

    May 8, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Throughout it all, Crowe maintains a tough, slot-mouthed reticence; he is very persuasive as the superman of the Colosseum.

    Feb 22, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In Russell Crowe, Scott has found an actor who can carry this movie the way Atlas was supposed to carry the globe of the world on his back -- in Crowe's case without stooping.

    Feb 22, 2015 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 8, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 8, 2014 | Full Review…

    David Denby

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

    Jan 8, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gladiator

  • May 02, 2016
    While Gladiator handles itself brilliantly at times and features a great final hour, the film is very tedious and doesn't entertain for the majority of the duration.
    Sean T Super Reviewer
  • May 05, 2014
    In all the praise and criticism, the one thing no one discusses is just how silly most of the film is. Yes its undeniably entertaining but the story is just one goofy, over-the-top scenario after another and Ridley Scott (as well as the cast) takes it all so seriously. In any case, I do enjoy re-watching it from time to time, as I have a soft spot for grandiose speeches and gorgeous spectacle.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2013
    Gladiator is a historical epic from director Ridley Scott. After being betrayed by the new Caesar, Roman general Maximus is sold into slavery as a gladiator where he rises to fame as a people's champion and finds an opportunity to exact his revenge. Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and Connie Nielsen lead the cast and deliver strong performances. Additionally, the gladiator fights are especially dynamic and exciting, featuring several different styles of combat. The costumes and sets are also remarkably well-done, and create a vivid depiction of ancient Rome. And, Hans Zimmer's score does an excellent job at capturing the tone of the film. Thrilling and action-packed, Gladiator delivers a compelling tale. "Are you not entertained?!"
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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