Critic Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
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Critic Reviews for Gladiator
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.
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.
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.
If there's a soft spot in your heart for the sword-&-sandal epic, then you'll swoon with giddy delight over Gladiator.
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.
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.
Audience Reviews for Gladiator
A great historical adventure of epic scale. From outstanding cinematography, great acting performances (especially by Crowe, Hounsou and Phoenix) to a really good plot, including all it takes in the genre: great battle scenes, intrigues, interesting characters. This movie has all it takes to be the kind of classic it already is. Especially the gladiator fights are breath taking and stand the test of time, rivaling Ben Hur's great chariot race. To top it off Hans Zimmer writes one of the most beautiful end credits songs to a very moving ending. Outstanding film-making by Ridley Scott. Especially recommend: the Extended Version with several additional scenes.
An masterfully constructed epic concerning a general (Russell Crowe) of the Roman Army, next in line to be emperor thanks to his strong relationship to the current one (Richard Harris), before he is murdered in cold blood by his own son (Joaquin Phoenix) and the son sells the general into slavery after brutally murdering his family. The general becomes a gladiator, rising up through the rankings focused on enacting revenge on the emperor, and thus becoming a power political piece the newly crowned Caesar can not kill due to his popularity with the people of Rome. A soaring epic that nails almost everything right, with fantastic performances from Crowe and Phoenix that helped make them the movie stars they are now. This is a special, unique movie about the Roman empire and the way Scott captures it is utterly thrilling.
|Quintus:||People should know when they’re conquered.|
|Quintus:||People should know when they're conquered.|
|Gen. Maximus:||Would you, Quintus? Would I?|
|Maximus:||The frost.. sometimes it makes the blade stick|
|Proximo:||And the great whore will suckle us until we are fat and happy and can suckle no more.|
|Maximus:||Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.|