The Last Gladiators

2011, Documentary, 1h 34m

10 Reviews 250+ Ratings

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The Last Gladiators Photos

Movie Info

Filmmaker Alex Gibney explores the history of the hockey goon.

Cast & Crew

Guy Carbonneau
Self
Lyndon L Byers
Self
Chris Nilan
Self
Jim Podhoretz
Screenwriter
Larry Weitzman
Screenwriter
Robert Brooks
Executive Producer
George Gund
Executive Producer
Donald Rizzo
Executive Producer
Michael Messner
Executive Producer
Barry Reese
Executive Producer
David Kahne
Original Music
Ben Bloodwell
Cinematographer
Boyd Estus
Cinematographer
Jim Podhoretz
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for The Last Gladiators

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (1)

  • Gibney celebrates hockey's fisticuff traditions while also recognizing how such brutality ultimately takes its greatest toll on those who perpetrate it.

    February 13, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Gibney deserves credit for making a hockey film that the uninitiated can watch with interest, and for focusing on an issue even some hockey fans can't make up their minds about.

    February 1, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Pretty or not, the stories of dropped gloves and smashed faces shed some clarity on the game's violence ...

    January 31, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • At his best, Gibney focuses on his subject and then explodes it outward. But with "The Last Gladiators," he's taken a rare misstep. There is undoubtedly a great story within the bruised history of NHL enforcers. Why, though, did he choose Chris Nilan's?

    January 31, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Makes room for tender moments of reflection from a guy who, against impossible odds, still managed some victories, the biggest of which may be that he's still standing.

    January 30, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • In a way, this doc is Bully, grown up, and from the bully's perspective.

    March 15, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Gibney celebrates hockey's fisticuff traditions while also recognizing how such brutality ultimately takes its greatest toll on those who perpetrate it.

    February 13, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Gibney deserves credit for making a hockey film that the uninitiated can watch with interest, and for focusing on an issue even some hockey fans can't make up their minds about.

    February 1, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Pretty or not, the stories of dropped gloves and smashed faces shed some clarity on the game's violence ...

    January 31, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • At his best, Gibney focuses on his subject and then explodes it outward. But with "The Last Gladiators," he's taken a rare misstep. There is undoubtedly a great story within the bruised history of NHL enforcers. Why, though, did he choose Chris Nilan's?

    January 31, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • In a way, this doc is Bully, grown up, and from the bully's perspective.

    March 15, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Even if you're not a hockey fan, Nilan is a modest and insightful guy.

    February 21, 2013 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for The Last Gladiators

  • Apr 28, 2014
    "The Last Gladiators" is a documentary that seeks to explore the careers and lives of various enforcers in the NHL while carefully walking the line between entertainment and expose. Of special interest here is Chris Nilan who played and fought 13 seasons for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. While talking to plenty of his friends and family, the movie also interviews some of Nilan's fellow enforcers like Marty McSorley and the late Bob Probert. But the documentary should have also taken the time to talk to Mike Milbury who usually loves the sound of his own voice and could have provided perspective from three different angles. That speaks to the documentary's central flaw, in that in solely following Nilan around, it is not able to fully explore whether or not his post-career life is typical of former NHL enforcers, not allowing for any new insights in the bargain.(Strangely enough the documentary fails to bring up concussions at all.) For example, sad as it sounds, many retired people sit around all day watching television. And many athletes not named Michael Strahan have a hard time adjusting to regular life after retiring from being a professional athlete. With Nilan, you have a chicken and egg debate in whether he was aggressive to start out or did hockey make him even more so? In any case, I do not think he would have been better off without hockey, as it is nearly impossible to say what his alternate life would have been like.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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