It was this movie, that I saw when I was about 12 years old that shaped my love of history, especially Roman history. I probably do not deserve a doctorate for my knowledge of Roman history, but at least a Masters degree, seriously not, but then again I haven’t met anyone that knows as much as I do, YET.
Russell Crowe did an excellent job as a man who lost everything and worked his way back, through killing. My critique is not about Crowe, it is about the character he played. He was thirty-six when he played this part, historically speaking, he was way too old to be a gladiator, and much younger, gladiator trained men would have taken him down easy.
That is the history part. In the movie he had a 8 year old son. The grandson of Aurelius was 13. Most did not live past the age of 40 usually not longer than 36. Those that did were considered very wise men, even if they weren’t.
Most by the time they became citizens, at the age of 16 years, already were married and had families, yes 16 years old with children. Most would not see their children turn 16, so get that in your head when you watch movies or read books about Rome.
That my friends was not the only flaw in the movie, but it was the most unfair portrayal of Rome in the movie. Believe there are hundreds of ‘Roman’ movies that are worse.
I loved the story, the action, Russell Crowe and one of my favorites Joaquin Phoenix in the movie. I think everyone, including minor actors/esses did a fantastic job. Directing, photography and editing were superb. I rate the film 5 out of 5 stars. – May 2000