In 73 B.C., a Thracian slave leads a revolt at a gladiatorial school run by Lentulus Batiatus (Sir Peter Ustinov). The uprising soon spreads across the Italian Peninsula involving thousand of slaves. The plan is to acquire sufficient funds to acquire ships from Silesian pirates who could then transport them to other lands from Brandisium in the south. The Roman Senator Gracchus (Charles Laughton) schemes to have Marcus Publius Glabrus (John Dall), Commander of the garrison of Rome, lead an army against the slaves who are living on Vesuvius. When Glabrus is defeated his mentor, Senator and General Marcus Licinius Crassus (Sir Laurence Olivier) is greatly embarrassed and leads his own army against the slaves. Spartacus and the thousands of freed slaves successfully make their way to Brandisium only to find that the Silesians have abandoned them. They then turn north and must face the might of Rome.Written by
According to Producer Edward Lewis, Charles McGraw (Marcellus) had his jaw broken in the scene where Kirk Douglas viciously jams his head into a large vat of soup. In spite of the pain of the injury, McGraw finished the scene. See more »
Many of the horsemen use stirrups, an invention which did not reach Europe until about the 7th century A.D., eight centuries after the film is set. See more »
In the last century before the birth of the new faith called Christianity, which was destined to overthrow the pagan tyranny of Rome and bring about a new society, the Roman Republic stood at the very center of the civilized world. "Of all things fairest," sang the poet, "first among cities and home of the gods is golden Rome." Yet, even at the zenith of her pride and power, the Republic lay fatally stricken with a disease called human slavery. The age of the dictator was at hand, ...
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The six main cast members are accompanied by an item that represents their character (a chain, a Roman eagle, a wine jug, a couple of hands - one wielding a snake, and a sword). See more »
European prints of the film contained a scene in which a nude Jean Simmons bathes in a pond. Stills and lobby cards exist, but the scene has not appeared in any re-issue. See more »
A very moving and compelling story of epic proportions. The plot is relentless, propelled by a dazzling screenplay. Kubrick draws some of the greatest performances of the cast, and fills the screen with images that fascinate throughout. Well paced for a movie of this magnitude.
To those who complain of anachronisms and poetic license with historical events, I say to them, 'Remember, it is a movie.' To be truly accurate, the cast would be delivering their lines in Latin and ancient Greek, with English subtitles. Whatever Kubrick might lose with historical inaccuracies, he gains far more in his ability to convey the story to the viewer. Even though it is over forty years old, the film tells us more of the present day than it does of the past.
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