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22nd May 2014

Her Classic Movie Of The Week… Gladiator

"I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."

Sue Murphy

Every week, we in towers will provide you with a blast from the past, a film that you cannot live without but nor should you, the classic film that you simply need to watch.

This week, we take a look at the epic that is Gladiator.

Set in the ancient world during the dominance of Rome, Gladiator revolves around an army General, Maximus, favoured by the former Emperor who is brutally murdered by his son and heir, Commodus. The Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, before his death informed Maximus that he wished Rome to become a republic again, a republic run by the people not by one ruler and he tasks Maximus to bring this about.

However, after his death, Maximus finds himself a target for the new Emperor and with his family murdered, ends up in slavery. In order to make it back to Rome and seek his revenge, he must win tournaments as a gladiator and make it to the Colosseum.

Gladiator is for the most part an action film with intense scenes of violence that would have occurred in the Ancient World; the brutality within the arenas is extreme but accurate. The life of a slave and gladiator was a horrible existence, many just wished to die in the arena rather than keep suffering.

The cast are exceptional. Russell Crowe rightly picked up a Best Actor Oscar for his role while Joaquin Phoenix looked like he genuinely relished playing the evil Emperor so well. The late great Richard Harris is the perfect Marcus Aurelius while Oliver Reed in his last role as Proximo delivers some of the film’s greatest wisdom. As for those speeches throughout, there is probably not one person who can’t quote the “My name is Maximus” announcement.

The soundtrack is also exceptional with Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard creating a masterpiece that would be used over the top of many trailers after the film was released.

One of Ridley Scott’s finest works, Gladiator is just exceptional.