Spartacus (1960)

PG-13   |    |  Adventure, Biography, Drama


Spartacus (1960) Poster

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.


7.9/10
123,294

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12 December 2003 | vox-sane
Overkill
"Spartacus" is an overrated spectacle whose parts (and there are many good ones) are better than its whole.

It starts out well with Douglas becoming a gladiator and learning the ins and outs of the business. But after the revolt, all the slave scenes become unbearably tedious.

The Romans steal the movie. The politics, the backstabbing, the jockeying. The Romans also are better actors, and their scenes are done with a wry humor. In one scene with Peter Ustinov's and Charles Laughton's characters are sharing a meal, and each of the actors desperately trying to outact each other -- and better acting you're rarely likely to see as the old ham and the up and coming ham both try to steal the scene.

Olivier's Crassus is also notable. In fact, some of the slave scenes are so cloying and tiresome one winds up rooting for the Romans. The slaves scenes are enlivened occasionally by the arrival of Herbert Lom (Inspector Dreyfus). So, many good scenes (especially the climactic battle), many good performances, some fine writing here and there, but ultimately boring with the people who should be most interesting and sympathetic, the revolting slaves who are willing to die for the cause of freedom.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to what the book and movie portray, the historical Spartacus was born free in Thrace, a region divided amongst modern-day Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. He may have served in the Thracian Army or the Roman Army in Macedonia. Rome often impressed soldiers of armies it had defeated into its own army. It is thought that he was either captured in battle, or deserted the army, and was later captured, and then sold into slavery.


Quotes

Narrator: 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 ...


Goofs

During the gladiator battle, the black slave just barely catches the right heel of Spartacus with his net, tipping him over. In the next shot, the net is tightly bound around both his knees.


Crazy Credits

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).


Alternate Versions

The film premiered at 202 minutes. However, the prints from the premiere were lost in the 1970s when Universal threw out all the film's tracks, outtakes, additional prints etc. (This was parallel to 'John Landis'' claim during his work on creating the director's cut of The Blues Brothers (1980)). The Criterion Collection has 4 minutes of lost scenes involving the Gracchus subplot:

  • 1.) After the first senatorial meeting scene, Gracchus and Caesar walk around the market discussing the dirty tactic of fishing votes. (Shown in production-still form)
  • 2.) Gracchus commits suicide by slitting his wrist in the bathtub. This occurred immediately after he closes the curtain near the end of the film. Only the audio track was found in the studio vault.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Biography | Drama | History | War

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,162 28 April 1991

Gross USA:

$1,830,650

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,844,789

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