Spartacus (1960)

PG-13   |    |  Adventure, Biography, Drama

Spartacus (1960) Poster

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

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  • Kirk Douglas and Charles McGraw in Spartacus (1960)
  • Spartacus (1960)
  • Kirk Douglas at an event for Spartacus (1960)
  • Kirk Douglas and John Ireland in Spartacus (1960)
  • Kirk Douglas in Spartacus (1960)
  • Kirk Douglas at an event for Spartacus (1960)

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Reviews & Commentary

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21 December 2006 | jzappa
| Nice Look Back On 1960s Technicolor Lushness
Spartacus is a Roman epic with Laurence Olivier in one of the greatest performances I think I've ever seen. It's also an ambitious early vehicle for Stanley Kubrick. And, it's an important point in cinematic history because it was the first film to openly defy the black list by using the work of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and billing him. The most entertaining thing about it, aside from Olivier's fierce, intense, and successfully infuriating performance, is the dated look of the lavish and obviously fake sets, the bright and blown out Technicolor cinematography, the opening slave revolt and the costumes and weapons and firetruck red blood. It's a movie of the times. It also marks my confirmation that Laurence Olivier is a brilliant actor. He draws such an intimidating facade for his prideful and puerile militarist, hiding his weak fear for humiliation in his battle for power against the truly confident Gracchus. I have seen Olivier in Sleuth, in which he gave a wonderful performance, but he didn't shoot to the top of my list as he does here.

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Did You Know?


A disagreement with Kirk Douglas got Director Anthony Mann fired, and he was replaced by Stanley Kubrick.


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 ...


During the final battle sequences the slaves drag down burning hay rollers. One of the slaves in Sparacus's army overshoots the end of the run and a Roman soldier generously drops his sword in order to catch him.

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.


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Adventure | Biography | Drama | History | War

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