Spartacus is 1960’s Epic Roman Era based movie directed by Stanley Kubrick . It’s based on Howard Fast’s novel of the same name and has Kirk Douglas playing the lead role of Spartacus. ‘Spartacus’ is a tale of stubborn slave whom fate made a Gladiator, and then from Gladiator he went on to raise an army of slaves that went on to challenge the Roman Empire.
‘Spartacus’ was made on a huge budget and was tremendously successful. Many of the scenes, and the sets and the costumes used in ‘Spartacus’ has inspired many Historical movies that came after it like ‘ Gladiator ’ and ‘ Brave Heart’ Infact the plot of the movie is quite similar to ‘ Gladiator ’ in the first half and ‘ Brave Heart’ towards the end.
Coming to the plot: Lentulus Batiatus saves Spartacus , a rebellious slave, from the mouth of death and trains him to be a Gladiator. In the training camp Spartacus falls in love with Varinia, a proud and beautiful servant woman who serves food to the Gladiator in the camp. One day Roman senator Marcus Licinius Crassus, alongwith his wife and friends, visit the camp and asks for the fight to death, between two pair of Gladiators. Spartacus loses the fight but his opponent Draba, refuses to kill him and attacks the Roman Senator instead. Carracus kills Draba. Inspired by this incident, all the slaves, led by Spartacus, start a mutiny and escapes from the camp killing all the guards.
Spartacus is chosen as the unopposed chief and more and more slaves add to this rebellion unit and soon it becomes a force that challenges the Roman Empire. They plunder the Romans and free the slaves on their way, who in turns join the army. After defeating the army sent by Roman Senates and getting hold of enough wealth and arms, Spartacus decides to move out of Italy and back to their homeland. They move towards Cilicia wherein pirates are to provide them with ships to transport them out of Italy.
Crassus however has bribed the pirates and his forces are now leading to attack the slaves from 3 sides. All the slaves die in the combat and rest gets captured. But when asked about who is Spartacus, no one points to the real one and infact starts to claim of our reviewers recommend us himself to be Spartacus. Crassus, infuriated by this devotion and love of soldiers towards their leader, which he himself aspires of, orders to crucify of all the slaves left all along the road to Rome.
Kirk Douglas as Spartacus looks good and has played it well, but I feel he somehow has not been able to deliver that powerful a performance as it should’ve been. Laurence Olivier as Crassus, Spartacus’s main foe from the Roman Empire, however has given an excellent performance and impresses a lot. Jean Simmons as Varinia, looks strong and beautiful, it’s a role that required strength and charisma and beauty and she excels in all the areas. Charles Laughton as Gracchus, plays an important role of senate who is the only roadblock in the way of Crassus to get it his way. He is a mean and diplomatic and well played by Laughton. Peter Ustinov as Batiatus has played a key role and is very impressive and humors as well; went on to win the Oscar for Supporting role. All other actors have played their parts well and looks close to real in their getups.
First choice to direct ‘Spartacus’ was David Lean, master of Historical epics, (‘ The Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ ), who refused the offer so came Stanley Kubrick in picture. ‘Spartacus’ is my 3rd movie of Kubrick after ‘ Dr Strangelove’ and ‘ The Shining ’ and now I know why he is considered as one of the best that Hollywood has ever had. He has worked on almost all genres and has excelled with brilliance too. ‘Spartacus’ is Kubrick’s masterpiece on Epic Drama.
Alongwith Supporting Role Oscar for Peter Ustinov, ‘Spartacus’ also won 3 more Oscars for Cinematography, Costume Design and Art Direction and was nominated for Music and Editing. All these facets form the best aspects of the movie. I don’t know how to cover them separately but can easily say that together they present to you an experience of our reviewers recommend us that looks close to real, and you feel as if you have visited the Rome in all its Glories . Sets look Roman and so does the actors in their perfect costumes.
FINAL WORDS: With total length of close to 3 hours, ‘Spartacus’ entertains you with its brilliant action sequences, powerful performances by its lead actors, close to real sets and costumes, and masterly direction by Stanley Kubrick. It’s Classic Historical drama, one which inspired many a movies that came after it. Length is long and at times gets somewhat slow, but it’s worth it all, as it requires time to appreciate a thing that’s beautiful.
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