Spartacus (1960)

“I am Spartacus!”

One of the most quotable lines to come out of a movie. A movie about slavery, the desire from freedom, loyalty, treachery, political intrigue, and love.

Based on true events, Spartacus tells the story of a slave rebellion, eventually crushed by the Roman army. A movie told with epic proportion, but never losing the heart of simple human emotions.

Director Stanley Kubrick was said to be unhappy with not having artistic control of the script. I don’t see how he could have improved it. Certainly not known for his humility, we can be happy the script was kept out of reach of his ego.

Three notable scenes: 1. As the two armies approach each other, the faces of Spartacus’ army lets any non-historian know the outcome. (Keep in mind, this was filmed long before computer generated effects. Imagine directing 8,000 actors in one scene?)

2. A defeated group of survivors has the chance to save themselves by identifying Spartacus. Their choice? Guess.

3. Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) and Antoninus (Tony Curtis), bonded with a love of a father and son, face the choice of fighting to the death, with the victor facing crucifixion. Their final conversation is touching, heart-breaking, and haunting.

Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, and Charles Laughton remind us that only some actors can be called artists.

Ultimately, Spartacus reminds us that as long as mankind rules the earth, true freedom can never be attained. Then why is this “one of the best movies ever made?” Because it reminds us so well.


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