Directed by Ridley Scott
I never paid close attention to the similarities between Braveheart and Gladiator before. Now having seen them both relatively recently I can testify that they are basically the same movie, just with different historical backdrops and unlikable leading men.
Maximus Decimus Meridius is a general who leads Rome to victory against the Germanic tribes. The Emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius offers the throne to Maximus, in hopes that he will save Rome from corruption. This incites the jealousy of Marcus's son, Commodus, and Commodus kills his father in a rage, thus becoming emperor himself. He orders for the execution of Maximus and his family. Maximus manages to escape, but his family does not. Maximus is then captured and sold to Proximo, who trains him to be a gladiator. Although reluctant to commit violence at first, Maximus desires to fight at the Colosseum, earn his freedom, overthrow the emperor, and enact his revenge. It is surprisingly easier than you would think.
So I guess I don't have too many complaints on this one. It delivers on what it promises: action packed battle scenes and spectacular visual effects. I think this was a simple story that really didn't need almost three hours to be told. It doesn't exactly have layers and the characters are a little cartoonish (although I suppose the real Commodus was a little cartoonish as well).
Still, it is hard to deny the epicness when Russell Crowe yells "Are you not entertained?" in his armor. Looking all sweaty and muscular. Ahem.
Mel Gibson turned down the lead role.
Over 20,000 arrows were created for the opening battle.