Top 100 Movies Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. We’ve been walking our way down through all 100 movies on the Hollywood Reporter’s list. Why? I’m not quite sure! HAahah. But seeing as though this blog deals almost exclusively with modern mind-job, and indie films… I sort of had a feeling the film “education” would be valuable for all of us? Or maybe not. Who knows. But I think this is the 31st on the on the list of 100, and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Even if it has stopped and started along the way.
Ridley Scott was my all time favorite director for a large swath of my movie watching career. Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down, Alien, Prometheus, Legend, etc., etc. I mean, it makes sense I was enamored with the guy and his films. And the hits just kept on coming with Gladiator. Which is a 2000 historical epic film about a general named Maximus who is betrayed by the emperor and then sold into slavery to become a gladiator. He rises through the ranks to seek revenge on the emperor and restore honor to his family. The film stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and Connie Nielsen. I mean, to say that this film was well received by audiences and critics alike is an understatement. It won five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Gladiator Movie Top 100 List Walkthrough
Gladiator is an epic film told in the Roman time frame. It tells of a time when Rome ruled the world and seemed to be unstoppable. 180 AD. The story follows Maximus Decimus Meridius, a highly respected and successful general serving under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The story begins with the emperor on his deathbed, and he decides to make Maximus his successor, instead of his own son, Commodus. Commodus, jealous and power-hungry, orders Maximus to be executed and his family murdered. However, Maximus survives the execution and is sold into slavery as a gladiator.
See? Maximus had a perfect and true love. A literally impossible love. The stuff of legend and myth. So much love he should have known in advance he was playing the part of a Greek Tragedy, not the story of a conquering hero. I mean, really Maximus? You had no idea you were doomed in advance? Novice.
Anyway, Maximus trains as a gladiator in North Africa and rises through the ranks decimating literally everyone in his path. It’s the story of Rocky in the ring… it’s the story of every underdog story ever written. And eventually having been sent to Rome to compete in the Colosseum, he’s been called up to the bigs. And it’s here, here that Maximus sways the crowds and wins them over to his side. The people? They see him as a symbol of hope and freedom. They don’t know that he’s the symbol of revenge and of death for anyone that comes near him.
Meanwhile, Commodus continues to rule Rome with an iron fist, and he becomes more and more tyrannical as time goes on. Maximus becomes the emperor’s greatest adversary and eventually confronts him in the arena. (It’s here that the story goes off the proverbial rails. I mean, when does ANY Emperor walk in to an arena without a bazooka and a tank at his disposal? He doesn’t.) Regardless, it’s a climactic battle, and duh, Maximus kills Commodus. Oh, and he also sustains fatal wounds himself… because, after all, he has become death personified. A hero made from death cannot live. And so he dies. The film ends with Maximus being reunited with his family in the afterlife, symbolizing his ultimate redemption and the triumph of good over evil. Regardless, the movie Gladiator is a powerful and emotional film that tells a timeless story of honor, bravery, and the pursuit of justice.
Thoughts on the Film Gladiator
It had been a while since I had re-watched Gladiator, and I have to say, the film definitely holds up. It may be 23 years old, but it doesn’t look it at all. The cinematography for this film is glorious. The acting fantastic. And the story is simplicity personified. The movie encapsulates the struggle for justice against the betrayed, and it was a universally loved story. The death of Maximus’ family, and his desire to survive solely in his attempt at revenge, is something everyone could get behind. And this idea of what makes a movie great, justice-concentrate, is a story as old as time. It could be argued that over simplification is a flaw, not a strength. But regardless, it clearly defining evil, and the goal for retribution – telling the audience what our collective journey should look like. This is the mountain, this is the goal, and if we don’t arrive —-> there, then we have all failed collectively.
Gladiator is a glorious film. The music, the acting, the directing, editing, cinematography, special effects, all collectively combine to create an amazing movie-going experience. But I would argue, that without the amazing tight, and clearly enunciated storyline, all of this movie’s innovation and Oscar worthy details would have been for naught.
If you are interested in checking out the entire list so far that I have already done through the Top 100 Movies of all time, you can find it right here.
Edited by: CY