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Drama - Historic

Spartacus (1960)


Elevator Pitch

In 73 BC Spartacus, a slave in gladiator school, rebels against his masters and, with his fellow trainees, defeats their guards and forms an army which picks up recruits from the countryside eventually making up a formidable force which threatens the security of Rome. The senate makes the error of sending out small forces which are defeated by the slave army, and it is only the intervention of General Crassus with a substantial number of legions, and the betrayal of Spartacus by the Silesian pirates which may turn the tide.


A lot of time spent in gladiator boot camp, culminating in the combat which results in the death of Spartacus’s opponent and his subsequent rebellion. The increasingly large slave army retreat to a mountain top, where we see them training and relaxing. Then they trog about in the countryside in changing weather conditions and Spartacus becomes intimate with Varinia a female slave who he has met back in gladiator school. The senate meets and they on and off discuss the problem and send forces out. Finally there is a big battle out in the countryside. There is a bit of almost nudity, and some almost implied sex plus a bit of drinking.

A View This film is well liked by everbody, but surely it is a bit ponderous and is not helped by the music. When it was originally played in theatres there was an intermission; today we could maybe have an edited version for those of us with a minimal attention span. It is significant in the progress of movie history and worth a look for that reason, but be prepared to be bored at least some of the time.
Duration 3h 17m Rating (UK) PG
Source of story A book by Howard Fast, itself based on real events.
Director Stanley Kubrick
Writers/Script Dalton Trumbo (Uncredited Peter Ustinov, Calder Willmington)
Starring Kirk Douglas, Lawrence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, John Ireland, Herbert Lom, Woody Strode, Tony Curtis
Additional Info The availability of the movie today is as the result of a restoration which took place in 1991, which contains a discussion about homosexual sex, cut from the original. Both the story of the making of the movie and the actual Spartacus story are worthy of further investigation.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



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