Gladiator
R
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

After the bloody defeat of the German Gauls, Roman General Maximus (Russell Crowe) dreams of retiring to his home and family. But Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) has one more duty for him succeed him on the throne. Marcus son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), however, hastens his fathers death and assumes his title. Sentenced to death, Maximus escapes to find his estate burned and his family killed. Captured by slavers, hes sold to former gladiator, Proximo (Oliver Reed in his last performance). Proximo tells him the only way to defeat the emperor is to capture the support of the Colosseum crowds. Leading gladiators as he once led his army, Maximus becomes a famous and popular attraction until Commodus challenges him on the arena sands. Only the strong stomached will enjoy the Bread and Circus bloodfest of GLADIATOR.

Like many dramatic films of historical events, GLADIATOR takes poetic license with historical accuracy. According to Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Commodus was suspected of poisoning his father Marcus Aurelius. He was also fond of participating in the gladiator activities in the arena, but he ended up poisoned by his servants. Maximus, along with his brother whos not shown in the film, were favored generals and provincial adminstrators executed by Commodus. In the film, Maximus is an honorable man who prays daily to his gods, believes in an afterlife and desires to be with his family. But hes also referred to as Romes greatest general, a trained soldier and warrior who engages in fierce battles. Although somewhat expected and in historical context, the battles are graphically depicted melees with gory and gruesome killings. Equally gory are the gladiator battles as blood flows freely in the Colosseum arena. Focusing on physical battles and revenge, the film avoids other objectionable material although Commodus implies he wants an incestual relationship with his sister, Lucilla. While some characters show redeeming values, the excessive gore depicted in GLADIATOR earns a thumbs down.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Dreamworks SKG & Universal Pictures, 100 Universal Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Once - s-word
Profanity: None
Violence: Frequent Severe (barbaric warfare, severed head rolls on ground, sword stabbings, impalings, decapitations, arrows in bodies, men in flames, suffocation, charred bodies, boy run over by horses, hanging, body cut in half, man cuts tattoo off self, bloody wounds, ref. to people crucified/raped, man grabbed by crotch)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Once (male rear)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Reference to women buying services from gladiator, man implies wants incestual relationship, sensual kiss
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Man upholds honor, discussions of afterlife, man prays to his gods daily, historical characters but inaccurate portrayal, urine shown at scared mans feet
Running Time: 150 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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