"Gladiators don’t make friends. If we’re ever matched in the arena together, I have to kill you."

– Draba (Woody Strode)


Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, Tony Curtis

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Fast Facts:

  • Spartacus was based on a 1952 novel by Howard Fast, detailing a true account of a gladiator who led a slave uprising against Rome in 73 BC.
  • The script was written by Dalton Trumbo, an Academy Award®-winning screenwriter who had been jailed and blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the late 1940s.
  • Trumbo had written several films using pseudonyms or "fronts" while under the blacklist, but by putting Trumbo’s name on Spartacus, Kirk Douglas and Universal effectively ended the blacklisting practice.
  • Stanley Kubrick replaced director Anthony Mann (El Cid) after only one week’s shooting.
  • The film cost $12 million, was shot in 167 days and employed over 10,000 people.
  • The battle scenes were filmed in Spain, using thousands of soldiers from the Spanish army. However, their battle cries and shouts were actually the sounds of the rooting section at Michigan State University.
  • The film was nominated for six Academy Awards®, winning for Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction and Supporting Actor (Peter Ustinov).
  • In 1992, Spartacus was restored by acclaimed film restorer Robert A. Harris (with backing from Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Universal) at a cost of nearly $1 million.
  • Harris restored five minutes of footage that had been cut from the initial release print (including the bath scene between Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier), along with the original overture, entr’acte and exit music.
  • When Harris restored the famous bath scene between Olivier and Curtis, the sound had to be rerecorded. Since Olivier was dead by then, Oscar® winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), known for his dead-on Olivier impersonation, recorded the scene opposite Tony Curtis.

This presentation of the powerful film classic features an additional five minutes of footage cut from the film’s original release, plus the original overture and extended soundtrack. Director Stanley Kubrick tells the tale of Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), the bold gladiator slave, and Varinia (Jean Simmons), the woman who believed in his cause. Challenged by the power-hungry General Crassus (Laurence Olivier), Spartacus is forced to face his convictions and the power of Imperial Rome at its glorious height.

The inspirational true account of man’s eternal struggle for freedom, Spartacus combines history with spectacle to create a moving drama of love and commitment.



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