When it comes to epic films, nothing quite beats one that involves gladiators. They continually offer up some quite incredible scenes and storylines. But what are the greatest gladiator movies of all time?
We decided to don our armor, grab our swords, and have a good, old-fashioned debate to find out. And here’s our shortlist…
The 2000 film made Russell Crowe an absolute megastar. His stock rose hugely after this Ridley Scott epic, with every aspect of his personal life analyzed, from his relationships to his love of bingo. That’s right, bingo. He loves nothing more than a game and we can imagine between takes he’s on his phone enjoying the latest online slingo bingo games. Of course, Gladiator came even before the invention of smartphones and won five Oscars upon release.
The film was based upon the 1958 book Those About To Die and saw Crowe play Maximus, a former Roman General who is set out to gain revenge on a corrupt emperor (Joaquin Phoenix) who murdered all his family and cast him away to slavery. The film climaxes with a staggering scene in the amphitheater and it’s no wonder it’s listed as the 42nd best movie of all time according to IMDB.
2.) Jason and the Argonauts
Released in 1963, the movie stars Todd Armstrong and Douglas Wilmer and follows the story of the Greek myth in which Jason and his Argonauts set out on an adventure searching for the Golden Fleece.
There’s tons of action in this movie and it sees Jason sent on his way by his murderous ruler, who expects him to fail in his mission and perish. But will Pelias, the ruler, get his way? Not if the Argonauts can help it…
3.) Ben Hur
One of the most famous gladiator films of all time is Ben Hur. Directed by William Wyler, the movie won a staggering 11 Oscars, level with Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, for the most wins for a film, and stars Charlton Heston as the lead character.
It set the tone for gladiator movies and the 1959 movie follows Judah, a rich prince who was sold into slavery returning to get revenge on the Roman leader. It was the most expensive film ever made upon its release but still stands up today as a quite incredible movie and encounter.
Another epic that will always be rated among the very best is Spartacus. Starring Kirk Douglas, the film follows Spartacus, a slave who is at the center of a revolt against the Roman Empire.
Released in 1960 and directed by Stanley Kubrick, it was the director at his very finest, scooping a number of Academy Awards and going down as perhaps the very finest in the genre.