Sword and Sandal Blogathon – Spartacus (1960)

This is the final of 3 reviews for the Sword and Sandal Blogathon being run by Debra over at Moon in Gemini.  Tnx for letting me take part!

“Good luck, and may fortune smile upon… most of you.” –  Batiatusspartacus-poster

Number of Times Seen – at least 2 (8 Apr 2006 and 5 Jul 2016)

Brief Synopsis – A lifelong slave helps to start a slave revolt against the Roman Empire.

My Take on it – I saw this movie once before and recall enjoying it quite a lot.

Thankfully, that viewing was more than a decade ago, so I didn’t quite remember everything that happens which gave me the chance to relive some of the great scenes without them feeling too familiar to me.

The script by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo is superb and I truly believe it’s his best script and a masterpiece in writing.

The 3 1/4 hour story is the perfect length to give us an overview of life in the Roman Empire for both slaves and citizens alike.

The cast is superb and that raises the level of entertainment even higher.

Kirk Douglas (who really reminds me all the time how much he and his son Michael look and sound alike), Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Jean Simmons and Charles Laughton are all amazing here.

The way the story is told is quite emotional and powerful because it gives us a great tale about freedom from bondage and the desire to make one’s own decisions about what one does in life and how one wishes to go to the next world as a free man/woman.

Loved the gladiator scenes because it reminded me of some of the scenes and action that was also present in Gladiator (2000) which this movie definitely influenced.

Many people might not wish to attempt watching this because of its length, but I think that a film with a premise like this needs the time and room to tell a full epic story and they do a wonderful job here of doing that!

This movie won Best Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, but failed to win any of its other 5 nominations (Director, Musical score, Actor – Olivier, and two Best Supporting Actor nominees, Ustinov and Woody Strode). At the Oscars, it missed out on a Best Picture nomination, but won 4 of its 6 nominations (Best Supporting Actor – Ustinov, Cinematography, Art Direction and Costumes).  It lost Best Music and Film Editing.

Bottom Line – Great movie that really shows us so much about life under Roman rule both for citizens and for slaves.  Amazing cast helps make this film even better.  This IMHO is truly Dalton Trumbo’s triumphant screenplay because it is written so well. The 3 1/4 hours is the perfect length to tell such a powerful and emotional tale of freedom from bondage and the ability to make ones own decisions in life and in death. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In order to get so many big stars to play supporting roles, Kirk Douglas showed each a different script in which their character was emphasized. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)



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11 thoughts on “Sword and Sandal Blogathon – Spartacus (1960)

  1. I remember watching it with my dad when I was a kid. Definitely a downer ending, but given the source material, you couldn’t really have it any other way. A very enjoyable movie, regardless of the length.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. The thing I remember most about watching Spartacus the first time when I was very young was the scene where the slaves are confronting the Roman army. And I realized, OMG, they are going to get totally slaughtered in this battle.

    It seemed so strange because most Hollywood films had the underdog prevail in the end. (Of course, in an ironic way, Spartacus does prevail in the end, but not in battle.) It was a revelation that stories didn’t always have to go that way to be really good.

    Thank you so much for your contributions to the blogathon!


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