Wednesday, June 26, 2013


1960 American Feature

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Tony Curtis, John Gavin, John Dall, Nina Foch, John Ireland, Herbert Lom and Woody Strode
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writer: Dalton Trumbo, based on the novel by Howard Fast

The rebellious Spartacus, born and raised a slave, is sold to a gladiator trainer. After weeks of being trained to kill for the arena, Spartacus turns on his owners and leads the other slaves in rebellion against the Roman Republic.


  • Internet Movie Database: 8.0/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 96% / Audience: 79%
  • OMG rating: 9/10

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Book: Available


  • Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Ustinov), Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction and Color Costume Design; also nominated for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Film Editing.
  • BAFTA Award nomination for Best Film from Any Source.
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama; also nominated for Director, Actor - Drama (Olivier), Supporting Actor (Strode and Ustinov) and Original Score.
  • Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing - Feature Film.
  • Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Written American Drama.

  • Howard Fast's historical novel Spartacus was first published in 1951. It was also adapted as a television mini-series for the USA Network in 2004; Goran Visnjic starred  as the title character with Alan Bates as Antonius.
  • The development of Spartacus was partly instigated by Kirk Douglas's failure to win the title role in William Wyler's Ben-Hur.
  • Potential Directors: David Lean and Laurence Olivier.
  • Stanley Kubrick was brought in as director after Kirk Douglas had a major falling out with the original director, Anthony Mann. According to Peter Ustinov, the salt mines sequence was the only footage shot by Mann.
  • Casting Call: Ingrid Bergman, Jeanne Moreau and Orson Welles.
  • During the long, arduous shoot, Tony Curtis allegedly asked Jean Simmons, "Who do I have to screw to get off this film?" Some versions of the interaction include Simmons replying, "When you find out, let me know."
  • George Kennedy made his uncredited screen debut playing one of the soldiers in the famous "I am Spartacus!" scene. 
  • Spartacus is one of only three films to win Best Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes and not receive a Best Picture nomination from the Academy Awards. (The other two are East of Eden and The Cardinal.) 
  • Spartacus was the biggest moneymaker in Universal Studios' history, an honor it held for a decade until it was surpassed by Airport in 1970.
  • Spartacus was re-released in 1991 with 14 minutes of footage that had been cut from the film before its original release. This addition includes several violent battle sequences, as well as the infamous "bath scene" in which Laurence Olivier's Crassus attempts to seduce his slave Antoninus (Tony Curtis), speaking about the analogy of "eating oysters" and "eating snails" to express his opinion that sexual preference is a matter of taste rather than morality. The Production Code Administration and the Legion of Decency both objected to the scene, and one of the censors actually suggested it would help if the reference to oysters and snails was changed to truffles and artichokes. When the film was restored (two years after Olivier's death), the original dialogue recording of this scene was missing, and thus had to be re-dubbed. Curtis was able to re-record his part, but Crassus' voice was, at the suggestion of Olivier's widow Joan Plowright, provided by Anthony Hopkins. A talented mimic, he had been a protégé of Olivier during his days as the National Theatre's Artistic Director and knew his voice well.
  • In 2001, Spartacus was ranked #62 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Thrills" list. 
  • Spartacus was released on DVD as part of The Criterion Collection in 2001.
  • In 2003, Spartacus was ranked the #22 Hero on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains" list.
  • In 2006, Spartacus was ranked #44 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Cheers" list.
  • In 2007, Spartacus was ranked #81 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies: 10th Anniversary Edition" list.
  • In 2008, Spartacus was ranked the #5 Epic on the American Film Institute's "10 Top 10" list.
  • In 2010, Starz premiered a television series based on the historical figure of Spartacus that upped the homoerotic content considerably, including full frontal nudity and gay sex scenes.

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