Ridley Scott revives the Roman epic with computer generated imagery and a mighty performance from Russell Crowe. Not to mention the last stand of the late Oliver Reed
Hulking great buildings, hulking men, hulking utterances are the blocks that Ridley Scott's film is constructed from. But at the heart of Gladiator's epic recreation of the ancient Roman world sits an effectively simple tale of loyalty and love.
Maximus （Crowe） is a respected warrior, a general loyal to the visionary emperor Marcus Aurelius （Harris）。 However, when Marcus Aurelius dies, Maximus is double-crossed by the dangerous, nay deranged, new emperor Commodus （Phoenix）。 All Maximus wants is to avenge his family.
After being sold to gladiator trainer Proximo （Reed, serving up his final role with brute nobility）， the experienced soldier fights his way up the gladiatorial league charts until he's the darling of the Colosseum. The David Beckham of bloodshed. Soon he gets a chance to face the father-murdering, sister-loving cause of his woes - Commodus.
Ridley Scott's best film since Blade Runner, Gladiator magnificently revives a genre that seemed to have expired with Cleopatra in the mid-1960s.
Although it's essentially cobbled together from 19th century neoclassical paintings, Spartacus and The Fall Of The Roman Empire, Gladiator is given added oomph with judiciously-applied CGI, a solid script from David Franzoni （Amistad）， John Logan （The Aviator） and William Nicholson （Shadowlands）。 Plus, in Maximus, Russell Crowe found his best role. The supporting cast is impressive too.
Meaty and satisfying, Gladiator is a modern classic and worthy of its awards.