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Spartacus (Criterion Collection) back to product details

Rise up!
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written by Texan99 September 4, 2010 - 11:40 AM PDT
Director Stanley Kubrick is reported to have liked this the least of all his movies. Certainly it's not in the style he later developed when he had more freedom, and it's nowhere near as subtle or cerebral as his masterpieces. Still, it's a gas to see what he could do with a straight-up heroic saga when he had to knuckle down and produce an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser in the classic "Triumph of the Human Spirit" genre. Many reviewers compare this film to Gladiator, and of course the plot shares some points, but "Spartacus" hails from the days when scripts were expected to be coherent rather than merely edgy, and when excitement was provided by a story, characters, suspense, and universally appealing themes rather than nonstop car chases and gun battles. That means there are scenes that will appear "slow" to younger viewers. The film will reward an attention span, however, and will inspire audiences interested in rebellion and freedom. Kirk Douglas is an Everyman thrust into leadership. Laurence Olivier is a divinely corrupt aristocrat. Peter Ustinov is a delightful little worm who redeems himself somewhat towards the end. Jean Simmons is the eternal woman whose approval they all vie for. And of course, the "I am Spartacus" scene is justly a part of the national culture.

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(Average 7.47)
279 Votes
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