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Plot: A band of gladiator slaves rebel against their masters, first destroying the gladiator school and then the local garrison of Roman troops. As the slave army roams the countryside they attract more slaves to their cause and their numbers multiply. Repeated attempts are made by Rome to destroy the rebels but against all odds the slaves win victory after victory. That is until Spartacus plans for a sea escape are thwarted and all the might of the Roman Empire are summoned to squash the insurrection.
Surprises: I was surprised to see that two of my favorite scenes in the original '60 epic were not included in the mini-series. However, In spite of there absence the film doesn't suffer from their exclusion. This is all in all an excellent production that deserves to be seen.
Cast: Goran Visnjic does a masterful job at balancing the emotive, warlike nature of Spartacus with the more sensitive, cerebral longings of the legendary warrior, while Rhona Mitra as his love interest Varinia displays a much more aggressive, firey nature than we've come to expect from the original Varinia played by Jean Simmons. Rhona is absolutely magnificent! James Frain gives a fantastic performance as well in the role of David, Spartacus second in command. Also strong performances by Angus Macfadyen as Marcus Crassus and my daughter's favorite Paul Telfer as Gannicuc.
What we believe we know about the real Spartacus is that he was born free in Thrace and may have served as an auxiliary in the Roman army in Macedonia. However, he deserted, lived as an outlaw, was captured, sold into slavery, and ended up being trained at the gladiatorial school of Batiatus in Capua. In 73 B.C.E. Spartacus escaped with 70-80 other gladiators and camped on Vesuvius, where they were joined by other slaves who ran away from their masters and began plundering and pillaging the region. Spartacus wanted to escape Italy by crossing the Alpus, but the slaves from Gaul and Germany wanted to stay in southern Italy and continuing the plundering and pillaging. That first year Spartacus and his men defeated a force of 3,000 raw recruits led by Cladius Glaber and then two forces of legionary cohorts. In 72 B.C.E. Spartacus had an army of approximately 70,000 slaves and the Roman Senate sent two consuls, Publicola and Lentulus, with two legions each against the rebels. Publicola defeated the Gauls and Germans, and Crixus was killed.Read more ›
Goran Visnjic as Spartacus simply fails to leave any memorable impression. His voice is so passive and unengaging, and his face so placid, that he hardly passes for a charismatic leader who commanded over 100,000 people. The character follows the positive comments by classical sources on the real Spartacus as having been a skilled commander and humane leader. There is little information on Spartacus however and really no information on his origins. Rome had been in an ongoing civil and foreign wars in which slaves were routinely used as auxillaries. Such auxillaries were commonly used to carry out indiscriminate massacres by their leaders such as Sulla or Marius because they were more expendable if popular sentiment became too hostile. Being an adult in these times, Spartacus may have been among such groups of men and not so much the saintly Marxist hero fighting for the laborer portrayed by Fast. As for Crassus, Angus Macfadyen is diappointing but the fault lies more with the screenplay and script. He plays Crassus as if he were a rich snob who's obsessed with power. Marcus Licinius Crassus was very rich but hardly a snob. Plutarch describes Crassus as affable and modest: a man who would talk to persons high and low with tact and politeness. Generous to others, he acquired influence by his vast wealth, being a court advocate, and giving loans without interest to important upstarts like Caesar from whom he could also ask for payment on demand (a traditional Roman practice seen as normal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This TV remake of a classic flick doesn't hold a candle to the original Stanley Kubrick film. The film lacks the passion and edge of the 1960 film. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Balstrode
What happened to part 2?
My DVD is not complete....what's with that?
TV Show version on Starz is better and original Movie was more well paced.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Painful to watch when compared to spartacus: blood and sandPublished 11 months ago by frank j pefferman
What happened to the rest of the story? My DVD had only part 1. 177 mins. Is that it? It ended with Rome sending a 3 cohorts and defeated. I thought it wasn't too bad.Published 12 months ago by william e. chandler
Very enjoyable movie with a few different twists compared to the Kirk Douglas version. Rhona Mitna did a wonderful job in her role. The action scenes were very realistic. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jason
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