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Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Season 1

4.7 out of 5 stars 7,347 customer reviews

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Product Description

Betrayed by the Romans. Forced into slavery. Reborn as a Gladiator. The classic tale of the Republic’s most infamous rebel comes alive in the graphic and visceral new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Torn from his homeland and the woman he loves, Spartacus is condemned to the brutal world of the arena where blood and death are primetime entertainment. But not all battles are fought upon the sands. Treachery, corruption, and the allure of sensual pleasures will constantly test Spartacus. To survive, he must become more than a man. More than a gladiator. He must become a legend.

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The "sword and sandals" genre isn't exactly known for its subtlety and restraint, but even by those standards, Spartacus: Blood and Sand is deliriously, delightfully over the top. Viewers familiar with the 1960 film starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Stanley Kubrick, the best-known version of the Spartacus tale, will recognize the basic outline of the story: a Thracian warrior with a beautiful, loving wife is betrayed by his Roman "allies" and forced into slavery, whereupon he distinguishes himself as a gladiator nonpareil and, after enduring countless indignities, leads his brethren and others in a rebellion against their oppressors. But there's a lot more Caligula than Kubrick in the 13 first-season episodes (each a bit less than an hour long) of this Starz television series, which stars Andy Whitfield in the title role and also features Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) as the wicked wife of Spartacus's owner. The fight scenes are highly stylized (the entire production seems to have taken a cue from the surreal, painterly look of 300) but extraordinarily brutal, featuring multiple dismemberments and decapitations amidst seas of slow-motion, CGI-generated blood; a gladiatorial battle in episode 5 pitting Spartacus and his rival-turned-ally Crixus (Manu Bennett) against a monster named Theokoles is definitely not for the squeamish, but that's only one of many such scenes. There's also ample sex and nudity, as the couplings involving various studly gladiators and lustful Roman noblewomen are like salacious combat between Chippendales dancers and Victoria's Secret models. Meanwhile, the personal relationships are the stuff of soap operas, with the Romans in particular depicted as relentlessly decadent, duplicitous, and power-hungry.

If this all sounds outrageously entertaining, it is, though perhaps not for everyone. And although the future of the show (which was executive produced by Spider-Man director Sam Raimi) is in doubt due to Whitfield's ongoing battle with cancer, we'll always have this season to revel in. Bonus material in the four-disc set includes audio commentary on a variety of episodes and a batch of featurettes, most prominently a 15-minute "making of" documentary. --Sam Graham


Special Features

  • Featurettes: Gladiator Camp, History Rewritten, Make-up Effects, The Hole And more!
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Episodes with Enhanced Digital Effects
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Bloopers
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Andy Whitfield, John Hannah, Peter Mensah, Lucy Lawless, Nick Tarabay
  • Producers: Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Steven S. DeKnight, Joshua Donen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 692 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7,347 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003PIUBZS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,970 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Anderson on May 21, 2010
I felt compelled to give my review in contrast to some of those I have been reading saying this series is aimed at a male demographic. I am educated, gainfully employed, well read, happily married and middle aged.
I love everything about Spartacus.
I think the problem is that some people go into it with specific expectations. Start watching with an open mind.
As film art, it is absolutely beautiful. Some of the visuals are obvious CGIs and in my opinion they were done to enhance the visual experience and it works. I think the director is presenting it as his vision to us. For a television series its stunning to watch.
As a story, it is riveting. They have done a great job baiting the viewer and building interest and depth in the plot. You become fully vested in the characters without even realizing it. There is a natural continuity through it without becoming predictable. So much going on, even the side plots are interesting.
As history, it is what it is. A fictional story based on facts. I know watching this sort of historical saga always piques my interest in true history and I research. Some people get all up in arms about how it really was. I find the way a writer or director fills in the gaps or interprets history interesting and accept it for what it is.
Frankly, this bloody, dirty, depiction of that era is far more believable then some Disneyfied version. (Don't attack. I'm a big Disney fan as well)
As far as the actors and acting is concerned, kudos all around. Lucy Lawless is the big name draw and she is amazing. But equally good is about everyone else in the film whether you like their characters or not, the acting is all top notch. The costuming and even the lack thereof, is beautiful without detracting from the show as a whole.
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If you thought HBO's depiction of ancient Rome was graphic and brutal, wait till you see Spartacus: Blood and Sand! Take the excellent scripting work that went into Rome, combine it with the shocking sex and violence of Caligula, mix in a little of the over the top blood spatter of 300 and your expectations will be very well set for Spartacus.

I remember when HBO's Deadwood first came out that some of the public reaction was astonished and skeptic of the portrayal of such a violent and profanity filled Wild Wild West. After decades of Westerns led by squeaky clean John Wayne characters, I'm not surprised. Similar to what Deadwood was going for with the Western, Spratacus leaves nothing for the imagination during its time period. But what makes Spartacus such a classy show is that there's nothing gratuitous. It's all intended to be a very real depiction of how day to day life went in the hierarchies of Rome circa 70 BC. Love, battle, adultery, orgy, torture, rape, murder...it's all there in all its glory...and I mean ALL its glory.

The events of Spartacus take place about 20 years prior to those depicted in the HBO Rome series, and it initially focuses on the historical figure Spartacus' enslavement and rise as a gladiator.
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I have to say that when I first heard of the Bechdel test, I scoffed a bit. Now I don't because after considering it briefly, I realized that indeed I am drawn to those movies and TV shows that have more than 2 female characters, with a name, who talk to each other about something other than a man. And there is no better show than the Good Wife on that score, imo. Really, every scene offers round, fascinating, well-written characters of both genders. But think about it: how many shows do you know where *all* the female characters have an interest or focus on something else beside a man--while still remaining fully female, fully sensual? Where those same female characters explore their own sensual power alongside genuine societal interests? The only reason I'm bummed about Season 5 is that as the number of seasons start racking up on this show, I grow saddened by the thought that it can't go on. Yet, the end of this season shows the entire plot sailing to a new cardinal direction, almost like it's starting anew. Such fabulous writing. I hope it continues for many more seasons with this great crew of writers.
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"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" continues cable television's dominance in quality programming outshining all network shows by a landslide. The series debut on Starz TV in January, 2010 and before the series was even broadcast the station ordered two full seasons worth of episodes which shows Starz's dedication to broadcasting high quality progamming. "Sparatacus: Blood and Sand" is a historical weekly drama, made along the same lines as "Rome" and "The Tudors", but with more graphic violence, sex, and language. The series is about a Roman gladiator named Spartacus who is captured and becomes a slave in a gladiator school headed by Batiatus in Capua. There, Spartacus must fight for his freedom, and he ultimately becomes the head of all slaves as others look up to him for his determination and willpower. The first season features 13 episodes all produced where money was no option. The sets, costumes, and location shooting are the best for any series produced for TV and there were times that I had to remind myself that I was not watching a movie, but a mere TV show. Andy Whitfield, an Australian actor, is mesmerizing as Spartacus, and his character is at times often bold, intense, heart-warming, and unapologetic. Lucy Lawless has a supporting role as the wife of Batiatus who is having an affair with sexy gladiator Crixus, played to perfection by Manu Bennett. The one asset the series has is the amount of male flesh that viewers can witness week after week. Obviously great care went into the casting of actors that were buffed and well-built and if your a straight woman or a gay guy you will not be disappointed in the amount of male testosterone that is shown. Full male frontal nudity, mainly by Manu Bennett, is shown as well, which is why the series has a TV-MA rating.Read more ›
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