Gladiator is a 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott and inspired by Daniel P. Mannix’s 1958 book Those About to Die. It stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen and Oliver Reed in his final role.
Russell Crowe portrays the Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus, the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus becomes a gladiator and rises through the ranks of the arena to avenge the murders of his family and his emperor.
Gladiator premiered in Los Angeles on May 1, 2000. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for the acting, Scott’s direction, visuals, screenplay, action sequences, and musical score. It was a box office success, grossing $457 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2000.
The film won multiple awards, including five at the 73rd Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects. It also received four BAFTA Awards at the 54th British Academy Film Awards. Gladiator has also been credited with reinventing the sword-and-sandal genre and bringing back interest in entertainment centered around the Greek and Roman ancient cultures.