Trivia: Oliver Reed (Proximo) died of a heart attack during filming in Malta, before all his scenes had been shot. The Mill created a digital body double for the remaining scenes by photographing a live action body double in the shadows and by mapping a 3D CGI mask of Reed's face onto the digital composite. The estimated cost was $3.2 million for two minutes of additional footage.
Trivia: The two prostitutes who were all over Maximus after his first battle in Rome, and after the fight with Tigris when Cicero gave him the idols, are both amateur adult film stars. Prostitutes were very common during this time and were often rewards for gladiators who had proven their mettle by surviving many battles.
Trivia: In the beginning of the movie, where the Roman army is assembled waiting for the enemy to come into the open, the Germans in the woods are chanting menacingly. A portion of the chant they repeat sounds something like "Boom whattey. HEEYUH!" This soundbyte is cut-and-pasted from the movie Zulu, it is the battle cry the Zulu warriors make as they advance on the British outpost. They didn't just have new actors record the chant, they used the exact same soundbyte. You can even hear at intervals of every seven or eight chants they end by crying "ZULU!"
Trivia: When the first battle in Germania is about to take place, as the headless rider approaches the Roman lines, the Germanians are advancing through the trees, their war cry is the same one used as in the 1964 film "Zulu" where the Zulus are advancing in their first attack against the British outpost.
Trivia: In an interview on the "Today" show Russell Crowe said that during the battle in Germania, after he was knocked off his horse, you see him fight his way onto his feet and then back into another man. Crowe turns to strike and the man looks shocked and terrified, the shot returns to Crowe, sword still raised but the scene cuts before he strikes. However, if you look just as the scene cuts you see Crowe obviously start to smile. This is because the other person was not an actor acting "panicked in the face of death", he was an extra out of place who had just backed into the lead actor on the last take of the day. In order to save the shot Crowe decided to "kill" him and move on, but as he raised his sword the extra pleaded, "But Mr. Crowe, I'm not supposed to die yet," causing Crowe to smile, which had to be cut out.
Trivia: In the very last scene involving Proximo, where he is freeing Maximus, notice that the late Oliver Reed (Proximo) appears to be "glowing." This is because he died (from a massive heart attack in 1999) while filming the movie, and had to be added into the film using CGI.
Trivia: Gaius Gracchus is supposed to be a friend of the Republic, and he was, but by this point in Roman history (late 2nd century A.D.) he and his brother Tiberius were both long dead. They both died in the 2nd century B.C. from mob violence years apart from each other. The mysterious re-animated Gracchi brothers is a common mistake in Roman-themed movies.
Trivia: The film was filmed in Malta and many of the extras are Maltese. In the scene where Maximus is escaping through the tunnels to get away from the Romans, he finds Cicero on a horse with his neck in a noose. This apparently almost killed Tommy Flanagan (the actor who played Cicero) as the horse was restless during filming. This is because the scene is in a not very-well lit area underneath the entrance to the capital city of Malta and was filmed at 2 am. Apparently some drunkards walking home from drinking in a local bar decided to urinate there, and upset the horse.
Trivia: When Maximus talks to Lucious about his two horses on his armour, the names he gives them (Argento and Scatto) can be translated from Latin as "Silver" and "Scout" the same as the Lone Ranger's and Tonto's horses.
Trivia: The original ending for Gladiator was that Proximo would live and he would bury the figurines in the sand of the Coliseum. However, Oliver Reed's death during filming required the ending to be changed.
Trivia: The opening battle scene is similar to the actual Battle of Idistiviso in Germania in 16 AD, pitting Roman General Germanicus Caesar against the army of Arminius, a German rebel who was, supposedly, a highly trained Roman officer who turned his loyalties back to the German tribes. Like the movie battle scenes, Germanicus used a flanking cavalry maneuver through woods to attack the Germans while the main body of his army pinned the Germans at the front.
Trivia: In contrast to his tough character Maximus, Russell Crowe requested to be given armour half the weight of everyone else's. [To be fair, he did have to perform loads of fight/action scenes in the armour throughout the film, far more so than any other character].
Trivia: When Maximus is describing his home, the description is actually that of Russell Crowe's own house, used in an ad-lib.