Maximus (Russell Crowe) is a general in the roman army loved by Marcus Aurelius, the emperor. Marcus wants Maximus to become emperor after he dies as he thinks that his son Commodus is unfit to rule. When he tells Commodus this, Commodus murders him. When Maximus refuses to believe that Marcus died of natural causes, Commodus orders that Maximus and his family should be executed. However, Maximus escapes and returns home - too late to save his family. He collapses and is sold as a slave where his prowess as a gladiator gets noticed and eventually he fights his way through Africa to Rome, where he meets the emperor face to face. The emperor spares his life, then challenges Maximus to a fight in the arena. Maximus accepts and the two engage in a bloody battle. Maximus kills the emperor, reinstates the Senate as the governors of Rome and dies to be with his family in the afterlife.
Factual error: When a group of soldiers goes to Maximus' villa to burn it and kill his family, his son points them, saying in Italian "Mamma! I soldati!" ("Mom, the soldiers!") and then "Papà!" ("Daddy!"). This is because the young actor (Giorgio Cantarini) is Italian and they didn't translate, for some reason. As a result, he's speaking Italian in a movie in English, where people are supposed to speak Latin, in a province where Italian was never ever spoken. (00:43:07)
Commodus: The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena?
Maximus: You would fight me?
Commodus: Why not? Do you think I am afraid?
Maximus: I think you've been afraid all your life.
Question: I don't know whether this is a mistake or if there was a certain reason for it but, at the end of the movie when Maximus tells Quintus to free his men, Quintus turns to the line of guards standing behind him and says, "Free the prisoners, go!" Two of the guards standing next to each other immediately go to free the prisoners, and the rest of the guards don't budge. How did those two guards know that the orders were given directly to them?dan coakley..
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