Essay by shesaclicheA-, September 2006

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Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, takes place during the decline of the Roman Empire. The movie is about a revenge-seeking general who fights for freedom. Very rarely a film meshes together as finely as Gladiator. Its vivid action, superb writing, breathtaking acting, moving cinematography, and flawless score all merge into a pinnacle of film making.

Maximus (Crowe) is a respected Roman general during the height of the Roman Empire. Upon winning his latest battle against barbarians and bringing peace to the Empire, Maximus craves nothing more than to return home and to farm with his family. However, the aging Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurealius sees in Maximus to be the next leader of Rome. He decides to bestow the title on the war-weary general, passing over his spoiled son Commodus (Phoenix).Upon hearing this, Commodus kills his father and takes over as the Caesar of Rome. His sister Lucilla, is the voice of reason who keeps Commodus in good terms with the senate.

Commodus also orders Maximus killed, but he escapes only to find that his family has been slaughtered by the order of Commodus. The distraught Maximus is then captured by traveling slave traders and is forced to fight as a traveling gladiator. He becomes so successful at fighting and leading his fellow gladiators; he ends up back in Rome's Coliseum as a main attraction. Maximus goes on with the help of "his men" to defeat all that Caesar can throw at him. This earns him the respect of the people. A plan to earn his freedom and come back to defeat the evil Commodus is squashed when Commodus catches on. In an attempt to earn back his people, Commodus sets up a fight against the wounded Maximus.

This movie was interesting and action filled. I...