AFI Top 100: No. 81 Spartacus

I am Spartacus!

Number 81 did not disappoint Tim and I. Spartacus was a fantastic epic, completely stereotypical of the time but enticing nonetheless. Some of my favorite scenes were during Spartacus’ gladiator training. The time and detail put into those scenes truly gave you a sense of a gladiators’ life.

Criticized for being a communist film, the tenacity of Spartacus and his fellow slaves was commendable. The scene of the final battle survivors standing up and claiming to be Spartacus was beyond inspiring.

I loved the character of Lentulus Batiatus. He was slimey, selfish, somewhat cowardly, yet at times found himself doing the right thing. Peter Ustinov won an Oscar for his outstanding performance.

Speaking of performances, Kirk Douglas did a decent but not outstanding job as the hero. The lack of character flaws and cheesiness of the romance between Spartacus and Varinia was hard to take seriously.

The fight scenes were outstanding for the time. The locations were spot on. Being from the Central Coast of California, I was ecstatic to see Hearst Castle’s Neptune Pool used as Crassus’ palace.

Overall, Spartacus was an enjoyable film. It was lengthy, but one could fully appreciate the story of the Spartacus.

Next Up: No. 80 The Apartment


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