(out of 5)

Who would have thought that among the years of endless bloated religious epics, a grand centurion movie would come along to blow them all away? After being turned down for the lead in Ben-Hur, went to Italy and produced his own large-scale Roman drama, choosing Howard Fast’s novel as its source.  Hiring a then-fresh Stanley Kubrick to direct and blacklisted scribe Dalton Trumbo to write the screenplay, Douglas’ team came up with an intelligent, beautifully-shot and engrossing adventure about a gladiator (Douglas) who stages a revolt against the enslaving aristocrats of Rome. The only film of its genre to have no religious overtones of any kind, it also features a brilliant supporting cast led by and , with other support coming from , , ,  and .  The film was recently restored to its original length and image quality, with a homoerotic bath scene between Olivier and Curtis being the most notable restoration ( dubbed Olivier’s dialogue since the soundtrack needed to be recreated). Your greatest chance to see it is by renting Criterion’s stunning double-disc set edition.

USA, 1960

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards:   1960

Golden Globe Awards:  1960

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