10 films about the gladiators of ancient Rome

When there were no movies and computer games, the public amused themselves by watching duels where fighters fought each other or predatory animals. Each powerful figure in spectacular armor hid its own fate. It was not always that they were in the arena against their will – after all, a victory could give the slave the status of a free citizen. In the list of the best films about gladiators, you will find stories about courage, revenge, love, and an unquenchable thirst for freedom.

Ben-Hur (2016)

A remake of the famous 1959 peplum from the creator of The Night’s Watch, President Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and other sensational films of recent years. A Jewish aristocrat is betrayed by his Roman half-brother and, on a false denunciation, is accused of an attempt on the life of a government official. Ben-Hur becomes a galley rower, but after an attack by pirates, he gets rid of the fate of a slave. And participation in chariot races gives him a chance to return to his native land and avenge his betrayal.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title: Ben-Hur
Genre: Action, drama, adventure, history
Actors: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro, Morgan Freeman…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 5.7
Age restrictions: 16+

Hercules: The Beginning of a Legend (2014)

An ancient Greek queen gives birth to a child from the mighty Olympian god Zeus. The prophecies proclaim that the boy will perform incredible feats and become a great hero. A mature strong man deals with terrible monsters, but winning the heart of his beloved will be more difficult than defeating the most powerful enemies. The lead actor on the set did about a thousand push-ups every day to match the character.

Original title: The Legend of Hercules
Genre: Action, fantasy
Actors: Kellan Lutz, Scott Adkins, Liam McIntyre …
Country: USA, Bulgaria
Rating: Myreleasedate – 4.2, IMDb – 4.2
Age restrictions: 12+

Pompeii (2014)

A feature film about the love of a gladiator from Ancient Rome for the daughter of a rich man against the backdrop of a grandiose catastrophe . The girl is supposed to become the wife of an influential senator, but the beauty’s heart was conquered by a slave risking his life in the arena. A volcanic eruption that threatens to destroy the entire city will give the lovers a chance to find freedom. In the struggle for happiness, the heroes will have to confront not only the enraged senator, but also the ruthless elements.

Original title: Pompeii
Genre: Action, drama, romance, adventure
Actors: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinoye-Agbaje, Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Anne Moss…
Country: Canada, Germany
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 5.5
Age restrictions: 12+

Spartacus: Blood and Sand (TV series 2010 – 2013)

Spectacular series with a high rating and a gripping storyline dedicated to the legendary rebel. The brave Thracian warrior Spartacus fell into Roman captivity and was forever separated from his beloved. From now on, the slave must fight for the entertainment of the rich public. Neither threats nor temptations can break the freedom-loving spirit: a captive, but not defeated warrior is looking for comrades-in-arms in order to raise an uprising.

Original title: Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Genre: Action, drama, romance, adventure, biography
Actors: Andy Whitfield, Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 8.3, IMDb – 8.5
Age restrictions: 18+

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (mini-series 2010)

A historical film in the format of a mini-series about gladiators, full of fierce duels, sensual love scenes and cool plot twists. A noble, ambitious Roman leads a school of gladiators. One of the fighters – the most skillful and cruel – especially liked the young man. With the help of the popularity of his champion, the intrigues of his beautiful wife and his own intrigues, the Roman expects to gain power over the city.

Original title: Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
Genre: Action, drama, romance, adventure, biography, history
Actors: John Hanna, Manu Bennett, Peter Mensah …
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 8.3, IMDb – 8.5
Age restrictions: 18+

Rome (TV series 2005 – 2007)

Julius Caesar, having conquered Gaul, is preparing to return to Rome at the head of his legions. Senators are concerned about the increased influence of the victor and are afraid of losing their privileged position. A conspiracy arises against a powerful ruler. The creators of an interesting top series meticulously worked on the action scenes of the film. The extras who played legionnaires, before filming, took the course of a young fighter in a training camp, where they completely immersed themselves in the atmosphere of Ancient Rome.

Original title: Rome
Genre: Drama, Action, Romance, Military
Actors: Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker…
Country: UK, USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 8.3, IMDb – 8.7
Age Limits: 18+

Spartacus (mini-series, 2004)

A powerful multi-part movie about gladiators based on real events and tells about the uprising of slaves that shook the Roman Empire. A young prisoner is sold to a gladiatorial school. An unusually strong and intelligent slave improves his skills, brilliantly defeats rivals and even finds love. The injustice reigning around pushes the hero to make a decisive turn in his destiny – to raise an uprising against the authorities and cruel orders.

Original title: Spartacus
Genre: Action, drama, history
Actors: Goran Visnjic, Alan Bates, Angus Macfadyen…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.7
Age restrictions: 16+

The Last Gladiator (2003)

The Germans, two brothers and a sister, are captured by the Romans. Men, once in slavery, are forced to participate in mortal combat in the arena of the Colosseum. Fighting with a stronger opponent, one of the brothers dies. The second hatches a plan of cruel revenge, but suddenly finds out that his sister is in love with the killer. In a German film that combines action and melodrama, family ties, devotion to duty and fiery feelings enter into a desperate battle.

Original title: Held der Gladiatoren
Genre: Action, drama, romance, adventure
Actors: Stefan Hornung, Andrea Kleven, Tanya Wenzel …
Country: Germany, Austria
Rating: Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 4.8
Age restrictions: 18+

Amazons and Gladiators (2001)

The Roman commander, who once suppressed the uprising of Spartacus, angered the emperor and is now sent as governor to a distant province. The disgraced aristocrat amuses himself with bloody fights and ruins the locals. In another massacre, a twelve-year-old girl lost her mother and older sister. The orphan found shelter with the Amazons and, having adopted the experience of brave warriors, is ready to take revenge on the Roman.

Original title: Amazons and Gladiators
Genre: Action, drama, adventure
Actors: Patrick Bergin, Jennifer Rubin, Richard Norton…
Country: USA, Germany
Rating: Myreleasedate – 5.1, IMDb – 3.3
Age restrictions: 16+

Gladiator (2000)

The Roman commander, fanned by glory, falls into the cycle of court intrigues. Deprived of everything, like a simple fighter, the hero is forced to fight in the arena. Victories elevate the defeated warrior to the pinnacle of glory and give a chance to challenge the culprit of all misadventures. The cult film about Ancient Rome and gladiators is worth watching for fans of spectacular cinema. The action movie revived the forgotten peplum genre and won an Oscar in the main category, and also won four more statuettes – for visual effects, sound, costumes and best actor.

Original title: Gladiator
Genre: Action, history, drama, adventure
Actors: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen …
Country: USA, UK, Malta, Morocco
Rating: Myreleasedate – 8.6, IMDb – 8.5
Age restrictions: 16+

( 1 assessment, average 5 from 5 )
Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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