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Spartacus (1960), Brief Details and Film Review

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The epic film Spartacus was based on the book 'Spartacus' written by Howard Fast in 1951. Set in 73 BC, it tells the story of a Thracian slave named Spartacus who leads a violent rebellion at the gladiatorial training school at Capua, a short distance from Mount Vesuvius run by Lentulus Batiatus. Spartacus, who had been trained in combat by the Roman army possibly as an auxiliary in Macedonia, starts to hate the bad treatment of the slaves by the Romans. This resentment leads to a determination to escape and seek freedom. About half of the gladiators and other slaves manage to escape from their Roman captors using kitchen tools and implements as weapons, and the revolt becomes a major crisis for the Roman army after the gladiators seize wagon loads of real gladiatorial weapons and defeat the local Roman guard.

The slave uprising quickly spreads across Italy with thousands of others being freed as the slave army makes its way to the south and then freedom in the country of their choice. The slaves, led by Spartacus, planned to hire the boats and services of Silesian pirates at Brandisium with the money they had managed to acquire along the way. However, Spartacus and the slaves become abandoned by the Silesian pirates at the last moment and find themselves about to be trapped between two converging Roman armies - the legions of Pompey returning from Hispania and ordered to head south by the Senate, and the legions of Marcus Licinius Lucullus from Macedonia who landed at Brandisium. There is no choice but to march towards Rome and make a final stand for freedom there.

Kirk Douglas plays the part of Spartacus with great conviction and passion, Peter Usyinov's performance as Lentulus Batiatus is regarded by many as brilliant, and Laurence Olivier's performance as Crassus is compelling.

Film and Movie Information

Spartacus was released by Universal in 1960 and was directed by Stanley Kubrick. The prncipal stars were Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov. The movie was filmed in Technicolor in Spain and California, USA.

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