1991 – RESTORED VERSION
TOP TEN FILM!
This is the definitive Roman epic. Ahead of it’s time in tone and production, this ticks all the right boxes, with a full set of impassioned performances, fully realised characters, and a duel plot, focusing on slavery as well as the political machinations of Rome on the brink of falling into the dictatorial hands of the Caesars.
Underplayed in so many ways, with all the leads seeming vulnerable to their own bitterness, jealousies and insecurities, this is what makes for a gripping drama, let alone a timeless Hollywood blockbuster. Released only a year after Ben Hur, it is like they were made decades apart.
Not to say Ben Hur wasn’t first rate, because it most defiantly was, but Spartacus offered something else, more tangible, real and maybe a little disturbing.
“I’m Spartacus” has to be the heart of the entire film, emotionally charged with a sense as to what the film was about, though no doubt, a somewhat romanticised account of the historical event…
Stanley Kubrick would end up making stranger and stranger movies, but this is his best in my opinion, pushing the envelope without breaking it.