Spartacus is a 1960 American historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel of the same name by Howard Fast about the historical life of Spartacus and the Third Servile War. The film stars Kirk Douglas as rebellious slave Spartacus and Laurence Olivier as his foe, the Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus. The film also stars Peter Ustinov (who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as slave trader Lentulus Batiatus), John Gavin (as Julius Caesar), Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, John Ireland, Herbert Lom, Woody Strode, Tony Curtis, John Dall and Charles McGraw. The titles were designed by Saul Bass. Anthony Mann, the film's original director, was replaced by Douglas with Kubrick after the first week of shooting.
The film begins with slaves working in the Roman province of Libya. Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), a burly Thracian, comes to the aid of an old man who has fallen down. A Roman soldier whips Spartacus and tells him to get back to work, only to be attacked and bitten on the ankle. For this, Spartacus is tied up and sentenced to death by starvation. Lentulus Batiatus (Peter Ustinov), a lanista (an impresario of gladiatorial games), arrives looking for recruits for his gladiator establishment. He inspects several slaves before finally settling on Spartacus, recognizing his unbroken spirit, along with his good health and physical condition. Batiatus purchases Spartacus and several others, then sails for Capua where his gladiatorial training camp is located. The trainer, Marcellus (Charles McGraw), immediately tries to provoke Spartacus into giving the trainer a reason to kill the Thracian as an example. Spartacus also befriends another gladiator, Crixus (John Ireland).
After several scenes showing gladiator training and life at the school, Crassus (Laurence Olivier) arrives with some companions, wishing to be entertained by watching two pairs of gladiators fight to the death. Spartacus is selected along with Crixus, an Ethiopia named Draba (Woody Strode), and another gladiator named Galino. Crixus and Galino are the first to fight, and Crixus slays Galino. Next, Spartacus duels Draba and is defeated. Draba, however refuses to kill him, instead throwing his trident into the elevated spectators' box and leaping to attack the Romans. During Draba's climb to the box, a guard throws a spear which lands in his back, painfully wounding him at the feet of Crassus, who quickly dispatches the slave and prepares to depart. As he leaves, he purchases the pretty slave woman, Varinia (Jean Simmons) from Batiatus, whom Batiatus has assigned to Spartacus. Spartacus and Varinia have fallen in love, and in frustration at his loss and the overseer's callous treatment, Spartacus begins a successful uprising. The gladiators eventually take Capua and all the surrounding districts. Many local slaves flock to the insurgents. Spartacus outlines his plan to escape by sea from the port of Brundisium, aboard the ships of the Cilicia pirates, whom he plans to pay from the slaves' plunder.
In the Senate of Rome, plebeian senator Sempronius Gracchus (Charles Laughton) cunningly manipulates Crassus's protege and friend Marcus Glabrus (John Dall) into taking six cohorts of the Garrison of Rome out to crush the revolt, leaving the way open for Gracchus's ally, Julius Caesar (John Gavin) to take command of the garrison during the absence of Glabrus. Meanwhile, Crassus receives new slaves as a gift from the governor of Sicily. Among them is Antoninus (Tony Curtis), a former children's tutor from Sicily. After Crassus intimidates him, Antoninus soon runs away to join Spartacus.
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