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"Gladiator" Epic films

I couldn't help watch without thinking about these things and our emotional involvement in what we see and hear.

It was also interesting to consider another historical figure on which "Gladiator" is partially based. He was called Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, and he was a 5th century B.C. Roman statesman who gained fame for his selfless devotion to the Republic in a time of crisis. Called away from a peaceful retirement on his farm in 458 B.C., Cincinnatus was asked by the Romans to become their dictator so he could lead their army into victory against the neighboring Aequians and Volscians. Because he was a patriot, Cincinnatus picked up his sword, whipped his army into shape, and won the battle. When he returned to Rome, he immediately resigned the title and power the people had given him and quickly returned to his farm.

Although Cincinnatus was a real historical figure, the separation of fact from legend in his story is all but impossible. But this is exactly the kind of story that produces such Hollywood epics as "Gladiator" and it was not without good reason that the writers and producers of "Gladiator" saw fit to draw their central character, Maximus, as the pushed-into-greatness general who really wanted nothing more than to leave the battlefield and return to his life and family down on the farm.

Following the ingenious editing of the "hand over wheat" opening (an important "Gladiator" theme that is central to Maximus' concept of farm and family as "heaven" and was taken from a "heaven" sequence never seen in the movie), the audience is immediately treated to the hellish, burning "spectacle" of ancient armed battle that seems so important to the Hollywood epic (e.g., "Birth of a Nation," "The Crusades," "Braveheart," "El Cid," "Spartacus," just to name a few). "At my signal," Maximus commands his men, "unleash hell!" But it was at the signal of director Ridley Scott that professional archers and production crews unl...

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