We discuss 10 Movies like Gladiator you must watch. Add these well-recommended films to your extensive watch list.
Ridley Scott’s epic story of a revenge-seeking Gladiator was a massive box-office success in 2000. The emotionally thrilling story of Russell Crowe’s Maximus, seeking vengeance against Joaquin Phoenix’s sinister Commodus, who damns him to a life of slavery and brutality after murdering his family, captured the imagination of the cinema-going public and placed this film firmly in the realm of classic historical movies.
The film would go on to achieve twelve Academy Award nominations, winning five and cementing the production firmly in the minds of movie fans across the globe. There is news of a sequel brewing, so that got us all thinking about other movies about Gladiators, so we quickly got to work to provide you with ten movies like Gladiator you must watch.
10 Movies like Gladiator you must watch
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
Let’s start with an authentic old-school Hollywood epic. Starring Sophia Loren and Alec Guinness, this is a three-hour epic of a movie that examines the reason the Roman Empire collapsed in on itself. The setting makes it a similar film to Gladiator, and we start with the emperor Marcus Aurelius trying his best to keep the Empire together. However, as the title suggests, it’s not long before things begin to unravel. Spectacular and spellbinding, this is an authentic slice of old Hollywood magic.
Here we are again in the realm of the Roman Empire, in this fantastic but little-known tale of Gladiators with revenge on their mind. Brooding, long-haired death-defying Kit Harrington plays a slave that becomes a Gladiator, struggling against an evil Emperor, played by Kiefer Sutherland, and trying to save his one true love. The film already sounds similar to Gladiator, so this is an easy entry to put on the list.
The Eagle (2011)
We had Kiefer, so we might as well have his dad Donald in this entry, which does an excellent job of mixing a real-life documented historical event, the disappearance of a whole Legion, and provides an explanation. The Ninth Legion goes missing in the Scottish Highlands, and I have been there, and it’s easy to happen. Channing Tatum stars as Marcus Aquila, a young Roman who is on a quest to find the missing eagle standard of the Legion to restore the honor of his father. He meets Jamie Bell, a Pictish warrior along the way, who helps him on his journey in this exciting movie.
Michael Fassbender and Dominic West lead the cast in this thrill ride of an adventure set in 117AD. It is written and directed by Neil Marshall, and you might recognize that name from such movies as Dog Soldiers and The Descent, so that might give you an idea of the tone of this feature. A group of Roman soldiers led by Fassbender have to fight against a powerful tribe of Picts as they try to make their way to safety. Similar to Gladiator, this is an action-packed and visceral offering that fans should watch.
It would be unfair not to include this entry on our list. The retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480BC was an instant smash, stunning audiences with its luscious visuals and hard-boiled fight scenes. Raw and untampered, the film would become part of popular culture. Starring rugged Scottish six-pack everyman Gerard Butler as Leonidas, directed by Justice League and Watchmen revisionist Zack Snyder and based on the comic book series of the same name by Frank Miller, this was a perfect storm of talent that would bring this tragic tale of heroism to life.
Five years before Gladiator, they released a stirring and influential movie based very loosely on the life of William Wallace called Braveheart. Although a different time zone altogether, it has to be said that this is a similar movie to Gladiator. Both are period dramas; both have a strong central character with vengeance on their mind, both have stunning battle and fight scenes, and both became huge films that would leave audiences feeling alive and moved. It is hard to separate the two thematically, so it has to be included on our list.
We have to delve back into the golden age of Hollywood epics for this one, but it seems unfair not to include this on a list of films about Gladiators. Starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier, this is the story of a slave rebellion rising against a corrupt Emperor. Lavish sets, incredible action sequences, with no CGI, and a stirring final act make this a movie that everyone should check out.
I often feel that this epic retelling of the legend of King Arthur gets overlooked by film fans, so if I get a chance to push it so people discover it, I always do. The story of Arthur does have a lot in common with Maximus, and the tone of both films feel related. There are shocking moments of sudden violence in both movies and some excellent direction and visuals. Nigel Terry’s performance as Arthur is also on a par with Crowe’s, so if this movie has been on your must-watch list, now is the time to do it.
Robin Hood (2010)
So although once again we are in a different time period, Ridley Scott has a stab at the legend of Robin Hood and casts Russell Crowe as his lead again. Perhaps hoping to strike gold again, the band got back together, but it seemed that audiences weren’t feeling it this time, leading to only minor box-office success. The film also suffered from being compared to other Robin Hood productions and quickly fell down the memory hole, but there is much to like here. The legend is deconstructed and more grounded than other offerings, and the cast is great. Give it a go if you are a fan of this dynamic duo.
Ben Hur (1959)
Charlton Heston pretty much cemented himself as a Hollywood legend in films such as these, and as far as similar films to Gladiator go, this has to be looked at. This is another tale of betrayal and revenge, themes in many of these movies, and of course, as far as spectacle goes, you cannot get a more iconic scene than the chariot race in this epic. It had the largest sets ever made for a film, employed over ten thousand extras, and the chariot scene alone took five weeks, over three months to film, costing a million bucks on its own. They don’t make them like this anymore.
Do you have any other recommendations for Movies like Gladiator? Let us know!
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