Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-winning Technicolor ’Scope sandal saga – centred on a Roman slave revolt headed by Kirk Douglas’s titular folklore hero – has aged amazingly well. If there are any reservations, it’s Douglas himself, who trades mostly on his chiselled, dimpled jawline and well-built pecs. That said, his stiltedness eases when in the company of Jean Simmons’s coy slave girl; their short moments of laughter are touching and naturally conveyed. 

Needless to say, the film’s big Brit hitters – Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier and especially Charles Laughton – all make exceptional work of Dalton Trumbo’s reflective screenplay, while Kubrick himself handles the film’s mechanics of corruption with skill. This is widescreen, epic filmmaking on a massive scale: the final battle scene – punctuated by Alex North’s quaint but occasionally overwrought score – stretches as far as the eye can see, and its choreography from afar is remarkable given the lack of communication technology back then. To see it once again on the big screen, in all its expansive glory, is a treat.

By: Derek Adams



Release details

Release date:
Tuesday June 9 2009
196 mins

Cast and crew

Stanley Kubrick
Dalton Trumbo
Kirk Douglas
Laurence Olivier
Jean Simmons
Tony Curtis
Charles Laughton
Peter Ustinov
John Gavin
Nina Foch
Woody Strode
John Ireland
John Dall
Herbert Lom
Charles McGraw
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