An Ode to Gladiator on its 20th Anniversary
A real medieval classic, a brilliant work of art, a movie that stands the test of time; Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is by far one the most epic films to grace the big screen. Set in the heart Rome at the peak of its glory, the Academy Award-winning movie really is echoing in eternity. Two decades later, and we’re still in awe of the cinematography, the cast and the action that came together to create such a masterpiece. What stands above it all and seems to have resonated the most with viewers are some of the iconic quotes from our beloved characters. We’re listing down our top five Gladiator quotes.
If you haven’t seen it, or know nothing about this movie, it’s basically about “The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.”- but even that explanation doesn’t do the story justice, it is truly a must-see classic!
*WARNING: spoilers ahead*
5. “My Name is Maximus Decimus Meridius…”
"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
Gladiator is a revenge story, and as we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold. Well, this line certainly sent chills down viewers’ spines with the big reveal: Maximus is still alive, and his sole mission in life is to kill Commodus to avenge the death of his family. With this line, Maximus became one of Hollywood's most iconic characters.
4. “Death Smiles At Us All...”
"I Knew A Man Once Who Said, 'Death Smiles At Us All. All A Man Can Do Is Smile Back.'"
Death is, unfortunately, inevitable. It’s something we cannot escape and Maximus, being a man of realism, was fully aware of that. He can read a room, situation, even a man, almost instantly.
Before his showdown with Commodus, Maximus knew very well that he wouldn’t come out of it alive, so he utters a sentence that does nothing but add fuel to the fire that is Commodus’ anger.
3. “Am I Not Merciful?”
“Am I Not Merciful?”
Fun fact, this line was improvised by Joaquin Phoenix, whose character’s anger and sanity was slowly beginning to slip. Commodus is everything Maximus isn't, the man he can only envy and never emulate.
A reign of fear is one not worthy of supporting, with Lucilla realising what a monster Commodus has become. The desperation from Commodus was at its best here, looking for just the slightest bit of support from his sister.
2. “Brothers, What We Do In Life...”
“Brothers, what we do in Life… echoes in Eternity.”
Shadows and dust, as Proximo says, are all that men and women are. This is one of our top quotes, because how could it not be? It’s one of those lines that really gets you thinking while sending shivers down your spine. It reminds us that what we do in life remains long after we’re gone and makes up our legacy, so we better make it count. Not to get all existential, but this quote was nothing short of inspirational.
1. “Are You Not Entertained?”
"Are You Not Entertained? Are You Not Entertained? Is This Not Why You Are Here?"
This is arguably the most recognisable quote from the movie. Delivered by Maximus, this line serves to highlight the lack of empathy the crowd shows during the final battle. They’re here only to witness bloodshed and death – a show to distract them from the emptiness of reality.
This also paints Maximus as a soldier rather than a merciless killer who executes for fun. It also separates him from the gladiators as the one who fights for his county and not just to put on a show.
Well, twenty years have passed, and we’re still entertained.
We hope you’re inspired to give this classic another watch, you can even order some snacks from VOX F&B home delivery and turn it into an all-around epic movie night! 😉