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[[caption-width-right:350:''[-"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"-]'' [[note]][[WesternAnimation/RobotChicken No. Do a dance.]][[/note]]]]

-> ''"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the armies of the north, general of the Felix Legions. 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 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Creator/RidleyScott. It follows the same period of history and takes similar liberties with its plot as the 1964 film ''Film/TheFallOfTheRomanEmpire'', while also taking several cues from Stanley Kubrick's ''Film/{{Spartacus}}''.

In AD 180 at the time of UsefulNotes/{{the Roman Empire}}, General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Creator/RussellCrowe) is named heir to the ailing Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Creator/RichardHarris), who wishes that Rome be restored to a republic with the Senate ruling as the representative of the people. The Emperor's son, Commodus (Creator/JoaquinPhoenix), is not a happy camper: he murders his father, declares himself to be the new Emperor, and orders that Maximus be killed when the general refuses to pledge loyalty to him. Maximus escapes his fate, but unfortunately for him, his wife and young son do not. Maximus swears to avenge their deaths and join them soon after; wandering around the countryside, he is soon found and brought into slavery.

Maximus is then trained as a gladiator by his captors, and he successfully wins the crowds to him in his first few performances; this allows Maximus to travel to Rome and compete in gladiatorial battles arranged by Commodus. Maximus' fame soon wins Rome's heart -- to the point where he begins to become more popular among the people than Commodus -- and begins to plan his revenge...

This film is not to be confused with the proto-superheroic 1930 book ''Literature/{{Gladiator}}'', the TV gameshow ''Series/{{Gladiators}}'', nor the general trope GladiatorGames.
!!The movie has examples of:

* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: Many examples, especially between Maximus and, variously, Marcus Aurelius, Proximo, Juba, and Lucilla. Arguably it is the skillful use and execution of these scenes that allows this to transcend being a great action movie and become an epic masterpiece.
* ActorAllusion: Creator/DerekJacobi [[Series/IClaudius wants to reform Rome]]. Additionally, Creator/BrianBlessed is the voice of one of the spectators. Bonus points when Creator/JoaquinPhoenix's Commodus compares himself to the very Claudius by telling the story of the Emperor and how he was betrayed.
* ActuallyPrettyFunny: Commodus is rather amused when, contrary to history, the 'barbarian hordes' of Carthage end up winning.
* AloneWithPrisonerPloy: When Lucilla arrives at Maximus' cell, she tells him "rich matrons pay well to be pleasured by the bravest champions". He has been chained up in preparation for her visit. In fact she's there to tell him there is a growing conspiracy against Commodus, and to ask him to meet a politician who's involved.
* AluminumChristmasTrees:
** Commodus deciding to fight a gladiator in the arena looks like a plot device to let Maximus get his revenge. The historical Commodus ''did'' actually fight in gladiator contests, although it isn't how he died.
** The writers planned to have a scene with popular gladiators endorsing products, which happened historically, but it was decided that audiences would think it was unrealistic.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Commodus tells his father, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, that while he doesn't have the traditional virtues of Wisdom, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, he does have Courage ("Perhaps not on the battlefield, but there are many kinds of courage..." -- and in truth, he's actually a pretty good fighter, he just never saw real battle), and Ambition, which drives him to excel. He then [[TheEvilPrince murders his father and assumes the Imperial throne for himself]]. This is especially {{Anvilicious}}, considering that Marcus Aurelius was going to hand power over to General Maximus ''specifically because'' Maximus didn't want to rule.
%%* AnachronismStew
%%* AncientRome
* AnnoyingArrows:
** {{Averted}}. The barbarians that get hit with arrows in the opening battle tend to stay down, as they should. {{Played straight}} with the barbarians' arrows against the Romans, as all the arrows are stopped by the Roman ''testudo'' formation.
** Hagan also yanks out the arrow that gets stuck in his leg during the charioteer battle.
* AntiVillain: Quintus is a fairly noble version go the MyMasterRightOrWrong type, when Commodus first takes over, but seeing how Commodus rules eventually causes him to rethink that philosophy.
* ArmorIsUseless: Maximus cuts through body armor with his swords, even though it would have probably protected them better in RealLife.
%%* ArrowsOnFire: Used in the opening battle.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** The real life Commodus was not incestous towards his sister at all, and her exile and execution was purely for trying to plot his assassination.
** Likewise, the real Commodus didn't die in a Gladiator fight. He was strangled to death by a wrestling instructor in his bathtub. Taking this into consideration, it's not hard to see why this aspect was changed in the film.
** Marcus Aurelius was actually perfectly happy handing power over to his son Commodus on his death, and had been grooming him for this very purpose for at least three years before his death. Similarly, nobody at the time was interested in returning Rome to an actual Republic, though Romans continued to call it that long after it had become a dictatorship in practice.
** An in-universe example. The reenactment of the "Battle of Zama" in the coliseum by the Romans features the "Carthaginians" using Roman-style shields, while the "Roman Legions" consist of war chariots, a number of which contain black-skinned, female warriors. Justifiable, considering ancient Romans probably weren't too worried about history accuracy either, and it's a gladiatorial show just meant to [[RuleofCool look cool.]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_accuracy_of_Gladiator_(2000_film) According to Wikipedia]], Scott ''wanted'' to make the film more accurate, but was forced to do otherwise because [[RealityIsUnrealistic the public is used to the troped version]].
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Maximus Decimus Meridius is an example of an AwesomeMcCoolname with actual justification due to the Roman system of ''cognomina'', or titles/official nicknames. His given name is Decimus (at one point his family name is given as Aelius), Maximus was a common ''cognomen'' used by many other RealLife renowned Roman commanders, and Meridius probably refers either to past conquests in the South or his Spanish heritage (technically the names are in the wrong order, and should be Decimus Aelius Maximus Meridius). In English, he would possibly be [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Decimus Aelius the Great, Conqueror of the South]].
* BadassBeard: Maximus grows one [[BeardOfSorrow when his family is killed]].
* BadassBoast: "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions,[[note]]The plural is historically inaccurate.[[/note]] 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."
%%* BandOfBrothers: Maximus' legion .
%%* BestServedCold
* BigBad: Commodus, the instigator of all the conflict in the film and the object of Maximus' revenge.
* TheBigGuy: Hagen, the German whom Proximo uses to test new fighters. He's a class three as despite his physical prowess (Maximus aside, he's pretty much the last person you want to fight in the arena), he's actually a perfectly friendly, candid guy. He'd probably be an outright GentleGiant except that he's, well, a gladiator.
* BilingualBonus:
** Maximus' names for the two horses on his breastplate [[ShoutOut translate to]] [[Series/TheLoneRanger "Silver"]] and [[Creator/RoyRogers "Trigger"]].
** "You have a great name." ("Maximus" literally translates to "very great".)
* BittersweetEnding: Of the "mostly good" kind. [[spoiler:Most of the gladiator school is wiped out and the survivors are imprisoned, but they are eventually released. Maximus defeats Commodus in a duel, ensures Rome will become a republic again, and dies of his wounds. However, he is seen reunited with his family in Elysium.]] This is mirrored just afterwards, when Juba returns to an empty Colosseum to [[spoiler:bury Maximus' figurines, and says "I will see you again. But not yet. Not yet."]]
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Maximus is a brave, noble veteran who initially wants to make Rome a republic again and later wishes to avenge the murder of his wife and son. Commodus is an insane, patricidal megalomaniac with a Caligula complex.
%%* BlackBestFriend: Juba to Maximus.
%%* BoisterousBruiser: Hagen.
* BodyguardBetrayal: [[spoiler:At Quintus' command, the Praetorian Guard refuses to step in and help Commodus win his duel against Maximus. With his Praetorians refusing to give him a new sword, Commodus instead pulls a knife from his sleeve and tries to finish Maximus off up close, but is quickly overpowered and and killed.]]
* BookEnds: In the beginning, Maximus imagines himself strolling through his farm's fields, and in the end, [[spoiler:he sees himself strolling through the fields of Elysium, reuniting with his family.]]
* BreadAndCircuses: Commodus' policy, with a literal example shown inside the Colosseum. It's discussed that Commodus is selling off Rome's grain stores to pay for the games, which will result in starvation in the near future.
* BringMyBrownPants: The scribe wets himself as he and the other gladiators are about to enter a fight in the Zucchabar arena. With good cause, as in a deleted scene he emphatically points out that he's got zero combat experience and is very aware he'll die soon.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Evil Emperor Commodus lusts after his sister Lucilla and makes an aborted attempt to seduce her, while she is appropriately horrified. When he catches her supporting Maximus' cause, he declares that he's going to impregnate her to bear a new dynasty of his progeny; he's more TheCaligula than ''even the historical Caligula'' (or at least the possibly biased accounts of the guy). That and threatening her son make a good KickTheDog moment.
%%* TheBrute: Tigris of Gaul.
* CainAndAbel: Commodus as the Cain, Maximus as the Abel. They're not related by blood, but Marcus Aurelius considered Maximus the son he should have had instead of the ambitious Commodus and nominates him as regent. Commodus also considers Maximus his non-blood brother, as both try to win Aurelius' favor and Lucilla's love. However, Commodus resorts to [[TheEvilPrince murdering his father]] and arranging to [[BrotherSisterIncest rape his sister]], while setting up Maximus' death several times. {{Discussed}} near the end:
-->'''Commodus:''' That makes us brothers, doesn't it? Then smile for me, brother! [''stabs Maximus InTheBack'']
* TheCaligula: The Roman emperor Commodus. Commodus wasn't as bad in real life as he was in either this film or The Fall of the Roman Empire, but he still wasn't the sort of monarch you'd take home to mother -- he thought he was the reincarnation of Hercules, fought as a gladiator in the arena, and is best-known for ending the "Five Good Emperors" streak. He renamed Rome, and the Romans themselves ''[[{{Egopolis}} after himself]]''. Also, he ordered one of his slaves to be burned alive for making his bath too cold. Yikes. He'd spent most of his reign just doing whatever he fancied, and having a grand old time -- it wasn't until there were several attempts on his life (one involving his sister) that he really kicked into gear and became a tyrannical dictator.
* CallThatAFormation: The Roman shieldwall during the opening battle advances relatively well, albeit made crooked by the uneven terrain, but comes apart almost immediately when the Germans smash into it. Realistically speaking, the Romans should have almost all been slaughtered, with the rampage of the gigantic axe-wielding Germanic chieftain (who has to be brought down by weight of numbers) a brief realistic nod to ''why'' the legions relied on maintaining their shieldwall to win battles.
* CallToAgriculture: "Maximus the Farmer!" This was TruthInTelevision for a lot of Roman statesmen and generals. Farming was considered one of the most laudable and noble occupations for a Roman man to undertake.
%%* CallingTheOldManOut: All Commodus wanted was [[DeadlyHug a hug]], and the empire...
* TheCameo: '''Creator/{{BRIAN BLESSED}}''' appears as an audience member in The Colosseum.
* ChainedHeat: Combined with BackToBackBadasses in Maximus' first gladiator-battle.
* ChewingTheScenery:
* {{Cincinnatus}}: Maximus. After long years of slogging through the north, conquering for Rome, he just wanted to go home to his family and farm, even when he realized he was being offered total power in Rome, and that, Aurelius said, was why it had to be him to steward the Empire until it could be a Republic again.
%%* ClassicVillain: Commodus, representing Ambition and Envy.
* CompositeCharacter: There were many real life people that have been cited as influencing the creation of Maximus. Including the likes of Marcus Nonius Macrinus (a Roman general who served closely under Emperor Marcus Aurelius, becoming one of his closest advisors), Narcissus (the professional Roman athlete, potentially a gladiator but likely a wrestler, that killed Commodus), Spartacus (a slave who was once used as a soldier that was eventually turned into gladiator who subsequently stood up against the corrupt Roman state and ultimately died a martyr), Cincinnatus (a high ranking Roman who turned down the chance at absolute power in favor of living a simple life as a farmer that only fought/took power when absolutely necessary), Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus (the second husband of Lucilla, who was offered the throne several times after Commodus'death), and Maximus of Hispania (obviously his name, as well as his roots in the land that would come to be called Spain from this real man who also came to be at odds with and fought against the Roman state). It is notable that in David Franzoni's original draft of the screenplay, the lead character's name was Narcissus.
* ConversationalTroping: Before Maximus fights Commodus in the arena, Commodus talks about how Maximus's epic life story can honestly be called the stuff of legend. He considers just killing Maximus to be anticlimatic, so the only fitting conclusion to the story would be a final showdown in the great arena between the two, although Commodus obviously [[WrongGenreSavvy considers himself the hero in this story]].
* CripplingTheCompetition: Commodus restrains and stabs Maximus just prior to their final, climactic arena duel in order to gain the upper hand during the fight. [[spoiler:It ''still'' isn't enough to even the tyrant's odds.]]
* CrusadingWidower: Maximus.
* CrowdPleaser: Proximo has fond memories of his finest battles in the greatest of Rome's amphitheaters in his youth. He also keeps reminding Maximus that the crowd want a show, not a simple quick slaughter, and that he must win the crowd's favor.
* DarkIsNotEvil: For the final battle, Maximus is wearing black armor, [[LightIsNotGood and Commodus wears white.]] Interestingly, ancient Rome had rather different associations for these colors. Black was the color of joy and festivity, which probably explains why Commodus, the dissolute playboy emperor, is usually seen wearing it. White, though, was associated with the elderly, authority figures[[note]]the English word for "someone running for office", candidate, comes from the Latin word for white. Roman office-seekers wore white togas to the elections[[/note]]... [[ForeShadowing and the dead.]]
%%* DarkIsEvil: In one scene Commodus's robe is totally black.
* DashingHispanic: Rather than Spanish, he is technically Hispanic (as in someone from the ancient Roman province of Hispania, which is now Spain), and he is played by an Australian actor speaking TheQueensLatin, but Maximus Decimus Meridius is pretty badass.
%%* DeadlyHug: How Commodus comes to power.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: Facing his imminent death is what gets Marcus Aurelius to reassess his life and ultimately decide he needs to set things in motion in order to save Rome by making it a Republic again.
* DecapitationPresentation: The opening battle has the German Leader tossing the head of a Roman scout before the battle begins. The rest of the scout's body preceded the head on its way back to the Roman lines.
* DefeatingTheUndefeatable: Maximus is put in a fight with the only undefeated gladiator, Tigris of Gaul. And beats him.
* {{Determinator}}: Both Maximus and Commodus.
* DiedHappilyEverAfter: [[spoiler:At the end, there's a few brief shots of Maximus in a field, walking towards his family in Elysium.]]
-->'''Maximus:''' ''[to his soldiers]'' If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!
* TheDogBitesBack: [[spoiler:The Praetorian Guard repay Commodus' repeated dog-kicking by sheathing their swords in the final confrontation, basically saying "fuck this guy, let him sleep in the bed he made!" This makes even more sense with a deleted scene where Commodus executes two praetorians as scapegoats when Maximus turns up alive. The Praetorian commander vehemently protests the execution, but is forced to personally give the execution order himself.]]
* DoomedMoralVictor: Maximus becomes a darling of the public, kills the emperor in a duel and [[spoiler:dies afterwards. He was already mortally wounded by the Emperor just before they entered the arena. It was meant to be more of a fancy execution than a duel, in order to discredit the hero and bolster the strength of the Emperor. The evil Emperor still loses because he's ultimately an UpperClassTwit with a Caligula complex and Maximus, despite his injury, is a consummate soldier and a {{Determinator}}.]]
%%* TheDragon: Quintus to Commodus
%%* DrivenByEnvy: Commodus. Also Quintus.
* DualWielding: [[RetiredBadass Tigris of Gaul]] fights with a sword in one hand and an axe in the other.
%%* EliteMooks: Praetorians
* EpicFlail: A common gladiator weapon. One spiky-haired RedShirt ends up [[HaveANiceDeath catching one full on in the gob]] in the first gladiator battle of the movie.
%%* EpicMovie
* TheEvilPrince: Commodus, though he had something of an excuse: his father, rather than passing on emperorship to him, as had become commonplace (at least in the world of the movie: in Imperial Rome, it was relatively common for an Emperor to choose an adoptive heir as opposed to a blood one; look at Julius, Augustus and Marcus Aurelius himself), was going to give it to Maximus, who in turn was going to use it to put power back into the hands of the Senate and restore the Republic.
%%* EvilUncle: Commodus to Lucius, though he [[AffablyEvil treats him nicely enough]].
* EvilVirtues: Commodus believed his virtues were just as good as the ones of a traditional ruler.
* FakeShemp: An infamous example. Oliver Reed died before filming all his scenes as Proximo, so they used shadows, CGI, and creative re-editing of already-shot scenes, along with some stock footage, to finish filming and rewrote several important scenes that would have been otherwise unfilmable.
* {{Flynning}}: This is lampshaded; in the gladiator training camp scene, the instructor tells the student, "this is how you fight", and starts showing him the "Pirate Halves" move. It's also justified - gladiators were essentially entertainers, as well as fighters. Maximus, a former professional soldier, was told off for being too efficient as he naturally went straight for the killing move.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Quintus comments early on that "People should know when they're conquered". [[spoiler:When Commodus kills Marcus Aurelius, Quintus quickly realises there is no point resisting, chooses pragmatism before honour and betrays Maximus]]
* FreudianExcuse: Commodus explains, prior to killing his dad, that all he wanted was a little love and a warm hug...and what he would have done to get it.
* {{Foil}}: Noble, humble, wise Maximus and insanely [[AmbitionIsEvil ambitious]] Commodus. Maximus' bosses also count: Noble Emperor Marcus Aurelius and ex-slave-turned-fight-promoter Proximo.
* GameBreakingInjury: Double subversion. [[spoiler:Maximus is stabbed before his battle with Commodus, but manages to defeat Commodus ''and'' give a last order before dying.]]
* GenreBlind: Old Marcus Aurelius, of all people. Telling your immoral son you're naming another as your heir with no witnesses around or record of your decision is a bad move.
* GimmickMatches: In-universe, many variations on gladiatorial combat take place in the arena. Fir instance, in Maximus' first match, he and Juba are tied together by the wrist, with Maximus holding a sword and Juba a shield.
* GiveMeASword: Both ways; Maximus gets one without asking while Commodus is left to fend for himself.
%%* GladiatorGames
%%* GladiatorRevolt
%%* TheGoodKing: Marcus Aurelius
* GoodRepublicEvilEmpire: The good guys are hoping to turn the Roman Empire back into a Republic by giving more power to the Senate. The bad guy wants to get rid of the Senate altogether. Historically speaking, no one planned to make Rome a republic again, especially since the last five emperors had been both good and competent guys. And in fact it took 300 years for the Roman Empire to openly acknowledge that the Republic ''had'' ended and a monarchy had formed. Nor was there ever any serious prospect of abolishing the Senate; while centuries later its power would be diminished to the point of being purely ceremonial, the Roman Senate actually ''outlasted'' the (Western) Roman Empire and the UsefulNotes/ByzantineEmpire (Eastern Roman Empire) had its own Senate last until the 1400s.
* GoYeHeroesGoAndDie: The pit manager to the small army of gladiators representing the "Barbarian Horde" before entering the Coliseum. They live and Maximus earns the admiration of the crowd.
* GrimUpNorth: Germania is a cold, harsh place filled with violent barbarians.
* GroupieBrigade: When Maximus and the other gladiators are lead into the Colosseum, they're mobbed by a group of scantily-clad women with obvious admiration and intentions towards them, one of them even grabs Maximus and whispers "I want you" in his ear until a guard pulls her off.
%%* GutturalGrowler: Maximus.
* AHandfulForAnEye: At the beginning of the one on one duel against Tigris surrounded by tigers. The opponent kicks dirt/gravel/dust into Maximus's face.
* HeadbuttOfLove: Close friends Maximus and Juba bump foreheads before Maximus enters the ring.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:''The entire Praetorian Guard'', Quintus in particular.]] It's TruthInTelevision, given [[spoiler:the Praetorians had a reputation for [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder deposing and assassinating Emperors]], although the real-life Commodus supposedly maintained the loyalty of the Guard until the end of his reign.]]
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler:Maximus at the end.]]
* HeroicBSOD: Maximus is utterly heartbroken when he finds his home destroyed and family brutally murdered.
* HeroesLoveDogs: As pointed out in [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19183_6-tricks-movies-use-to-make-sure-you-root-right-guy.html this]] Cracked article, the German peasants at the start of the movie are a RagtagBunchOfMisfits fighting against the all-powerful invading Romans in an attempt to protect their own land. Problem is, the movie wants you to root for the ''Romans,'' because that's the side Maximus is on. Solution? Give them a dog.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: Lucilla. The real life Lucilla was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Commodus and ''[[TheStarscream replace]]'' him with herself and her husband. She failed and was executed.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Commodus is not as bad in history as this movie would make you think. See above for the ArtisticLicenseHistory.
* HollywoodTactics:
** [[ArrowsOnFire Flaming arrows]] are used in the opening battle, although it appears that they are used mainly for their psychological effect.
** The Roman legions were trained to fight as a regimented force, and to maintain formation for mutual support. In the film, the formation collapses instantly upon contact with the enemy. This would have almost certainly led to a Roman defeat, as, on a solo basis, the barbarians were by far the better warriors. Further, the Roman legions used spears called pila. Doctrine called for them to be thrown while the enemy closed. The Romans would then draw their swords and fight, while remaining in formation. Though the Romans are shown holding their pila in the opening scenes, they are never used against the barbarians, and we see no pila-riddled shields and/or corpses in the background.
* HonorBeforeReason: Maximus refuses to kiss the ring and declare his loyalty to Commodus after he kills his father. Since he's clearly not ignorant of the risk (he armors up immediately afterwards, telling his servant Cicero to rouse the senators), it's possible he was counting on Quintus' own honor.
* HumanPincushion: [[spoiler:During the Praetorians' assault, Proximo is stabbed to death, and Hagen is hit by dozens of arrows.]]
* HumanShield: Unintentionally invoked by Commodus, when he enters the arena to congratulate a masked Maximus, Maximus moves towards Commodus and clearly intends to kill him, but then Lucius runs up and hugs his uncle, so Maximus stops and puts down his arrowhead.
* HumiliationConga: [[spoiler:Commodus is disarmed and [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown battered]] by a man he's clearly just injured, his own general turns against him and then he's slowly, painfully killed by his own stiletto knife to the neck. By the [[http://s13.postimg.org/phfar83ev/Commodus_Death.jpg look on his face]], [[VillainousBreakdown he doesn't even care anymore]].]]
* IdiotBall:
** Lucilla telling her son about Maximus, but not telling him to keep his mouth shut about it.
** Marcus Aurelius gets handed one right before he decides to tell his evil ambitious son in private that he won't be Emperor.
** Maximus not being more tactful and pledging his loyalty to Commodus so he could plot against him from within.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice / PinnedToTheWall: In the first battle in the Coliseum, Hagen bodily lifts one of his opponents and impales him on the spikes lining the top of the arena walls.
* ImplacableMan: Maximus foils Commodus' plot to have him killed by killing ALL the [[PraetorianGuard praetorians]] sent to kill him.
* ImprovisedWeaponUser: Several instances. From Hagen making a flail simile out of [[{{Squick}} a severed hand still attached to the end of a binding chain]] to Juba using a helmet as a pummeling weapon.
* InTheBack: Commodus [[CripplingTheCompetition cripples the competition]] with a dagger in the back.
* InadequateInheritor: The emperor favored Maximus over Commodus because he considered his son too corrupt for the job, wanting instead a humble reformer to take the helm. Pity one of his son's "virtues" was [[AmbitionIsEvil Ambition]].
* InsigniaRipOffRitual: After becoming a gladiator, Maximus cuts up his SPQR tattoo, in angry sorrow about being betrayed by the government he'd served.
%%* ItsPersonal
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: A rare ''non-gun'' example: "The frost. Sometimes it makes the blade stick."
* JerkassHasAPoint: Commodus calling out Graccus' claim that the Senate represents the people of the empire is actually fair and on point - many of the common folk of the time were living on the edge of poverty and struggling to provide for themselves and their families. Not that Commodus actually intends to improve matters.
* KingpinInHisGym: Commodus is shown practicing his swordsmanship against multiple opponents, showing that wealth and power have ''not'' made him soft. This holds true to the real Commodus, who was supposedly very good in the Colosseum... although he tended to fight men with training weapons while using real ones himself.
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: Discussed in the opening scene, regarding the Germans:
-->'''Quintus:''' A people should know when they're conquered.
-->'''Maximus:''' Would you, Quintus? [[{{Foreshadowing}} Would I?]]
%%* LaResistance
* TheLastDance: [[spoiler:Maximus' fight against Commodus.]]
%%* MadeASlave
%%* ManipulativeBastard: Commodus.
* ManlyTears: [[DefiedTrope Defied]]. Maximus races home desperately... to find his farm burned and his wife and son crucified. He collapses in front of them, tears flowing. Spittle as well! Lots of discomfort-inducing spittle and mucus. The original plan was for him to do a normal discreet-few-tears-down-each-cheek dignified cry... but Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott agreed that what Maximus was seeing demanded (as Crowe put it) a "full blown snot-fest".
* TheMentor: Both Marcus Aurelius and Proximo are this to Maximus.
* MilesToGoBeforeISleep: Maximus will happily join his wife and son in the afterlife, just as soon as he avenges them.
* MoralityPet: Averted, Commodus actually seems to care about Lucius quite a bit and clearly wants the boy to see him as a father figure, but that doesn't give him any sympathy or cause him to dial back the evil in any way.
* MurderByInaction: After Maximus disarms Commodus in the arena, Commodus immediately starts demanding one of the surrounding Praetorian Guard to give him a sword. If he hadn't recently and publicly dishonored his own royal guards, they might have.
%%* MyMasterRightOrWrong: Quintus.
%%* MyNameIsInigoMontoya: See the quote at the top of the page.
%%* NightmareFuelStationAttendant: Commodus.
* NoChallengeEqualsNoSatisfaction: In one match, Maximus kills every one of his opponents extremely quickly, making his audience turn silent, [[YouBastard which in turn makes him chastise them]]. He gets criticized by Proximo for this as well, who urges him to try to WinTheCrowd when he fights.
%%* NostalgiaHeaven: The ending.
* NotSoDifferent: Commodus actually says this one verbatim to Maximus.
* NotWithTheSafetyOnYouWont: [[Administrivia/TropesAreFlexible With a frost-stuck sword, no less.]]
* OffTheRails: Maximus manages to derail a gladiatorial reenactment of a battle (that his side should have lost). It's even {{lampshaded}} by Commodus.
* OhCrap:
** The look on Commodus' face when he realises who "The Spaniard" is.
** Maximus gets a brief and relatively stunted one in the beginning when he's taken by surprise by a charging, angry German with a big axe. Who is screaming. And on fire.
%%* OneWomanWail
* PostRapeTaunt: Commodus to Maximus, describing how his men raped his wife.
* PostVictoryCollapse: Maximus after defeating Commodus in the FinalBattle.
%%* PraetorianGuard: The real deal.
* PrettyInMink: The capes Maximus and Lucilla wore in the first act. But then, they are in [[GrimUpNorth Germania]].
* ProperlyParanoid: Maximus sleeps lightly with a dagger at the ready should someone try to assassinate him. Unfortunately he isn't quite paranoid enough when it comes to trusting Quintus.
* PunchClockVillain: Tigris of Gaul regards his duel with Maximus as simply another match.
* TheQueensLatin: The entire cast used British accents, despite its three main stars being from New Zealand (Creator/RussellCrowe), America (Creator/JoaquinPhoenix) and Denmark (Connie Nielsen).
%%* RatedMForManly
%%* RedBaron: "The Spaniard".
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: This is the ultimate fate of Proximo, and arguably also applies to Marcus Aurelius.
* RefusalOfTheCall: All Maximus wanted to do was go back to his farm!
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: When Maximus chews out the arena for actually being ''[[StunnedSilence shocked]]'' by his carnage.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Proximo originally had a larger role, but unfortunately Oliver Reed died midway through production.
* RelativeButton: Except with less of the beatdown effect and instead just provoking Maximus' ImplacableMan. Commodus even casually brings up Maximus' wife's gang-rape and the crucifixion of his son in front of the {{Praetorian Guard}}s.
* RealityEnsues: The Hulking German chieftain at the beginning is not killed in the battle in a one on one duel by Maximus, they don't even fight or share a scene with one another. Instead he is killed by being stabbed multiple times by nameless Roman soldiers.
* RetiredBadass:
** Proximo, once the greatest gladiator in Rome, who was freed by Marcus Aurelius himself.
** Tigris of Gaul, another (younger) retired gladiator [[DefeatingTheUndefeatable who had never been defeated,]] brought back by special dispensation of Commodus in an attempt to kill Maximus.
* RousingSpeech:
** "Is Rome worth one good man's life? We believed it once. Make us believe it again."
** "Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead! Brothers; what we do in life, echoes in eternity."
* RoyalInbreeding: [[TheCaligula Emperor Commodus]] indicates that he intends to force his sister Lucilla to become his concubine and carry his child because he is obsessed with creating a "pure-blooded" dynasty. [[spoiler:He's killed before he can put it into action, though.]] This is some serious ArtisticLicenseHistory, since aside from giving Commodus a dose of HistoricalVillainUpgrade, the historical Romans also had laws against incest (hence the slander against disliked emperors such as Caligula and Nero) and looked down on contemporaneous royal families like the Ptomelys for their habits.
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler:Hagen dies during Maximus' escape attempt.]]
%%* SanitySlippage: Commodus
* ScarpiaUltimatum: Roman Emperor Commodus performs one of these ''[[VillainousIncest against his own sister Lucilla]]'' near the end. He tries to come on to her earlier in the film, but when she is exposed for conspiring against him with his political enemies Maximus and Senator Gracchus, he decides to give her a "merciful" fate. She has to become his consort, and Commodus takes away her son and threatens to kill the boy if she refuses or takes her own life to spite him. His demand even includes Lucilla having to carry his child so he can establish an eternal dynasty of "pure-blooded" Emperors.
%%* SelfMadeOrphan
* SexSlave: [[spoiler:Towards the end, Commodus forces ''his own sister'' to be this to him, threatening her son's (and his nephew's) life if she refuses.]]
* SingleStrokeBattle: When Maximus fights his executors, this happens with the man on the horse.
%%* SissyVillain: Commodus.
%%* SleazyPolitician: Senator Falco
* SlouchOfVillainy: Commodus gives several prime examples of this trope, especially on his thrones.
* SoldierVsWarrior: Maximus goes from being a General (soldier) to a gladiator (warrior).
* SpikedWheels: The Chariots in one battle. They're sharp, scary and highly effective, as some unfortunate fighters find out.
%%* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''Film/{{Spartacus}}''.
* SuspiciouslySmallArmy: In-universe example when the Colosseum stages a historical re-enactment of the Battle of Carthage with a few dozen men. Played for laughs when the announcer presents THE BARBARIAN HORDE! and the camera pans to this tiny group in a vast arena.
%%* SwordAndSandal:
* TactfulTranslation: Done with a sort of GallowsHumor when Maximus "translates" the Germanic Tribes [[ShootTheMessenger killing his messenger]] as "They say no".
* TakeThatKiss: [[spoiler:Commodus, after fatally stabbing Maximus.]]
* TamperingWithFoodAndDrink: Shortly after Maximus is discovered to still be alive by Commodus, he is served some gruel the next day by the gladiator's cook. Juba shakes his head in disapproval, as if anticipating Maximus being poisoned. Hagen then takes a spoonful of the food, eats it, then begins choking on it. [[SubvertedTrope Then he starts laughing, revealing that the food is safe to eat.]]
* TemptingFate:
** In the first battle in the Colosseum, one of the gladiators shouts "To the death!" He is the second one killed from Maximus' group.
** Commodus says that he likes surprises when the 'Carthage' side wins. He doesn't like the surprise Maximus gives him.
* ThatMakesMeFeelAngry: "It vexes me. I'm terribly vexed." [[JustifiedTrope It makes sense]] when you consider how melodramatic Commodus was.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: Maximus has a driving, forceful orchestral battle theme only heard twice, once on the German battlefield and once in the Colosseum. In both moments he is leading armies to victory like a true front-line general.
* ThousandYearReign: That is how long Commodus wants his incestuous line to last, when he thinks he's won completely.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks:
** Maximus throws his sword and kills a Praetorian Guard from about twenty meters away in order to escape execution. Being the smart guy he is, he kept a backup sword to deal with the remaining Praetorian.
** Played with later when he throws a sword into a ''crowd of people'' during the "Are you not entertained?!" scene and injures [[DieChairDie a coffee table.]] Why would he seriously attack civilians?
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler:Maximus is shown walking to his family after his last fight in the arena. Also alluded to by Maximus's friend Juba, who assures him that they'll meet again in the next world... but not yet.]]
%%* TranquilFury: Maximus
%%* TryToFitThatOnABusinessCard:
* {{Understatement}}: "Commodus is not a moral man..."
* UndyingLoyalty: Maximus certainly inspires this in people. See his squire Cicero and Hagen.
* UnwittingPawn: Lucilla's son is used by Commodus a lot with him never noticing.
* VillainousIncest: One-sided, with Commodus lusting after his sister.
* WeAllDieSomeday: Maximus tells Commodus that a late friend once told him "Death smiles at us all. All we can do is smile back." Commodus wonders whether the friend did the same thing at his own death. Maximus replies that Commodus should know, since that friend was Marcus Aurelius, Commodus' father.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Emperor Marcus Aurelius is one of these to Commodus. If you've read this page you'll know how well that turns out.
* WhyWontYouDie: Commodus asks Maximus this after Maximus makes it through a match which was blatantly set against him.
-->'''Commodus:''' What am I going to do with you? You simply won't... die. Are we so different, you and I? You take life when you have to... as I do.
-->'''Maximus:''' I have only one more life to take. Then it is done.
* WinTheCrowd: The TropeNamer, InUniverse. Proximo says this to Maximus about what it takes to be the greatest gladiator.
* WinYourFreedom: {{Averted}}. Maximus [[DeathSeeker doesn't intend to leave alive]].
* WouldYouLikeToHearHowTheyDied:
-->'''Commodus''': They tell me your son squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. [[PostRapeTaunt And your wife moaned like a whore when they ravished her... again... and again... and again]].
* YouBastard:
** Maximus pulled this on his audience, and [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou perhaps the viewers by extension.]]
--->'''Maximus:''' Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you are here?!
** Proximo later discusses the same topic when instructing Maximus:
--->'''Proximo:''' Thrust this into another man's flesh, and they will applaud and love you for that. You may even begin to love them for that.
* YouCanBarelyStand: Commodus stabs Maximus before facing him in the arena. Maximus, a seasoned general mind you, proves to be able to defeat the reasonably skilled but nonetheless inferior Commodus, [[spoiler:but dies from bleeding afterwards.]]
* YouKnowWhoSaidThat: Emperor Commodus and Maximus have a final '[[CainAndAbel brotherly]]' moment before their duel in the arena. Commodus mocks Maximus' [[NotAfraidToDie lack of fear for his own death]], and Maximus tells his enemy that someone once told him "Death smiles at us all. All we can do is smile back". Commodus wonders whether the friend did so at his own death, and Maximus replies that out of anyone, Commodus should know. The man was Marcus Aurelius, the father he murdered.
* YouShallNotPass: The other gladiators try to do this as Maximus attempts to flee. [[spoiler:Hagen dies during the battle.]]
* YoungerThanTheyLook: According to one script/art book, Commodus is supposed to be nineteen. This was the age his RealLife counterpart ascended to the throne. But unlike the film character, he blessed the Roman people with his just and wise rule for ''twelve years'' before meeting his death.