What comes to mind when you think of great Hollywood pictures set in ancient Rome? Do you like the modern take on ancient life or would you prefer the grandiose spectacle that the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s put on? Here are a few of our favorite movies that have entertained and enthralled us.
You can’t go wrong with the film Gladiator released in 2000. This Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix picture have everything you could want in a picture. Great action sequences coupled with a good story. This movie has to be near the top of your list when thinking about movies set in Rome.
The ancient war movie Ben-Hur with Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins movie released in 1959 was the quintessential Hollywood blockbuster. You had star power and a riveting storyline. Ben-Hur was ahead of its time in Hollywood insofar as it had the largest budget ($15.175 million) and was filmed on the largest movie set in its time. It took almost a full year to shoot. All of this investment garnered 11 academy awards and was the highest grossing picture for 1959.
When you think of movies set ancient Rome the name Spartacus immediately jumps to mind. This Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier movie released in 1960 is the measuring stick that all other movies set in ancient Rome are stacked up against. The story of a former slave/gladiator that not only frees himself but his fellow slaves is one that is masterfully told in this film. The film garnered four academy awards and lasting fame.