(Hristo Shopov as Maecenus)
ORIGINAL TITLE: Spartacus.
DIRECTED BY: Robert Dornhelm.
MAIN CAST: Goran Visnjic, Alan Bates, Angus Macfadyen, Rhona Mitra, Hristo Shopov, Ian McNeice, Ross Kemp, Ben Cross, Paul Kynman, Paul Telfer, Chris Jarman, Georgina Rylance and Stuart Bunce.
PRODUCED BY: Ted Kurdyla.
WRITTEN BY: Howard Fast and Robert Schenkkan.
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY: Randy Miller.
RUNTIME: 166 minutes (177' extended version).
GENRE: History | Action | Drama.
Year 72 B.C.
Condemned since childhood to spend the rest of his life in slavery, working in a quarry in the harsh Egytian deserts, the Thracian Spartacus, in a noble act in defence of another slave, is sentenced to crucifixion.
Just as he is about be lifted up the cross, he is bought by Lentulus Batiatus, a gladiator training school owner from Rome. There, Spartacus learns to fight and meets other slaves with the same fate; among them, Varinia, a young Gaul woman who shall win the love of Spartacus.
Spartacus’s gladiatorial skills shall soon be tested in Capua amphitheatre arena, into the games organized by Batiatus to honor Maecenus (Hristo Shopov), a high ranking Legion officer to whom Batiatus owes a number of favours.
Maecenus notices Spartacus’ value after watching his rounds and, at the end of the show, saves his life by the traditional sign of mercy of the games.
Time goes by until one day the Thracian, inspired by the rivalry and tuition of Draba, a former Ethiopian warrior, leads a slave riot which grows to threaten Rome’s status quo, dignity and security. In fact, the deep impact of Spartacus' challenge trying to be free from the Republic will be present for many years.
When Batiatus receives news about this insurrection, he calls Maecenus for help to capture, with his legionary garrison, the rebellious Thracian gladiator.
While Spartacus causes the generals, politicians and even the Senate to fear him, he also creates a powerful enemy: Marcus Licinius Crassus, a wealthy patrician who is eager to quash the slave’s rebellion –which becomes a question of personal honour- to earn fame and respect among senators and Roman citizens. But not every senator will agree with Crassus’intentions.
* NOTE: Despite this version of Spartacus taking some creative licenses compared with the historical facts, it’s surely nearer to the true history than the 1960’s version.