I am Spartacus!

This line is from the most memorable scene of Stanley Kubrick's good-looking, epic 1960 film about Spartacus, played by Kirk Douglas in his pomp. Kubrick was brought in to replace Anthony Mann after Douglas had a falling out with Mann and Kubrick expressed some reservations about the slightly syrupy script he had to work with.

Spartacus the gladiator leads the slaves in a revolt against their imperial Roman masters. The revolution is crushed but rather than allow Spartacus to be executed all of the slaves risk their own lives by claiming to be him so that he cannot be identified. A great cinematic moment.

In some ways the film was quite daring for its time and several scenes were cut in the cinematic release. For example this applies to the notorious bathroom seduction scene where Crassus (Laurence Olivier) makes advances to Antonius (Tony Curtis). Of course homosexuality is only hinted at but is definitely there. Crassus tells Antonius that his tastes include both oysters and snails.

Peter Ustinov does an amusing turn as the slave merchant Batiatus. In a memorable moment he sends a slave girl played by Jean Simmons to Spartacus' cell. Battias plans to watch them have sex, but Spartacus refuses: I am not an animal! The slave girl in an early example of girl power says Neither am I!

This is a good movie, with well choreographed battle scenes, but it is a little over-extended. It's also significant in that Kubrick's experiences and frustrations making a straight Hollywood movie obviously influenced the way that he controlled all aspects of his subsequent films.