Russell Crowe’s scene in Gladiator convinced Ridley Scott of historical film


The director loved the interaction of the Roman general with the little bird before the great battle

The movie Gladiator (Gladiator in Spanish) needs no introduction for anyone who is even remotely interested in action, war, and history-related films. And even without being interested, it is difficult for someone not to have heard his name or seen some of his most famous scenes.

Despite its fame, let’s give a little context: Gladiator is a film made in 2000, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and Connie Nielsen. It has 48 awards and a sequel, Gladiator 2, on the way.

The story follows Maximum Tenth Meridius (Russell Crowe), a Hispanic general in the Roman legions of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He is betrayed by Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and forced to fight as a gladiator in the Roman circuses, while he seeks revenge on him.

Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, and the key moment

I’m sure many of you took less than a second to recall Russell Crowe’s great scene as Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator after reading the words “key moment.” And no wonder: it is one of the most epic scenes in the entire film and is part of general culture thanks to interpretations and internet memes.

You are right to think of it as one of the best scenes in Gladiator, but it was not the one that marked a turning point for Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe during filming. It was then that the director realized that both were going to become legends along with the film.

This detail was revealed by Crowe during an interview for The Howard Stern Show (July, 2022). The scene in question belongs to the first minutes of the film when Máximo walks among his troops before the battle with the barbarians, he stops for a moment, sees a small bird and smiles before to continue on his way. Scott was delighted with Crowe’s performance and knew he had a peach on his hands.

It is very likely that Ridley Scott already knew he had a great movie on his hands before seeing Russell Crowe play the Roman general moments before the battle began. However, the actor’s words do not leave room for interpretation: the director knew that he had the perfect gladiator on his side.

The rest is history. Gladiator has become an essential film for any lover of war and history films and a classic of cinema. It is credited with the “Gladiator effect”: books such as Meditations of Marcus Aurelius increased its sales and paved the way for other films such as Troy, Alexander the Great, 300, The Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood.

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