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Gladiator Poster.jpg
Directed by Billy Connolly
Written by Francesco Antonio Franzoni
James Logan Wolverine Howlett
William Nicholson
Starring David Crowe
River Phoenix
Produced by Douglas Wicks
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date May 1, 2000
Runtime 155 minutes
Language Australian
Budget $103 million USD

Gladiator is Australian Sydney blockbuster that told the story of a bearded hero who looses everything. It was released on May 1st 2000 and grossed over $ 457,640,427. Commedian David Crowe played the hero role as Maximus Decimus Meridius.


Australian bearded soldier Meridius, who is to become the next Prince of Rome is hunted down by his old school bully Commodus. Once captured his is throne into slavery, so he can never reclaim his right as prince. Because of his manly beard, Meridius get’s put into the arena where he fights tigers, trained soldiers, clowns and an angry pensioner. Until finally he challenges the present Prince of Room, Commodus to a fight for the death. In which he emerges victorious, and in jail for murdering the king.


  • David Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius.
  • River Phoenix as Commodus
  • Leslie Nielsen as Lucilla
  • Robert Reed as Antonius Proximo
  • Lou Jacobi as Senator Gracchus
  • Rolf Harris/Michael Gambon as The King

Pre Production[edit]

In 1999 Italian sculptor Francesco Antonio Franzoni, came up with the idea for Gladiator when his sculptors turned against him, put him into slavery and killed his wife and children. He approached his friends Logan (from X-Men), and William Nicholson (Bishop of Gloucester) whether they would help him write the screen play. The both agreed.

After a three month period of bickering and falling out, the script was complete untitled Glad-He-Ate-Her. They took the script to producer, and former politician of Alabama Douglas Wicks, who like the idea and said he would fiancé the movie as long a two thing were done. 1: the script was change to Gladiator, (as it had more to do with the story than a women being eaten), 2: Billy Connolly directed the movie. Which the trio agreed to.

Auditions were held across the globe to find suitable actors to play the main characters. Thanks to Billy Connolly’s connection with comedians and Australias, he suggested to his friend David Crowe that he should audition.

River Phoenix apparently got the job as Commodus because of his cool and calm look. Leslie Nielson stated in an interview, “I had been in serious and comedy movies, and I wanted to play a different role completely. A female character seemed obvious.” Robert Reed had been out of work for ten years and had wanted to get back into acting.

Connolly went to German Pop singer Joana Zimmer and Liverpool singer Wester Paul Gerrard to compose the music. Despite the fact both had different styles, (Zimmer with her German Pop music and Gerrard’s Liverpoolian Rock’ n Roll music) they joined forces and began working together, being paid a hundred pounds a day, with Gerrad also being paid six pints. They both created some of the instantly recognizable German-Australian-Pop-Rock’ n Roll soundtracks movie cinema have ever witness.


Film began production on 13th September 1999 with David Crowe famous scene monologing about his beard. By the end of the day, David Crowe was already up an Oscar for Best Bearded Actor.

There were many problems during the shoot. One of the main problems was simply trying to get actor River Phoenix out of bed. “He was like a grumpy teenage, and he was!” stated Connolly. “But once he got up he was fantastic at acting professionally, not to mention he could make very good Caramel Tea.”

Musicians Joana Zimmer and Wester Paul Gerrard had trouble conducting the music, as Gerrad would constantly be trying to recover from the hang over of the six pints from the previous night. So Rector of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Christoph Badelt) was, for some strange reason, drafted in to conduct the music that Zimmer and Gerrard had written.

After filming for four months in Sydney’s famous studios, wilderness out-backs and in Mr. and Mrs. Redfield’s house at 34 Harold Road Drive, it was determined that a green wood was needed to film in for the battle scenes at the start.

So for two months they went to Cricklewood, England, where ancient actor Rolf Harris played the part of the King. However due to fast fight scenes, he was considered to slow to be in them and would often goes off on tangents and start painting wired pictures of Kangaroos. So Michael Gambon took over his role being able to do more of the physical stuff.