Gladiator

Synopsis: Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) takes power and strips rank from Maximus (Russell Crowe), one of the favored generals of his predecessor and father, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the great stoical philosopher. Maximus is then relegated to fighting to the death in the gladiator arenas.
Director(s): Rowdy Herrington
Production: Dreamworks Distribution LLC
  Won 5 Oscars. Another 53 wins & 101 nominations.
 
IMDB:
8.5
Metacritic:
67
Rotten Tomatoes:
77%
R
Year:
2000
155 min
Website
3,208 Views


FADE IN:

EXT. FOREST - DAY

Germania. The far reaches of the Roman Empire.

Winter 180 A.D.

Incongruously enough, the first sound we hear is a

beautiful tenor voice. Singing. A boy's voice.

CREDITS as we hear the haunting song float through dense

forests. We finally come to a rough, muddy road slashing

through the forest. On the road a GERMAN PEASANT FATHER

is herding along three sickly looking cows. His two SONS

are with him. His youngest son sits on one of the cows

and sings a soft, plaintive song.

They become aware of another sound behind them on the road

-- the creak of wood, the slap of metal on leather. The

Father immediately leads his cattle and his sons off the

road. They stand-still, eyes down: the familiar posture

of subjugated peoples throughout history.

A wagon train rumbles past them. Three ornate wagons

followed by a mounted cohort of fifty heavily-armed

PRAETORIAN GUARDS.

The young boy dares to glance up at the passing Romans.

His eyes burn with hatred.

INT. WAGON - DAY

Mist momentarily obscures a man's face. Frozen breath.

The man is in his 20's, imperious and handsome. He is

swathed in fur, only his face exposed. He is COMMODUS.

He glances up.

COMMODUS:

Do you think he's really dying?

The woman across from him returns his gaze evenly. She is

slightly older, beautiful and patrician. A formidable

woman.

She is LUCILLA.

LUCILLA:

He's been dying for ten years.

COMMODUS:

I think he's really dying this time.

A beat. Their breath turns instantly to mist.

COMMODUS:

He has to be bled every night now.

LUCILLA:

How do you know that?

COMMODUS:

I've been so informed.

She arches an eyebrow.

COMMODUS:

If he weren't really dying he

wouldn't have sent for us.

LUCILLA:

(a smile)

Maybe he just misses us.

COMMODUS:

And the Senators. He wouldn't have

summoned them if --

LUCILLA:

Peace, Commodus. After two weeks on

the road your incessant scheming is

hurting my head.

A beat.

COMMODUS:

The first thing I shall do is honor

him with games worthy of his

majesty.

LUCILLA:

The first thing I shall do is have a

hot bath.

The wagon rumbles to a halt. Voices are heard outside.

Commodus leaps out...

EXT. WAGON - OUTPOST - DAY

Three Roman SOLDIERS guard an outpost, a watchtower, on

the roadside.

COMMODUS:

Why have we stopped?

PRAETORIAN GUARD MEMBER

We're here, sir.

COMMODUS:

(to Soldier #1)

Where is my father?

SOLDIER #1

He's at the front, sir.

COMMODUS:

Is the battle won?

SOLDIER #1

Don't know, sir. They've been gone

for eight days.

Commodus tosses off his furs -- beneath them he wears a

beautiful set of Lorica Segmentata -- the traditional

formed armor of Rome. He moves to a horse as:

COMMODUS:

(to Soldier #1)

My sister wants a bath, take her to

the camp.

(to Soldier #2)

Take me to my father.

He leaps onto the horse and canters back to the Praetorian

Guard unit.

Soldier #2 climbs on his horse and leads them. Commodus

rides off with most of the Praetorian Guard unit.

Lucilla peeks her head from the wagon. She glances at the

remaining soldiers. Distinctly unpromising.

LUCILLA:

(dry)

Civilization at last. Gods preserve

us.

EXT. HILL - TWILIGHT

The mighty catapults dwarf the humans. Soldiers from the

elite Felix Regiment -- a legion of the Roman Army -- haul

the monstrous machines up a hill.

The commanding General of the Felix Regiment, MAXIMUS,

walks between two of the catapults. He is a striking and

intense man in his 30's. Like all the soldiers who

surround him, he is caked with mud and exhausted.

He trudges up the hill with his two lieutenants, TITUS and

QUINTUS.

TITUS:

You would do as well to read the

mind of a rhinoceros.

QUINTUS:

These barbarians would rather drown

in blood than yield an inch. If I

didn't hate them so much I would

admire them.

They have reached the top of the hill. Stunning martial

preparations are underway. The catapults join ten others.

Archers are taking up position. Brutal "Scorpions" --

devices for firing multiple crossbow bolts -- are being

loaded. Soldiers are also loading the catapults with

enormous "Greek fire pots" -- large, round terra cotta

pots.

Maximus and his lieutenants gaze down from the hilltop.

Below them they can see a German encampment.

TITUS:

They simply will not surrender.

A beat as Maximus gazes down at the German position.

MAXIMUS:

(quietly)

A people should know when they are

conquered.

A beat.

MAXIMUS:

At the first signal release the

catapults. We'll use the cavalry to

cut off the retreat.

QUINTUS:

General, I don't recommend that.

Our cavalry might be caught in the

flames.

MAXIMUS:

I hope not, because I'm going to be

leading them.

A beat as he gazes down at the enemy.

MAXIMUS:

Why don't they know they're already

dead?

EXT. TREES - TWILIGHT

Maximus and Titus are on their horses, the cavalry of two

hundred Felix Regiment warriors surrounds them. Steam

flares from their horses' nostrils. They wait in a thick

stand of trees -- the German position can be seen across a

muddy plain.

A large wolf -- "The Wolf of Rome" -- waits at Maximus'

side.

Maximus nods to an archer. The archer lights the tip of

an arrow and sends it flaming into the night sky.

EXT. HILLTOP - TWILIGHT

Quintus waits. The catapults are loaded and waiting. So

too the Scorpions. So too the 200 archers of the Felix

Regiment.

He sees the flaming arrow flying up from below.

QUINTUS:

Now!

The mighty catapults are released. The Greek fire pots

arc dramatically through the air. A moment later soldiers

release the Scorpions and hundreds of bolts streak through

the sky. The archers fire a murderous barrage of flaming

arrows.

Rate this script:3.7 / 6 votes

David Franzoni

David Harold Franzoni (born March 4, 1947) is an American screenwriter and producer. His best-known screenplays include King Arthur, Gladiator (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), Amistad, and Jumpin' Jack Flash. more…

All David Franzoni scripts | David Franzoni Scripts

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Submitted by acronimous on May 11, 2016

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1 Comment
  • hannahe.43999
    This script is simply beautiful. One day, I hope that Mr. Franzoni will see my work and use it - with the hopeful perks of gaining another Academy Award for Best Picture.

    I don't think he needs to do more historical events or remakes of movies that have been made a million times (Robin Hood and King Arthur are good examples. There are only a million of those two movies hanging around - in cartoon form as well.) You can only remake a movie so many times before people just stop watching the new ones all together due to knowing what is bound to happen. I think what he is in need of doing is changing things up entirely.

    Making historical events come to life is mesmerizing and it does hold a certain beauty at its core for those that love history (such as myself). With Gladiator, there was nothing to base this movie off of (no legends, no prior movies made, no books written about it - nothing.) and he had to create the characters himself, add in the fact that gladiators did exist, and make everything from scratch.

    When a script that you have personally made (with the help of a few others) is brought to life in front of your very eyes, it has the ability to touch the hearts of the audience in a way that no remake of a movie possibly could ever do. The struggles of a man that is not only out for revenge, but is wanting to get home - but he is purely fiction... that is when you catch the audience's attention.

    He needs to go back and rewatch his own creation of Gladiator to strike a flame inside of him to regain that true passion that has not already been written by another.

    Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.
     
    LikeReply2 years ago

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"Gladiator" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jun 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/gladiator_145>.

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