Celebrating 20 Years of Gladiator (4K Blu-ray Steelbook Anniversary Review)

Originally released in May of 2000, director Ridley Scott’s GLADIATOR celebrates its 20th anniversary. Also a winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film is an unparalleled combination of vivid action and extraordinary storytelling. Russell Crowe won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of a Roman general who is betrayed by a corrupt prince (Joaquin Phoenix) and comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and both theatrical and extended versions of the feature on 4K Ultra HD, along with two separate commentaries. The two Blu-ray Discs included in the set boast over four hours of previously released bonus content, including commentaries on both versions of the film, a comprehensive documentary about the making of the movie, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

I can't believe it's been 20 years since I first saw Russll Crowe on screen portraying the strong, skillful and handsome, gladiator, Maximus. This was a film I remember so well and another film that was played in our house very often as my dad was and still is a fan of action/war/battle movies. 

A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his people, in this epic historical drama. In the year 180, the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) throws the Roman Empire into chaos. Maximus (Russell Crowe) is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ascends to the throne, Maximus is set to be executed. He escapes, but is captured by slave traders. Renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator, Maximus must battle to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences. His battle skills serve him well, and he becomes one of the most famous and admired men to fight in the Colosseum. Determined to avenge himself against the man who took away his freedom and laid waste to his family, Maximus believes that he can use his fame and skill in the ring to avenge the loss of his family and former glory. As the gladiator begins to challenge his rule, Commodus decides to put his own fighting mettle to the test by squaring off with Maximus in a battle to the death.

One of the biggest memories I have when I was a teen and watching Gladiator for the first time, I remember watching Maximus rush to return home to find his family, wife and son, murdered and his town burned to the ground. I remember crying when I saw Maximus finding his wife and son and how he broke down. That was such an emotional scene. Tears filled my eyes then as they did recently when the husband and I watched the movie for the first time in over 10 years. I remember being a  teen and being so invested in watching Maximus fight his way back to face Commodus and when we finally see them reunite, the expression on everyone's face when they realized Maximus is still alive and was the gladiator to beat, is priceless. Throughout the movie we see Maximus at his strongest and weakest and when the fight is finally over, we see him getting to reunite with his loved ones.

Celebrating Gladiator's 20th anniversary this month, now available for purchase, you can add this steelbook copy to your movie collection as well. For more information about Gladiator, be sure to head over to Paramount Pictures Canada.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Gladiator at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 


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