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A good movie, but probably the worst from Kubrick.. I other words, a great epic, but the only Kubrick I didn't favorited..
With Spartacus, Stanley Kubrick (ironically?) bends his will to the studio, and comes up with his most mainstream, some would say compromised, effort - a big sword & sandals epic with a veritable cast of thousands. Less daring, then? It's less experimental for sure, though the restored version does include some fierce violence and an amazing scene where Laurence Olivier threatens Tony Curtis with his bisexuality, all cut from 1960's theatrical version, of course. Whether because of studio interference or not, Spartacus may also be Kubrick's most emotionally engaging picture, with Kirk Douglas in the title role and Jean Simmons as his wife a well-matched pair of defiant slaves who put everything on the line, at all times, to assert their freedom. As the action tips from slave revolt to Roman politics and back again, Kurbrick shows his hand more. The editing is great, and the story feels very Shakespearean in those sections. If I rate it more highly than Ben-Hur, it is in part because it's a more focused story. We see how freedom becomes viral, is put down, but survives, and the film bitterly notes how long it'll take to run its course. I'm well impressed.
Considering Kubrick's epic success in other "epics" of various sorts (like Barry Lyndon, 2001, and even Paths of Glory), I found Spartacus to be much more detached. The characters didn't really resonate with me and the only scene that really had an effect on me was the brooding beginning of the war.
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In 18 official lists
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This movie ranks #13 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #29 in Golden Globe Award - Best Motion Picture
This movie ranks #39 in IMDb's History Top 50
This movie ranks #44 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers
This movie ranks #57 in Academy Award - Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #62 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
This movie ranks #77 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #78 in Spike Lee's Essential List of Films for Filmmakers
This movie ranks #81 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
This movie ranks #109 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #355 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #472 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #593 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #702 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #768 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #808 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #840 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #854 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life