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Maximus Decimus Meridius is one of the leading generals in the Roman army in the year 180. He leads his men to a decisive victory against Germanic barbarians, finally ending a long war on the Roman frontier and earning the esteem of the elderly Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Marcus is dying, and though he has a son, Commodus, the emperor wishes to appoint temporary leadership to Maximus, with a desire to eventually return power to the Senate. When Commodus is told directly by his father that he will not be appointed emperor, he murders Marcus in a fit of rage and claims the throne. Maximus realizes the truth about Commodus' patricide, but he is arrested by his friend and second in command Quintus, who instructs the guards to carry out Commodus' order to execute Maximus. Soldiers are also sent to murder Maximus' wife and son. Maximus manages to escape his assassination, and races home only to find that he was too late to save his family, as his wife and son have been crucified and their farm burned down. After burying his loved ones, Maximus is found unconscious by slave traders and taken to Zucchabar, a rugged, hot province in North Africa. There, he is bought by a slave trader named Proximo, and forced to fight for his life in arena tournaments. During this time, he meets the Numidian gladiator, Juba, and a barbarian from Germania named Hagen. Juba proves to be a great comfort to Maximus, and he speaks to Juba of the afterlife and encouraging him to believe that he will be reunited with his family when he dies. In order to survive the brutal life of a gladiator, Maximus appeals to the Roman people under the name and title "Spaniard". His power and fame grow until he ultimately reaches the historic Roman Colosseum and comes into contact again with Commodus. In his first event, he skillfully leads a band of other gladiators to defeat an opposing force of chariots and archers, quickly earning the crowd's praise through his resourcefulness and heroics in the fighting. Upon being introduced to Commodus in the arena after the gladiatorial contest, he reveals his true identity to the stunned emperor, who tries to have Maximus executed on the spot. However, the crowd votes for him to live and so Commodus begrudgingly backs down. Maximus later survives an indirect attack on his life when he is forced into a match against Tigris of Gaul, "the only undefeated champion in Roman history". After an intense battle, in which Maximus must avoid being killed by tigers released into the arena, he defeats Tigris. Yet Maximus ultimately refuses to obey Commodus' command to strike the death blow, and he is pronounced "Maximus the Merciful" by the event's Master of Ceremonies. This furthers Commodus' frustration, as it seems he cannot kill or humiliate Maximus without losing popular support.

Following the fight, Maximus meets with his former servant Cicero, who informs him that his army is still loyal to him. Soon thereafter, Maximus forms a plot with Lucilla, Commodus' sister, and the senator Gracchus, to rejoin with his army and topple Commodus by force. Commodus, however, suspects his sister of betrayal and by indirectly threatening her young son manipulates her into revealing the plot. During Maximus' attempted escape, Commodus' guards attack Proximo's gladiator school, and Hagen and Proximo are killed in the resulting fight, whilst Juba and the survivors are imprisoned. Maximus makes it to the city walls, but Cicero (who was waiting for him with horses) is suddenly killed by archers and Maximus is arrested by the guards. Now desperate to have Maximus killed, Commodus arranges a duel with him in the arena. Commodus, knowing he is inferior in ability, stabs Maximus in his side, piercing his lung with a stiletto just before they enter the arena. He then tells Quintus to "strap on his armor and conceal the wound". In the midst of the fight, Maximus forces Commodus' sword from his hands. When Commodus demands a sword from the surrounding guards, Quintus orders them to sheathe their weapons, forcing Commodus to fight without assistance. Commodus at this point produces the stiletto, concealed beneath clothing on his left forearm. Despite his handicap, Maximus is able to defeat Commodus, ultimately driving the stiletto back into Commodus' throat. Before he can be helped, however, Maximus dies of his earlier wound. With his dying words he carries out Marcus Aurelius's own commands - calling for Gracchus to be reinstated, the slaves to be freed, and power in Rome to be transferred to the Senate. Aurelius's daughter Lucilla, an ally to both Maximus and Gracchus, reiterates this and commands that a full military burial be bestowed upon Maximus. Juba, now free, buries Maximus' two small statues of his wife and son in the ground where Maximus died, looks happily up at the sunset, and closes the film by repeating an earlier conversation held with Maximus - "I will see you again - but not yet. Not yet.".

Starring ... Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed
Ralf Moeller, Richard Harris, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Ridley Scott

Producers: Douglas Wick, David Franzoni, Branko Lustig

Year Released - May. 2000

Length - 154 minutes

Music Composers: Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard

Movie Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures

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'Gladiator' Music in MIDI format
(Main Theme)
Gladiator: Opening
Now We Are Free
Honor Him
Gladiator: End Credits

Gladiator: Main Opening Theme - MP3 ... 562K

Gladiator: Now We Are Free - MP3 ... 1.43M

Gladiator: End Credits - MP3 ... 1.22M

Gladiator: The Battle - MP3 ... 3.44M

Gladiator: Duduk Of The North - MP3 ... 1.90M

Gladiator: Opening (Far From Home) - MP3 ... 1.46M

Gladiator: Progeny - MP3 ... 783K

Gladiator: The Wheat - MP3 ... 370K

Gladiator: Honor Him - MP3 ... 468K

Gladiator: The Gladiator Suite
'The Might Of Rome'
- MP3 ... 2.48M

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