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Spartacus The rebellious Thracian... MORE > $11.21 Regularly $14.98 Buy Now blu-ray

Home Video Reviews

Whether you were amused or vexed by Gladiator, you shouldn't miss the classic manly men vs. Rome epic Spartacus (1960). It won four Oscars, marked Stanley Kubrick's first studio film (after taking over from Anthony Mann), broke ground by ignoring the blacklist against screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and is undeniably a memorable film experience. Spartacus is now available in a sterling DVD (from Criterion) that does full justice to its status. At the core, of course, is a new enhanced widescreen transfer of the restored version of the film. But there's much more. An audio commentary features many of the key participants (such as Kirk Douglas, novelist Howard Fast, restorer Robert Harris) plus you can get scene analyses from scripter Dalton Trumbo and even more of Alex North's music. An entire second disc is given over to deleted scenes, newsreels, brief documentaries, Kubrick's drawings and other goodies. You might still find the earlier DVD in stores though it not only lacks all the extras but the older transfer won't look as nice; just check the packaging to see what you're getting. (Trivia alert: An earlier version of the historical tale of slave rebel Spartacus was made in Italy in 1954 by cult director Riccardo Freda with the English-language title Sins of Rome.)