Spartacus (2004)

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German title Spartacus
Original title Spartacus
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2004
length 167 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Robert Dornhelm
script Robert Schenkkan
production Ted Kurdyla
music Randy Miller
camera Kees Van Oostrum
cut Mark Conte

Spartacus is an American television film released in 2004 . The director was Robert Dornhelm , the screenplay was written by Robert Schenkkan based on Howard Fast 's novel of the same name , which had already been the basis for Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation Spartacus (1960). The main role in the remake was played by Goran Višnjić .

The film is sometimes broadcast as a mini television series.


Originally from Thrace , Spartacus becomes a Roman slave and has to fight as a gladiator . He sees terrible things in the amphitheater . To amuse his friends, the cynical Senator Marcus Crassus also orders a gladiatorial fight, in which Spartacus is defeated but, contrary to Crassus' wishes, is not killed by his opponent and former friend Draba. Draba would rather let the guards kill himself than kill his friend.

A revolt breaks out in the gladiator school and the gladiators, who come from many countries, flee to the countryside. The group stays together and Spartacus is elected leader. More and more slaves join the rebels. Smaller skirmishes with soldiers can be won by the well-organized troop.

In Rome, Crassus tries to take advantage of the situation to put pressure on the Senate and take power. Even so, the senators do not appoint him consul . In order to fight the rebellious slaves, three cohorts are first sent, which are crushed by the slave army. At the instigation of Agrippa, who wants to save the Roman republic and distrusts Crassus, over two battle-tested Gallic legions, which are then dispatched, again not the latter the supreme command, but a politically insignificant senator. However, this army is also defeated by the slaves.

Spartacus falls in love with the seer Varinia, a former slave of Crassus, and marries her. After a miscarriage, Varinia gives birth to a son. She is also Spartacus' political confidante, who advises him particularly on rivalries among the leaders of the rebels. There are conflicts in particular with the group of Gauls under the irascible Crixus, who repeatedly claims leadership of the group for himself.

Crassus now has six legions equipped at his own expense in order to finally defeat the slave army and to have military support for the seizure of power in Rome. This campaign, too, initially fails when Spartacus succeeds in defeating part of the legions and thwarting Crassus' plans to encircle. Spartacus is now planning to reach Sicily with his people . With captured gold he pays pirates for the crossing, but is betrayed by them to the Romans. Crassus then succeeds in cornering the rebels waiting for the crossing in Campania and encloses them with a fortification. However, by a ruse they can escape at night.

Finally, more armies under Lucullus and Pompey must move out to destroy the slaves. Before the three Roman armies can unite, in view of the hopeless situation and the overwhelming superiority of the Crassus, Spartacus faces a field battle, which can hardly be won in this way. Most of the Spartacus supporters are killed in this battle, while those who flee are captured by Pompey. Crassus has 6000 prisoners crucified along the Via Appia . However, Crassus cannot exploit the success politically because he has grown up a competitor in Pompey, supported by Caesar and initially also Agrippa, who contests his fame and lets himself be celebrated as the “savior of Rome”.

Crassus, who is in love with the trapped Varinia, has her and her little child brought into his house. With the help of Agrippa, who sees his political visions for Rome as a failure and, as a staunch Republican, sympathizes with the rebel slaves' love of freedom, Varinia escapes with her son from Rome. While Pompey takes power in the Senate as the “rising star”, Agrippa commits an honorable suicide at the end of the film. Crassus and Pompey became consuls at Caesar's suggestion.


Spartacus is a remake of the classic of the same name from 1960 with Kirk Douglas in the lead role, and tells the story of the slave revolt instigated by Spartacus . The film shot in Bulgaria cannot shine with a large number of extras. Robert Dornhelm ( Anne Frank ) was able to win the Croatian-born Goran Visnjic as the main actor, among others Dr. Luka Kovac in the television series Emergency Room .


The film went largely unnoticed. Rotten Tomatoes lists only one criticism. In the Internet Movie Database he received a film rating of 6.7 / 10 with 5,244 votes. On Moviepilot , 118 users rated the film with an average of 5.6 / 10 “OK”.


The film was nominated for an Emmy Award sound editing in 2004 . He won the Visual Effects Society Award in 2005 and was nominated for this award in another category. Kees Van Oostrum was nominated for the American Society of Cinematographers Award in 2005 for camera work . The film was also nominated for the Casting Society of America Award and two categories for the Motion Picture Sound Editors Award .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Spartacus on Rotten Tomatoes , accessed December 3, 2019
  2. Spartacus on the Internet Movie Database , accessed December 3, 2019
  3. Spartacus on Moviepilot , accessed December 3, 2019