Stanley Kubrick is mostly noted for his troubled productions due to his domineering personality (The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, A Clockwork Orange, etc.). But the outcome is always the same: a movie that stands the test of time.
Thracian slave Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) refuses to allow himself to become the animal the Roman civilization would have him be. His love for slave girl Varinia (Jean Simmons), coupled with his revulsion at the crushing treatment and callous murders of his fellow slaves, ignites a passion for freedom. They escape and are joined by more runaways, and swell to become a vast army. Contrasted with their impassioned plans for open rebellion are the calculating minds of their Roman adversaries Crassus (Laurence Olivier), Gracchus (Charles Laughton) and Batiatus (Peter Ustinov).
This is only the fourth Kubrick movie I've seen (the other three are Dr. Strangelove, The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey), and I've become an interested watcher. The steady flow of the movie makes it easy to watch. The battle scenes are absorbing and Kubrick's direction makes the movie stunning.
My Rating: ****