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The rebellious Thracian Spartacus, born and raised a slave, is sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus. After weeks of being trained to kill for the arena, Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.
While it suffers from some of the flaws of epics of this era-such as an overly sanitized portrait of life at the time, and anachronistic visions of fashion and lifestyle-Spartacus also boasts some stirring action and intelligent dialogue
The great-granddaddy of Ridley Scott's Gladiator hasn't lost any muscle tone after nearly half a century, and Kirk Douglas's direct, unpretentious performance as the great slave-rebel Spartacus is more engaging than ever.
The most courageous thing about it, from today's standards, is that it closes without an obligatory happy ending, and an audience that has watched for 187 minutes doesn't get a tidy, mindless conclusion.