After he is bought by the owner of a Roman gladiator school and trained as an gladiator A slave leads a rebellion of slaves and gladiators into revolt against Rome.



(novel), (teleplay)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cornelius Lucius
Hristo Shopov ...


Sentenced to spend out the rest of his adult life laboring in the harsh deserts of Egypt, the Thracian slave Spartacus gets a new lease on life when he is purchased by the obese owner of a Roman gladiator school. Moved by the defiance of an Ethiopian warrior, Draba, Spartacus leads a slave uprising which threatens Rome's status quo. As Spartacus gains sympathy within the Roman Senate, he also makes a powerful enemy in form of Marcus Lucinius Crassus, who makes it a matter of personal honor to crush the rebellion. Written by Ronos

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Once a slave. Forever a legend.


Action | Drama | History


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Release Date:

18 April 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Espartaco  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The plot, setting and costumes are nearly identical to those of the Stanley Kubrick 1960 version; however, this adaptation follows Howard Fast's novel more closely than does Kubrick's film. (Two of the more noticeable omissions of the new adaptation are the "I am Spartacus!" scene and Spartacus and his wife's reunion after battle.) The miniseries is shown as a story as a woman narrates to her son, who are later revealed to be Spartacus's wife and son. See more »


In the charge that precipitates the climactic battle, the legionaries of the Roman front line are shown advancing with shields in the left hand, swords in the right. Except for one in the lower foreground: his right hand is empty, he is advancing into combat with only a shield. As soon as he makes contact with a member of the rebel army, he falls on his back even though he hasn't actually been attacked yet. See more »


Spartacus: I am not a king. I am something better. A free man.
See more »


Version of Spartacus: War of the Damned (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Not "better" than the original, just different
4 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think a simple comparison between the 1960 and 2004 productions is unfair to both. While the plots are basically the same, the methods, accuracy, and themes are totally different.

The original 1960 film has always been one of my favorites, due to its often canned and corny acting, and Peter Ustinov's comedic Batiatus character. Sir Lawrence Olivier's Crassus, the primary antagonist, portrays a virtuous and patriotic man of his time. Kirk Douglas always entertained me, but his Marxist sympathies are close to the surface in his Lenin-like portrayal of Spartacus. And Tony Curtis? my opinion always one of Hollywood's worst actors even though I like him. I think Kubrick tolerated him for his aesthetic appeal.

My favorite part of the original is classic Kubrick film making, the panoramic segment when Spartacus watches the Legions under Crassus perform a perfectly choreographed battle formation far in the distance. I sometimes just watch just for that scene.

Enough of the original. The remake is a very fine production that deserves to stand on its own. The 1960 film was a tough act to follow, and the "remake" doesn't do that. It is far more historically accurate than the original, even the city of Rome is shown as being somewhat smoky and grimy, rather than white and polished as it is so often portrayed by Hollywood. The sheer brutality (by 21st century standards) of everyday life is well depicted, for slave and freeman alike. Vjisnic (sp?) is a fine Spartacus. His Spartacus is a simple man but intelligent with straightforward beliefs ("I believe in what I can see"), who chooses fighting for freedom and dying as a free man, the simple freedom to choose one's fate, rather than living as a slave. It really was that simple for him and his followers. There is no Revolution of the Masses that Kirk Douglas seemed to depict.

The one performance I disliked was Angus MacFaddyen's Crassus. MacFaddyen is a fine actor, but his Crassus comes of as a foppish psychopath. The facial expressions are overblown, his voice and dialog are almost effeminate, and the very un-Roman facial hair makes him look more like a Romulan from Star Trek than a Roman. I am not comparing him to Lawrence Olivier, but I may be biased by Colleen McCullough's characterization of Crassus in her "First Man of Rome" series of novels. In them, Crassus is physically massive, quiet, slow and deliberate of movement, almost "bovine" in his expressions. But his appearance an mannerisms conceal a very cold, calculating, and logical man. Ms. McCullough put a decade of intense research in developing her characters and story, so perhaps Crassus was preconceived in my mind. In comparison, MacFaddyen comes off as a spoiled brat. His performance was the one blemish I found in an otherwise entertaining and well made romp. Mark Addy probably would have been a better choice for the role.

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