5

Structure: Gladiator

It hasn’t been that long since we saw this year’s Oscars Ceremony.

But where are the movies?

If you ask me: largely forgotten.
So I felt compelled to look back at a Big Winner of 9 years ago.

When Gladiator went on TV, I was the ‘head of movies’ for the company that scored the UK Television premiere of this movie. It was playing as Pay Per View, NVOD (Near Video On Demand), which means we had the movie starting on one of our 22 channels every fifteen minutes. It would play on the screens in our reception area for months. At the time, I wondered whether I would ever be able to enjoy it again.

I watched it finally, 10 years later. And boy, did I enjoy it. What a movie.  So, you’re not getting Sherlock Holmes (admit it, you’d forgotten that one too, already) but with Robin Hood hitting the theaters, you’re getting Ridley Scott’s greatest to date – well, that’s not counting you sci-fi fans.

BTW: Screenwriters David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson were nominated for an Academy Award but didn’t win. Almost Famous did.
Later I will add some comments to this structure, as I came to some interesting conclusions regarding the First Act – and the ending. For now, enjoy the breakdown.

— spoilers ahead —

M.: Maximus
C.: Commodus
L.: Lucilla
P.: Proximo

ACT ONE

Sequence A: Maximus, Rome’s Greatest General. (12mins)

00.00 Universal & Dreamworks Leaders
01.00 Super: Winter 180AD, one stronghold left before victory and peace.
02.00 Maximus, commander: He’s thinking of home before going to war.
04.00 “Will they fight?” Barbarians send messenger back, beheaded.
05.00 Preparations before attack. “On my signal, unleash hell.”
08.00 Attack, while the Emperor watches.
10.00 Maximus fights.
12.00 Roma Victor! Enemy defeated. Caesar Marcus Aurelius looks frail.

Seq. B: Commodus, always scheming. He must not rule. (16mins)

12.30 Commodus with Lucilla, scheming. “He will name me.”
14.30 Maximus asks Caesar permission to go home. “Ah… Home.”
16.00 Caesar to Commodus: “You have missed the war. Honour Maximus.”
17.00 Maximus inspects the troops, visits the wounded.
18.30  Max. tested: “Emperor or Senate?”. Commodus scheming again.
19.30 Comm. to Max.: “Can I count on you?” Infers he’ll be Caesar.
20.30 Caesar to Lucilla: “Your brother will need you.”
22.30 Caesar & Max.: “I empower you. Commodus must not rule.”

Seq. C: The Emperor murdered. Maximus to be executed. (17mins)

28.00 Lucilla to Max.: “Will you serve my brother?”
30.30 M. To servant: “We may not go home after all.”
31.30 Caesar informs Comm. of his decision. Comm. chokes Caesar.
36.00 Quintus: “The Emperor needs you.” Comm.: “Father is dead.”
37.00 Comm.: “Take my hand.” Max. refuses and leaves.
38.00 Lucilla hits Comm., then kisses his hand.
38.30 Max.: “The emperor has been slain.” Q.: “Execute him.”
39.30 Max. fights, kills his executors, then escapes.
42.00 M. travels on horse to his home.
42.30 (POV Family) Praetorians arrive and kill his family.
43.30 M. finds farm burning, his family hanged.

ACT TWO

Sequence D: A Slave and a Gladiator (15mins)

45.30 M. wakes up on a slave transport.
47.30 Proximo buys M. from a slave trader.
49.30 Prox. will profit from his death. “Gladiators, I salute you.”
51.00 Training with Hagen. Called “The Spaniard”. He doesn’t fight.
52.00 Hagen: “When there’s no more to fight, you’re free”.
53.30 Going to the arena. Bets are placed.
55.30 Prox. speeches. “We’re all dead men. Be remembered as men.”
57.30 Gate opens, fight against masked men. All killed.
59.30 Victory for the slaves.

Sequence E: Preparing for Rome and for freedom. (14mins)

60.00 Rome. Commodus enters Rome under protest from crowd.
61.00 Gracchus criticizes Comm. Falco defends him.
62.00 Comm. in Senate, pitches Senate vs. the People to Gracchus.
63.30 C. criticizes the Senate with Lucilla.
65.30 C. looks at model of amphitheatre.
66.00 Senators: “150 days of games. Death. They will love him for it.”
67.00 Prox. briefs Max.: “Entertain!”
68.00 Max. butchers them. “Are you not entertained?” They love it.
69.00 Prox. about Rome, being a gladiator, meeting the Emperor.
71.30 “I too want to stand in front of the emperor.” -“Win the crowd.”
73.00 Wife and son waiting. Juba: “You’ll meet them again. Not yet…”

Sequence F: Surviving the Colosseum, Facing the Emperor (24mins)

74.00 Travel to Rome & Arrival. Prox.: “Win the crowd”.
76.00 C. to L.: wants to dissolve Senate. Afraid of the dark. Kiss me.
78.30 Lucilla visits Gracchus. He explains plan. Falco spies.
82.00 Prox. doesn’t get better deal from Cassius for best Gladiators.
83.30 Lucilla’s son Lucius, fan of “Spaniard”. Max realises, retreats.
85.00 Puts on his mask & enters arena.
86.00 Cassius introduces: The Fall of Carthage. M. briefs men on strategy.
86.30 Gate opens. Fight. Victory for Max. and his men.
93.00 C.: Who is he? I think I’ll meet him.
94.00 C. approaches; M. takes off his helmet. “I will have my vengeance.”
96.00 The crowd chants: “LIVE!” C. gives thumb up. Crowd chants “Maximus!”

Sequence G: Preparations for a comeback (27mins)

98.00 C. attacks the buste of his father, cries.
99.30 C. complains to Lucilla: “Why is he still alive?” -“What will you do?”
101.0 L. visits M., he rejects her help.
104.0 Execution of Praetorians. C. makes Quintus give the command.
107.3 Hagen asks about Germania. Tastes food for him. Juba: “Great name.”
109.0 Bread distribution. Cassius talks. Cicero watches. “Tigris The Gaul!”
111.0 M.: “Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome.” Prox.: “M.A. is dead.”
114.3 Tigris down. Crowd: ‘KILL’. Thumb down. M. refuses. “M. The Merciful.”
116.0 C. “You simply won’t die!” Taunts him about family. M. walks off.
118.0 Outside, to Cicero: Tell men the General lives. Find me!
119.0 Juba about family. “Can they hear you? What do you say to them?”
119.3 C.: “A nightmare.” Falco: “Kill him.” -“Have every senator followed.”
121.3 Cicero: “Ostia. Ready to fight tomorrow.” He informs Lucilla.
123.0 L. & Gracchus w. Max.: “Last wish of a dying man.” -“2 Days.”

Sequence H: Commodus interferes. Executions & Threats. (20mins)

125.3 P.: “Won’t work. Becoming dangerous.” -“Trust. I’m an entertainer.”
128.3 Praetorians get Gracchus.
129.0 C. to L.: “Where have you been? Gracchus will bleed.” C. to L.: I love you.
132.3 L. to M.: “Gracchus arrested. Leave tonight! I loved you.” Kiss. Threat!
135.0 Lucius plays gladiator. C. tells Lucius of Claudius’ betrayal. L. listens.
138.3 Snakes. Praetorians kill Proximo, Hagen, Cicero. Gifts from Proximo.
142.3 M. arrested.
143.0 Falco to C.: “It’s done.” C. threatens L. with Lucius. “Heir of pure blood.”

ACT THREE

Sequence I: Resurrection and Death (10mins)

145.0 C. challenges M., then stabs him. To Quintus: “Conceal the wound!”
148.0 Duel. C. loses sword. Quintus to his men: sheathe your swords.
152.0 M. kills C., thenorders Quintus: fulfill wishes of Marcus Aurelius.
155.0 M. dies.

Download the script:
[download id=”26″]

About the Author

Karel Segers

Karel Segers wrote his first produced screenplay at age 17. Today he is a story analyst with experience in international movie rights acquisition, script development and production. He has trained and consulted to filmmakers all over the world, including award-winning screenwriters, and Academy Award nominees. Karel founded this website, as well as Logline.it!, ranks among the most influential people for screenwriting on social media, and speaks more than a handful of European languages (which should come in handy in his present hometown of Sydney, Australia).

Comments 5

  1. Forgive my throwing the wrench, but where’s the analysis? I just read a nice breakdown of scenes.

  2. Post
    Author

    Thanks for the reminder John.

    I’ll upgrade the post to the ‘Featured’ section on the home page once I have that analysis online.

    Cheers,

    Karel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *