Gladiator is a 2000 British-American epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott. It stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed (in his final film role before his death), Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays the fictional character, loyal Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus, the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murders of his family and his emperor.
The film was released in the United States on May 5, 2000, and grossed $457.6 million worldwide. The film won multiple awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe, and three other Academy Awards at the 73rd Academy Awards. It has also been credited with rekindling interest in films centered around Greek and Roman culture.