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Spartacus [DVD] [1960] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Ustinov, Laurence Oliver, Kirk Douglas, Charles Laughton
  • Format: AC-3, Colour, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Limited Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.21:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 196 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JJMGH6

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Stanley Kubrick was only 31 years old when Kirk Douglas (star of Kubrick's classic Paths of Glory) recruited the young director to pilot this epic saga, in which the rebellious slave Spartacus (played by Douglas) leads a freedom revolt against the decadent Roman Empire. Kubrick would later disown the film because it was not a personal project--he was merely a director-for-hire--but Spartacus remains one of the best of Hollywood's grand historical epics. With an intelligent screenplay by then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (from a novel by Howard Fast), its message of moral integrity and courageous conviction is still quite powerful, and the all-star cast (including Charles Laughton in full toga) is full of entertaining surprises. Fully restored in 1991 to include scenes deleted from the original 1960 release, the full-length Spartacus is a grand-scale cinematic marvel, offering some of the most awesome battles ever filmed and a central performance by Douglas that's as sensitively emotional as it is intensely heroic. Jean Simmons plays the slave woman who becomes Spartacus's wife, and Peter Ustinov steals the show with his frequently hilarious, Oscar-winning performance as a slave trader who shamelessly curries favor with his Roman superiors. The restored version also includes a formerly deleted bathhouse scene in which Laurence Olivier plays a bisexual Roman senator (with restored dialogue dubbed by Anthony Hopkins) who gets hot and bothered over a slave servant played by Tony Curtis. These and other restored scenes expand the film to just over three hours in length. Despite some forgivable lulls, this is a rousing and substantial drama that grabs and holds your attention. Breaking tradition with sophisticated themes and a downbeat (yet eminently noble) conclusion, Spartacus is a thinking person's epic, rising above mere spectacle with a story as impressive as its widescreen action and Oscar-winning sets. --Jeff Shannon

Synopsis

Spartacus, based on Howard Fast's popular novel, is Stanley Kubrick's glorious masterpiece about a slave uprising in Rome in 70 B.C. Kirk Douglas, who also served as executive producer, stars as the title character, a man born of a slave woman and a slave master who has known nothing but chains his entire life. After being forced to put on a gladiator show--that almost leads to his death--for wealthy Romans (including a marvellously conniving Laurence Olivier as the power-hungry Crassus), Spartacus leads a slave revolt across Italy that soon has thousands marching on Rome. Meanwhile, he has fallen in love with the beautiful Varinia (an effervescent Jean Simmons), pledging his life to her. Douglas assembled a fabulous all-star cast for the film; in addition to himself, Simmons, and Olivier, terrific performances are turned in by Charles Laughton as the curmudgeonly senator Gracchus, John Gavin as the young Julius Caesar, Tony Curtis as Antoninus (a 'singer of songs', with all lines delivered in a beautifully thick New York accent), and especially Peter Ustinov, an Oscar winner for his portrayal of the businessman Batiatus, who always wants to know what's in it for him. Blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo's melodramatic script and Alex North's thrilling, soaring score add a majesty that helps make Spartacus one of the finest costume epics to ever come out of Hollywood.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Streets on 9 July 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The transfer isn't great, it's acceptable but not quite what you'd expect for a film of this magnitude! There is a lot of softness to some scenes and the blacks are poor. It states that it is a restoration that was done in 1991...maybe it's time they did a new one! This is a 5 star movie, let down by an average (out of date!) transfer. On the plus side Kirks chin dimple is generally sharp and well detailed. ;)
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Picard TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 April 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Like other epics such as 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Ben Hur', Spartacus is a movie that has gone through an interesting series of home releases. I say interesting because as is always the way with classic movies, they are often compromised to such a degree that you would wonder how they could ever get away being released in such an un-authentic state. Of course, it was astounding to see what can be achieved with a modern 8K restoration (Ben-Hur) and for 'Lawrence...' fans, the good news is that Sony are rereleasing the film this year with a similar 8K restoration. These are only two examples of the correct treatment such classics deserve, yet Spartacus appears to have gone unnoticed.

What we have here is a transfer from the 1991 print - what was at it's a time a seven figure sum paid to reconstruct the film in the most accurate way. The bulk of the work was done from black and white negative separations which don't fade, so the colours should be pretty much spot on to how the film looked originally. The problem with this Blu-ray, however, is that Universal have for some reason not invested a new digital restoration. This is just the 1991 print with some waxy and often careless DNR applied, meaning the resulting picture is incredibly soft and simply doesn't represent the Technirama format the movie was shot on. On top of this, little effort has gone in to using current technology for removing artefacts and colour fading throughout the film.

I focus on these technicalities because a movie as good as Spartacus deserves the same - if not better - kind of treatment that even lesser films have had on Blu-ray.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on 26 Oct 2014
Format: Blu-ray
The perfect gift for all historical buffs THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
Stanley Kubrick has given us many memorable films, but this is my personal favourite. It is hard to imagine that he was not even nominated for best director in 1960. I suppose his final satisfaction must have come in the endurance of this film's popularity after all the other nominees faded into obscurity.

'Spartacus' is one of the great Hollywood epics and Kirk Douglas' defining role. It is a brilliantly written screenplay that combines the struggle for freedom from oppression with a compelling love story in a setting that accurately depicts the majesty as well as the corruption of the Roman Empire. The scenes depicting the political manoeuvring of the Senate were priceless.

Kubrick's work was nothing short of brilliant. His attention to the details of the period was wonderful. The orchestration of tens of thousands of extras in the battle scenes was phenomenal. His presentation of the love scenes between Varinia and Spartacus were sensitive and compelling. I was most impressed with his treatment of the slave army. He put a human face on the slaves by showing mothers with their children and scenes of Spartacus walking among the people. This completely wins the affections of the viewer. His pacing was perfect and despite the film's length at over three hours, it did not seem to drag since there was always something fascinating on the screen.

Kirk Douglas gave a powerful performance and created a character that was bigger than life. He was strong and inspirational while simultaneously being gentle and kind.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By "sicaptsfarsit@yahoo.co.uk" on 30 May 2004
Format: DVD
Great to see another region 2 DVD of such excellent quality. The film itself is wonderful, (see other reviews for story etc) and the picture quality superb, even has a choice of DTS sound, more of that please! Loaded with extras and a short film called the Hollywood Ten. My only gripe is that the movie has been put onto two discs, which means getting off the couch at the intermission, though it is well worth the effort. This is a definite must have for any Stanley Kubrick fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Jun 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Undertaken in the late era of American Anti-Communism, the red scare had littered the 1950's as the crunch came in and the taps were turned on. Douglas wanted to make an epic, to prise away the squeeze and hired Dalton Trumbo, a man previously blacklisted (Johnny Got his Gun) and took a classic Communistic text then set about splicing it to a Hollywood film which would grab the sands of time and stand upon them. This took real guts in an era when few would stick themselves up to be knocked completely back. The result was one of the greatest films of the era; a full range spectacle. This made the biblical epics starring Charlton Heston appear a little threadbare, bombastic, just full of muscle and sandal chintz, roped around the edges.

Propaganda? Of course, who knows what really happened. The film was made to tap a vein and let the electric current surge throughout the body infusing all the wiring, especially for the dispossessed. It also has one of the most beautiful gals of the era, who later succumbed to the ravages of alcohol blossoming in the support actress role, Jean Simmons. It is her love that keeps Spartacus focused.

So the baddies are all English, as per usual, playing the stereotypical roles of cunning, homosexuality, deceit slavery and other nefarious vices. Welcome on board Olivier and Ustinov. Each delivers a powerful punch, but with a twist in the knuckle. However it is also interspersed with various Americans, not exactly playing the part of godliness, so the good/evil Manchean sheen is burred somewhat. Douglas here is clever in playing to the gallery.

The camerawork, scale and vision of the whole thing is full panoramic breathtaking vision as it artistically sweeps over the hills and flowing rivers in aiming to capture the big event.
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