Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is a rebellious slave purchased by Lentulus Batiatus (Peter Ustinov), owner of a school for gladiators. For the entertainment of corrupt Roman senator Marcus Licinius Crassus (Laurence Olivier), Batiatus' gladiators are to stage a fight to the death. On the night before the event, the enslaved trainees are "rewarded" with female companionship. Spartacus' companion for the evening is Varinia (Jean Simmons), a slave from Brittania. When Spartacus later learns that Varinia has been sold to Crassus, he leads 78 fellow gladiators in revolt. Word of the rebellion spreads like wildfire, and soon Spartacus' army numbers in the hundreds. Escaping to join his cause is Varinia, who has fallen in love with Spartacus, and another of Crassus' house slaves, the sensitive Antoninus (Tony Curtis). The revolt becomes the principal cog in the wheel of a political struggle between Crassus and a more temperate senator named Gracchus (Charles Laughton). Anthony Mann was the original director of Spartacus, eventually replaced by Stanley Kubrick, who'd previously guided Douglas through Paths of Glory. The film received 4 Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Ustinov. A crucial scene between Olivier and Curtis, removed from the 1967 reissue because of its subtle homosexual implications, was restored in 1991, with a newly recorded soundtrack featuring Curtis as his younger self and Anthony Hopkins standing in for the deceased Olivier.~Hal Erickson
Laurence OlivierMarcus Licinius Crassus
Charles LaughtonSempronius Gracchus
Peter UstinovLentulus Batiatus
John GavinJulius Caesar
Nina FochHelena Glabrus
Joanna BarnesClaudia Marius
Harold J. StoneDavid
Robert J. WilkeGuard Captain
Paul E. BurnsFimbria
Ted de Corsia
Terence de MarneyMajor Domo
Sol (Saul) Gorss
Harry Harvey, Jr.
Hallene HillBeggar Woman
Leonard PennGarrison Officer
Gil PerkinsSlave Leader
Lili ValentyOld Crone
Wayne Van Horn
Dale Van SickelTrainer
Louise VincentSlave Girl
Anthony HopkinsMarcus Licinius Crassus (some scenes, 1991 restoratio
Congratulations to Universal on yesterday’s release of Spartacus (1960) in 4K UHD. Coming so soon after last week’s viewing of Sony’s Lawrence of Arabia, I had high hopes and it didn’t disappoint. Kirk Douglas and Stanley Kubrick would be proud. And a special kudos to Robert A. Harris who meticulously restored the film back in the early 90s (where 12 minutes of scenes were edited out to satisfy censors were restored) when he was able to consult with both Kubrick and Douglas. Nothing more needs to be said about the actual film which hasn’t been said. The cast alone: Douglas, Olivier, Laughton, Ustinov, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons with support from John Gavin, Woody Strode and Herbert Lom warrants praise. Douglas hired Kubrick (after working with him on Paths of Glory in 1957) after firing the film’s first director, Anthony Mann. Kubrick was only 30 at the time and had been thrust into a situation where he had to direct and tolerate the egos of some of cinema’s greatest English actors - particular Olivier and Laughton who both purportedly loathed each other.
And Laughton........Let’s just day screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s (who was finally publicly given screen credit for the first time since being blacklisted by HUAC) dialogue served him well!
This classic looked and sounded amazing in Dolby vision and DTSX. The 2015 restoration was run through a 6k processor. Converted down to a "true" 4k reproduction. One of the greatest 4k disc I've ever seen. Most people have not seen this movie. Highly recommended!
This version of Spartacus is very good. I ordered this one recently after owning the criterion dvd version for the extras years ago. The video and audio are from a very good source transfer and the packaging is excellent. I gave it four stars only due to the criterion blu ray being available with more detail and for the work (restoration) that was done to clean up any debris from the gate / original source transfer (digitization) along with the abundance of extras. Enjoy Kirk Douglas in one of his best and most known / quotable roles.
The front is matte with a spot gloss along the entire arm, sword, chain and title. The back is all matte. This is one of the higher quality Steelbooks in my collection (for reference that number is somewhere between 60-70).
Important Note: The digital redemption code that was included seems to not work with Vudu (at least directly). Both myself and a handful of other collectors I know were unable to redeem the code into Vudu, however it was able to work through Movies Anywhere. Since the two are connected under the same umbrella, the digital copy will appear in both. Save yourself the trouble of contacting Vudu customer support.
For the 60th Anniversary Edition of Spartacus, the original large format negatives from the 1960s were rescanned in 6k and restored and color corrected in 4k. It’s exciting to see this new restoration because Spartacus was shot on Super Technirama 70 film, allowing twice the width of traditional 35mm movies.
On 4k Blu-ray, Spartacus is presented in 2160p resolution at 2.20:1 aspect ratio with HDR10 for expanded color range. There is a noticeable improvement in detail in the shadow areas, partly because of the new scans but also because HDR can expand the color depth to allow more detail to be visible in dark and light areas. And, in 4k the video is as sharp as it has ever been.
Without a doubt, this film is a must-own on 4k Blu-ray and even better if your audio system supports DTS:X and/or 7.1 channels.
Universal and Best Buy have joined forces again for brand new exclusive SteelBook for the long awaited UHD release of Director Stanley Kubrick's 1960 Epic 'Spartacus.
If you haven seen the movie, well, see it before you watch Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000)...too late for the warning! (?)
The SteelBook itself has a smooth finish (Not glossy), includes 2 discs (a 4K disc and the standard HD BluRay) and a 4K redeemable digital copy of the film.
The special features included are as followed:
*I Am Spartacus: A Conversation with Kirk Douglas
*Behind the Scenes Footage
This is highly recommended for all Stanley Kubrick fans and SteelBook collectors.
This Spartacus remastered and restored version, in a steel book exclusive to Best Buy no less for those into collecting such things, is a spectacular example of the potential that 4K video offers to the home viewing experience. While it still cannot rival seeing it in a large screen theater, as I was fortunate enough to do a few years back at the Seattle Cinerama, it is nonetheless incredibly impressive on my Sony Z9D 65 inch set. Add the robust surround sound, and sit back and enjoy this classic looking probably as good or better than it did in 1960.
This has been one of my most anticipated titles in 4K since the format was launched, and Universal certainly exceeded my expectations! While the semi-recent remastered Blu-Ray was definitely a step up from the much maligned initial release, there was still room for improvement, and we finally have it! The image is crisp and vibrant, with a very apparent increase in resolution and image quality, thanks to the Super Technirama 70mm source. Audio excels as well, sounding rich and robust on a home theatre system. Highly recommended!!