If you stop ‘Gladiator’ at minute 86, you will see one of the most incomprehensible errors in the history of cinema

While half the world awaits the premiere of ‘Gladiator 2’, which will take place at the end of the year with Paul Mescal as the protagonist, many nostalgic people are taking the opportunity to revisit its predecessor, ‘Gladiator’ (2000), the original film that Ridley Scott released. during the early stages of the 21st century and which has a cast consisting of Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris and Djimon Hounsou. This historical epic set in Ancient Rome, delighted the public by reactivating interest in peplum films, that is, historical adventure cinema. The film takes place in the year 180 AD and follows the adventures of Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, an important general in the army of Emperor Marcus Aurelius who is betrayed by his son, Commodus, played by a young Joaquin Phoenix, who tries to murder him. During the escape from him, Máximo is enslaved and used as a gladiator, which awakens an enormous desire for revenge in him.

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The film was a resounding success both at the box office and with critics, and ended up winning five Oscars, including the main prize in the Best Picture category. Despite this, ‘Gladiator’ has a good number of anachronistic errors such as historical inaccuracies and objects that had not yet been invented at the time in which the plot takes place.

A clear example of this can be found in the scene in which, after Maximus’s flight, the Roman soldiers under the command of Commodus head to his home to kill his wife and son. Commodus’s son, played by the little Giorgio Cantarini, happily informs his mother of what he assumes is the return of his father from the front. First of all, in the original version, this notice is made in the Italian language, and although Commodus’s home is located in a region of the Roman Empire belonging to modern-day Italy, the language used was Latin and not Italian. Italian. Furthermore, as Commodus’s son hurriedly runs down the road to supposedly reunite with his father, the scene clearly shows some marks on the ground belonging to a tractor that shouldn’t be there.


Also worth mentioning is the scene in which the gladiator fights in the Colosseum in Rome handing out some kind of propaganda leaflets. This is another of the anachronistic errors of the film, since in Ancient Rome pamphlets did not exist or were used, since the most used way to disseminate events and news was to pin them on a public bulletin board. Likewise, we can see how in several scenes, Emperor Commodus decides about the lives of the gladiators after the show: whether the character played by Joaquin Phoenix gives a thumbs up gesture, means that the gladiator will live until the next fight; If, on the other hand, his thumb points down, the gladiator will be sacrificed. However, this is one of the most unknown errors, since in Ancient Rome the thumbs up meant the death of the gladiator, while the thumbs down indicated his salvation. The producers of the film were aware of this inaccuracy, but decided to keep it so as not to confuse the public since currently the thumbs-up gesture is understood as a positive signal.

The incomprehensible error of ‘Gladiator’

Finally, the biggest anachronistic mistake in the film takes place during one of the first fights in the Colosseum, around minute 86 of the film, when the Battle of Zama that led to the second fall of Carthage is recreated for the amusement of the audience. During the action sequence, one of the chariots loses control and crashes, jumping into the air. It is precisely at that moment where you can see for a few seconds a gas cylinder that is attached inside the car.


Although another alleged gaffe from the film, in which a plane flew through the sky during one of the combats that take place at the gladiator school in North Africa, gained fame and notoriety when it went viral, it is a montage that fueled a false myth that has no place in the film.

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