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Gladiator (2000) script

by David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson, story by David Franzoni
 
AT THE HEIGHT OF ITS POWER, THE ROMAN EMPIRE WAS VAST, 
STRETCHING FROM  THE DESERTS OF AFRICATO THE BORDERS OF 
NORTHERN ENGLAND. 

OVER ONE QUARTER OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION LIVED AND DIED 
UNDER THE RULE OF THE CAESARS. IN THE WINTER OF 180 A.D. 
EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS' TWELVE-YEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST 
THEBARBARIAN TRIBES IN GERMANIA WAS DRAWING TO AN END. 
ONE FINAL STRONGHOLD STANDS IN THE WAY OF ROMAN VICTORY 
AND THE PROMISE OF PEACETHROUGHOUT THE EMPIRE. 

OPENING SCENE
  - Close up - a rough weathered hand lightly brushes 
the tops of wheat as the man walks through the tall wheat 
towards a woman (his wife) and child (his son).  In the 
background can be heard the faint laughter of a child. 
The man dressed  in Roman soldier uniform, is General 
Maximus. He quickly leaves this  pleasant vision to 
return to Germania where the armour-suited General 
stands  amidst the mud and burned forest, cloaked in 
a fur cape that protects him from  the cold winter air. 
The General contemplates the battle that is to take place.  
Turning to join the troops, a small Robin catches his eye 
as it sits on a bare  twig and then flies away. The 
General Maximus smiles, watching as though a remembrance  
of his life as a farmer when life was peaceful and 
innocent, but he is quickly  brought back to the reality 
of the cold day...and to the soldiers who await  his 
signal to begin the battle.

[SCENE: Germania - prebattle. As the cavalry rides past 
Maximus, soldiers are lining up for battle. Maximus 
walks along the ranks of the army. The soldiers rise as 
he approaches, looking at him with great respect and 
admiration. At the top of the hill, overlooking the 
battle field, sits Caesar Marcus Aurelius atop his 
horse, surrounded by the Roman Praetorian guards. 
Back on the battle field, Maximus approaches and a
ddresses Quintus and Valerius.]

MAXIMUS: Lean and hungry. Still nothing? 
QUINTUS: Not a sign. 
MAXIMUS: How long has he been gone? 
VALERIUS: Nearly 2 hours. 
VALERIUS: Will they fight, sir? 
MAXIMUS: We shall know soon enough. 

[Quintus looks over at the soldiers readying the catapults.] 

QUINTUS: Soldier, I ordered you to move those catapults forward, 
they're out of range. 
MAXIMUS: Range is good. 
QUINTUS: The danger to the cavalry... 
MAXIMUS [interrupts]: It is acceptable, agreed? 

[In the distant, the cries of the barbarians can be heard - 
"ihr seid hunde" (you are dogs!). A horse rides towards them
with a headless horseman on its back....] 

MAXIMUS: They say no. 

[The white and bloodied horse rides within the ranks of the men. 
A barbarian comes to the forefront of the German lines,
waving the horseman's head, tossing it into the mud....] 

GERMAN BARBARIAN: Ihr seid verfluchte hunde! (You are damned dogs!)

[As the barbarian calls out his cry, his mangy band of barbarians 
emerge from the forest, shaking and waving their spears
and shields, ready to fight.] 

QUINTUS: People should know when they're conquered. 
MAXIMUS: Would you, Quintus? Would I? 

[Maximus bends down and picks up a handful of dirt, bringing it to 
his nose to smell. He looks to the side and sees his
WOLF OF ROME eagerly watching him. They steady their gaze as though 
communicating with each other. Maximus rises
and mounts his horse, turning to Quintus and Valerius.] 

MAXIMUS: Strength and honour. 
QUINTUS: Strength and honour. 
VALERIUS: Strength and honour.
MAXIMUS: At my signal, unleash hell.  [He rides off. His wolf 
breaks free from the handler, charges after Maximus,
running along side the horse.] 

QUINTUS: Load the catapults; infantry form up for advance, archers ready. 
CHIEF ARCHER: Archers! 
CENTURION: Nock! 
ARCHER: Nock! 

[Maximus rides up into the forest where the cavalry await, 
his wolf running closely at his side. Maximus stops and
addresses the men....] 

MAXIMUS: Fratres..., three weeks from now I will be harvesting 
my crops, imagine where you will be and it
will be so. Hold the lines, stay with me. If you find yourself 
alone riding in green fields with the sun on your
face, do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium and you're 
already dead!!!.  [The men laugh.] Brothers, what
we do in life echoes in eternity. 

[Barely seen, a soldier hands Maximus his helmet. Maximus 
turns to an archer and nods, giving the signal to "unleash
hell" and a flaming arrow is shot through the sky. Back on 
the battlefield, the flaming arrow is witnessed and all hell
breaks loose....] 

ONAGER CENTURION: Pull, Pull! 
SHOUT: Cohorts ready sir!
1st CENTURION: Archers, ignite! 
2nd CENTURION: Ignite! 
1st CENTURION: Archers, draw! 
ONAGER CENTURION: Loose! 

[Scorpions fire, onagers let loose, flaming arrows, defiant 
cheers from the mob. As Maximus leads the thundering cavalry
down through the trees, shouts can be heard from Maximus 
and his men....] 

MAXIMUS: Hold the line! 
SOLDIER: Make ready. 
MAXIMUS: Hold the line! 

[More archer battle scene....] 

MAXIMUS: Stay with me! Stay with me! 

[III Felix Legion advancing, then tortoise formation, then 
barbarian charge. Maximus' wolf leaps through a wall of flames.
The cavalry reaches the Germans. Swords are flying as they 
attack each other. Maximus charges at a barbarian, slicing
his head off as his sword becomes impaled in a tree. Maximus' 
horse is felled when a barbarian thrusts a lance in its path
causing Maximus to fall hard, into the mud, amongst the soldiers. 
Maximus looks stunned, but as a German attacks him
with his axe, Maximus parries each thrust before lashing out 
and cutting the German's legs from under him. The German
collapses. Another German charges Maximus, who is still on the 
ground. Maximus manages to slide past the oncoming
sword thrust. He punches the soldier, than stabs him. He climbs 
to his feet, still stabbing at the wounded German.
Maximus starts running, but collides with another legionary. 
Maximus turns towards the startled legionary, who can only
stand there agape as Maximus raises his sword in a feral scream. 
Maximus recognizes the legionary as one of his own
men, and gives him a fierce smile.] 

[Scene cuts to the barbarian 
warlord -- barbarian warlord finishes off a legionary, but before he has
time to recover, another legionary rushes and stabs him in the side. 
The barbarian stumbles, but does not fall. Another soldier strikes him
from the other side, but he still does not fall. Finally, a soldier 
strikes him from behind, a vicious thrust from above into his
neck. Scene cuts to a centurion who falls from his horse, then back to 
Maximus. Maximus punches a German twice, before slashing him across the 
chest with his sword. Maximus hears another German's scream coming from 
behind. Startled, he turns to see a barbarian, whose clothes and chain 
mail are aflame, charging towards him with an axe. Maximus parries the 
first swing, but goes down. As the barbarian raises his axe for the 
final swing, a charging cavalryman rushes by with a timely swing of his 
sword, and the barbarian falls, saving Maximus from death. Another 
barbarian sees Maximus and charges, but only to be stopped in midswing 
by the WOLF OF ROME, who leaps at him, biting his hand and fending him 
off of Maximus. It is a chaotic scene of soldiers running around, 
wrestling with each other. We hear the wolf's growls in the background. 
We see Maximus and other soldiers stabbing, fighting feverishly. 
Wide cut to a scene with dozens of soldiers fighting, with two standards 
of the Felix Legion thrust into the ground. We see one particular scene 
where a legionary kneels after stabbing a German, but himself falls as a 
German swings a sword at him. Cuts back to Maximus stabbing a soldier, 
then looking around, breathless, but looking for more enemies.] 

[We see a scene where a cavalryman falls from his horse, dead, and unhelmed. 
Another scene with a legionary, crying.
Maximus and another legionary gathering themselves between the standards. 
The battle is over, with legionaries
wandering, slaying wounded Germans. Maximus raises his sword, crying out,  
"Roma Victa!" Other legionaries raise their
swords and cheer. Maximus stands amongst the dead and wounded, the remaining 
Roman soldiers at his side as he raises
his sword and, exhausted, again cries out for all to hear....] 

MAXIMUS: Roma victa! 
CENTURION: Roma victa! 

[At the top of the hill, Caesar Marcus Aurelius slowly leans his head 
back in relief of the victory.] 

[Scene change - roadway, guarded armoured wagon is slowly moving along. 
In it, Commodus and Lucilla, as they make their way to their father, Marcus Aurelius.]
  

COMMODUS: Do you think he's really dying? 
LUCILLA: He's been dying for ten years. 
COMMODUS: If he weren't really dying he wouldn't have sent for us. 
LUCILLA: Maybe he just misses us. 
COMMODUS: And the Senators...he wouldn't have summoned them if....
LUCILLA: Peace, Commodus. After two weeks on the road your incessant 
scheming is hurting my head. 
COMMODUS: He's made his decision, he's going to announce it! He will 
name me.... The first thing I shall
do...when...is honour him with games worthy of his majesty. 
LUCILLA: For now, the first thing I shall do is have a hot bath. 

[There is a knock on the wagon as it comes to a halt. An unseen 
attendant calls out - Your Highness.  Commodus steps
out.] 

ATTENDANT: We look to be almost there, Sire.  [A battle weary soldier 
approaches the wagon] Sire.
COMMODUS: Where's the Emperor? 
SOLDIER: At the front, Sire. They've been gone for 19 days. The wounded 
are still coming in. 

[Commodus calls to the guard - "My horse!"  Commodus mounts his horse, 
looks back at Lucilla and hesitantly asks -
"kiss?"  to which she kisses her hand and tosses her hand his way.] 

[Scene change back to the battle field. Maximus has found his sword 
impaled in the tree during battle. He removes the sword and as he turns, Marcus walks up amidst the soldiers as they stand 
and bow in his honour. Marcus walks to Maximus.] 

MARCUS: You have proved your valour yet again, Maximus. Let us hope, 
for the last time.
MAXIMUS: There is no one left to fight, Sire.
MARCUS: There is always someone left to fight, Maximus. Tell me, 
how can I reward Rome's greatest
General? 

 [The battle weary Maximus, face splattered with the blood of his enemy, 
body drained from the exertion of the battle,
thinks momentarily and simply replies.] 

MAXIMUS: Let me go home?
MARCUS: Ahh. Home. 

[Marcus and Maximus, walk together through the debris of the battle, 
amidst the soldiers who are cheering as they pass.] 

MAXIMUS: They honour you, Caesar. 
MARCUS: It is you, Maximus. They honour you. 

[Maximus stops momentarily and raises his sword overhead. The army 
cheers even loader. In the distant, Commodus and
his guards atop their horses, witnesses Maximus with his father, 
hears the cheers and quickly races down to them.] 

COMMODUS:
   [Quickly dismounting his horse, he approaches Marcus.] Have
  I missed it. Have I missed the battle? 
  MARCUS: You have missed the war. 
  COMMODUS: Father, congratulations. I shall sacrifice 100 bulls to honour your
  triumph. 
  MARCUS: Save the bulls, honour Maximus. He won the battle. 
  COMMODUS: General.
  MAXIMUS: Highness.
  COMMODUS: Rome salutes you and I embrace you as a brother. It has been too long
  old friend.
  MAXIMUS: Highness.  [With head bowed. Commodus turns to his father.]
  COMMODUS: Here, father, take my arm. 
  MARCUS: I think it is time...for me to leave.  

[Commodus appears embarrassed that his father would not accept his help, and looks at Maximus with envy and scorn.
Marcus gets on his horse and Maximus quickly hands his sword to Quintus while he assists Marcus in settling onto his
horse.] 

MARCUS [to Maximus]: So much for the glory of Rome.  [And Marcus Leaves....] 

SCENE CHANGE to
  tent where party is taking place. Music and laughter fill the air. Maximus enters,
  washes his hands in a bowl of water, seemingly stained with the blood of the
  battle. Maximus looks into the crowd and sees Marcus and Commodus within. He
  then moves toward Quintus....] 

QUINTUS: General!
MAXIMUS: Still alive? 
QUINTUS: Still alive. 
MAXIMUS: The gods must have a sense of humour. 
QUINTUS: The gods must love you. 
VALERIUS: Back to your barracks, General, or to Rome? 
MAXIMUS: Home. The wife, the son, the harvest. 
QUINTUS: Maximus the farmer. I still have trouble imagining that. 
MAXIMUS: You know, Quintus, dirt cleans off a lot easier than blood. 
COMMODUS:  [as he approaches Maximus] Here he is. 
MAXIMUS: Highness. 
COMMODUS:  [Making introductions.] Senator Gaius, Senator Falco. 
Beware of Gaius, he will pour honeyed potion in your ear and you will wake up saying Republic! Republic! 
GAIUS: Well, Rome WAS founded as a Republic.
COMMODUS: Yes and in a republic, the senate has the power. But Senator Gaius is not influenced by that, of
course. 
FALCO: Where do you stand General, Emperor or Senate? 
MAXIMUS: A soldier has the advantage of being able to look his enemy in the eye, Senator.
GAIUS: You know, with an army behind you, you could become extremely political.
COMMODUS: I warned you, but I shall save you. Senators.  [He pulls Maximus away and they leave the Senators.
Commodus continues his conversation with Maximus.] I'm going to need good men like you.
MAXIMUS:  [Cautiously asking] How may I serve you, Highness?
COMMODUS: You are a man who knows what it is to command. You give your orders, the orders are obeyed,
and the battle is won. But these senators, they scheme and squabble and flatter and deceive. Maximus we
must save Rome from the politicians. [Glancing over to where Marcus is and back to Maximus.] Can I count on you,
when the time comes?
MAXIMUS: [Following Commodus' glance, he looks over at Marcus and back to Commodus.] Highness, when your
father releases me I intend to return home.
COMMODUS: Home, well no one has earned it more. Don't get too comfortable - I may call on you before
long. Lucilla is here - did you know?  [A look of concern over Commodus' remarks about future service, followed with
surprise about Lucilla overcome Maximus as Commodus continues....] She has not forgotten you. And now you are
the great man. 

[SCENE CHANGE - Lucilla and her maid are seen peering out from the tent to where Commodus and Maximus talk. Eyeing Maximus, Lucilla murmurs Maximus. Marcus enters the tent and they quickly stop when he catches their attention.]

MARCUS: If only you had been born a man. What a Caesar you would have made. 
LUCILLA: Father  [as she walks to him and kisses his cheek].
MARCUS: You would have been strong. I wonder, would you have been just. 
LUCILLA: I would have been what you taught me to be. 
MARCUS: Oh. How was your journey? 
LUCILLA: Long - uncomfortable. Why have I come? 
MARCUS: I need your help...with your brother. 
LUCILLA: Of course.
MARCUS: He loves you, he always has and... he will need you now, more than ever.  [A contemplative pause by
Marcus and he continues as they walk arm in arm....]  Enough of politics. Let us pretend that you are a loving
daughter and I a good father. 
LUCILLA: This is a pleasant fiction, isn't it? 

[SCENE CHANGE - camp, fire pits warm the air, light snow falls, Maximus walks, greeting and congratulating the men as
they rest, eat, and sharpen their swords. Maximus approaches his horse stroking its head and his attention is caught by
the sound of swords clashing amongst the trees. He sees Commodus and his guards, shirtless, as they exercise sword
maneuvers in the cold. Commodus is an excellent swordsman.] 

[SCENE CHANGES to Marcus's tent where Marcus sits hunched over his desk, writing on a tablet. Maximus enters and
Marcus does not look up.] 

MAXIMUS:
  You sent for me Caesar?  [No response. Maximus turns to look at
  the weak and old Marcus.] Caesar? 
  MARCUS: Tell me again Maximus, why are we here? 
  MAXIMUS: For the glory of the empire, Sire. 
  MARCUS: Ah yes, ah yes. I remember. You see that map, Maximus? That is the world
  which I created. For 25 years, I have conquered, spilt blood, expanded the empire.
  Since I became Caesar I have known four years without war - four years of peace
  in 20. And for what? I brought the sword, nothing more. 
  MAXIMUS: Caesar, your life... 
  MARCUS: Please, please don't call me that. Come here and sit. Let us talk now,
  together now. Very simply, as men. Well, Maximus, talk. 
  MAXIMUS: 5,000 of my men are out there in the freezing mud. 3,000 are cleaved
  and bloodied. 2,000 will never leave this place. I will not believe they fought
  and died for nothing. 
  MARCUS: And what would you believe? 
  MAXIMUS: They fought for YOU and for Rome. 
  MARCUS: And what is Rome, Maximus? 
  MAXIMUS: I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and
  dark. Rome is the light. 
  MARCUS: Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become.
  I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end he wants to know that there has
  been some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to
  come? Will I be known as the philosopher, the warrior, the tyrant. Or will I
  be remembered as the Emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once
  a dream that was Rome, you could only whisper it. Anything more than
  a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile and I fear that it will not
  survive the winter. 

Maximus, let us whisper now. Together, you and I. You have a son?  [Maximus nods.] Tell me about your
home.  

 [Maximus looks a bit surprised at the invitation to hear of his home, but eagerly and proudly describes it -- a peaceful
happiness overcome him as he speaks.] 

MAXIMUS: My house is in the hills above Trujillo. Very simple place, pink stones that warm in the sun.
Kitchen garden that smells of herbs in the day, jasmine in the evening. Through the gate is a giant poplar.
Figs, apples, pears. The soil, Marcus, black ...black like my wife's hair. Grapes on the south slopes, olives on
the north. Wild ponies play near the house, they tease my son. He wants to be one of them.
MARCUS: Maximus, when was the last time you were home?
MAXIMUS: 2 years, 264 days and this morning.
MARCUS: I envy you, Maximus. It is a good home. Worth fighting for?  [Maximus nods yes and Marcus rises.]
There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home. 

[Maximus quickly rises, the soldier that he is; respectfully, to attention.] 

MAXIMUS: What will you have me do Caesar? 
MARCUS: I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you, to one end alone, to
give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it.  [Shock and bewilderment
overcome Maximus. He tries to keep from displaying these feelings. Hearing no response, Marcus continues.]  Will you
accept this great honour that I have offered? 
MAXIMUS: With all my heart, no. 
MARCUS: [Tenderly holding Maximus' head with both hands]: Maximus, that is why it must be you. 
MAXIMUS: But surely a prefect, a senator, somebody who knows the city, who understands her politics.... 
MARCUS: But you have not been corrupted by her politics. 
MAXIMUS: And Commodus? 
MARCUS: Commodus is not a moral man, you have known that since you were young. Commodus cannot rule.
He must not rule. You are the son that I should have had. Commodus will accept my decision. He knows that
you command the loyalty of the army.
MAXIMUS [Nearly speechless]:   I need some time, Sire.
MARCUS: Yes. By sunset, I hope, you will have agreed. Now embrace me as my son and bring an old man
another blanket. 

[SCENE CHANGE - As Maximus leaves Marcus' tent he hesitates outside, with a troubled look upon his face. Lucilla steps
out from the adjacent tent. She appears to have been waiting for him.] 

  LUCILLA: My father favours you now. 
  MAXIMUS: M'lady. 
  LUCILLA: T'was not always so. 
  MAXIMUS: Many things change. 
  LUCILLA: Many things, not everything.  [Maximus turns to leave.]
   Maximus, stop. Let me see your face. You seem upset. 
  MAXIMUS: I lost many men. 
  LUCILLA: What did my father want with you? 
  MAXIMUS: To wish me well before I leave for home.  [Again, he turns
  to leave.]
  LUCILLA: You are lying. I could always tell when you were lying because
  you were never good at it. 

[Maximus looks back at her sharply and approaches.] 

MAXIMUS: I never acquired your comfort with it. 
LUCILLA: True. But then you never had to. Life is more simpler for a soldier. Or do you think me heartless? 
MAXIMUS: I think you have a talent for survival.  [Again, he turns to leave. Lucilla laughs, wanting to prolong their
time together.]
LUCILLA: Maximus, stop. Is it really so terrible seeing me again? 
MAXIMUS: No. I am tired from battle. 
LUCILLA: It hurts you to see my father so fragile.  [Maximus nods.] 
LUCILLA: Commodus expects my father to announce succession within days. Will you serve my brother as
you have served my father? 
MAXIMUS: I will always serve Rome. 
LUCILLA: You know, I still remember you in my prayers. Oh, yes I pray. 
MAXIMUS: I was sad to hear of your husband's death. I mourned him. 
LUCILLA: Thank you. 
MAXIMUS: And I hear that you have a son. 
LUCILLA: Yes, Lucius. He will be nearly 8 years old. 
MAXIMUS: My son is also nearly 8.  [Again, a moment of peace overcomes him as he speaks of his family] I thank
you for your prayers.  [Maximus leaves Lucilla as she stands alone, looking after him.] 

[SCENE CHANGE - Maximus returns to his tent where he prays as he kneels in front of the icons of his Ancestors and family.] 

MAXIMUS: Ancestors, I ask you for your guidance. Blessed Mother, come to me with the Gods' desire for my
future. Blessed Father, watch over my wife and my son with a ready sword. Whisper to them that I live only
to hold them again. Ancestors, I honour you and will try to live with the dignity you have taught me. 
[Maximus tenderly and longingly kisses the figurine of his wife, stands and moves to sit on a chair as he calls to his friend
and servant, Cicero.]
MAXIMUS: Cicero. Do you find it hard to do your duty? 
CICERO: Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time I do what I have to. 
MAXIMUS [rubbing his beard]: We may not be able to go home after all. 

[SCENE CHANGE - Commodus has entered Marcus' tent, gazing at the statue of his father, he reaches up and touches its
face as Marcus enters from behind him.] 

  MARCUS: Are you ready to do your duty for Rome? 
  COMMODUS  [with a slight smile on his face]: Yes,
  father. 
  MARCUS: You will not be Emperor. 
  COMMODUS  [the smile quickly vanishes leaving in its place painful
  bewilderment]: Which wiser, older man is to take my place? 
  MARCUS: My powers will pass to Maximus to hold in trust until the Senate is
  ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a Republic again. 
  COMMODUS: Maximus? 

[Marcus moves his hand to touch Commodus' face and Commodus turns away.] 

MARCUS: My decision disappoints you? 
COMMODUS: You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues -- wisdom, justice, fortitude, and
temperance. As I read the list I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, Father -- ambition, that
can be a virtue when it drives us to excel; resourcefulness; courage, perhaps not on the battle field but there
are many forms of courage; devotion, to my family, to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even
then it was as if you didn't want me for your son. 
MARCUS: Oh, Commodus, you go too far. 
COMMODUS:  [In anguish and tears from the disappointment of Marcus' decision] I searched the faces of the gods
for ways to please you, to make you proud.... One kind word, one full hug while you pressed me to your chest
and held me tight, would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years.... What is it in me you
hate so much? All I ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar, Father. 
MARCUS: Commodus,  [he kneels in front of his son] your faults as a son, is my failure as a father.  [He stretches
his arms out to Commodus, seeking forgiveness. Commodus slowly embraces him, together they weep] 
COMMODUS: Father, I would have butchered the whole world if you would have only loved me!!! 

[Marcus still kneeling, Commodus presses his father tightly against his body, smothering him, as Marcus struggles to be
free, but fails. All the while, Commodus cries and moans in pain, as though a child.] 

[SCENE CHANGE - Maximus is sleeping on his cot and Quintus quietly enters to wake him. Maximus quickly brandishes a knife, smiling with a hint of embarrassment when he sees it is Quintus.] 

QUINTUS: Maximus. The Emperor needs you. It is urgent. 

[Together they return to Marcus' tent. As Maximus reaches the tent, the tarp is pulled back and there stands Commodus.]


COMMODUS: Lament with me, brother. Our great father is dead. 
MAXIMUS: [Looking untrusting at Commodus he turns to the body of Marcus, placing his hand to Marcus' forehead and
then to the dead Emperor's throat as though to check for signs of life, and asks] How did he die? 
COMMODUS: The surgeon said there was no pain. His breath gave out as he slept. 
MAXIMUS: [Leaning over Marcus, he whispers as he kisses his forehead.] Father.
COMMODUS: Your Emperor asks for your loyalty, Maximus. Take my hand. I only offer it once. 

[Maximus turns away from Marcus, looks at Lucilla as she sits in the corner, eyes moist with grief. Maximus, in disbelief,
ignores Commodus, walks past him and out of the tent, calling to Quintus. Commodus turns to Quintus who looks back
with a pained acknowledgment of orders that have already been given. Lucilla steps out from the corner, turns to
Commodus, looks into his eyes, and slaps him, then picks up his hand and kisses it.] 

LUCILLA: Hail Caesar. 

[SCENE CHANGE - Maximus' tent as he rushes in, buckling his armour as Cicero assists him. Maximus hurriedly calling out
orders....  "Wake the senators. Gaius and Falco. I must have their counsel. Sword!"  Before Cicero can hand
Maximus his sword, Quintus enters.] 

QUINTUS: Maximus, please be careful, that was not prudent. 
MAXIMUS: Prudent! The Emperor has been slain. 
QUINTUS: The Emperor died of natural causes. 
MAXIMUS: Quintus, why are you armed? 
QUINTUS: Guards!  [The guards quickly enter, spinning Maximus around as they secure him.]  Maximus please do not
fight. I am sorry, Caesar has spoken. 

[Cicero looks at Maximus as if to hand him his sword but Maximus shakes his head, no. Quintus turns to the Praetorian
guards.] 

QUINTUS: Ride him until dawn and then execute him. 
MAXIMUS: Quintus, look at me. Look at me! Promise me that you will look after my family. 
QUINTUS: Your family will meet you in the after life.  

 [Maximus struggles  and one of the guards hits him across the back of the head with a sword.]
  

[SCENE CHANGE - to where Maximus is about to be executed. The guard tells Maximus to "kneel". As the assassins
position themselves, Maximus prays within "Blessed Father watch over my wife and son whisper to them that I
live only to hold them again."  Then Maximus asks the chief guard, "At least give me a clean death - a soldier's
death."  The chief guard nods yes and the assassin changes position behind Maximus. As the assassin raises his sword,
with speed, Maximus successfully disarms the guard about to kill him, grabbing the sword with his hands, he fatally stabs
him and then turns to the chief guard who can't remove his sword from his sheath....] 

MAXIMUS: The frost. Sometimes it makes the blade stick.  [Maximus then swings the sword at the guard, cutting
him across the face and killing him. Another guard, on horse, moves forward and you can hear the swishing sound of the
sword as it comes spinning through the air and strikes the guard dead. Maximus turns to the remaining guard who is on
horse, drinking from a bottle of whiskey to warm himself from the cold. Maximus calls to him.  "Praetorian!"  The
Praetorian turns to see Maximus standing with a sword, tosses down the bottle and runs at him but Maximus swings his
sword as the Praetorian passes. The Praetorian falls from his horse, having been fatally wounded by Maximus. Maximus
has been severely wounded to the arm. Having killed each of the Praetorian, Maximus takes two horses for his long
journey home.] 

[After a long run, exhausted, Maximus finally comes to a rest. He sits fireside, nursing his wound. His mind races with
thoughts of his family and of what Marcus earlier asked him.... "When was the last time you were home, 2 years,
264 days and this morning. Blessed father, watch over them with a ready sword, whisper to them that I live
only to hold them again. For all else is dust and air, whisper that I live only to hold them again, for all else is
dust and air."] 

[SCENE CHANGE - As Maximus continues his journey home on horseback, Maximus has a vision of his home - wheat
fields, his son playing with a white pony and his wife watches. Suddenly, the vision changes to one of harm, of the
Praetorian riding towards his home, and as they arrive, trampling his son as his wife looks on helplessly. Maximus regains
full consciousness and races to reach his family. The wound on his arm, bleeding profusely. His horse sweaty, breathing
loudly and exhausted, strains under the run. As he nears his home black smoke of fires over his home can be seen. His
horse, spent, gives out from under him and falls with a thunderous thud, throwing Maximus to the dirt as he groans
heavily. The vision was an actuality. Maximus struggles to stand and stumbles the remainder of the way to his home. As
he nears the home, he views bodies burnt, everything destroyed, fields smoking. In the distant, he sees two bodies
hanging overhead. As he approaches he can identify the bodies to be of his wife and son. He falls to his knees, crying in
disbelief and anguish. He manages to stand up and comes closer, tenderly touching his wife's feet, caressing them as
though to comfort her. He falls to the ground and passes out from the grief. 

[A Bedouin troupe come across the scene and find Maximus' body, lying on top of the two graves of his wife and son. They
are heard to say, "Hada mish huy?" (This one's not alive?) ... "Ma adri" (I don't know.) ... "Huy!" (He's alive!) ...
"kalbash'hu'" (shackle him) ... "Hada mish huy" (this one is still alive).]

[ The Bedouin whisk him away. Maximus finds himself on a wagon. He is slipping in and out of consciousness and into the
after life. A sound startles him and he comes back to life. He is dazed and hallucinating. Scenes of him chained and scenes
of the figurines of his wife and son quickly flash across his mind. The soft voice of a Numidian slave (later to be known as
Juba), is heard "you will meet them again, but not yet." Maximus looks at his wound which is infested with maggots.
He begins to remove them and Juba says, "No, they will clean it. Wait and see."  The caravan carrying the slaves
winds it way through the vast desert. Juba, watching over the new slave, cautions him, "Don't die. They will feed you
to the lions. The lions are worth more than we. Better now? Clean. See?"  Juba places poultice on the gaping
wound.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE -
  In Zucchabar, a Roman Province, at the bazaar where Proximo sits at a table,
  and the Slave Trader approaches Proximo to greet him....] 

SLAVE TRADER: Proximo, old friend. Today is your most fortunate day. 

[Proximo mistrustingly looks at the slave trader and grabs the trader's crotch. The trader looks startled, and in pain.] 

PROXIMO: Those giraffes you sold me, they won't mate. They just walk around eating, not mating. You sold
me queer giraffes. I want my money back.
SLAVE TRADER: Not a chance.  [He grunts as Proximo squeezes tighter.]  I'll give you special price for you! 
PROXIMO: On what? 
SLAVE TRADER: Have you seen my new stock? Come and see them. 

[Proximo looks back and releases him with one final squeeze. Together they walk towards the market place.] 

[SCENE CHANGE - to the market where the slaves await sale.] 

PROXIMO: Do any of them fight? I have a match coming up.
SLAVE TRADER: Some are good for fighting, others for dying. You need both, I think.
PROXIMO: [to the Numidian slave] Get up!  [Proximo examines him, slapping his body to check his muscles.]
PROXIMO: What was your trade?
JUBA: I was a hunter.
SLAVE TRADER: No, no, I bought him from a salt mine in Carthage  [the slave trader quickly and nervously tells
him to sit down. Proximo continues to inspect the other slaves.]
PROXIMO  [Maximus sits on the dirt, weak and lifeless. Proximo pokes at his gashed arm alongside the SPQR insignia]:
The mark of the legion...deserter? 
SLAVE TRADER: Maybe. Who cares? He's a Spaniard.
PROXIMO: I will take 6 for 1,000. 
SLAVE TRADER: 1,000? The Numidian alone is worth 2,000! 
PROXIMO: These slaves are rotten! 
SLAVE TRADER: It adds to the flavour! 

[Proximo begins to walk away.] 

SLAVE TRADER: No, no, wait, wait, wait! We can negotiate.
PROXIMO: I'll give you 2,000 and another 4 for the beasts. That's 5,000 for an old friend. 

[SCENE CHANGE - Proximo's slaves carry him on sedan. Proximo impatiently ordering them to hurry.] 

PROXIMO: Come on, how long does it take to get into my own house? 

[In front of the line of slaves, as they are being dusted with lime for pests and disease, Proximo addresses the slaves. As
this takes place, a lion is seen in a cage as he is being fed human parts, while vultures tear at the remains of a pile of
corpses. Other slaves are exercising their skills as one is seen getting impaled with an arrow.] 

PROXIMO: I am Proximo. I shall be closer to you for the next few days, which will be the last of your
miserable lives, than the bitch of a mother that brought you screaming into this world. I did not pay good
money for you for your company, I paid it so that I could profit from your death and as your mother was
there at your beginning, so I shall be there at your end. And when you die, and die you shall, your transition
shall be to the sound of  [applauding] ...Gladiators, I salute you. 

[SCENE CHANGE
  - Training at Proximo's camp as each slave goes up for a test of skill. Proximo
  can be heard calling out "Yellow" ... "Red".]
  

[The next fighter is Juba who picks up the wooden sword given to them for their testing and fiercely fights back as Hagen
tests him.] 

HAGEN: Good.
PROXIMO: Red  [Juba looks at Hagen with honour at having won red.]
HAGEN: Spaniard!  [Maximus curiously looks at Hagen, walks up and tosses the sword to the ground in--Maximus
refuses to fight. With Proximo's approval, Hagen slams his sword into Maximus' stomach causing Maximus to collapse, but
he stands back up in defiance. Hagen hits him a second time and Maximus falls to the ground. Proximo stops Hagen as he
is about to make the third blow, calling out "That is enough for the moment. His time will come."  Maximus looks at
Hagen with a slight grin and turns and walks away.] 

HAGEN: Next. 

[SCENE CHANGE - where the slaves are kept, Juba kneels at the doorway, looks in at Maximus, the "Spaniard", and asks
... ] 

JUBA: Why don't you fight, Spaniard? We all have to fight.  [Maximus looks at Juba, as he continues to scrape the
Legion Mark (SPQR) from his arm with a sharp stone. The pain of his efforts clearly read in his expression.]
JUBA: Is that the mark of your gods? 
[Maximus nods, with a slight sense of humour at the question.]
JUBA: Will that not anger them? 
[Maximus nods again, his smile very wry as he continues to painfully scrape the insignia from his flesh.] 

[SCENE CHANGE
  - The slaves, shackled together to a pole, walk through the market place where
  dyed red yarn hangs overhead, dripping onto them as they make their way to the
  arena. A white bull is seen with red dye poured along his back. Proximo walk
  under a large umbrella, to protect him from the dripping dye.] 

HAGEN [to Maximus] : The gods favour you. Red is the gods' colour. You will need their help today. 

[At the arena, under the bleachers, the crowd can be heard stamping their feet, cheering. Proximo gives the gladiators a
talk of encouragement (after all, they are there to make him money) before they go out for their first fight.  "Some of
you are thinking you won't fight, some that you can't. They all say that until they are out there. Thrust this
into another man's flesh" demonstrating with a sword "and they will applaud and love you for that. You may
begin to love them for that."  He slams the blade into the table. "Ultimately, we're all dead men, sadly we cannot
choose how, BUT we can decide how we meet that end in order that we are remembered as men."] 

[Maximus listens intently, he bends down and picks up a handful of dirt, rubbing it in his hands. He has decided to fight.
He will not lose the honour of being a man. The men are paired off - red with yellow. Maximus is paired with Juba. Hagen
is paired with a frail and frightened slave. Standing in the gateway before they enter the arena, the frightened slave in
front of Maximus loses control from fear and relieves himself down his leg. Maximus views this and steps back. Hagen is
seen closing his eyes, perhaps in prayer before he enters.]

[The door to the arena is thrown open and the first fighter (with spiked hair) runs face first into the morning star which is
swung by one of the armoured opponents. Blood splatters everywhere. The fighters pan out and everyone runs into the
arena. Proximo runs to the edge of the arena to look down onto his fighters--sizing them up for skill. Juba starts to follow
an opponent but Maximus quickly takes control of the fight, pulling Juba back. Meanwhile, Hagen is with the frightened
slave who is screaming in fear and crouching down while Hagen fights. Then the opponent thrusts his sword into the
frightened slave, who falls down dead. Hagen, needing to be free from the corpse, cuts away the chained hand and uses it
to swing as a weapon.]

[As the fights continue, Hagen lifts and plants another opponent on the horns which adorn the arena. Maximus fights with
his shield, Juba with a sword. When the final opponent is reached, Juba, is standing behind Maximus with his hand on
Maximus' shoulder. The muscular opponent, heavily masked and carrying a trident, stands fiercely against Maximus and
Juba. Maximus turns the trident back into the opponent and together, Maximus and Juba spear him in the gut. The
opponent withdraws the trident from his own body and goes back on the attack. Maximus and Juba, working as one, run
at the opponent, using the chain that joins them, to cut him at the throat, knocking him to the ground. Maximus, Juba and
Hagen, and the remaining slaves, stand exhausted in the arena while the crowd roars.] 

[SCENE CHANGE
  - grand view of Rome as seen from the steps of the Senate. The Roman troops
  have formed along the streets, people are cheering (yet there is a small faction
  seen angrily yelling in dispute). The senators stand at the steps of the Senate,
  waiting, Lucius at their side, as the new Caesar and Lucilla enter on chariot
  surrounded by Praetorian....] 

GRACCHUS: He enters Rome like a conquering hero. But what has he conquered?
FALCO: Give him time. He's young. I think he could do very well.
GRACCHUS: For Rome or for you?

GRACCHUS: Go to your mother, Lucius. It's what she would want.
LUCIUS: Mother!
LUCILLA: Lucius. [Lucius and Lucilla embrace.]
COMMODUS: Senators.
FALCO: Rome greets her new Emperor. Your loyal subjects bid you welcome.
COMMODUS: Thank you, Falco, and for the loyal subjects. I trust they were not too expensive.
GRACCHUS: Rome rejoices in your return. There are many matters to discuss. 

[SCENE CHANGE
  - to the Senate where all the senators are gathered. Senator Gracchus is speaking
  while Commodus, seemingly bored and gaining impatient, sits, twirling the tip
  of his sword on the marbled floor.] 

GRACCHUS: Caesar, the Senate has prepared a series of protocol to address the many problems in the city,
beginning with basic sanitation for the Greek quarter to combat the plague which is already springing up
there.  [As Gracchus continues with his speech, Commodus interrupts him....]
COMMODUS: Shhhhhh. Don't you see Gracchus. That's the very problem, isn't it. My father spent all his time
at study, reading books, learning his philosophy. He spent all his twilight hours reading scrolls from the
Senate. All the while, the people were forgotten.
GRACCHUS: The Senate is the people, Sire, chosen from the people, to speak for the people.
COMMODUS: I doubt if many people eat so well as you do, Senator, or have such splendid mistresses as you,
Senator Gaius. I understand my own people.
GRACCHUS: Perhaps the Emperor would be so kind as to teach us, out of his own extensive experience.  [A
slight laughter from the Senators is heard.]
COMMODUS: I call it love. The people are my children and I their father. I shall show them they are loved. I
shall hold them to my bosom and embrace them ....
GRACCHUS  [as he interrupts]: Have you ever embraced someone dying of plague, Sire? 

[Commodus stops. His sword held behind his head, with both hands, as though to be resting his head on it. Slowly turning
around, he looks at Gracchus. Lucilla, sensing potential danger, rises to intervene. A lethal moment.] 

COMMODUS: No. But if you interrupt me again, I assure you that you shall.  [He leaves the Senate and returns to
the palace.] 

LUCILLA: Senator, my brother is very tired. Leave the list with me. Your Emperor will do all that Rome requires.
GRACCHUS: My lady, as always your lightest touch commands obedience. 

[SCENE
  CHANGE - at the Palace, Lucilla returning from the Senate.] 

COMMODUS: Who deign to lecture me?
LUCILLA: Commodus, the senate has its uses.
COMMODUS: What uses? All they do is talk. Talk. ...It should have been only me, and you, and Rome. 
LUCILLA: Don't even think that, Commodus. There has always been a senate....
COMMODUS: Rome has changed. It takes an Emperor to rule an empire.
LUCILLA: Of course, but leave the people their....
COMMODUS: Illusions?.
LUCILLA: ...traditions.
COMMODUS: My father's war against the barbarians, he said himself it achieved nothing. But people still
loved him.
LUCILLA: People always love victories.
COMMODUS: But why? They don't see the battles? What do they care about Germania?
LUCILLA: They care about the greatness of Rome.
COMMODUS: Greatness of Rome? But what is that?
LUCILLA: It's an idea, greatness. Greatness is a vision.
COMMODUS: Exactly. A vision. I will give the people a vision and they will love me for it. They will soon
forget the tedious sermonizing of a few dry old men. I will give them the greatest vision of their lives. 

[SCENE CHANGE
  - between Gaius and Gracchus at a restaurant, discussing the games which Commodus
  revived to lure the mob. Outside can be seen a juggler, merchants calling out
  their wares (wine), and the crowd visiting and moving about.] 

GAIUS: Games! 150 days of games!
GRACCHUS: He's cleverer than I thought.
GAIUS: Clever. The whole of Rome would be laughing at him if they weren't in fear of his Praetorian.
GRACCHUS: Fear and wonder. A powerful combination.
GAIUS: Will the people really be seduced by that?
GRACCHUS: I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. He will conjure magic for them and they will
be distracted. He will take away their freedom, and still they will roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the
marble floor of the Senate, it is the sand of the Colosseum. He will give them death, and they will love him
for it. 

[SCENE CHANGE...back
  at Zuccahbar. The gladiators are sitting in a cage waiting for their turn to
  fight in the arena.  "Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard" 
  can be heard from the crowds-he has gained the popularity of the crowd as well
  as a name for himself-Spaniard. Maximus stands and walks through the cage as
  the other gladiators call out "Spaniard",
  as he goes to the arena. Maximus enters the ring as the chants "Spaniard,
  Spaniard"  continue. When Maximus steps through the door, the opponents
  step back. Maximus pauses and slightly bows his head. Then he wades into them.
  The opponents each wait to take on Maximus. Without hesitation, Maximus charges
  forward and machine-like and without emotion, takes on and disposes of each
  opponent, one at a time. The final opponent has his head cut off by Maximus
  as he uses two swords to scissor cut his neck.] 

[Having quickly and soundly defeated his opposition, Maximus looks up at the crowd, bloody swords still in hand. He hurls
one sword high into the stands, striking a table, startling all nearby. Then, calling out to the now silenced crowd, Maximus
screams at them, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! Is this not why you are
here??"  The crowd silenced, Maximus throws the other sword to the ground, spitting in disgust and begins to leave the
arena. The crowd cheers loudly. Maximus slows his pace, looking at them in amazement and curiosity.  "Spaniard,
Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard." 

[SCENE CHANGE - At Proximo's quarters. Maximus standing nearby. 

PROXIMO: What do you want? Hmmmm? Girl? Boy? 
MAXIMUS: You sent for me? 
PROXIMO: Yes I did. You are good, Spaniard, but you're not that good. You could be magnificent. 
MAXIMUS: I am required to kill so I kill. That is enough. 
PROXIMO: It's enough for the provinces but not for Rome  [as he feeds his caged hyena]. The young Emperor
has organized a series of spectacles to commemorate his father, Marcus Aurelius. I find it amusing since it
was Marcus Aurelius, the wise, the all knowing Marcus Aurelius, who closed us down. So finally after 5 years
scratching a living in flea infested villages we are finally going back to where we belong, the Colosseum. Oh
you should see the Colosseum, Spaniard. 50,000 Romans watching every movement of your sword, willing
you to make that killer blow. The silence before you strike, and the noise afterwards, it rises, rises like a
storm, as if you were the Thunder God himself. 
MAXIMUS: You were a gladiator? 
PROXIMO: Yes, I was [he responds nervously but proudly of times gone by].
MAXIMUS: You won your freedom? 
PROXIMO: Long time ago the old emperor Marcus Aurelius presented me with a Rudius - it's just a wooden
sword, a symbol for your freedom. He touched me on the shoulder once, and I was free. 
MAXIMUS: You knew Marcus Aurelius?  [Maximus asks loudly, laughing as he speaks, doubting that Proximo could
have known such a man.]
PROXIMO: I did not say that I knew him. I said he touched me on the shoulder. 

[Maximus comes closer to Proximo, lowering his voice as he speaks.] 

MAXIMUS: You asked me what I want. I, too, want to stand in front of the Emperor, as you did. 

[Raising the left eyebrow.] 

PROXIMO: Then listen to me. Learn from me. I wasn't the best because I killed quickly. I was the best
because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd, win your freedom. 

 [Maximus stands at attention as they soldier he was for so many years, but at the thought of freedom he is indifferent for
without his family, what is freedom?] 

MAXIMUS: I will win the crowd. I will give them something they have never seen before. 
PROXIMO: Umph! So, Spaniard, we shall go to Rome together and have bloody adventures and the great
whore will suckle us until we are fat and happy and can suckle no more. And then, when enough men have
died, perhaps you will have your freedom. Here, use this....  [Proximo tosses Maximus a body shield of armour. As
Maximus leaves, Proximo turns to look out the window, raising his arms in jubilee.] 

[SCENE CHANGE to a rooftop, the slaves talk with each other. Juba and Maximus, alone,
  together....] 

JUBA: It is somewhere out there, my
  country, my home. My wife is preparing the food. My daughter is carrying water
  from the river. Will I ever see them again. I think not. 
  MAXIMUS: Do you believe that you will see them again when you die? 
  JUBA: I think so, but then, I will die soon. They will not die for many years.
  I will have to wait. 
  MAXIMUS: But you would...wait? 
  JUBA: Of course. 
  MAXIMUS: You see, my wife and my son are already waiting for me. 
  JUBA: You will meet them again. But not yet.  Juba takes Maximus'
  hand as if to assure him that the time will come. Not yet. 
  MAXIMUS: Not yet. Not yet. 

[SCENE CHANGE - on the road to Rome, the wagon carrying the gladiators rolls along while children run to the side of the
road to witness the caravan. In the distant, Rome and the Colosseum.] 

[Gladiators have arrived in Rome for their first time. They disembark from the wagon, gazing in awe at the Colosseum.
Proximo walks up to the statue of Mars, kissing his hand and then planting the kiss on the feet of the statue.  "Good to
see you again, old friend.... Bring me fortune."  The gladiators, stare up at the Colosseum....]


JUBA: Did you ever see anything like that before? I didn't know man could build such things.
PROXIMO as he walks towards the gladiators, looking at Maximus he says : Win the crowd. 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  TO THE PALACE - Commodus is standing over the sleeping Lucius studying him as
  he sleeps. Lucilla walks up.]
  COMMODUS: He sleeps so well because he is loved. 
  LUCILLA: Come brother, it is late. 

[Lucilla and Commodus step away and continue their talk. Commodus leans over his desk.]

COMMODUS: I will make Rome the wonder of the ages. That is what Gracchus and his friends don't
understand. All my desires are now splitting my head into pieces.
LUCILLA:  [Has mixed a powdered drink.] Commodus, drink this tonic.
COMMODUS: Do you think the time is right? I could announce the dissolution of the senate in celebration of
our father. Do you think the people are ready?
LUCILLA: I think it's time for you to rest now.
COMMODUS: Will you stay with me?
LUCILLA: Still afraid of the dark, brother?
COMMODUS: Still? Always. Stay with me tonight?
LUCILLA: You know I won't.
COMMODUS: Then kiss me.  [She kisses his forehead.] 
LUCILLA: Sleep, brother. 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - As gladiators arrive in Rome, the crowd is seen betting and posting their
  marks on a chalk board. Proximo & Cassius discuss the upcoming fight.]
  

PROXIMO: The Emperor wants battles and I don't want to sacrifice my best fighters.
CASSIUS: The crowd wants battles so the Emperor gives them battles. You get the battle of Carthage.
PROXIMO: The massacre of Carthage! Why don't you get the beggars and thieves from the prisons?
CASSIUS: We've done that.
PROXIMO: If you're going to give away the best gladiators in the empire, then I want double the rates.
CASSIUS: You will get your contract rates or you will get your contract canceled. If you don't like it, you can
crawl back down that shit hole that you came from. 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - Just prior to the Legionnaires of Scipio Africanus battle. Young Lucius is
  walking along the cells where the gladiators are placed on display for the crowds
  to inspect. Lucius motions to Maximus, where he is seated at the back of his
  cell. With a glint of surprise, Maximus rises and moves toward Lucius.]
  

LUCIUS: Gladiator, are you the one they call Spaniard? 
MAXIMUS: Yes. 
LUCIUS: They said you were a giant. They said you can crush a man's skull with one hand. 
MAXIMUS: Man's? No. A boy's...[he says, teasingly]
LUCIUS: They have good horses in Spain? 
MAXIMUS: Some of the best. This is Argento. This is Scarto  [pointing to his chest armour]. They were my
horses. They were taken from me?. 
LUCIUS: I like you, Spaniard. I shall cheer for you. 
MAXIMUS: They let you watch the games? 
LUCIUS: My uncle says it makes me strong. 
MAXIMUS: What does your father say? 
LUCIUS: My father is dead. 
SERVANT: Master Lucius, it is time. 
LUCIUS: I have to go. 
MAXIMUS: Your name is Lucius? 
LUCIUS: Lucius Verus. After my father.  [Realizing he has come closer to Commodus, Maximus withdraws into the
corner, looking to see who might be in the crowd.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  -In the bowels of the Colosseum. The gladiators are selecting helmets and receiving
  spears. Maximus selects an ominous mask that covers all his face leaving his
  eyes to pierce through. The man in charge of the gladiators calls out instructions
  before they enter the arena.  "When the Emperor enters, raise your
  weapons, salute him and then speak together. Face the Emperor, don't turn your
  back on him. Go and die with honour."  Maximus takes a deep breath.
  The gladiators enter the arena, looking up amazed at the overwhelming size of
  the arena and crowd. The crowds call out, "Caesar, Caesar, Caesar".
  The gladiators stand in front of Caesar, "We who are about to die,
  salute you". Only one gladiator refuses to make such a salute --
  Maximus.] 

CASSIUS  [the announcer] : On this day we reach back to hallowed antiquity to bring you a recreation of a
second Fall of Mighty Carthage. On the barren straits of Zama, there stood the invincible armies of the
Barbarian Hannibal. Ferocious mercenaries and warriors from all brute nations bent on destruction. Your
Emperor is pleased to give you THE BARBARIAN HORDE! 

[On the arena floor, Maximus talks to the Gladiators, instructing them.] 

MAXIMUS: Anyone here been in the army? 
FELLOW-FIGHTER #1: Yes 
FELLOW-FIGHTER #2: I served with you in Vindobona. 
MAXIMUS: You can help me. Whatever comes out of these gates, we have a better chance of survival if we
work together. Do you understand? We stay together, we survive. 

[Cassius then introduces the Legionnaires of Scipio Africanus as they barrel into the arena on their glorious chariots.
Shouts from the Legionnaires can be heard as they immediately begin to kill the "Barbarians", shouts from Maximus can
also be heard - "Come together...lock your shields, stay as one...hold as one". And then, "Well done" as they
successfully defend themselves from the uneven attack. ]

[ As a chariot heads towards them, Maximus is heard calling out as they huddle together "Hold as one. Hold. Diamond,
diamond."  the Barbarians move towards the chariot as it approaches them, and with that manoeuver, the chariot is
overturned and the Legionnaires are sent flying to their death. The crowd cheers uncontrollably. 

[ Hagen gets an arrow to the calf and unknowingly stands in the way of a charging chariot. Maximus calls out to him, then
runs and knocks him out of the way, saving his life. Without hesitation, Maximus continues to call out orders, "This
column to the chariot. This column stay with me."  Maximus climbs upon one of the chariot horses that has been
unharnessed and rides with the chariots, attacking the Legionnaires one by one until most have been disabled or killed. All
the while, Commodus sits on his throne, clearly enjoying himself like a child. His mouth falls open and his tongue laps the
air. He tosses his head side to side in glee.]

[ On the arena floor, Hagen is back in place, fighting the Legionnaires. As Maximus rides, Juba cries out  "Maximus"  as
he tosses him one of the Legionnaires' sword. Catching the sword, Maximus continues to call orders to the Barbarians, 
"Single column, single column..."as they successfully attack and kill the remaining Legionnaires. Having won the
battle, Maximus is seen magnificently atop the white horse, sword raised in triumph as the cheers from the "Barbarians"
and crowd burst out uproariously.] 

[Following the battle, in Caesar's box... ]COMMODUS: My history's a little hazy Cassius, but aren't the Barbarians
supposed to lose the battle of Carthage!!
CASSIUS: Yes, Sire. Forgive me, Sire. 
COMMODUS: No, I rather enjoy surprises. Who is that? 
CASSIUS: They call him the Spaniard, Sire. 
COMMODUS: I think I'll meet him.
CASSIUS: Of course, Sire. 

[On the arena floor, Praetorian enter and the gladiators stand ready to defend themselves.] 

PRAETORIAN: Drop your weapons. 

[Maximus nods to the gladiators and they drop their weapons.] 

PRAETORIAN: Gladiator, the Emperor has asked for you. 
MAXIMUS: I'm at the Emperor's service. 

[Commodus enters the arena. Maximus eyes an arrow in the dirt amongst the bloodied debris, kneels to pick it up. The
gladiators follow Maximus' action and also kneel.]  COMMODUS: Rise, rise.
[Lucius enters behind Commodus and Maximus looks disappointed. He does not want to attempt an attack on Commodus
with the boy so close.] 

COMMODUS: Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don't think there has been a gladiator to match you, as
for this young man  [Commodus holding Lucius in front him], he insists you are Hector reborn, or was it Hercules.
Why doesn't the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name. You do have a name...? 

 MAXIMUS: My name is gladiator. 

 [Maximus slowly turns around and begins to walk back to the other gladiators.] 

COMMODUS: How dare you show your back to me, SLAVE. You will remove your helmet and tell me your
name...  [The Praetorian take a ready-stand, and the gladiators, without weapons, move forward ready to fight with
Maximus. Maximus stops, takes a deep breath, removes his helmet, and turns to face Commodus.] 
MAXIMUS: My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the North, general of the
Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a
murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next. 

[Commodus is clearly in shock and without words. Quintus stands ready. Commodus stumbles in his actions, slightly
turning to Quintus as though seeking help. Quintus orders "Arms" and the Praetorian pull their swords. Meanwhile, at
Caesar's box, Lucilla has jumped to her feet in shock and relief to see that Maximus is still alive.] 

CROWD: Live, Live, Live, Live...! 
COMMODUS: Shhh!  [in an effort to calm the people. Commodus extends his hand, struggling to give the thumbs up for
he would much prefer to give the thumbs down. Extending his thumb up, to the pleasure and cheers of the crowd,
Commodus turns and leaves, sending a look to Maximus as though to say this is not over, and the Praetorian leave, as
well.] As Maximus looks at Quintus, he holds his fist to his heart and slightly bows his head, acknowledging an old friend.
Quintus stares back and slowly backs away from Maximus. 

[Maximus raises his helmet in victory and the crowds and other gladiators cheer uproariously. Maximus and the other
gladiators exit the arena to be returned to the underground cells. They are lowered on a platform as the other gladiators
salute the winning barbarians, and in particular, Maximus, with cheers and shouts "Maximus, Maximus, Maximus." 
Maximus stands in the midst of all the gladiators who triumphantly fought and beat the Legionnaires. A slightly smaller
man, yet appearing larger than all.] 

 [SCENE CHANGES back
  to the Palace where Commodus is signing papers. Lucilla walks in. Without looking
  up, Commodus asks Lucilla, Why is he still alive?]
  LUCILLA: I don't know.
  COMMODUS: He shouldn't be alive. This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.
   [He sits back in his chair.] I did what I had to do. Had father
  had his way, the empire would have been torn apart. You do see that?
  
  COMMODUS: What did you feel when you saw him?
  LUCILLA: I felt nothing.
  COMMODUS: He wounded you deeply, didn't he?
  LUCILLA: No more than I wounded him.
  COMMODUS: They lied to me in Germania. They told me he was dead. If they lie
  to me they don't respect me. If they don't respect me then how can they ever
  love me?
  LUCILLA: Then you must let the legions know that treachery will not go unpunished.
  
  COMMODUS: Sister, I wouldn't want to be your enemy.
  LUCILLA [pauses and then asks]: What will
  you do? 

[Commodus looks back saying nothing, holding his finger to his lips as though to say "Sshhhh".] 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  to the cells where the gladiators are. Maximus is taken from his cell to another
  where he is chained. The guards leave and out from the dark corner appears Lucilla.]
  

LUCILLA: Rich matrons pay well to be pleasured by the bravest champions. 
MAXIMUS  [viciously responds] I knew your brother would send assassins. I didn't know he would send his
best. 
LUCILLA: Maximus, he doesn't know. 
MAXIMUS: My family was burned and crucified while they were still alive. 
LUCILLA: I knew nothing about it.
MAXIMUS: Don't lie to me!
LUCILLA: I wept for them.  [Maximus reaches out and quickly grabs her by the throat.]
MAXIMUS: As you wept for your father? As you wept for your father? 
LUCILLA: I have been living in a prison of fear since that day. To be unable to mourn your father for fear of
your brother. To live in terror every moment of every day, because your son is heir to the throne. Oh, I have
wept. 
MAXIMUS: My son was innocent. 
LUCILLA: So is mine. Must my son die too before you can trust me?  [Maximus releases his hold on her throat]
MAXIMUS: What does it matter if I trust you or not? 
LUCILLA: The gods have spared you. Today I saw a slave become more powerful than the Emperor of Rome. 
MAXIMUS: The gods have spared me? I am at their mercy with the power only to amuse a mob. 
LUCILLA: That is power. The mob is Rome. And while Commodus controls them he controls everything. Listen
to me. My brother has enemies, most of all in the senate. But while the people follow him, no one would dare
stand up to him - until you.
MAXIMUS: They oppose him, yet they do nothing.
LUCILLA: There are some politicians who have dedicated their lives to Rome. One man above all. If I can
arrange it, will you meet him? 
MAXIMUS: Do you not understand? I may die in this cell tonight or in the arena tomorrow. I am a slave!
What possible difference can I make?
LUCILLA: This man wants what you want.
MAXIMUS: Then have him kill Commodus!

LUCILLA: : I knew a man once. A noble man. A man of principles, who loved my father and my father loved
him. This man served Rome well. 
MAXIMUS: That man is gone. Your brother did his work well.
LUCILLA: Let me help you. 
MAXIMUS [lowers his voice in nearly a whisper]: Yes. You can help me. Forget you ever knew me. Never come
here again. Guard! The lady has finished with me.  [Lucilla's eyes slightly tear as she stands helplessly, staring at
Maximus.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  to the gladiator school. Gladiators sit at a table playing a game with a cobra
  snake. Maximus, Juba and Hagen sit at a table, together. Juba is eating his
  bread and beans.] 

HAGEN: Maximus, you commanded legions? Had many victories?
MAXIMUS: Yes. 
HAGEN: In Germania? 
MAXIMUS: In many countries. 

[The cook calls out  "General"  and Maximus goes to him where he is handed a bowl of beans. Maximus returns to the
table. Sensing the watchful eye of Juba, he looks up to see Juba shaking his head "no". Maximus holds back and does not
eat the food. Hagen, seeing that Maximus is cautious about the food, takes his own spoon and dips it into Maximus' bowl,
placing the spoon in his mouth. Hagen suddenly begins to gasp and choke, he grabs his throat and then begins to laugh.
Juba and Maximus laugh with relief. Knowing the food to be safe to eat. Maximus returns to his food but looks up at Juba
with a look of doubt...not for that moment but for what lies ahead.] 

JUBA: You have a great name. He must kill your name before he kills you. 

[SCENE CHANGE - at the Colosseum, as the senators are gathering for the upcoming fight .] 

FALCO: Senator Gracchus. I don't ever see you enjoying the pleasures of the vulgar crowd.
GRACCHUS: Well. I do not pretend to be a man of the people, Senator. But I do try to be a man for the people.


 [Wagons enter the arena
  tossing bread and fruit at the crowd. Caesar enters the arena, accepting the
  cheers from the crowd. Atop in the stands, stands Cassius, as he introduces
  the upcoming fight.] 

CASSIUS: People of Rome. On the 4th day of Antioch, we can celebrate the 64th day of the games. And in his
majestic charity, the Emperor has named this day to favour the people of Rome with a historical final match.
Returning to the Colosseum today after five years in retirement, Caesar, is pleased to bring you the only
undefeated champion in Roman history, the legendary...Tigris of Gaul! 

[Out from the tunnel comes Tigris on his grand chariot, wearing a full headed, silver helmet. One of those in the crowd is
Cicero, Maximus' servant from the Germania battle. He sits anxiously, wanting to see Maximus.] 

[SCENE CHANGE to the bowels of the Colosseum where the gladiators are held as they wait their turn in the arena.
Maximus stands in the tunnel, shadows cast darkly upon him, as he practices, agile as he is, with his sword while awaiting
his entrance to the arena. Proximo calls up to Maximus and Maximus calls back.] 

PROXIMO: He knows too well how to manipulate a mob.
MAXIMUS: Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome, Proximo. This is not it. This is not it! 
PROXIMO: Marcus Aurelius is dead. We mortals are but shadows and dust, shadows and Dust, Maximus. 

[Maximus stands ready to enter the arena, the voice of the announcer, Cassius, can be heard, "Representing the
training lyceum of Antonius Proximo, Caesar is proud to give you Aelius Maximus."  With that, Maximus trots
out on the arena floor, shield in one hand, sword in the other. The crowds cheer.] 

[Commodus, Lucilla, Lucius and Quintus watch from Caesar's box as Maximus and Tigris are introduced to the crowd.
Maximus plants his sword in the sand and bends down in his ritual way, to collect in his hands a sampling of sand. Cicero
is again seen in the stands, this time, slightly smiling and relieved when he sees the General. At Caesar's box, Lucilla
holds back all emotion.] 

COMMODUS: They embrace him as one of their own.
LUCILLA: The mob is fickle brother. He'll be forgotten in a month.
COMMODUS: No, much sooner than that. It has been arranged. 

[Back on the arena floor, Tigris turns to Caesar's box, with swords crossed, he bows, "We who are about to die salute
you."  Maximus stands by, showing no salute whatsoever. As Maximus gets ready to fight the large doors to the arena
are thrown open, surprising Maximus. From each door emerges a team of men, who run into the arena. Each team picks
up a chain from the sand. Maximus becomes distracted and Tigris kicks sand into Maximus' face and begins the fight. As
the fight continues and as Maximus is thrown to the ground, a trap door opens and out jumps a large tiger, pouncing at
the fighting gladiators. Maximus is now having to escape the claws of the tigers as he battles Tigris. In the background
can be heard  "loose, loose, loose" and "pull, pull, pull"  as the handlers coordinate their efforts in handling each of the
tigers that are now on the arena floor growling and charging at Maximus.] 

[Maximus manages to disarm Tigris, switching his sword from one hand to the other, Maximus stands ready to finish off
Tigris. Suddenly, a fourth tiger jumps out of a trap door and jumps at Maximus. In that split second, Maximus turns and
the tiger is speared with his sword. Maximus is thrown to the sand as the large beast lays atop him. Maximus stabs the
beast repeatedly, killing it. The crowds cheer wildly. Tigris moves in for an attack. Maximus, on his back with the beast
still on him, manages to grab Tigris' own hatchet and with great force spikes him in the foot. Tigris bends over in pain,
blood pouring from the opening of his mask. Maximus stands and kicks Tigris over to the ground. He is finished. The crowd
cheers  "kill, kill, kill".  The Emperor is clearly disappointed that his plan has failed. He stands, arm extended and slowly
shows a "thumb down". Maximus unmasks Tigris and lifts the hatchet, ready to kill Tigris when he suddenly tosses the
hatchet aside--in defiance of Commodus but, also, finished with the senseless killing. From the crowd can be heard
"Maximus, Maximus the merciful."  Commodus displays a hint of a smile as though to prevent the crowd from truly
knowing the hate he feels for Maximus and to guard himself from his failure. Commodus leaves the box.] 

 [Maximus is
  about to exit the arena, the Praetorian enter and encircle him as Commodus enters
  the arena to boos from the crowd and approaches Maximus.] 

COMMODUS: What am I going to do with you, you simply won't...die. Are we so different, you and I? You take
life when you have to, as do I.  [Exhausted from the fight, Maximus stares at him.]
MAXIMUS: I only have one life left to take and then it is done. 
COMMODUS: Then take it now. 

[Maximus turns to walk away....] 

COMMODUS: They tell me your son  (Maximus slowly turns to him) squealed like a girl when they nailed him to
the cross.... And your wife, moaned like a whore when they ravaged her again, and again, and again. 

MAXIMUS [ exhibiting restraint]: The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end, Highness.  

[Maximus slowly turns away from Commodus, the Praetorian step aside and let Maximus pass. He leaves the arena.] 

CROWD: Maximus, Maximus, Maximus.... 

 [SCENE CHANGE to the
  streets as Maximus is taken by two guards, back to the gladiator school. They
  pass through the streets adjacent the Colosseum. A large crowd of fans are waiting
  for him, chanting his name and waving banners. Amongst the crowd is Cicero,
  Maximus' servant and friend. Cicero tries to catch the attention of Maximus,
  his arm stretched out and his hand carrying a small leather pouch.] 

CICERO: General! General! 

[At last, Maximus sees him and with joy, calls back "Cicero!" Cicero runs through the crowd, trying to get closer to his
master. He manages to get in touch with him, hiding behind a prostitute trying to get Maximus' attention.] 

MAXIMUS: Where are you camped?
CICERO: Ostia !
MAXIMUS: Tell the men I am alive. Find me, find me!  [As the guards pull Maximus away from Cicero, Cicero
manages to give Maximus the pouch he was carrying. Maximus hides it inside his palms.] 

 [Later, in his cell,
  Maximus opens the leather pouch handed to him by Cicero, inside he finds the
  two figurines of his wife and son. He kisses them tenderly. Juba approaches.]
  

JUBA: Can they hear you? 

[Maximus turns his head towards Juba, his eyes red and moist from the happiness of his reunion with his family through
the figurines and responds to Juba.] 

MAXIMUS: Who?
JUBA: Your family, in the after life?
MAXIMUS: Oh, yes.
JUBA: What do you say to them ?
MAXIMUS: To my boy, I tell him I will see him again soon, and to keep his heels down when he's riding his
horse. To my wife...that is not your business. 

[They both laugh. Maximus holds tight his belongings, sending a look of victory to Juba. A look of peace on his face as he
clutches the figurines.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - back at the Palace, Commodus, in a child-like pouty fashion, is talking with
  Senator Falco.] 

COMMODUS: And now they love Maximus for his mercy, so I can't kill him or it makes him even more
merciful. The whole thing is like a great...nightmare.
FALCO: He is defying you. His every victory is an act of defiance, the mob sees this, and so do the Senate.
Every day he lives they grow bolder. Kill him!
COMMODUS: No! I will not make a martyr of him.
FALCO: I have been told of a certain sea snake which has a very unusual method of attracting its prey. It will
lie at the bottom of the ocean as if wounded, then its enemies will approach and yet it will lie quite still and
then its enemies will take little bites of it and yet it remains still.
COMMODUS: So, we will lie still and let our enemies come to us and nibble. ...have every senator followed. 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - The following day, gladiators are training inside the gladiator school. Maximus
  walks through the camp, making his way to a gate where the crowds look in at
  the gladiators on display. Maximus passes a guard who calls him by name. Maximus
  nods in recognition of the guard. (Maximus is admired by all, even those who
  watch guard over him.) Maximus gets to the gate where Cicero is waiting. Placing
  his hand behind Cicero's head, he says] 

MAXIMUS: Cicero my old friend! I thought I had seen you for the last time.
CICERO: We thought you were dead!
MAXIMUS: Close. How long have the men been in Ostia?
CICERO: All winter.
MAXIMUS: How do they look?
CICERO: Fat and bored.
MAXIMUS: Who is in command?
CICERO: Some fool from Rome
MAXIMUS: How long before they can be ready to fight? 
CICERO: For you, tomorrow.
MAXIMUS: I need you to do something for me. 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  -- In the city at the bazaar, as Cicero waits, anxiously looking about the street,
  a children's play --  CASSIUS IMPERSONATOR: Come! Be seated. If
  you haven't been in the arena, you can see it from here. Giant Maximus is defeating
  our Emperor Commodus. What are we do to?  The crowd laughs and
  cheers.] 

[Suddenly, Cicero eyes Lucilla as she is carried on her litter through the crowd. He runs to meet them. ] 

CICERO: M'lady! I served your father at Vindebona!
GUARD: Back!
CICERO: M'lady, I served your father at Vindebona.
GUARD: Back!
CICERO: And I served the General Maximus. I serve him still!
LUCILLA  [to her escort]: Stop! Stop! Stand back!
CICERO kneeling beside her, whispering]: The General sends word, he will meet your politician.
LUCILLA  [gives him two golden coins]: For your loyalty, soldier. 
CICERO: Thank you M'lady. 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - Gladiator cells. Maximus has been brought to a central room by Proximo.]
  

LUCILLA: Leave us. Senator Gracchus. 
GRACCHUS: [enters the room]: General. I hope my coming here today is enough evidence that you can trust me.]
MAXIMUS: The Senate is with you? 
GRACCHUS: The senate? Yes I can speak for them. 
MAXIMUS: You can buy my freedom and smuggle me out of Rome?
GRACCHUS: To what end?
MAXIMUS: Get me outside the city. Have fresh horses ready to take me to Ostia. My army is in camp there. By
nightfall of the second day I shall return at the head of 5,000 men. 
LUCILLA: But the legion is under new commanders, Loyal to Commodus. 
MAXIMUS: When my men see me alive you shall see where their loyalties lies. 
GRACCHUS: This is madness. No army has entered Rome for 100 years. I will not trade one dictatorship for
another. 
MAXIMUS: Time for half measures and talk is over. Senator. ... 
GRACCHUS: So, after your glorious coup, you will take your 5,000 warriors and leave? 
MAXIMUS: I will leave. The soldiers will stay for your protection, under the command of the senate. 
GRACCHUS: So, once all of Rome is yours, you'll just give it back to the people. Tell me why? 
MAXIMUS [he turns to Lucilla] : Because that was the last wish of a dying man.  [He turns back to Gracchus.] I will
kill Commodus, the fate of Rome, I leave to you. 
GRACCHUS: Marcus Aurelius trusted you. His daughter trusts you. I will trust you. But we have little time.
Give me two days and I will buy your freedom. And you, you stay alive. Or I will be dead. Now I must go. 
 
[SCENE CHANGE
  to Proximo's quarters where Maximus is speaking with him...] 

PROXIMO: This won't work. The emperor knows too much. And as for me, it's becoming dangerous. [A soldier
is seen outside, attempting to overhear their talk.]
MAXIMUS: You will be paid on my return. I give you my word.
PROXIMO: Your word! What if you don't return?
MAXIMUS: Do you remember what it was to have trust, Proximo? 
PROXIMO: Who am I to trust? 
MAXIMUS: I will kill Commodus. 
PROXIMO: Why do I want that. He makes me rich. I know, Maximus, that you are a man of your word,
General. I know that you would die for honour. You would die for Rome. You would die for the memory of
your ancestors. But I, I am an entertainer. Guard! [Maximus begins to leave and turns back to say...] He killed the
man who set you free. 

[SCENE CHANGE - Senator Gracchus is seen at his home feeding chickens and ducks. A servant is near and calls out
"Praetorian" as he sees their approach.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - Lucilla walks into the Palace and finds Commodus. She attempts to leave but
  he stops her.]  

COMMODUS: Where have you been? I sent for you.
LUCILLA: Please, brother. What troubles you?
COMMODUS: Does Gracchus have a new lover?
LUCILLA: I don't know.
COMMODUS: I thought you had seen him. He infects everyone like a putrid fever. For the health of Rome, the
Senate must be bled and he will be bled too, very soon.

LUCILLA: But not tonight.
COMMODUS: Do you remember what our father once said? It's a dream, a frightful dream...life is. Do you
think that is true?
LUCILLA: I don't know.
COMMODUS: I think it is. And I have only you to share it with.  [Lucilla comes closer, to comfort him. Commodus
lays his head against her shoulder. He leans her back and lays her on the bed. With terror in her eyes, she lays still,
fearful of what might happen. Commodus gently puts his finger to her mouth and tells her "open your mouth". 
Hesitantly she opens her mouth slightly as he places his finger to her lips and then to his. He presses his head to her
shoulder and says "you know I love you."  She replies, "and I love you."  She lays still, fearful of what may occur but
Commodus soon lays his head down and falls asleep. Lucilla gently and quietly gets up and leaves.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE - back
  at Proximo's as he brings Lucilla to Maximus' cell.  "Congratulations,
  General. You have very persuasive friends", Proximo calls to Maximus.
  Proximo barks orders to the other gladiators to leave. They look to Maximus
  for approval and he gives it to them with a nod of the head.] 
  LUCILLA: My brother has had Gracchus arrested. We dared not wait any
  longer. You must leave tonight. Proximo will come at midnight and take you to
  the gate. Your servant Cicero will be waiting with horses. 
  MAXIMUS: You have done all this?
  LUCILLA: Yes.
  MAXIMUS: You risk too much. 
  LUCILLA: I have much to pay for.
  MAXIMUS: You have nothing to pay for. You love your son. You are strong for
  him. 
  LUCILLA: I am tired of being strong. My brother hates all the world. You, most
  of all. 
  MAXIMUS: Because your father chose me. 
  LUCILLA: No, because my father loved you. And because I loved you. 
  MAXIMUS: A long time ago. [Maximus tenderly takes her hand and
  kisses it.] 
  LUCILLA: Was I very different then? 
  MAXIMUS (gently stroking her face): You laughed more.
  
  LUCILLA: I have felt alone all my life, except with you. I must go.
  MAXIMUS: Yes.  [They exchange a long tender kiss.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE - Lucius
  playing swords with the tall African servants, "there, there, and
  there, and I've got you,"  proclaims Lucius. Commodus is awakened
  from his sleep, goes to Lucius and takes one of the wooden swords from the servant.
  He begins to play swords with Lucius.] 

COMMODUS: Isn't it late to be playing legionnaire?
LUCIUS: I am not a legionnaire.
COMMODUS: Not a legionnaire?
LUCIUS: I am a gladiator.
COMMODUS: A gladiator? Gladiators only fight in the games. Wouldn't you prefer to be a brave Roman
warrior like Julius Caesar? 
LUCIUS: I am Maximus, the savior of Rome. [ Commodus kneels in front of Lucius. His wooden sword slipping on the
marble floor.]
COMMODUS: The savior of Rome. And who said that?  [Lucius whispers in his ear. Commodus holds him tighter and
tighter as he hears.] 

 [SCENE CHANGE
  - Lucilla returns to the palace and asks her servant where Lucius is. She replies,
  "He's with the Emperor, M'lady."  She quickly leaves in
  search of Lucius. She walks to Commodus' room and as she approaches, she can
  hear Commodus talking with Lucius. Lucilla slows down to listen and then quickly
  walks to join them as she hears them talk. 
  LUCIUS: ...she couldn't have.
  COMMODUS: Yes, she did. She took it from a basket, pressed it to her breast,
  right here above the heart. hissss 
  LUCIUS: And it bit her?!
  COMMODUS: Yes. Sometimes royal ladies behave very strangely and do very odd
  things in the name of love. 

LUCIUS: I think it's silly. 
COMMODUS: So do I, so do I. 

[Commodus sees Lucilla enter the room.] 

COMMODUS: Sister...join us. I've been reading to dear Lucius. 
LUCIUS: I've been reading, too. 
COMMODUS: Yes, he's a very clever little boy. He'll make a grand Emperor one day. 

[Lucilla looks astonished.] 

COMMODUS: We've been reading about the great Marc Anthony and his adventures in Egypt. 
LUCIUS: And the Queen killed herself with a snake! 
COMMODUS  [to Lucius]: And just wait until you hear what happened to some of our other ancestors! If you're
very good, tomorrow night I'll tell you the story of Emperor Claudius. He was betrayed, by those closest to
him... by his own blood ... they whispered in dark corners and went out late at night and conspired and
conspired... 
[Lucilla is getting frightened, nearly in tears.]
COMMODUS: But the Emperor knew they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one
night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you have been doing,
busy little bee, or I shall strike down those dearest to you. You shall watch as I bathe in their blood." And
the emperor was heartbroken. The little bee had wounded him more deeply than anyone had ever done. And
what do you think happened then, Lucius? 
LUCIUS: I don't know Uncle. 
COMMODUS  [looking at Lucilla]: The little bee told him everything. 
[Tears of fear slowly roll down Lucilla's face.] 
 
[Back at the
  gladiator school...Maximus begins to collect his things, placing the figurines
  of his wife and son into their leather pouch and slipping his ring on his finger.
  Outside, Praetorian guards are seen as they approach. Meanwhile, assassins are
  releasing a red coral snake into the bed of Senator Gaius as he and his wife
  sleep. The Praetorian at Proximo's quarters call out, "Open in
  the name of the Emperor. Open the gates, Proximo. Open the gates. Do you want
  to die, old man?"
  PROXIMO [ to Maximus]: Here. Everything is prepared.
  It seems that you have won your freedom. [Proximo hands Maximus
  the ring of keys for his get away.] 

MAXIMUS: Proximo, are you in danger of becoming a good man. 
PROXIMO: Hahh! 
MAXIMUS: Juba. [as Maximus hands him the ring of keys to the cells.]

[Outside the guards continue calling out, "All enemies of the Emperor die!" ]

[The men gather around Maximus to listen to his orders.] 

MAXIMUS: I only need moments so you need not be careless with your lives. If you don't want to be any part
of this go back to your cells. 
HAGEN: We will wait here for you, Maximus. Strength and Honour. 

[Maximus walks over to Juba and says "Strength and Honour"  as the two friends touch foreheads. Maximus begins
tomake his get away as the gladiators battle with the Roman guards. The gladiators fight bravely. Hagen is killed. In
Proximo's quarters, he is killed by the Praetorian as he holds his Rudius and says "shadows and dust".  Maximus makes
his way through the tunnel to the outside. Along the way, he finds his armour and sword and puts them on. Once outside,
he sees a rider standing still. He whistles and the rider, Cicero, recognizes the whistle and calls out his name. At that
moment, his horse bolts and Cicero is hanged by the rope around his neck. Maximus runs to him and lifts him. Cicero
says, "I'm sorry".  The Praetorian shoot arrows and kill Cicero. Maximus is surrounded by the Praetorian as Maximus
cries out an anguished growl "No!" ] 

[SCENE CHANGE - back
  at the palace. Senator Falco approaches Commodus and says, "It
  is done." Commodus has been looking out over the city of Rome.
  He slowly turns to Falco.] 
  COMMODUS: And what of my nephew and what of his mother? Shall they share
  her lover's fate or should I be merciful? Commodus the merciful. Lucius will
  stay with me now and if his mother so much as looks at me in a manner that displeases
  me, he will die. And if she decides to be noble and take her own life, he will
  die. And, as for you,  [looking at Lucilla] you will
  love me as I have loved you. You will provide me with an heir of pure blood
  so that Commodus and his progeny will rule for 1,000 years. Am I not merciful?
   [He gets close to her face and tries to kiss her but Lucilla turns away.
  Commodus grabs her by the jaw and turns her face towards him screaming] 
  AM I NOT MERCIFUL? [Tears slowly come down Lucilla's face.]
  
 [SCENE CHANGE - at the Colosseum. The crowd
  chants "Maximus, Maximus, Maximus" The petals of red
  flowers float in the air onto the sands of the arena floor.... Below, Maximus
  is chained. Commodus goes to Maximus. The other prisoners (Gracchus, Juba) are
  watching as he enters. Commodus, dressed in his white leather armour, walks
  up to the chained Maximus who is bruised and weary.] 

COMMODUS: Maximus. Maximus. Maximus. They call for you. The general who became a slave. The slave who
became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. A striking story. Now the people want to know
how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. What could be more glorious than to challenge the emperor
himself in the great arena. 
MAXIMUS: You would fight me? 
COMMODUS: Why not? Do you think I am afraid? 
MAXIMUS: I think you have been afraid all your life. 
COMMODUS: Unlike Maximus the invincible, who knows no fear? 
MAXIMUS [ laughing]: I knew a man once who said, death smiles at us all. All that man can do is smile back. 
COMMODUS: I wonder. Did your friend smile at his own death? 
MAXIMUS: You must know. He was your father. 
COMMODUS: You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn't it? Smile for me now
brother.  Commodus embraces Maximus and with one fierce thrust, stabs him with his knife, kissing him on the neck. 
COMMODUS  [to Quintus]:   Strap on his armour. Conceal the wound. 

[SCENE CHANGE
 - the trap door to the arena opens as the lift rises, encircled with the Praetorian
  as they stand behind their black shields. In the middle, the white clad Commodus,
  gazing upwardly, basking in the sun and the wounded, dying Maximus stand. All
  the while, Quintus staring at Maximus. As they reach the arena, the Praetorian
  take their place at the perimeter of the arena. Maximus stumbles to the center,
  slowly stooping to pick up a handful of sand, with a watchful eye on Quintus.
  Maximus rubs the sand in his hands and reaches for his sword but Quintus tosses
  it aside, and out of reach. Maximus painfully moves to where the sword has been
  tossed and picks it up, immediately swinging at Commodus. The two do battle.
  Maximus roars as he attacks Commodus. Commodus manages to cut Maximus' leg.
  Although wounded, Maximus cuts Commodus' arm causing him to drop his sword.]
  

[Maximus begins to drift into the after life and as he sees the gate to his home, the sword drops from his hand.
Meanwhile, Commodus is calling Quintus for his sword but Quintus does not comply. Commodus then turns to the
Praetorian, calling out "sword". The guards begin to pull their swords when Quintus quickly tells them to "sheath your
swords"  and they quickly comply. As Commodus reaches for his hidden dagger, Maximus quickly returns to this life and,
unarmed but for his strength and determination, does battle with Commodus, turning Commodus' knife against him.
Commodus tries relentlessly to fight Maximus off but Maximus slowly plunges the knife into Commodus' throat, further
and further until it can go no further. Commodus falls to the ground. The fight over, Maximus begins to drift as he reaches
out his bloodied hand, to push open the gate that leads to his home. Peace, once again, overcomes Maximus when
Quintus calls to him.  "Maximus, Maximus."  Maximus regains consciousness.] 

MAXIMUS: Quintus,
  free my men. Senator Gracchus is to be reinstated. There was once a dream that
  was Rome, it shall be realized. These are the wishes of Marcus Aurelius.
  [QUINTUS calls out to the guards, "Free the prisoners, ...go!"]

Maximus stands, unsteady, as the vision of the wheat field once again comes to him, his wife and son waiting for him.
Suddenly he falls hard like a tree, to the ground. Lucilla runs into the arena, dropping to her knees at his side and calling
to him "Maximus!"  Maximus gazes up and tells her, "Lucius is safe."  Lucilla looks at him adoringly and responds, "Go
to them", freeing him. With her hand, she closes his eyes, his face calm and at peace as he leaves this world. Lucilla
adds, "you are home." Grieving, with one hand to her brow and the other over her heart, she regains her presence,
stands and turns to Senator Gracchus and the crowd.]

LUCILLA: Is Rome worth one good man's life? We believed it once. Make us believe it again. He was a soldier
of Rome. Honour him. 
GRACCHUS: Who will help me carry him. 

 [Many gather around to lift Maximus and carry him from the arena. Commodus lay alone, in the sand.] 

[SCENE CHANGE as Juba is digging in the sand for burial, at the place where Maximus died. He unfolds the small leather
pouch and removes the figurines belonging to Maximus of his wife and son and gently places them in them in their resting
place.] 

JUBA: Now we are
  free. I will see you again. But not yet, not yet.... 

NOW WE ARE FREE

 
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