Russell Crowe’s Greatest Movie Is Now On Netflix

Russell Crowe's Gladiator is now on Netflix.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Are you not entertained? Well, you’re about to be because Russell Crowe’s Gladiator just hit Netflix and it’s easily one of the Australian actor’s best movies. If you’re in the mood for a historical epic for the ages, this movie will hit the spot.

In Gladiator, Russell Crowe plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman general whose family is betrayed when Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) murders his father and takes the throne. Maximus then becomes a slave-turned gladiator, who rises through the ranks with his combat prowess and seeks revenge for his family.

russell crowe

The world of ancient Greece and Rome is ripe for big-budget Hollywood films, and few do it better than Gladiator. Not only are the sights and sounds a feast for the senses, bringing this highly intriguing period of history to life on our screens, but it features career-best performances from both Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Crowe uses his gruff charm to play a grounded protagonist against Phoenix’s slimy antagonist that you love to hate.

Of course, you can’t talk about Gladiator without pointing out the talent behind the cameras. The great Ridley Scott added another incredible movie to his filmography. The movie also has an incredibly memorable score thanks to Hanz Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard.

It’s honestly a little surprising that Gladiator turned out as well as it did, considering the script went through extensive rewrites in the middle of filming. Many of the actors even complained about the script and suggested extensive changes, especially Russell Crowe. Fortunately, the changes and rewrites seemed to work out because the film ultimately ended up being one of the best blockbusters of the 2000s.

As far as money goes, Gladiator was pretty much the hit that everyone expected. When you have big-name actors like Russell Crowe and a director like Ridley Scott on board, your film is bound to make some money. Gladiator ended up opening at number one with $34.8 million and grossed over $460 million worldwide against its $103 million budget.

This made Gladiator the second-highest-grossing film of 2000, falling just behind Mission: Impossible 2 which had the advantage of being a sequel starring one of the biggest, most bankable Hollywood stars of all time. Mission: Impossible 2 also had the advantage of not being an R-rated movie, so the potential audience was quite a bit bigger. Gladiator remains Russell Crowe’s second highest-grossing movie to this day, only being dethroned by Man of Steel in 2013.

russell crowe

The film was also well-liked by both critics and audiences alike. The Academy liked it a lot too, as they nominated it for a whopping 12 awards. It also took home quite a few awards, including Best Actor for Russell Crowe, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, and the coveted Best Picture award at the end of the night.

We’d be remiss to not mention the rest of the supporting cast who helped launch Gladiator from a great movie to a near masterpiece in historical blockbuster filmmaking. Along with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, the film also starred  Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, Richard Harris, and Tommy Flanagan. Gladiator would also be Oliver Reed’s final role, as he had to be replaced with a CGI double in several scenes after he passed away during filming from a heart attack.

Although we’re all quite familiar with Crowe now, he wasn’t nearly as well-known when Gladiator came out. Australian audiences were familiar with him and he was starting to become a superstar in America after his breakout roles in L.A. Confidential and The Insider, but Gladiator truly launched him to international fame. Crowe would keep his quality streak going with A Beautiful Mind in 2001, which earned him another Best Actor nomination.

Since then, Russell Crowe has starred in plenty of great movies, including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Cinderella Man, American Gangster, 3:10 to Yuma, and The Nice Guys. Recently, he strapped on some sandals again to play quite a different character than Maximus – the Greek god Zeus himself in Thor: Love and Thunder. Judging by the end-credits scene of that movie, we should definitely see some more of Crowe’s character in the MCU in the near future.

Meanwhile, Russell Crowe’s latest movie The Greatest Beer Run Ever is playing at select theaters and is now available to stream on Apple TV+. If you want to see Crowe’s latest film, you could always stream it. Or, you could opt for a classic and check out Gladiator while it’s on Netflix.