goofs     trivia

Theatrical Release: 1960

DVD Release:

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-A truck drives along the hills behind a battle scene.

-Slave extras wearing wristwatches and sandshoes. As well, Antonius (Tony Curtis) is wearing a Rolex watch. (The same wristwatch mistake has also been mentioned about Roman soldiers as well. However, it must be noted that some of these "wristwatches" might actually be decorative metal bands around their wrists, which would be in keeping with the period.)

-Aquitania was not under Roman rule until 15 years after the date of the film.

-A map of Italy can be seen in Spartacus' camp tent (it is prominently featured in the scenes involving the pirate emissary), which is far too accurate for the times of the movie.

-Slaves digging with steel shovels of a pattern invented in the early 20th century instead of Roman wooden spades.


Factual errors:

-Although Caesar and Crassus were allied in the First Triumvirate, at the time of the Third Servile Revolt, Caesar was a young ambitious politician. The alliance among Crassus, Caesar and Pompey wasn't formed until much later.

-Numerous errors in the history of the Roman Republic: The last influential senator named Gracchus died some twenty years before the events depicted in the movie. Caesar never commanded the garrison of Rome. This garrison did not exist during the Republic; it was a creation of the Caesars and usually consisted of German mercenaries whose loyalty was to the Emperor rather than the Senate. Several times during the Imperial period, the garrison placed someone on the throne rather than allow the Republic to be restored.



-Although Spartacus, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Julius Caesar were real-life people, the end credits to the restored edition state that all persons in the film are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This presumably accounts for the many differences between the real and fictionalized Spartacus.

-In the scene when Spartacus is detailing on a map how he intends to invade Rome, he is reading the cities on the map of Rome. In the scene immediately prior to that, we learned he cannot read. 

-One of the reasons why Spartacus and his army was defeated was the internal strife between Spartacus and his lieutenant, Crixus. According to Greek historians, Appius and Plutarch, Spartacus wanted his army to leave the Italian peninsula and go to Gaul so the army can be disbanded. After disbanding, Spartacus wanted the slaves to go home to their countries of origin. However, Crixus wanted to stay in Italy and keep on pillaging. The Roman generals used this internal strife to their advantage and defeated Spartacus' army. The movie makes no mention of this very historically significant internal strife.

At the end of the film, Spartacus is crucified along with all of his surviving men. In fact the real Spartacus disappeared during the final battle in Calabria. Nobody knows what happened to him. (Realising that reality would make a pretty dull ending to the film, the scriptwriters fictionalised his death - and much of his life, too).


Revealing mistakes:

-During the scene where the slaves are storming a wall, the slaves who die at the wall can be seen rolling under it to jump over again later.

-During the initial breakout of the Gladiatorial training school, an armed guard is stabbed on a balcony or papapet and falls to the arena below. He clearly gets up and walks into the doorway adjacent to where he had fallen, apparently satisfied that his part was completed.

-When climbing the balcony during the revolt, Draba (Woody Strode) reacts to being hit with the spear before it actually reaches him.

-During the final battle sequences the slaves drag down burning hay rollers. One of the slaves in Sparacus's army overshoots the end of the run and a Roman soldier generously drops his sword in order to catch him.

-In the main battle scene toward the end, there is a soldier lying "dead" on the ground that clearly repositions himself as others fight around him so that he isn't stepped on.

-In the scene where the slaves roll down the hill a flaming ball of something, we see it strike several roman soldiers. Look closely and you will see they are actually stuntmen dressed in asbestos suits.