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Keira Knightley in 'Anna Karenina' (Focus Features)

Gladiator (2000)

Russell Crowe in ‘Gladiator’ (Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures)

Ridley Scott’s toga-to-rags story of a betrayed Roman general (Russell Crowe) forced into slavery who seeks revenge in the gladiator’s ring is not just any period piece: it’s credited with reviving an entire cinematic genre, the long dormant Roman epic. For the film’s opening battle, supposedly set in a German forest, Scott actually burned down a real forest in Surrey, England. The movie’s 21st century innovations included impressive CGI work, along with varied frame rates during shooting to convey added drama.

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By staff