The gladiator who defied an empire
The great Roman General Maximus (Russell Crowe) has once again led the legions to victory on the battlefield. The war won, Maximus dreams of home, wanting only to return to his wife and son; however, the dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) has one more duty for the general - to assume the mantle of his power.
Jealous of Maximus' favor with the emperor, the heir to the throne, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), orders his execution - and that of his family. Barely escaping death, Maximus is forced into slavery and trained as a gladiator in the arena where his fame grows.
Now he has come to Rome, intent on avenging the murder of his wife and son by killing the new emperor; Commodus....