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27. Gladiator

"Are you not entertained?"

And with that line, Russell Crowe achieved a new level of stardom: internet meme.

In all seriousness, I don't quite know where to begin with Ridley Scott's period epic taking place in Ancient Rome. It's such an incredible film it was hard not to place it even higher on my list, just missing the top 25. Perhaps the fastest 3 hour movie ever, it's bloated runtime never feels slow as the film is completely riveting from beginning to end. Russell Crowe is perfect as the lead as one of the most iconic heroes in film, Maximus Decimus Meridius. He delivers one of the best speeches in film history.

The production design of Ancient Rome was incredible, showing yet again that Ridley Scott is perhaps the best director out there in building fantastical worlds and atmospheres for his films. It genuinely feels like Ancient Rome and there's a huge scale to the film that fits the epic feeling of the story of Maximus. The story itself is also fantastic, a long, emotionally gripping and intense journey from beginning to end, as we see the fall of Maximus from general to gladiator, and the rise from gladiator to hero.

Another highlight for the film is Joaquin Phoenix is the mad villain, Commodus. His performance is fantastic as he really feels insane and threatening and perfectly at home in the role. Commodus is one of the best villains put to screen since the turn of the century in my opinion, and that is in large part due to Phoenix's impeccable performance.

A truly epic film, Gladiator is a testament to the type of incredible and still emotionally meaningful spectacle film can create that is unique to the medium.