It was Russel Crowe‘s favorite American movie that he ever worked on, and Maximus was his favorite role. He wasn’t pleased with the original script, but numerous edits improved its story and dialogue.
The movie tells the story of Maximus. Emperor Commodus describes him as “the general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.”
Read on for our list of the best Gladiator movie quotes.
“Are you not entertained?”
This is one of the most famous Gladiator movie quotes of all time. Maximus shouts it at the crowd during one of his matches.
- Maximus: (after swiftly dispatching another gladiator) Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?
- Crowd: Spaniard! Spaniard! Spaniard!
The line shows that Maximus understands the purpose of the Colosseum, whether he agrees with it, or not.
“My name is Maximus…”
This conversation sets off Maximus’ quest to overthrow Emperor Commodus. He stands as fearless as ever in front of him and states his purpose.
- Commodus: Rise. Rise. (Maximus stands up, clenching an arrow head in his right hand)
- Commodus: Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t think there’s ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man, he insists you are Hector reborn. Or was it Hercules? Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name? You do have a name.
- Maximus: My name is Gladiator. (Turns away from Commodus)
- Commodus: How dare you show your back to me! Slave, you will remove your helmet and tell me your name.
- Maximus: Rremoves helmet and turns around to face Commodus) My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
- (Commodus trembles in disbelief)
- Quintus: Arms!
- (Praetorians point their spears at the gladiators while the Colosseum crowd chants for them to live. Commodus shakes his head and motions the crowd to silence. He then raises his fist and reluctantly gives the thumbs-up signal)
“What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
Maximus delivers this line near the beginning of the movie. He reminds his troops that they’re riding to their deaths but will be remembered for their courage.
- Maximus: (addressing his troops) Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!
- (Cavalry laughs)
- Maximus: Brothers, what we do in life, echoes in eternity.
Maximus has a similar fate in the end when he falls in the Colosseum. He’s remembered forever as the savior of Rome because he didn’t shy away from the battle he needed to win.
“I would have butchered the whole world… if you would only love me!”
Emperor Commodus is one of the most despicable Gladiator movie characters. He’s an incestuous, narcissistic murderer.
This line helps us understand that he became the man he is in part due to his father’s withheld affection.
“He’ll bring them death – and they will love him for it.”
This quote explains why the people stood behind Commodus, to begin with. They wanted bloody battles, not proper politics.
- Gracchus: Fear and wonder, a powerful combination.
- Falco: You really think people are going to be seduced by that?
- Gracchus: I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it’s the sand of the coliseum. He’ll bring them death – and they will love him for it.
“Can they hear you?… Who?… Your family. In the afterlife.”
Gladiator is more than a gladiator movie full of epic fights and action. It’s a touching story of family and love, and this quote exemplifies that.
- Juba: Can they hear you?
- Maximus: Who?
- Juba: Your family. In the afterlife.
- Maximus: Oh yes.
- Juba: What do you say to them?
- Maximus: To my son – I tell him I will see him again soon. To keep his heels down while riding his horse. To my wife… that is not your business.
“Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.”
Maximus is a talented fighter, but that alone isn’t enough to get him out of the Colosseum. Proximo delivers this line to help him understand that he also needs to entertain the crowd if he wants to live.
“…As your mother was there at your beginning, so I shall be there at your end.”
Proximo introduces himself to his new recruits by saying:
- Proximo: I did not pay good money for you, for your company. I paid it so that I could profit from your death. And, as your mother was there at your beginning, so I shall be there at your end. And when you die… and die, you shall, your transition shall be to the sound of…
- (claps his hands)
- Proximo: Gladiators, I salute you.
“Are you in danger of becoming a good man?”
Later in the film, when Proximo joins Maximus in helping to overthrow Commodus, Maximus teases him by saying, “Are you in danger of becoming a good man?”
These two Gladiator movie quotes show the growth in Proximo’s character. His initial goals are entertaining the crowds and making money, but he learns to focus on what is right.
“If we stay together, we survive.”
This is one of many quotes from this gladiator movie that shows off what a great general Maximus is. He’s able to rally troops even in the Colosseum.
- Cassius: (Announcement in the distance) On this day, we reach back to hallowed antiquity, to bring you a recreation of the second fall of the mighty Carthage!… On the barren plain of Zama, there stood the invincible armies of the barbarian Hannibal. Ferocious mercenaries and warriors from all brute nations, bent on merciless destruction, conquest. Your emperor is pleased to give you the barbarian horde!
- (Crowd cheers)
- Maximus: (while Cassius continues his introduction) Anyone here been in the army?
- Unknown Gladiator: I served with you in Vindobona.
- Maximus: You can help me. Whatever comes out of these gates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together, we survive.
- Cassius: (Announcement continues in the distance) I’m pleased to bring to you the Legionnaires of Scipio Africanus!
A Pleasant Fiction
Marcus Aurelius was not a proper father to his son or daughter. He always put his ambitions ahead of them. In his last few hours, he attempts to make up for this, even if only in his imagination.
- Marcus Aurelius: Let us pretend that you are a loving daughter, and I am a good father.
- Lucilla: This is a pleasant fiction, is it not?
“Am I Not Merciful?!”
Commodus captures his sister and her son, Lucius. He wants to have an incest baby with his sister, because he wants a “pure blood” child. To force her to comply, he intimidates her by saying the following:
- Commodus: Lucius will stay with me now. And if his mother so much as looks at me in a manner that displeases me, he will die. If she decides to be noble and takes her own life, he will die. And as for you, you will love me as I loved you. You will provide me with an heir of pure blood so that Commodus and his progeny will rule for a thousand years. Am I not merciful? AM I NOT MERCIFUL!
Joaquin Phoenix ad-libbed the scream at the end of this Gladiator movie dialogue. His co-star Connie Nielsen‘s horrified reaction was genuine. The power of the moment shows why he was always director Ridley Scott‘s first choice for the role.
In this scene, Caesar asks Maximus to be his successor. Maximus describes his dreams of a simple life, which makes it even more tragic, when it’s taken from him. It’s a critical part of the film that Russel Crowe ad-libbed based on his own home, Australia.
- Maximus: My house is in the hills above Trujillo. Very simple place, pink stones that warm in the sun. Kitchen garden that smells of herbs in the day, jasmine in the evening. Through the gate is a giant poplar. Figs, apples, pears. The soil, Marcus, black …black like my wife’s hair. Grapes on the south slopes, olives on the north. Wild ponies play near the house, they tease my son. He wants to be one of them.
The Best Gladiator Movie Quotes
Action movies don’t have to have uninteresting or bland stories. Take Fight Club as an example, a film with plenty of meaningful dialogue and story beats.
The movie Gladiator captured the word’s attention and earned plenty of acclaim and money. These are just a few of the best Gladiator movie quotes that show off the film’s quality characters and expertly written dialogue.
If we missed any of your favorite quotes from Gladiator, then please let us know in the comments below.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.