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Russell Crowe came up with Gladiator’s most brutal moment himself

We were certainly entertained by the intense violence of Gladiator, and Russell Crowe came to his best movie set with his own ideas for bloodshed in the arena.

Russell Crowe came up with the most violent Gladiator moment

There are no punches pulled in Gladiator. It’s a brutal swords-and-sandals historical epic that stands as one of director Ridley Scott’s best movies, even more than two decades on from its release. Gladiator also won Russell Crowe an Oscar, and rightly so.

Crowe had an important role to play behind the scenes on the movie, as well, and one of Hollywood’s best actors was even responsible for giving an extra dose of bloodshed to one of the most violent scenes.

Fight master Nick Powell explained in the new issue of Empire Magazine that Crowe suggested a final, murderous flourish to the gladiatorial battle that leads into the iconic “Are you not entertained?” yell from Crowe’s character, Maximus.

During the sequence, Maximus lays waste to a selection of gladiatorial fighters, before using a pair of swords to decapitate his final adversary in a fountain of gore. It turns out this particularly nasty idea came not from the script or the stunt team, but from Crowe.

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Powell said: “That was actually Russell’s idea. I had choreographed the whole sequence. And Russell had learned it. And Russ says, ‘Why don’t I just pull out both swords and use them like scissors and chop his head off?’. It didn’t feel right to me. But then he showed it to me, and it looked great.”

Any actor who arrives on the set of a battle scene and then has the ability to one-up the fight choreographers when it comes to violence deserves real respect. Crowe’s head-slicing moment certainly made this an even more memorable scene in one of the best 2000s movies. We were very much entertained.

If you’re ready to return to the Colosseum for new movies, we’ve got everything you need to know about the Gladiator 2 release date.

You can also check out our Russell Crowe interview, in which he spoke about his horror movie The Pope’s Exorcist.