When it comes to filmmakers, few are as memorable or celebrated as Stanley Kubrick. The director is behind some of the best movies in film history, with nine Academy Awards to his name. However, it turns out that even the top dogs of Hollywood have to make compromises on certain films. And in Kubrick’s case, a moment of persuasion came while shooting the 1960s drama movie Spartacus.
Spartacus is an action movie that follows the story of the slave Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) leading a revolt against the Roman Republic. The flick won a total of four Oscars on the year of its release and has gone down as one of the best films in history. However, its crew and cast didn’t always see eye to eye, and in fact, Kubrick was forced to include a scene that he initially hated.
In a 2016 interview with Variety, Douglas revealed that Kubrick was originally against the memorable “I am Spartacus!” scene in the film.
The scene in question was a moment when a Roman general announces to a group of former slaves that unless they identify Spartacus, they will all be crucified. However, all the slaves bravely announce, “I am Spartacus” instead.
Kubrick disliked this moment so much that Douglas recalled having multiple arguments with the director. According to the star’s testimony, the “arguments were so prolonged and vicious that his wife suggested the two attend therapy together.”
Luckily, Douglas got his way, and the line stayed in the war movie‘s final cut. A wise choice, given how that said moment has now become associated with the film itself.
Let’s be honest, even if you haven’t seen the ’60s film; you know the line “I am Spartacus!” The scene has become a pop cultural reference that has survived throughout the decades. Just like the “I’ll be back” line from the Terminator movies or “Here’s looking at you kid” from romance movie Casablanca, “I am Spartacus!” has become a celebrated and beloved Hollywood quote.
So, although we love Kubrick’s work and talent, we are also pleased that sometimes he didn’t always get his way. Just think of all the memes we could have lost if he did!