ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Gladiator (2000), (R)
CAP Score: 52
CAP Influence Density: 0.86
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or its manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objectuve and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

If Scriptural references appear in the Summary / Commentary, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


*Gladiator* (R) -- no lions and no Christians.

Though Maximus, the quintessential figure, believed in God and prayed to Him, that one believes in God does not make him a Christian. But we all know that. I guess director Ridley Scott did not know that. And I guess Scott did not know of the huge part of Christians in gladiatorial Rome.

The story opens in 180 A.D. with Maximus, the hero general of the Roman armies preparing for a battle with hulks in Germany. In a flaming arrow, spear-chucking, sword swinging melee, Maximus destroys the opposing army then pleads with Marcus, the Emperor to let him go home after the battle. Maximus wanted to return to his wife and son and his "humble" home. He was tired of war. But old and dying Marcus had other plans for Maximus. By historical account a political conflict was brewing or was in place in Rome of the time about progeny assuming rulership just because of lineage. So, in the movie Marcus apparently decided to take advantage of this political friction and appoint Maximus to be Emperor instead of Marcus' son, Commodus. Marcus' son had never displayed the four traits of leadership his father expected of him, but Maximus thoroughly possessed the four key traits Marcus was wanting in his successor. So, in a "The [unwilling] Prince and the Pauper" switch, Maximus will be the new Emperor ... and Commodus does not like that, so much so that Commodus kills his father [Isa. 33:15, 16], Marcus and lies that he died of old age [Ps. 5:9]. Now, Commodus is assured the throne since Maximus is now subordinate to and fully unprotected from Commodus, protection that was afforded by Marcus' admiration and trust for Maximus. Maximus, knowing that Commodus killed Marcus and by his [nonsexual] love for Marcus, devotes himself to deposing Commodus. So, Commodus disposes of Maximus into slavery as gladiatorial contestants. But Maximus does not stay there long.

Commodus is NOT the leader type. He is a portrayed as a selfish child, a pedophile and practitioner of incest, vain, an opportunist and is obsessively vengeful. While history's Commodus is reported to have practiced incest with his sister, some truths do not need to be exposed [Ps. 101:3 I] especially in the name of entertainment [Lev. 18:11]. Another possibly truthful presentation of this movie is that Commodus participated in the gladiatorial games as he did once in the movie. But in the movie before the one gladiatorial confrontation, Commodus stabbed his opponent in the back before meeting him on the game field to weaken him enough to be easily defeated (though it did not work). That is Commodus in *Gladiator*.

Though a series of war and gladiatorial battles and escape maneuvers, *Gladiator* presented floods of blood with incinerations, slicings, beheadings, stabbings, arrow and spear impalements, a hanging and incineration/crucifixion of a mother and her 8 year old son (partially seen). The name "breastplate" is given definition in one of the gladiator battles [Mark 7:21]. Considering the vast use of full-length skin-minimizing clothing in this movie, it is curious why one scene of brief but bold rear male nudity is presented [Exod. 20:26; Rev. 3:18]. Also of significant concern is the portrayal of lust for killing and the purchase of slaves to serve as victims of the gladiator games, Maximus being one of them, the laughing/cheering at murder, and the glorification of carnage [Nahum 3:1].


  • Isa. 33:15, 16 He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil - this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.
  • Ps. 5:9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.
  • Ps. 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
  • Lev. 18:11 " `Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father's wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
  • Mark 7:21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
  • Exod. 20:26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.
  • Rev. 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
  • Nahum 3:1 Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!

    Please see the Findings/Scoring section below for a full accounting of this movie: for the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Gladiator (2000) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • beheaded warriors
  • disembodied heads
  • extensive battle gore: dismemberments, impalements, incinerations, stabbings, slicings, gushing blood
  • battle remnants (body parts)
  • injury gore
  • slavery
  • self mutilation to eradicate tattoo
  • glorification of carnage
  • many, many gladiatorial killings
  • planning assassination
  • stabbing as a pre-battle tool to weaken the opponent
  • gruesome defensive killings

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • son's rejection of father's decision
  • son murdering father to gain power (extortion)
  • son's lies about father's death
  • lusting after blade fighting and gladiatorial killing
  • laughing/cheering at murder
  • "You take life when you have to"
  • flatulence as a street puppet show "weapon"
  • using a child as an extortion tool

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • full rear male nudity
  • multiple skimpy dress - male
  • homosexual references
  • incest (implied by physical contact with sister)
  • demanding a sexual relationship with a sister to provide an heir
  • implied lust for young boy

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • "The gods must..."
  • praying to false god

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • intentional trampling of a 8 year old boy
  • three "defensive" murders
  • many incineration murders
  • son and wife incinerated then crucified
  • hanging
  • additional murders, all graphic

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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