5 Things You Didn't Know About Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus"

On October 6, 1960, Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier, premiered in New York City. Here are five things you didn’t know about Stanley Kubrick’s historical epic...

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Stanley Kubrick Was Not The First Director Anthony Mann was the original director of the movie, but Michael Douglas thought he couldn't handle the immense size of the film so he had Mann fired after only two week of filming. Both David Lean and Laurence Olivier were asked if they wanted to direct but both declined. When Douglas approached Stanley Kubrick, who had directed him in Paths of Glory in 1957, the director agreed to do it for $150,000.


It Took Over 10,000 People To Make The Film It took over 10,000 people and 167 days to film Spartacus. Twelve million dollars was spent to make the film, a record for the most expensive movie made in Hollywood at the time. It was so expensive that its budget ended up exceeding the total net worth of Universal.  Over 5,000 uniforms, 7 Tons of armor, and 50,000 extras were used in the movie as well as 187 stuntmen, who were all trained in the rituals of gladiatorial fighting.

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Michigan State Football Fans Supplied The Shouting Scenes The 76,000 fans at the October 17, 1959, college football game between Michigan State and Notre Dame. were asked to scream "Hail, Crassus," "On to Rome," "Spartacus, Spartacus," and "I am Spartacus!" for the film.  Kirk Douglas, the star of the movie, wrote in his biography,  “It’s only natural for Spartacus to go to the Spartans for help.” Michigan State won the game that day 19 to 0.

Kubrick Later Disowned The Movie When the Stanley Kubrick Collection was released in 1999, the famed director demanded that three movies be excluded, including Spartacus. He said he had no control over making Spartacus and that he found directing it a painful experience. He says the movie “has everything but a good story.”

Anthony Hopkins Voiced The Deceased Olivier In A Controversial Scene A 1991 restoration of the film (two years after Olivier's death) pieced together long-lost footage discovered in studio vaults to restore its original cut of 197 minutes, including parts of the film that were originally censored out by the National Legion of Decency. The sound of the "oysters and snails" scene had to be re-dubbed, so Tony Curtis, who was then 66, re-recorded his part, and from the suggestion of Olivier's widow, Anthony Hopkins voiced Crassus, in his best Laurence Olivier impersonation.