Plot Segmentation for Gladiator

In this post, I will be covering each scene from the 2000 film Gladiator with director Ridley Scott.


1. Maximus’s memories

  1. Memory of himself in a warm field.

2. The wild

  1. Maximus is seen while he travels in the wilds of Germania with an army.
  2. The battle between the Romans and the tribal Germanians begins with Maximus’s army dominating. 
  3. A wagon carries two young adults of royalty to meet their father who’s dying.
  4. An old Caesar arrives and congratulates Maximus and show disapproval of his son Commodus.

3. The Roman Army Camp

  1. Maximus observes the wounded and ill.
  2. Maximus chats with other men about his desire to return home now that the war is over. 
  3. Caesar’s son Commodus informs Maximus that he may be called upon again and have no choice but to serve Rome again.
  4. Caesar talks to his daughter and explains he’s proud of her.

4. Caesar’s quarters

  1. Caesar calls audience with Maximus to discuss taking control of Rome instead of Commodus until the senate can take control.
  2. Lucilla, Caesar’s daughter, questions what her father said to Maximus.
  3. Commodus confronts his father and… hugs him to death….
  4. Commodus assumes the title Caesar and sends Maximus to be executed. 

5. The wild

  1. Several Roman soldiers attempt to kill Maximus, but he slaughters them all taking only a shoulder injury. 
  2. Maximus rides off to find his family.

6. Maximus’s home village

  1. Roman soldiers advance before Maximus returns and slaughter the villagers.
  2. Maximus arrives to see his wife and son hung by the Romans.
  3. A few men arrive while Maximus is sleeping the his family’s grave and take him away. 

7. Maximus’s memories

  1. He sees the fields, his family, and the desert he was carried across as if from an out-of-body experience.

8. The desert

  1. Maximus awakens in a cart being carried across the desert along with many others.
  2. One man reveals that Maximus and himself are now slaves.

9. Zucchabar (Roman Province)

  1. Two men begin taking about business and purchasing slaves for gladiatorial battles. 
  2. An old man, Proximo, buys Maximus as well as several other slaves.

10. Lanista Proximo’s home

  1. Proximo a lanista, or a man who buys and trains gladiators, trains Maximo and the other slaves.
  2. The slaves discuss what it takes to achieve freedom and several realize they’ll never again see it.
  3. Maximus doesn’t respond to anyone including his dominus, or master.

11. Small Colosseum

  1. The lanista Proximo puts Maximus and other slaves into the colosseum and bets against Maximus. 
  2. Proximo talks to his gladiators about what it means to die like a man.
  3. Maximus and another of Proximo’s slaves survive their first battle in the colosseum.

12. Rome

  1. Commodus and Lucillia return home to Rome.
  2. The senate sees the siblings return and discuss amongst themselves about the future of Rome.
  3. Commodus ignores the senate and expresses desires to rule without them. 
  4. Commodus and Lucillia talk about the “greatness of Rome”, and what it means to the people. 
  5. Two men from the Senate discuss Commodus’s maneuver to host 150 days of Gladiatorial games.  

13. Small Colosseum

  1. Maximus enters the arena with the cheers of the people and kills all the other gladiators. He also begins fighting dimachaerus style.
  2. Proximo calls Maximus in to inform him that he wants to enter him in the Gladiatorial battles in Rome. He also tells him that if he wants to win his freedom he must first win the crowd.

14. Proximo’s Lanista

  1. Another slave that Maximo has befriended speaks to him about family, and how he will wait for them in the afterlife after he’s died. When Maximo tells him that his family is already waiting, the man tells him that he can’t die yet.

15. Rome

  1. They basically reiterate that Maximus has to win the crowd.
  2. Commodus watches over Lucillia’s son menacingly and asks Lucillia what he should do about the senate.
  3. Commodus makes uncomfortable sexual approaches towards Lucillia.
  4. Some members of the senate meet with Lucillia to discuss how Commodus is killing Rome. 
  5. Lucius, son of Lucillia, calls Maximus over and expresses his admiration. It’s an interesting moment because he knew of the boy, but had not yet met him.

16. The Colosseum

  1. While selecting armor, Maximus puts on a helmet to avoid the eyes of Commodus.
  2. In the arena Maximus commands his fellow gladiators. Fortunately, some heed his advice and the Romans are killed in the battle.
  3. Commodus asks audience with “The Spaniard”, or Maximus, and his true identity is revealed.
  4. The crowd demands Maximus live and he’s considered a hero to the crowd.

17. Commodus’s home

  1. Commodus has a fit and tries to destroy the bust dedicated to his father. Then he cries.
  2. Commodus begins questioning Lucillia about her feelings towards Maximus. 
  3. Commodus shows signs that he’s only acting out because he craves love he never received from his father.

18. Gladiator camp

  1. Lucillia meets with Maximus to discuss killing her brother.
  2. The gladiators tell Maximus to be careful before Commodus kills him.

19. The Colosseum

  1. Commodus sets an undefeated gladiator against Maximus.
  2. Commodus also releases chained tigers in the arena to make it harder for Maximus to win.
  3. After Maximus lives, he spares the gladiator’s life and Commodus comes down to enrage Maximus. He doesn’t get the reaction he expects however.

20. Commodus’s home

  1. Commodus talks with an advisor about his frustrations with Maximus. The advisor tells him to simply kill him.

21. Rome

  1. Maximus talks with his Dominus right before he’s freed and they discuss what it is to honor their words and to trust. 

22. Commodus’s home

  1. Commodus continues to make very awkward sexual advances towards his sister. But before he does anything too… disturbing, he breaks down like a child and just comforts himself by lying next to her.
  2. He then falls asleep in about 5 seconds and she leaves to begin the coup.

23. Gladiator camp

  1. Lucillia talks to Maximus and tells that he must enact his plan to take Rome.
  2. The two express feelings for each other before departing. They make out..

24. Commodus’s home

  1. Commodus walks into a room to find Lucius “playing gladiator” instead of a “legionair”. Lucius refers to Maximus as “the savior of Rome”, which enrages Commodus. He asked who the boy heard it from.
  2. Lucillia walks in on Commodus and Lucius and Commodus reveals that he’s aware of Lucillia’s plans.
  3. Commodus puts a snake in Lucillia’s bed.

25. Rome

  1. Roman Legionairs demand Maximus surrender himself.
  2. A battle begins and Maximus escapes to find his soldiers.
  3. Proximo is killed by the Legionair.
  4. Maximus is captured by the Legionair.
  5. Commodus captures his sister and nephew and threatens to kill her and demands she give him an heir (gross).

26. The Colosseum

  1. Commodus stabs Maximus before the battle and hides the wound under his armor. 
  2. Commodus and Maximus fight in the Colosseum and Maximus proves victor. 
  3. The stab wound makes Maximus delirious and he sees his home and family. With some of his last breaths he shares the previous Caesar’s wishes for the senate to control Rome again.
  4. A man from the senate asks who will help carry Maximus’s body. A crowd forms to carry him.

27. The Afterlife

  1. Maximus returns to his family.
  • Doing a plot segmentation was very different than I expected. It was challenging to watch a movie, but at the same time make sure I took notes of the meanings behind each scene. I chose Gladiator because I’ve watched a lot of Spartacus and find the gladiators and revolts against Rome very interesting. That’s the reason I use so much of their language in my plot segmentation. I must say that segmenting the plot did teach me a few things about the film, but I must also say it’s not a style I’d like to use again. It gave me a closer look at some of the character’s agendas. For example, a Caesar actually proved to be a kind man. He’d regretted his legacy because he only conquered for the people of Rome’s entertainment. Some of the senate had good intentions, unlike what you’d learn in history or in the modern U.S. society. Maximus proved to be trustworthy to Rome and had an honorable death which the viewer could expect. Even though the viewer never got an inside look at Maximus. The viewer only knew what everyone else knew, so we had a restricted view. Yet the viewer also forms a relationship with Maximus. When segmenting the plot, I was actually impressed at how much more of the character is shown. His visions in the beginning and end of the film, the way he interacted with Caesar, his drive to avenge his family, etc. This was really a great movie and I would readily recommend it. This whole plot segmentation however, I wouldn’t so readily recommend. 

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