Gladiator Movie Review Essay



Gladiator Movie Review Essay


The masterpieces of the modern movie industry are not only appreciated due to interesting plots and special visual effects but because of certain lessons that can be taken out of them. One of the most prominent examples can be “Gladiator”, which is a triumph of tragedy, passion, and defeat. The leadership concept of the movie turns around two opposite style personalities, known as Commodus and Maximus Decimus Meridius. Thereafter, the objective of the following paper is to discuss the leadership styles and behavior that are shown in the “Gladiator” movie.

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Gladiator Essay

First, this is relevant to mention that both Maximus and Commodus had equal growth opportunities. Two of them were probably coming from rich families and were educated, while the leadership style was drastically different.

The two protagonists are the emperor, who has legitimate power, and the gladiator, who eventually used the different concepts of power and managed to gather many followers. Commodus was the supreme leader, who used his opportunity to lead and command the Roman troops while his followers were afraid of the possible punishment in case of disobedience and others followed him due to his title, while fear was a dominant factor. Maximus was only a slave or a gladiator, who did not have any legitimate title or position. Thus, his ability to lead people and demonstrate good leadership skills have circled him out among his peers, while the latter preferred Maximus to be their leader due to his capabilities, authenticity, and honor. He was well-respected and well-trusted, and people admired his skills due to his ability to get insight into any situation and reach a fair judgment.

Maximus was not defiantly afraid of the challenge and the decisions that were immediate and included no doubts, which is very important in the position he held. During the fight with the charioteers, Maximus took the role of the commander immediately, giving clear instructions to other gladiators to get the victory. The Battle of Zama was an example of good leadership skills in action. The level of trust that came from followers was reaching extreme heights, as they not only followed his directions but also put themselves in situations close to death. This is relevant to mention that such behavior has led not only given reassurance that Maximus was a great leader but demonstrates the importance of teamwork, as by the end of the movie it is obvious that a strong bond between the gladiators has been established. The opening battle scenes showed that the gladiator has dedicated time to share a special moment with his team so they would be connected and see the same goal as well as share equal support from every cavalry member.

Thus, it is important to pay attention to how leadership concepts have been used by Maximus. He was one of those, who are known as ethical leaders. Ethical behavior requires an individual to be honest, fair, and act in a manner that suggests equity and not biased treatment. This is what the gladiator has demonstrated, as he does not simply gives orders and stays in the convenient position, but fights with his follower's shoulder to shoulder and risks his life for them once needed. The inspiring manner in which Maximus joins the fight is far from the autocratic leadership style, while the most common scene is where he manages to gain support through his acting. The battles scenes are proof of that, as Maximus has never left his gladiators behind or sacrificed them for his own needs. Moreover, another proof of the ethical behavior can be seen at the beginning of the movie, when Commodus has asked Maximus to remain loyal to him during his reign, while the gladiator refuses to do it as he cannot come into agreement with something he does not believe to be right.

Maximus is one of those leaders, who value people’s lives and had never wanted only fame and pure success for himself. When he first was to get into a fight, he was reluctant as this demonstrated his modesty as a leader, who does not look for easy ways to win the fights. The scenes where the gladiator works hard are another proof that he was a geed leader, as such people come to the first and leave the fights last, as he is more concerned for the well-being of his followers than his own. The ethical issue has been described more during the whole movie, as Rome seems to have many of those. Maximus dares to face unethical practices and the proof of that was a scene where the gladiator openly states to Commodus that he wants to have revenge on him.

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Commodus has demonstrated an opposite style of leadership, which was based on self-promotion, egoism, and autocratic leadership style. Every begging of the movie depicts him as a coward, who can act only through a conspiracy by killing his father and the whole family Maximus, which depicts him as an unethical leader, who strived for power and influence without a real ability. He demonstrated ignorance, selfishness, and arrogance when he was late for the opening battle and builds his ‘career’ by finding easy ways without setting strong foundations.

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The proof of that was an attempt to get Maximus killed by paying the Tigris of Gaul. Maximus saved his life, which is another example of ethical leadership as he could easily murder the person and get applause from the whole Colosseum tribune. Commodus used a dirty trick to manipulate people and an example of that was a scene with his sister. Thought the movie he has threatened The Senate with death if they do not adopt his policies. The last scene that showed that leadership was absent within Commodus's reign is the fact that the body of Maximus was carried out, while the defeated emperor was left behind.

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This is also important to mention that Maximus was a transformational leader, who possessed charisma, intellectual skills, individual consideration, and intellectual skills. Charisma was seen through the scenes of his north army, while his inspirational skills were demonstrated when he managed to put the old dishonest merchant to be on his side. Moreover, he showed gratitude to his army and high intellectual skills during choosing the strategy for the fights.


In conclusion, this is important to mention that the task-oriented behavior was common to Maximus, as he manages to set clear goals for himself and his team, while he managed to coordinate the battles and took responsibility for decisions he made by setting a challenging, but achievable goal for his cavalry. His task definitions were precise, as well as the clarity of purpose and this was one of the reasons that people followed him. Unlike Maximus, Commodus was a coward who could only get his result through others by spreading fear and domination due to his position, which was gained unfairly as well. The movie is proof that leadership is a moving power and nothing can compete with it, neither the legal authorities nor the unethical practices.

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