‘Gladiator’ at 20: Russell Crowe commemorates film’s anniversary with iconic line

Russell Crowe is celebrating the anniversary of one of his most well-known movies.

The A-lister took to Twitter this week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of “Gladiator,” which opened in theaters May 5, 2000.

“20 years ago today, ‘Gladiator’ was released in cinemas in the United States,” Crowe wrote, adding, “Strength and Honour …” (a line spoken by his character, widowed Roman general Maximus, in the film).

“Gladiator” follows Maximus, who is forced into slavery as a gladiator and avenges his family in the arena. It co-stars Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen and Oliver Reed, and was directed by Ridley Scott. The movie earned more than $460 million worldwide on a $103 million budget, and won five Oscars, including best picture and best actor, claimed by Crowe.

In an interview with Variety about the movie’s anniversary, Scott said he considers it one of the best films he’s ever made.

“I’m very fortunate to be fit enough to be still flying, really,” Scott said. “I think ‘Gladiator’ would have to go up near the top one, two or three, and after nearly 30 movies, that’s crazy.”

Added Crowe: “The standout thing with this film, and 20 years later, I can say with confidence that somewhere in the world, today, tonight, that movie will be played on primetime. And it’s 20 years since it came out. Not every movie lasts in that way.”

Crowe also discussed his close friendship with Phoenix, who played Maximus’ rival Commodus, on the set of “Gladiator.” It was one of Phoenix’s first roles after the 1993 death of his brother, River Phoenix.

“There were a lot of people in that strange journalistic habit who wanted to just poke that fire and kept asking Joaquin about his brother and then about his relationship with me because we have that in the film,” Crowe said. “At one point, we were doing some press conference and he just said something along the lines of, ‘Look, Russell treated me like a brother’ and it just hit me in a really heavy way.”

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