PEPLUM Myth Busting: Steve Reeves was never a gladiator


When GLADIATOR (2000), the Ridley Scott film, was being propositioned as a possible idea for an epic movie they referred to the old Steve Reeves - old Gladiator types of films as examples. Here's a quote from IMDb:

"Prior to its release, Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000) was being referred to by some writers as the first "Steve Reeves type" movie in decades. It had also been written that Scott was amiss in not getting Reeves to at least do a cameo."

What's surprising and ironic about all of this is that Steve never played a gladiator in any of his films. The only time he was in an arena was in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII and the reason he's fighting in the arena was to save the people about to be eaten by lions. He wasn't supposed to fight as a gladiator. He freed himself from chains (below) and then ran in the arena without any gladiator gear. Once there and after killing the lions he quickly fights with a couple of gladiators just before mount Vesuvius erupts. In DUEL OF THE TITANS he's pitted against a bear but it's not in a gladiatorial setting.

Steve played Hercules in two HERCULES films, Emiliano the Goliath, Glaucus in POMPEII, Phillipides in GIANT OF MARATHON, Hadji Murad in the WHITE WARRIOR, Captain Morgan in MORGAN THE PIRATE, Karim in THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD, Romulus in DUEL OF TITANS, Randus in SON OF SPARTACUS, Aeneas in THE TROJAN HORSE and WAR OF THE TROJANS and Sandokan but never a gladiator.

Gordon Scott, Gordon Mitchell, Mark Forest, Ed Fury, Richard Harrison, Brad Harris, Dan Vadis and Alan Steel all played gladiators at one point or several times in their careers but not Steve.


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