Retro Friday: SPARTACUS : through the years

Most people think that Kirk Douglas' interpretation of SPARTACUS (1960) was the very first one ever portrayed on screen. This is incorrect. Here's a quick overview of the actors who played the legendary slave turn rebel since the beginning of cinema.


An actor as Spartacus in the 1830s

Mario Guaita Ausonia played the famous rebel slave in SPARTACO (1913)

Gianna Maria Canale and Massimo Girotti in SPARTARCO (aka SINS OF ROME). One of the best Spartacus films of the bunch. The producers of the Stanley Kubrick production bought the rights to this film in order to keep it out of circulation (out of the public mind) while they prepared their own version.

Kirk Douglas as SPARTACUS (1960) probably the most famous of all the Spartacus productions.

Rocca (Dan Vadis) tries to convince Spartacus (Alfredo Varelli) that he's not the enemy in SPARTACUS & THE TEN GLADIATORS. Spartacus has now entered the Pulpy world of action films.

Livio Lorenzon enjoys tormenting Spartacus, played by Peter Lupus, in CHALLENGE OF THE GLADIATOR. Probably the beefiest Spartacus ever.

Croatian actor Goran Visnjic played the Thracian rebel Spartacus in a TV mini-series.


And last but not least, the late Andy Whitfield was Spartacus for one season  (13 episodes) for the TV series SPARTACUS : BLOOD AND SAND before dying of cancer. Liam Mcintyre (below) replaced Andy as Spartacus for one more season.



(originally posted June 2012)


3 comments:

Scott Ochiltree said...


SINS OF ROME is very enjoyable. Furthermore, its arena scene is one of the best arena scenes in the whole Peplum genre.

Gianna played her Patrician villainess role perfectly. This is a role she came to specialize in.

However, the film is so far from historical reality that I give the Stanley Kubrick/Kirk Douglas SPARTACUS my vote for the best depiction of this fascinating and very important episode in Ancient Roman history.

Anonymous said...

Actually Liam McIntyre played Spartacus in two seasons of the show...Vengeance and War of the Damned.

Scott Ochiltree said...

Peplum is correct about the male lead in the two-part STARZ TV series.
Poor Andy Whitfield died of cancer - very unexpectedly - after season one.