Spartacus was released by Universal Pictures in 1960 and starred legendary actor Kirk Douglas as the title character. The movie followed Spartacus’ journey from slave to rebellion leader during the Roman Empire. A box-office smash, the film was not without its own controversies behind the scenes. The screenplay was written by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in his triumphant return to Hollywood. Co-stars Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton clashed on set. Despite it all, the film became the most financially successful for Universal at the time. This is everything you need to know about Spartacus.
United Artists Tried To Make Spartacus First
Two years before Universal released Spartacus, rival studio United Artists tried to make their own version starring Yul Brynner. The film would have been called Spartacus and The Gladiators. The studio was so confident their movie would get made, executives even took out a full-page ad in Variety to announce it.
Kirk Douglas’ production company owned the rights to the novel the movie was being adapted from, though. He, along with backing from Universal Studios, blocked UA from making their version.