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Album Cover Art
2000 Gladiator
2001 More Music from Gladiator
Album 2 Cover Art
2005 Anniversary
2-CD Set
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed and Arranged by:
Hans Zimmer
Lisa Gerrard

Produced by:
Hans Zimmer
Klaus Badelt
Alan Meyerson

Additional Music by:
Klaus Badelt
Jeff Rona
Djivan Gasparian

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Yvonne Moriarty
Walt Fowler
Ladd McIntosh
Elizabeth Finch
Jack Smalley

Vocals by:
Lisa Gerrard

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway

Performed by:
The Lyndhurst Orchestra of London

Instrumental Solos and Synthesizers Performed by:
Heitor Pereira
Djivan Gasparian
Jeff Rona
Hans Zimmer
Klaus Badelt
Labels Icon
Decca Records (Gladiator)
(April 25th, 2000)

Decca Records (More Music)
(February 27th, 2001)

Decca Records (Anniversary Set)
(September 5th, 2005)
Availability Icon
Both of the original albums are regular U.S. releases. The 2005 'Special Anniversary Edition' 2-CD set contains the combined contents of the first two albums and was released primarily in the United Kingdom as a regular commercial product.
Winner of a Golden Globe and nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a BAFTA Award.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you seek fifteen to twenty minutes of beautifully ethereal music performed by Lisa Gerrard for the film's scenes involving the afterlife.

Avoid it... if you find Hans Zimmer's battle and fanfare music to be too electronically grating on the nerves or too obviously plagiarized to enjoy in any context.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 5/5/00, REVISED 10/27/07
Gladiator: (Hans Zimmer and Co.) Ridley Scott has often been credited with reviving the genre of historical epic films with his 2000 smash hit Gladiator, a film based very loosely on the Roman emperor Commodus, the deranged son of Marcus Aurelius. His sister, Lucilla, who likely suffered the same incestuous relationship that Commodus inflicted upon his other sisters, was indeed implicated in an senate-led assassination plot against her brother, after which Commodus exiled and eventually executed her. Commodus also was the one Roman emperor to actually enter the arena and fight as a gladiator, though his death came at the hands of a wrestler and not in the famed Flavian Amphitheatre at the heart of Rome. In Gladiator, a handful of screenwriters rewrote history and each other, with even actor Russell Crowe reportedly storming off the set when his script suggestions were not granted. In any case, Crowe's character of Maximus Decimus Meridius was a fictional combination of Spartacus, Cincinnatus, and the actual killer of Commodus, Narcissus. For the purpose of a plot centering on vengeance and redemption, the former great general Maximus of the Roman army escapes his own execution and avenges that of his family by working his way up through the ranks of enslaved gladiators, eventually returning to Rome to play an integral role in Commodus' demise. One of the film's unique qualities, and one that places it, strangely enough, with the classic Patton, is the theme of resurrection and the afterlife that was added to the third generation of the film's script. While noted for its brutal battle scenes and glorious CGI renderings (not only adding 35,000 extras to the scenes in the Colosseum, but also bringing actor Oliver Reed back to life to finish a handful of his scenes after he suffered a heart attack and died during filming), Gladiator gained popularity due to its unexpectedly optimistic outlook.

Despite some scathing criticism from some leading critics, who mostly found the film's characters to be flat, Gladiator earned more than it cost to produce in just two weeks, eventually earning nearly half a billion dollars in international revenue. It won five Academy Awards out of its twelve nominations, and was nominated for 119 awards between the Oscars, BAFTA's, Golden Globes, and other groups. Among the more controversial nominations was the Academy's "Best Original Music Score" nomination for composer Hans Zimmer's music for Gladiator. Despite sharing considerable credit with Lisa Gerrard and Klaus Badelt for the writing of Gladiator, only Zimmer was nominated for the Oscar. After Zimmer and Gerrard had shared the win for the Golden Globe that year, Zimmer not only lost the Oscar to Tan Dun (for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), but the situation contributed to the Academy's decision to restrict the nomination of scores by multiple composers for several years. The original soundtrack album was a massive success for Universal and Decca, going platinum in sales and prompting multiple album releases in the future. The score would continue to generate publicity for Zimmer through the years, especially in regards to a 2006 lawsuit alleging copyright infringement in Zimmer's "inspirations" behind the more robust portions of the score. Nevertheless, the Gladiator score, as controversial as it might be, ranks among Star Wars and Titanic as one of the most important in the modern age of soundtracks, bringing recognition to the genre of music from the masses. Within the community of devoted film score collectors, Gladiator has always played a polarizing role, inevitably dividing listeners along familiar lines of perennial Zimmer supporters and those who believe that his works are underachieving and derivative.

In the weeks before the film became a massive success, most professional film score reviewers rated Zimmer's Gladiator music between average and good, with few offering the highest praises to the work. The overwhelming success of the score within the film (for most viewers), however, is what gave true life to the music, and Gladiator has since become recognized as being, at the very least, in tune with Ridley Scott's vision of the film. Additionally, a fair amount of fans have adopted Gladiator as a "guilty pleasure," much in the same way that Zimmer and Badelt's Pirates of the Caribbean would accomplish three years later (though Zimmer was contractually forced to remain uncredited for his involvement in the composition of that score). On the whole, Gladiator remains as fascinating as ever to study in retrospect, partially because of the score's clear definition of Zimmer's stylistic maturation and partially because of the lawsuit that has erupted because of Zimmer's process of gaining inspiration. The original 2000 album of Gladiator provided all the score's major cues on a one-hour product and mostly in their film order. The 2001 companion album, also from Decca and Universal, throws in a variety of outtakes and cues in lesser demand. The same label would eventually sell both together on a 2005 "Special Anniversary Edition" in Europe only (with no new content). For the purpose of this review at Filmtracks, the first album will be used to analyze the score itself since all of the major motifs by all the composers are represented on that product. While compositional credit is spread around between the several composers, Zimmer takes credit for most of them. Of the major themes and motifs in Gladiator, only Lisa Gerrard's "Elysium" theme marks a significant thematic contribution to the two major and several minor themes employed by Zimmer throughout the score, with many of Gerrard's passages shared in credit with Klaus Badelt as well.

The score for Gladiator is clearly divided between the world of Rome and that of the afterlife, and the film opens and closes with the spirit of the latter. Zimmer's opening cue introduces the ambience of the era with a nebulous motif often referred to as a "calling of the wild" theme that would appear as a bridge between the score's two primary identities. In "Progeny," Zimmer splits the performances between three of his noted soloists: Djivan Gasparyan on duduk, Jeff Rona on flute, and Tony Pleeth on cello. Lisa Gerrard's "Elysium" theme, later to be combined with Zimmer's own "Earth" theme to form the famous "Now We Are Free" ascension cue, is heard during Ridley Scott's shots of wheat blowing in the wind, and thus is provided in a short cue on its own. This cue is mixed directly into the start of "The Battle," one of the score's surprisingly few action pieces. Zimmer has claimed that this piece, along with its subsequent variant for the gladiator battles in Rome, is based heavily on a classical Viennese waltz and was the first part of the score written. The opening thirty seconds of "The Battle" offers what would have seemed to be the primary theme of both Maximus' life and the film, if not for the sorrows that would befall the character. The rousing French horn theme is standard in structure for Zimmer's career, its rising structures over propulsive electronic percussion serving the role of "hero's anthem" as well as any he has written before or after. Instrumentation in this theme mirrors Crimson Tide, even down to the trumpet solos over the top of the theme near the end of the first statement. From there, "The Battle" becomes understandably muddied. A fluttering of Heitor Pereira's guitar work foreshadows the Spanish influence to come later in the score, though its usage seems misplaced here. Deep male choir is mixed under echoing synthetic pounding effects once again from Crimson Tide.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.52 Stars
***** 17,650 5 Stars
**** 14,335 4 Stars
*** 14,369 3 Stars
** 7,763 2 Stars
* 5,337 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Original Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 61:38
• 1. Progeny (2:13)
• 2. The Wheat* (1:03)
• 3. The Battle (10:02)
• 4. Earth (3:01)
• 5. Sorrow** (1:26)
• 6. To Zucchabar*** (3:16)
• 7. Patricide (4:08)
• 8. The Emporer is Dead** (1:21)
• 9. The Might of Rome (5:18)
• 10. Strength and Honor (2:09)
• 11. Reunion** (1:14)
• 12. Slaves to Rome (1:00)
• 13. Barbarian Horde (10:33)
• 14. Am I Not Merciful? (6:33)
• 15. Elysium** (2:41)
• 16. Honor Him (1:19)
• 17. Now We Are Free**** (4:14)
* Written by Lisa Gerrard
** Written by Lisa Gerrard and Klaus Badelt
*** Written by Hans Zimmer and Djivan Gasparyan
**** Written by Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard, and Klaus Badelt
"More Music from Gladiator" Tracks   ▼Total Time: 55:56

Notes Icon
The original 2000 album's insert includes no extra information about the score, but the 2001 'More Music' album contains very lengthy notes from Hans Zimmer about each cue and a short addendum by Lisa Gerrard. The 'More Music' album also contains bonus features as an enhanced CD.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Gladiator are Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2005, Decca Records (Gladiator), Decca Records (More Music), Decca Records (Anniversary Set) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/5/00 and last updated 10/27/07.
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