Gladiator October 22, 1998 Script Draft: Page #5


EXT. STREET THEATER - NIGHT

The crowd laughs riotously as Roman Actors perform a typically ribald comedy in a secluded street:

An outrageously dressed version of Maximus is parading around on an outrageously dressed version of Commodus, riding him like a donkey and slapping his rear with a wooden sword. The "Commodus" actor mews and brays and wails like an infant.

Captain Marcellus of the City Guard gallops past them, on his way out of Rome.

EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - COURTYARD - DAY

Maximus stands with Juba and Vibius. He draws a circle in the sand with a stick. He draws a line to the circle.

MAXIMUS
The Felix Regiment will come from
here. We'll face the body of the
Praetorians outside -- here. Once
inside, my archers will take up
position to counter opposition
inside the Colosseum. I'll enter
and join you -- we'll attack here --

Maximus draws a line to the Imperial Box.

MAXIMUS
-- a covert assault from within.

VIBIUS
We'll be killed.

MAXIMUS
Probably.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
But if we aren't... think of the
glory. Do you remember glory,
Gladiator?

JUBA
And if we die that day -- we die
free men worthy of our ancestors.

VIBIUS
You didn't know my ancestors. A
rotten bunch.

Maximus points to the huge statue of Mars.

MAXIMUS
Then be worthy of him. The old
Titan who would rather die bravely
in a just battle than slink off to
grow old and fat.

JUBA
And impotent.

A beat. Vibius thinks about it.

VIBIUS
If I die, I want a hundred whores at
my funeral.

INT. PALACE - LUCILLA'S CHAMBERS - EVENING

Commodus sweeps in. Thinks Lucilla is standing there. The woman turns, it is Lucilla's Handmaiden.

COMMODUS
Where is my sister?

HANDMAIDEN
She's out, sir...

COMMODUS
Where?

HANDMAIDEN
I... don't know, Caesar.

Commodus looks at her for a moment.

And then he slowly walks right to her. His face an inch away from hers.

COMMODUS
Where is my sister?

INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - PROXIMO'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Proximo sits, considering Maximus.

MAXIMUS
Was it Centurion...? General...?

PROXIMO
Captain.

A beat.

PROXIMO
How did you know?

MAXIMUS
A soldier knows a soldier.

A beat.

PROXIMO
All that was a long time ago. Too
much wine and too many women. And
too much money.

MAXIMUS
No --

PROXIMO
This is who I am...
(he pats his ample belly)
You see? There was a time I would
stand against ten men and never give
an inch, spitting into the jaws of
Hades all the while. There was a
time my heart swelled to strap on
the armor of Rome. But now...

Something flashes across Proximo's eyes, something like tragedy.

PROXIMO
Now I am just an entertainer.

A pause.

MAXIMUS
You said something to me once. You
said in this life, we all die. All
we can choose is how we die. And
how we are remembered. Do you
recall those words?

PROXIMO
Yes.

MAXIMUS
Then be remembered proudly. This is
your time, Proximo. Stand at my
side and be what you were. What you
truly are. One last time.

A beat.

Proximo suddenly begins to weep rather histrionically -- Maximus is a bit taken aback -- Proximo dramatically flicks tears from his eyes -- and then can't keep the show up -- he bursts into laughter.

Maximus stares at him.

PROXIMO
(laughing)
You might have spared yourself the
speech, General. The lady Lucilla
bought all my gladiators two hours
ago!

MAXIMUS
You pox-ridden bastard -- !

PROXIMO
I am the richest trainer in the
Empire! And I will let my
gladiators do anything you like!
Conspire away, General!

Maximus can only laugh as well.

PROXIMO
But I tell you -- if you survive
this madness I want you to go into
business with me. I'll give you a
quarter of my holdings.

MAXIMUS
(standing)
A quarter?!

PROXIMO
A third. And not a hair more. And
you'll have to start in the
provinces! Cleaning up the lion
shit!

MAXIMUS
You know, if you were half so awful
as you pretend, you'd be a
terrifying man.

Maximus shakes his head, smiling, and goes.

Proximo sits for a moment.

Then he rises and goes to a heavy chest. He looks at the chest for a moment and then opens it.

Inside is his old Lorica Segmentata. He gazes at his armor, considering what he once was. And what he now is.

INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - CELL - NIGHT

Maximus enters. Lucilla is waiting, extremely tense.

MAXIMUS
Lucilla --

LUCILLA
Don't even say it. I know it's
dangerous -- but I had to see you.
Captain Marcellus has gone to the
army with your message as you
instructed.

MAXIMUS
Good.

LUCILLA
He says the City Guard will be ready
at the south road at noon. They can
only wait for an hour so --

MAXIMUS
You've told me this already.

LUCILLA
Did I? All right then. So
everything is prepared. The Senate
will be in attendance and you have
your gladiators -- the usual cohort
of Praetorians will be inside the
arena --

MAXIMUS
Lucilla... why are you here?

A pause.

LUCILLA
Tell me honestly... please... do you
think it will work?

A beat.

MAXIMUS
No.

LUCILLA
Do you think we'll all die?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

She leans against a wall.

A pause.

LUCILLA
Will you swear something to me?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

LUCILLA
Will you swear it on the memory of
your son?

A long beat.

MAXIMUS
Yes.

LUCILLA
By all that you have ever loved...
swear that if you survive you will
take my son out of Rome. Swear that
you will go far away and never
return.

He steps to her.

MAXIMUS
(deeply)
I will.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
And if I should not survive... swear
to me that you will honor my family
in your prayers always.

LUCILLA
I will.

A long, difficult beat. She fights back tears.

LUCILLA
Had I not been the daughter of
Rome...

He puts a gentle finger to her lips.

MAXIMUS
Shhh... my heart breaks enough.

He holds her closely, tenderly.

INT. PALACE - LUCILLA'S CHAMBERS - NIGHT

Lucilla enters, deep in thought, still drained from her meeting with Maximus.

She suddenly stops. Frozen.

Commodus is sitting across the chamber, Lucius at his knee. An open scroll on Commodus' lap.

COMMODUS
Sister... join us. I've been
reading to dear Lucius.

LUCIUS
I've been reading too.

COMMODUS
Yes, he's a very smart little boy.
He'll make a grand Emperor one day.

Lucilla has not moved.

COMMODUS
Join us, sister.

Lucilla goes to them, sits.

COMMODUS
We've been reading about the great
Julius and his adventures in Egypt.

LUCIUS
She killed herself with a snake!

COMMODUS
(to Lucius)
And just wait until you hear what
happened to some of our other
ancestors! If you're very good,
tomorrow night I'll tell you the
story of Emperor Claudius. He was
betrayed! By those closest to
him...
(he glances up to Lucilla)
... by his own blood... they
whispered in dark corners and went
out late at night and conspired and
conspired...

Lucilla looks as if she is going to be ill.

Lucius is busy scanning the scroll. Commodus gently strokes his hair, his cold eyes never leaving Lucilla's.

COMMODUS
But the Emperor Claudius knew that
they were up to something dire. He
knew they were busy little bees.
And one night he sat down with one
of them and he looked at her and he
said: "Tell me what you have been
doing, busy little bee, or I shall
strike down those dearest to you.
You shall watch as I bathe in their
blood." And the bee knew he spoke
the truth, for the Emperor always
speaks the truth. And what do you
think happened then, Lucius?

LUCIUS
(still pouring over the scrolls)
I don't know, Uncle.

COMMODUS
(glaring at Lucilla)
The bee told him everything.

Lucilla's face is tortured.

INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - PROXIMO'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Proximo is asleep -- a sound outside wakes him -- the steady clip-clop of horses on stone. A lot of horses.

He rises and goes to a window overlooking the street outside.

A stern Praetorian Guard cavalry unit is cantering into position at his gates. Proximo grabs his clothes --

EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

With cool military precision the Praetorians take up position at the gates before Proximo's compound, an unassailable line. They quickly prepare their bows.

Meanwhile, another Praetorian unit has taken up position at the other end of Proximo's compound -- sealing that entrance as well.

EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - COURTYARD - NIGHT

Proximo is hurrying across his open courtyard when the first flaming arrow arches into the compound -- it is followed by hundreds more --

The Praetorians on either end of his compound keep up a ceaseless hail of flaming arrows -- everything begins to burn -- the caged gladiators are stirring now -- shouting --

Proximo races to his panicked guards --

PROXIMO
Release them! Release them all!
ARM THEM!

The guards sprint to the cells -- unlocking the gladiators as quickly as they can --

Not quick enough for many -- Praetorians are now pouring pitch through the gutter that runs along the bottom of the cells -- igniting it and incinerating all those trapped inside --

The compound is soon a raging inferno --

Proximo releases Maximus and Juba --

PROXIMO
Come --

MAXIMUS
But --

PROXIMO
If you want to live -- follow me --

VIBIUS
(calling to them)
Go, Spaniard! We'll show these
Roman dogs how gladiators fight!

Proximo hauls Maximus and Juba off as Vibius and the other gladiators arm themselves --

INT. TUNNELS - NIGHT

Proximo is leading Maximus and Juba quickly through a decaying cramped tunnel.

PROXIMO
All the old gladiator schools have
tunnels to the Colosseum -- most
have long since collapsed --

JUBA
How did they know?

MAXIMUS
We were betrayed.

JUBA
(stops)
I'll stay here. In case they
follow.

Maximus stops as well.

JUBA
Go! Bring us the army!

Maximus nods.

PROXIMO
Quickly --

He leads Maximus down the disintegrating catacomb of tunnels --

EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

Vibius hoped to die fighting -- he never got the chance.

It is not a battle, it is a slaughter.

The Praetorians ruthlessly shoot anyone even approaching the gates -- all the walls are covered -- most of the gladiators die in the hellish inferno -- the relentless rain of flaming arrows continues --

Vibius coughs in the thick smoke and rages for someone to fight -- Praetorian snipers cut him down -- he dies reaching for the statue of Mars.

INT. COLOSSEUM - SUBTERRANEAN - NIGHT

Proximo and Maximus emerge deep in the bowels of the Colosseum.

PROXIMO
(points)
Down that corridor is the butchery
-- the blood sloughs lead to the
Tiber. Gods watch over you.

MAXIMUS
You're not coming?

PROXIMO
They are killing my men!

He races back into the tunnel.

Maximus moves quickly down the corridor. He can finally see...

INT. COLOSSEUM - BUTCHERY - NIGHT

Grisly carcasses of every description hang from hooks. Two bored butchers hack them up. The good bits are tossed into a wagon to fed to the Colosseum animals. The waste and offal are shoveled into a large sewer opening. A butcher occasionally lifts a sluice-gate and a gush of water flows into the sewer from above, washing down the blood and carcasses.

Maximus crouches and creeps through the nightmare of hanging carcasses and flies.

When the butchers are looking elsewhere, Maximus creeps to the sewer opening and climbs in -- he immediately slides down for a few yards in the slanting, slippery blood sluice -- out of sight --

Then he thuds to a stop. He can go no further because the remains of an animal carcass blocks his way. He tries to slither past the carcass --

Finally, one of the butchers above lifts the sluice-gate and a torrent of water flows down.

Maximus is washed down the hideous sewer.

INT. TUNNELS - NIGHT

Proximo and Juba are quickly marching back down the tunnel toward the compound -- they are very close now -- the roar of flame is heard -- the creak of falling timber -- and the screams of burning men. They run.

They round a corner and see there is no way past the world of flame ahead of them. The tunnel to the compound has collapsed.

PROXIMO
Gods... they're killing them all.

Proximo leads them up a cramped stairway to...

EXT. STREET OUTSIDE PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

They emerge through a sewer entrance -- right into the arms of the Praetorian Guard. Proximo and Juba are bound. Proximo sees his compound burning. Sees the Praetorian archers taking out any last survivors. Hears the screams.

INT./ EXT. VARIOUS LOCATIONS - ARREST MONTAGE - NIGHT

A quick sequence of brutal arrests as Praetorian Guard units round up many associated with the plot. And many that are not.

GAIUS' BEDROOM: Gaius and his wife are yanked awake and hauled out.

CHRISTIAN HOME: A congregation of Christians is chained together, their secret altar smashed.

CAFE: Greek Scholars are hauled away from their scrolls.

STREET THEATER: Actors are dragged off in the midst of a performance.

GRACCHUS' STEAM ROOM: Gracchus is enjoying grapes with his handsome catamite. A unit of Praetorian bursts in. Gracchus looks at them. Sighs.

INT. PALACE - THRONE ROOM - NIGHT

Commodus stands with Lucius on a balcony overlooking the city.

The roaring flames of the fire at Proximo's compound can easily be seen.

LUCIUS
What is that fire?

COMMODUS
Why that's a bonfire, Lucius. I
arranged it just for you.

He puts his hand on the boy's shoulder.

Behind them, Lucilla sits slumped in a chair. Her face is a mask of anguish at what she has been forced to do.

Two Praetorians enter with a bucket.

PRAETORIAN
Caesar...

Commodus goes to them. He talks quietly with them for a moment and glances at what they are carrying.

COMMODUS
Oh... that's for my sister.

They bring the bucket to Lucilla and set it before her.

Commodus ignores her and goes back to Lucius on the balcony.

Lucilla glances inside the bucket...

Captain Marcellus' head is floating in brine. Lucilla moans. All is lost.

EXT. TIBER RIVER - NIGHT

Maximus splashes to the surface of the filthy Tiber, gasping for air.

Animal carcasses float up next to him. He grabs onto one and floats down the gently flowing river.

EXT. ITALIAN FRONT - CAMP - DAWN

The Wolf of Rome sleeps. Then its ears rise. Then its head. It sniffs the air. The wolf slowly rises and begins loping through the camp.

It passes slumbering soldiers and tents, smoke lazily drifting up from campfires.

The wolf finally stops and looks up.

Maximus is on a horse. He climbs down. The wolf goes to him and licks his hand.

Maximus begins marching through the camp, the wolf at his side. Soldiers stir, amazed to see their General is alive.

Gallus leaps up, stunned, and goes to Maximus. They continue to march through the camp, more and more astonished soldiers joining them.

They march toward the large tents at the center of the encampment.

Titus emerges from his tent. Slams to a stop --

TITUS
By all the Gods...

He goes to Maximus and embraces him.

MAXIMUS
Old friend...

TITUS
You're returned from Hades! By all
the Gods!

MAXIMUS
Where is he?

Just then Quintus emerges from the largest tent. He stares at Maximus, unbelieving.

A long beat as they look at each other.

Quintus knows his destiny. With quiet dignity he begins whispering a prayer. Maximus moves to him, embracing him:

MAXIMUS
I forgive you.

He stabs Quintus with a dagger as he embraces him. Quintus falls.

A beat.

Titus goes to the dead Quintus and pulls the seal of office from his uniform. He hands it to Maximus.

An enormous roar of celebration from the Felix Regiment.

INT. PALACE - COMMODUS' BEDROOM - MORNING

A castrati choir sings a gentle hymn of celebration. Their eerie voices and otherworldly harmonies undulate around Commodus' bedroom.

The Emperor himself is in a chair, wrapped in a robe. His body slaves work over him closely.

He is staring into a mirror, lost in another world as the slaves carefully apply golden eye makeup to him.

The castrati hymn continues...

EXT. OUTSIDE THE COLOSSEUM - DAY

The hymn is all we hear as we see crowds moving into the Colosseum...

It seems that all of Rome is here for this great day. Huge throngs of citizens move like a massive wave toward the Colosseum entrances. Vendors are doing brisk business. Praetorian units in full dress uniform canter past.

We elegantly float up along the outer tiers of the Colosseum and then glide over the edge to see the arena stands...

EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

The hymn is all we hear as we see...

The stands are filling. We see the rich and poor alike. We see the orator Cassius. We see Senator Falco and most of the Senate. We see the cohort of fifty Praetorian taking up position around the Imperial Box.

A golden platform, with stairs down to the arena sand, now extends about twenty feet from the Imperial Box to a spot over the arena.

We float down the stairs and then we see the arena itself...

It is stunning in its simplicity.

The days victims are tied to posts in the center of the arena. Suspended above them is an enormous cloud. A thick, tumescent bladder painted to look like a threatening rain cloud.

We see Proximo and Juba. We see Senators Gracchus and Gaius. We see Gaius' wife and Gracchus catamite and Christian families and scholars and actors.

Seven stylized hills surround them.

The hymn comes to its soaring conclusion as we see the damned.

TIME CUT:

Later. By now, the Colosseum is packed. All fifty-five thousand seats are taken. Another ten thousand stand wherever they can. A feral anticipation buzzes through the crowd.

Outside the Colosseum, the streets are crowded with thousands more who couldn't get in.

Trumpets blare.

Commodus' six Centurion Body Guards stride into the Imperial Box.

Then Commodus enters. He is shrouded in a full lion's skin, the head of the lion concealing his own. His head is down, he does not look up.

Lucilla and Lucius enter after him and sit. Lucilla's face is drained, her eyes defeated. Lucius is wearing a miniature set of Lorica Segmentata, complete with ceremonial dagger.

EXT. ROMAN STREET - DAY

A mangy dog is slowly crossing a dusty street on the outskirts of Rome. The street is deserted. It seems that almost everyone is at the Colosseum.

The dog stops. Looks up.

Then a sound is heard. The steady cadence of horses' hooves.

The Felix Regiment rounds a corner. Maximus leads the cavalry. He wears Lorica Segmentata. His corps of archers and soldiers follow. They troop down the dusty street.

Maximus and the cavalry canter past the mystified dog.

QUICK CUTS:

The Felix Regiment moves through the streets. The few pedestrians quickly disappear into shops and around corners. The roar of the Colosseum can be heard far in the distance...

Arrows slice into isolated Praetorian sentries. The Felix Regiment continues its stealth invasion...

Finally, Maximus reins his horse and his troops stop.

The mounted City Guard are waiting.

Without a word, the City Guard joins Maximus and the two combined forces continue their inexorable march to the Colosseum.

EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

Commodus, still swathed in the lion skin, his head down, slowly walks out on the platform that now extends from the Imperial Box.

The crowd grows hushed.

Commodus reaches the end of the platform and waits for a moment. Then he dramatically flings off the lion skin.

The crowd gasps.

He is almost naked, his entire chiseled body is painted in gold. His eyes are lost in an eerie reverie as he looks around at his people.

He finally speaks:

COMMODUS
(serene)
Rome... This is the day that was
foretold. This is the day when your
father takes away all fear...
(he holds up his hands)
With these hands I shall destroy
your enemies so that you may sleep
always and forever in peace. From
this day forth let it be known that
I, Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus,
have surmounted mortality. That I,
Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus,
assume my destined place... at the
side of the Gods.

The crowd is stunned. A few scattered laughs.

Lucilla stares at him, disbelieving.

COMMODUS
And as a righteous God, I shall ever
protect you. I shall cradle the
world on my benevolent hands and
clasp it to my heart. So I have
spoken! And let the heavens tremble
at my might!

EXT. ROMAN STREETS - DAY

Maximus continues to lead the combined Felix Regiment and City Guard cavalry through the streets. The roaring is closer now. They are nearing the Colosseum, they can just glimpse the edge of the top tier over some building.

EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

Commodus continues:

COMMODUS
This day I reclaim Rome for her
people. I shall give you the
rebirth of your Empire! Reborn and
cleansed of her enemies!

He raises his arms. At his cue the Praetorian archers raise their bows, ready, aiming at the victims.

COMMODUS
I will make a new Rome! Founded as
it was at the beginning! Archers --
GIVE US BLOOD!

The Praetorians suddenly point their bows higher and fire --

They shoot the cloud -- the bladder EXPLODES and thick blood rains down on the victims -- the blood splashes over them, coating them.

EXT. OUTSIDE COLOSSEUM - DAY

The roar from the Colosseum is now deafening as Maximus and the City Guard round the final corner -- the Colosseum is before them -- the massive Praetorian Guard force is caught of guard -- with crisp military efficiency the Felix Regiment and the City Guard quickly canter into place, an unbroken line of seasoned warriors facing the Praetorians.

The huge mob outside the Colosseum is confused, intrigued, watching the face-off. The mounted archers of the Felix Regiment have drawn their bows.

Maximus looks down from his horse at a Praetorian Officer.

MAXIMUS
Throw down your weapons or we will
kill you.

A beat.

The Praetorian Officer glances at the formidable force against him. He drops his sword. His men follow suit.

MAXIMUS
(he turns to his men)
FELIX REGIMENT! DO HONOR TO YOUR
ANCESTORS! I SALUTE YOU!

He spurs his horse and the Felix Regiment roars, springing into action -- they gallop through the crowd and to the Colosseum -- meanwhile the City Guard disarm and guard the Praetorian --

EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

Commodus continues:

COMMODUS
As it was at the beginning so is it
now. The great She-Wolf of Rome
will again suckle us, again ravage
our enemies -- AND BRING US A WORLD
REBORN!

At his cue, two elevator platforms rumble into view, rising from the bowels of the Colosseum to the arena sand.

On each platform is a cage full of ferocious wolves, they snap and growl, straining to be released.

COMMODUS
So it was for Romulus and Remus,
sons of Mars, so shall it be for us!
The great She-Wolf will --

Suddenly -- the huge wooden doors of the arena burst open and Maximus leads the Felix Regiment cavalry thundering into the arena.

The crowd is stunned -- Commodus is stunned -- Lucilla bolts up --

Commodus immediately spins to Lucilla, his eyes burning --

His Praetorian are momentarily confused --

At Gallus' command the Felix Regiment archers let fly -- multiple arrows and bolts cut through most of the Praetorians -- some confusing skirmishes as the remaining Praetorians fire back --

Maximus leaps from his horse and begins cutting the prisoners free --

Meanwhile, Commodus strides back down the platform toward Lucilla in the Imperial Box, murder in his eyes --

She suddenly hugs Lucius quickly and kisses him --

LUCILLA
Remember your mother.

She pulls the ceremonial dagger from his little uniform and pushes him to his attendant -- his attendant pulls him away as --

Lucilla spins to Commodus -- he grabs her into an embrace -- he turns the knife on her -- thrusting deeply as he kisses her --

A long kiss as he holds her tightly to him. Then he gently sits her down on her throne. Her eyes wide, dying.

One of Commodus' Body Guards grabs him:

CENTURION BODY GUARD
Caesar -- we must go -- !

Commodus' six Centurion Body Guards begin hustling him out of the Imperial Box --

COMMODUS
GET THE BOY!

He grabs Lucius from his attendant and drags him off --

They try to escape out the back of the Imperial Box -- but Felix Regiment troops are blocking their way -- racing up toward them --

CENTURION BODY GUARD
THIS WAY, CAESAR!

Below, through the confusion, Maximus sees Commodus escaping with Lucius down through a side tunnel.

Maximus cuts Juba and Proximo free. Juba immediately snatches up a sword. Maximus quickly offers a sword to Proximo.

MAXIMUS
Captain?

Proximo takes the sword.

MAXIMUS
(re: Commodus and the others)
Where are they going?!

PROXIMO
This way!

They race across the arena and into a tunnel...

INT. COLOSSEUM - BOWELS - DAY

Proximo leads them through a series of catacombs -- damp tunnels shoot off in every direction -- everywhere around them the heavy machinery of the games rise like mammoth creatures to the arena above -- a baroque network of ropes and pulleys and counterweights and elevator platforms and air shafts and blood sewers -- And they suddenly run directly into Commodus, dragging Lucius, and his six Centurions coming the other direction.

The final battle begins with no preamble --

Maximus launches himself forward -- instantly separating Commodus and Lucius -- he slams at Commodus with his sword -- Commodus slams back --

Proximo and Juba race into the six Centurions -- a wild free-for-all as they prove their worth as warriors -- Juba fights with his usual elegant precision -- Proximo fights as a man reborn, alive again --

Proximo takes cagey advantage of his knowledge of this subterranean world -- spinning around machinery and leaping over blood sewers and swinging heavy counterweights --

Maximus and Commodus hack at each other with all the fiery passion in them -- Commodus is a perfect match for Maximus and equally ruthless -- their swords thrust and parry and slice at amazing speed -- one false move, one mistake, means death --

Meanwhile, the battle is turning into a victory for Juba and Proximo -- they are defeating the Centurions -- Commodus sees this -- and sees Lucius crying in a corner --

He screams to one of his remaining Centurions:

COMMODUS
KILL THE BOY!

Maximus whirls to Lucius -- Commodus attacks -- slashing Maximus' shoulders -- Maximus sees Proximo racing to try and save Lucius as he spins back to battle Commodus --

A Centurion raises his sword to kill Lucius -- Juba kills his final opponent, turns -- Proximo just manages to push Lucius out of the way -- the Centurion's sword slices into him --

Juba flings his sword across the room -- the final Centurion falls --

Maximus sees Proximo collapse to a wall -- dying -- Proximo locks eyes with Maximus as he slides down the wall. The old pirate shrugs. And is dead.

Juba races to Lucius and holds the boy, turning his face away from the slaughter --

Maximus, his furious passion redoubled at Proximo's death, attacks Commodus with every ounce of strength in him --

Commodus' eyes begin to flash with something we have never seen before, fear.

Maximus strikes mercilessly -- forcing Commodus steadily back until they are fighting atop one of the elevator platforms to the arena above.

MAXIMUS
For my wife!

Maximus strike hard -- Commodus barely blocks the blow --

MAXIMUS
For my son!

He strikes harder -- Commodus is losing --

MAXIMUS
For my father!

He strikes with everything he's got -- slashing Commodus -- Commodus sails back -- his sword falling --

Maximus stands over him. Glaring. Commodus is panting, defeated, glaring up at him.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
We who are about to die salute you.

Maximus raises his sword high -- Commodus raises an arm -- Maximus SMASHES the sword down -- and Commodus is dead.

A moment as Maximus stands over Commodus. Then he looks at the series of counterweight ropes around the elevator platform.

He slices through one of the ropes and the platform begins to rise...

EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

A trap door springs open and the elevator platform rises to the sand of the arena. Maximus stands above the dead Emperor.

The crowd stares in amazement -- and then begins to cheer in joy at the return of their hero. A chant begins... "Maximus the Merciful... Maximus the Merciful... Maximus the Merciful..." which then grows to a refrain of "Caesar... Caesar... Caesar..."

Maximus ignores them, his eyes drawn to one sight: Lucilla.

He goes to the steps of the platform leading to the Imperial Box. He slowly climbs the steps.

In the Imperial Box, Senator Gracchus is standing. So too Juba and others.

Lucius is kneeling by his mother, holding her hand, his head down. Lucilla is dead. Lucius mourns with quiet dignity.

Maximus looks at Lucilla and kneels. He takes her other hand. A long moment. He looks at Lucius.

Then he slowly bends forward and kisses Lucilla deeply, the ritual farewell.

He stands.

Senator Gracchus steps to him:

GRACCHUS
General, the purple is yours if you
so desire. The Senate will support
you.

Maximus looks at him. And then at the people. The chant of "Caesar... Caesar... Caesar..." is like a powerful beating heart.

Maximus moves to the edge of the Imperial Box to address the people. The crowd grows silent.

Maximus looks around at the blood of the arena.

MAXIMUS
Rome... you are better than this.
Look inside yourselves. I challenge
you to find your true voice. Help
the Senate speak for you. Make them
your champion... And dare to think
what could be.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
I give you back the dream.

With that he slowly turns and walks down the steps to the arena sand. The crowd is absolutely silent.

He goes to Titus:

MAXIMUS
When everything has calmed down,
lead an orderly withdrawal. Take
them home.

Titus salutes.

Maximus return the salute and then leaps onto his horse. As he canters toward the exit he turns for one final look at Lucilla.

He sees that Lucius is now at the foot of the stairs, on the arena sand, gazing at him.

Maximus stops his horse.

He canters back to Lucius. The boy looks up at him. A moment between them.

Lucius thrusts up his hand. Maximus grabs his hand and swings him onto the horse behind him.

A look to Juba. Juba bows his head with respect. Farewell.

Maximus spins the horse around and begins cantering out of the Colosseum.

Juba disappears into the crowd.

Maximus and Lucius canter across the arena and through the huge doors...

EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

From high above we see Maximus and Lucius riding out of the Colosseum and disappearing into the streets of Rome.

FADE TO:

EXT. VINEYARD - DAWN

Maximus stands with Lucius at his old vineyard.

It is still scorched and dead, weeds overgrowing the vineyards, the house ruined.

Maximus puts a hand on the boy's shoulder, this boy so like his own son.

MAXIMUS
It doesn't look it now... but soon
we'll have it growing again... Next
year there will be vines, and then
there will be grapes... It will be
alive.

We leave them, dreaming of the future.

FADE OUT.

THE END