Episode 17: Gladiator

In the year 2000, the sword-and-sandal epic was revived, with Russell Crowe trebucheted to international stardom as the star of Ridley Scott’s hugely successful film, Gladiator. But fame was also found for Hans Zimmer, today the biggest music man in Hollywood, but who along with Australian composer and singer Lisa Gerrard wrote some of the most influential film music in decades for Gladiator. In Episode 17, we take a look at what makes Zimmer’s sound so pervasive, how Lisa Gerrard’s voice intensifies the film’s emotions, and just where all that strength and honour comes from.


Episode notes:

3:02 – Gladiator as the breakthrough Hans Zimmer score
5:09 – Some background on the significance of Gladiator, sword and sandal films, epics, and peplum
14:24 – Hans Zimmer style and the 1990s action film
21:00 – Hans Zimmer and the synth
23:52 – The unusual instrumentation of Gladiator
25:25 – A duduk demonstration
27:10 – The themes of Gladiator – Commodus’ theme
33:15 – The power of Lisa Gerrard’s voice
39:48 – Maximus’ hymn
43:00 – Maximus’ polyrhythms
45:32 – Zimmer’s Vangelis’ moment
48:01 – Once Upon a Time in Ancient Rome
53:11 – The Earth theme – Gladiator’s musical soul
1:00:56 – Lucilla’s theme
1:05:17 – The Gladiator waltz
1:08:15 – A Holst heist?
1:12:34 – Gladiatorial piracy
1:16:41 – The death of an emperor (or, Mozart’s Da Vinci Code)
1:21:02 – To Zuccabar
1:24:00 – Gladiator’s establishing music (and a surprise)
1:29:21 – Zimmer’s answering horns
1:31:43 – The Might of Wagner
1:39:18 – The Hans Zimmer Olympics
1:41:27 – Gladiator’s finale: Now We Are Free

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