Gladiator is a 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. It stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed (in his final role), Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus, the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murders of his family and his emperor. The film was released in the United States on May 5, 2000, and grossed $457 million worldwide. The film won multiple awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe and three other Oscars at the 73rd Academy Awards. It has also been credited with rekindling interest in entertainment centered around ancient Greek and Roman culture, such as Rome.