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Gladiator movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Gladiator filmed?


City Locations

Malta, Tuscany (Italy); Surrey (UK), Ouarzazate (Morocco)

Location Types

Film Studio

Location Styles

Construction, Mediterranean, Moroccan

About Gladiator

The movie Gladiator (2000) is a historical epic directed by Ridley Scott. The main cast includes Joaquin Phoenix as the villainous Emperor Commodus, Russell Crowe as Maximus, and Connie Nielsen as the character Lucilla, who serves as Maximus' love interest. The movie follows Maximus' story of revenge against the emperor who killed his family and took away his freedom. Maximus is forced to become a gladiator in the Colosseum, where he quickly rises to fame and becomes one of the most admired fighters in Rome. Derek Jacobi and Djimon Hounsou are also featured in Gladiator alongside Oliver Reed, who unfortunately passed away during the film's production due to a heart attack.

The movie focuses on honor, loyalty, vengeance, mercy, faith, and redemption themes. It tells an intimate story of Maximus’ journey from broken soldier to mighty gladiator and hero of Rome while depicting the vast political machinations at work within Roman society. Gladiator is a thrilling tale of courage and strength set amidst action-packed scenes that capture ancient Rome's glory.

Gladiator was met with critical acclaim upon its release in 2000. When it first came out, Gladiator was mainly well-received. People surveyed by CinemaScore gave the movie an average rating of A on a scale from A+ to F. Critics liked the cast and their performances, especially Crowe and Phoenix. It received twelve Academy Award nominations, including Best Cinematography. The movie won five awards, including Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Actor for Russell Crowe's performance as Maximus Decimus Meridius.

Gladiator has since become one of the highest-grossing movies ever released, earning $503.2 million worldwide on its original theatrical run alone.

Gladiator Locations

The movie Gladiator was shot in three main locations: Ouarzazate, Morocco; Bourne Wood, Surrey, England; and Fort Ricasoli, Malta. The savage opening battle was shot at Bourne Wood near Farnham, Surrey, which Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe later revisited for their Robin Hood movie. Scenes of Maximus being sold into slavery were filmed at Aït Benhaddou in Morocco, which was also used for the Kingdom of Heaven. Lastly, Roman sets with added CGI effects were constructed on the massive remains of Fort Ricasoli on Malta.

The backdrop for these scenes provides an excellent historical perspective. Bourne Wood is located in southeast England and is dense with beech trees, creating an idyllic atmosphere perfect for shooting a medieval battle scene. Aït Benhaddou is a fortified city in southeastern Morocco surrounded by kasbahs and mud-brick structures built into the hillsides, giving it an ancient feel. Lastly, the impressive Fort Ricasoli on Malta is spread across 166 acres filled with dry moats, drawbridges, and bastions, making it a great choice as a Roman set backdrop.

A trip to any of these locations is worth considering as they all have unique characteristics that make them special. Bourne Wood offers beautiful scenery not just for movies but also for picnics and walks along the nearby river Wey, while Aït Ben Haddou provides an insight into the rich history of Morocco. Finally, Fort Ricasoli is teeming with history, from its fortified walls to its various towers providing a fantastic view over Valletta Harbor below.

General Maximus battles the savages in Germania scene in Gladiator

Bourne Wood, Farnham, Surrey, England, UK

Ridley Scott's Gladiator's thrilling opening battle scene epitomizes Maximus Decimus Meridius’ martial prowess. As his forces attack, Maximus confidently shouts “Roma victor,” while inspiring his men to victory against Germanic barbarians in 180 A.D. Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), observing the battle, is impressed by Maximus’ leadership and bravery. The thrilling scene is filled with intense fighting and dramatic stunts as the two forces clash. After a long and hard-fought battle, Maximus emerges victorious and earns the respect of the Emperor. In this scene, we witness a visual representation of what it was like to fight during the Roman Empire as swords clash, arrows fly, and horses stampede across the battlefield.

The initial battle scenes in Gladiator were shot in Bourne Wood near Farnham, Surrey, England. The woodland is mainly composed of coniferous trees and was originally called Clumps until the Forestry Commission modified its name during the 1950s. Since 1999, a portion of Bourne Wood has become a popular site for filming movies, TV shows, and music videos.

If you want to visit Bourne Wood, where the iconic opening scenes from Gladiator were filmed, it is easily accessible by car or public transportation. To reach the area, you’ll need to take a 50-mile drive southwest from London. If you choose public transport, take South Western Railway services directly from London Waterloo Station to Farnham Station and walk for about 27 minutes to Bourne Wood.

Maximus fights in Rome's Colosseum scene in Gladiator

Ksar Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

The Rome Colosseum scenes show Maximus arriving at his new home. He and the other slaves are marched through the winding streets of the ancient village and into a sandy courtyard where Proximo (Oliver Reed), the head of the gladiator school, awaits them. Maximus is then taken to Rome's Colosseum to compete, eventually facing Commodus. The scene is incredibly atmospheric, with a haunting backdrop of mud-brick buildings, crumbling archways, and terracotta rooftops. At the Colosseum, he fights bravely and demonstrates his strength, shouting, "Are you not entertained?!" to the audience.

The Moroccan town of Aït Benhaddou is a perfect backdrop for this iconic scene, with its fortified walls, narrow alleys, and unique architecture providing an authentic atmosphere. Aït Benhaddou is an ighrem, or fortified village, built by Berbers (or Imazighen) along one of Morocco's ancient caravan routes between the Sahara desert and Marrakech to Timbuktu. It dates back to around the 7th century AD but had become abandoned mainly by people by the 1950s due to increased difficulty crossing the Atlas Mountains. In 1987, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural value as an example of traditional earthen clay architecture and as a backdrop for movies.

To get to Aït Benhaddou from Marrakech, you can hire a car or book an organized tour, including transport there and back, plus visits to nearby sites such as Ouarzazate or Telouet Kasbah. There are also several buses traveling directly from Casablanca, which will take around six hours. Once there, visitors can explore the village on foot or horseback before returning on their chosen mode of transport back to their starting point.

The running son and villa scene in Gladiator

Val d'Orcia srl, Via Dante Alighieri, 33, 53027 San Quirico d'Orcia SI, Italy

The scene where Commodus sends his Praetorian guards to Maximus' house to kill his wife (Giannina Facio) and son (Giorgio Cantarini) is one of the most iconic scenes in the movie. It shows how ruthless Commodus can be and highlights Maximus' resolve to protect his family. In this scene, Maximus' son runs towards the soldiers who have arrived to kill him and his mother, thinking that his father is coming home.

The scene was shot in San Quirico d'Orcia in Italy. This location is stunning, with beautiful rolling hills covered in green pastures and ancient trees surrounding a winding road. The area has become iconic due to its appearance in Gladiator and is now an inn open for visitors. Tourists come here to take pictures through the gates or even stay here for a relaxing holiday.

To get to this location, head south from Florence on A1 and allow for approximately two hours driving time. Alternatively, you can take a train from nearby towns such as Grosseto or Montalcino and hop onto a bus or private transfer service, which will drop you off at Val d’Orcia srl.

Maximus' journey home scene in Gladiator

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California 93545, USA

Maximus manages to escape his execution barely and hurries home, only to find the bodies of his family who had been burned and crucified. We see a scene of his long ride to the villa, where Maximus discovers his family's remains in the smoldering ruins of his villa. The intense emotional pain Maximus feels is expressed through Russell Crowe's powerful performance.

The filming location for this scene was the Alabama Hills in California, a collection of hills and rocks located near the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range in the Owens Valley. The dramatic landscape provides an unforgettable backdrop to this crucial scene in Gladiator.

For those looking to visit this particular location, Alabama Hills can be found approximately five miles southwest of Lone Pine, California; 269 miles south of Reno, Nevada; or 210 miles northeast from Los Angeles on US Route 395. The landscape is open for both day use and overnight camping trips year-round, with numerous hiking trails around its base offering spectacular views of nearby snow-capped peaks and stunning desert vistas.

Ancient Rome scenes in Gladiator

Fort Ricasoli, St. Rocco Street, Il-Kalkara KKR 9062, Malta

The 'Roman' scene is compelling and iconic as we see Commodus proclaim himself the new emperor of Rome, surrounded by cheering crowds. The scene is filled with drama and tension as Commodus' rule faces an imminent challenge from the returning general. Later we witness a scene as Maximus discovers from Cicero (Tommy Flanagan) that his ex-orderly's legion remains loyal to him.

The iconic scene was filmed at Fort Ricasoli on Malta. The fort dates back to the 1670s and was used in several historic military engagements, such as the Froberg mutiny in 1807 and World War II. It was chosen for its vast size and grandeur, making it perfect for recreating the ancient city of Rome on film.

To get to Fort Ricasoli, you will need to drive about six miles northeast from Malta International Airport.


Gladiator is a compelling movie with excellent acting performances and an engaging script. The idea of re-creating famous battles in the Colosseum added a unique twist to the classic story of Maximus. Russell Crowe delivered an impressive performance as Maximus, and Djimon Hounsou provided a powerful presence as his closest friend among the gladiators. Joaquin Phoenix also earned critical acclaim as Commodus, and Ridley Scott did an incredible job directing this movie and creating intense scenes with beautiful cinematography.

Best of all, it’s easy to check out several Gladiator filming locations for yourself. Several of these sites are easily accessible, so start planning your Gladiator travel adventure today.