The Flick: Gladiator (2000)
Oscar Nods: Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture
The Setting: Morocco and Malta (standing in for Rome)
Epic Landscapes: With the sword-and-sandal genre flick Gladiator, director Ridley Scott didn't just pay homage to old Hollywood epics—he shared locations with them too. Scott shot the early scenes, where Russell Crowe's character is enslaved and learns to fight, at Ait-Ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Morocco where Lawrence of Arabia was also filmed (as were Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky, and, well, The Mummy). The mazelike hillside fortress is built entirely of intricately carved adobe—and is still home to a handful of families. A short drive away in Ouarzazate is CLA Studios, where visitors can explore elaborate outdoor desert sets from Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. They're also building a set of ancient Rome (too late for Scott, who had to construct a full-scale replica of the Colosseum on the Mediterranean island of Malta). If you're inspired by Crowe's machismo, head to Rome's Scuola Gladiatori, where weekend warriors—male and female alike—learn ancient warfare using swords, tridents, spears, and body armor during an eight-week gladiator course. Never let those hotel front-desk clerks throw you attitude again!
Scuola Gladiatori Roma
Tel: 39 06 5160 7951
$131 per person