5 The Empire Strikes Back.Valentinian | 08/05/2011 | See all Valentinian's reviews (62)Top 100 DVD Reviewer This superior example of the genre, is the movie that Gladiator borrowed it`s storyline from, as it charts the murderous intrigues involving the Emperor Marcus Aurelius`s evil son Commodus, and his willingness to stop at nothing to take the Imperial throne. Unlike Gladiator, it`s largely historically accurate - the armour and costumes in particular are a history nerd`s wet dream. The script and acting are highly intelligent, and the action in a pre-CGI world is simply awesome. The Hi-Def transfer boasts a number of wonderfully atmospheric scenes, including the funeral of the Emperor in a raging snowstorm. High production values counter act the movie`s excessive length, in which the armies of Rome are seen engaging the barbarian hordes in the darkness of the German forests on the edge of empire. The later Gladiator, for all it`s many Oscars, only exists because it stood on the shoulders of this far superior earlier film. As well as a first class transfer, there are copious extras on the movie and the historical background it`s set in. This is a forgotten gem which needs to be dusted down and seen once again as just about the finest example of it`s type ever made.