Why Do They All Say 'I'm Spartacus'? Meaning Of The Movie Line

By | October 6, 2020

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Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas in 'Spartacus.' Source: IMDB

“I’m Spartacus!” was more than a famous movie line from Spartacus, the 1960 historical epic starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis, but symbolism for something much deeper happening in politics at the time. The film’s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo had experienced the wrath of America for identifying as a Communist, an act that seemed to have ruined his career. However, his fame was reinstated with Spartacus and the famous movie line helped viewers sympathize with Trumbo when they realized what it truly represented.

Communist Paranoia Throughout America

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Source: TimeOut

Tensions were high in October 1947 when Americans were overly paranoid about communists residing within the country. This led to a “communist witch hunt” with people trying to turn others in who they thought could be a part of the party, especially in Hollywood where communism was more common among artists and intellectuals. Successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, along with nine others in the entertainment industry that identified as communists, were asked to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee to obey the government and identify other communists in the field. All of the “Hollywood Ten” refused to comply and were thus imprisoned and -- even worse for the directors, producers, and writers -- they were blacklisted by all major studios.