Russell Crowe's Most Epic Movie Airing on CBS Tonight

CBS is taking viewers back to Ancient Rome Sunday night with Gladiator, Ridley Scott's epic [...]

CBS is taking viewers back to Ancient Rome Sunday night with Gladiator, Ridley Scott's epic historical drama that won the 2000 Oscar for Best Picture. The film features Russell Crowe's Oscar-winning performance as the Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who becomes a gladiator to avenge the murders of his family and confront Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. The broadcast of the 155-minute movie starts at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 30.

Gladiator was a massive hit when it first hit theaters in May 2000, grossing over $460.5 million. It went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated for seven other Oscars, including Best Director for Scott and Best Supporting Actor for Phoenix. Gladiator single-handedly revived the "swords and sandal" genre and interest in Ancient Rome. It was also cemented Crowe as a Hollywood superstar. He would go on to star in the next Best Picture winner, Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind.

Sunday night's broadcast is the first entry in the CBS Sunday Night Movie series for 2021. The network brought back the franchise in May 2020 to make up for the lack of original programming caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Another batch of CBS Sunday Night Movies aired in October while the network waited for NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans to start. Raiders of the Lost Arc, Titanic, Forrest Gump, Mission: Impossible, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Old School, Clueless, Scream, Star Trek Beyond, Coming to America, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off all aired on CBS in 2020.

The next CBS Sunday Night Movie will be Selma on June 20 at 8 p.m. ET. This will mark the 2014 film's first airing on a broadcast network. Selma was directed by Ava DuVernay and features David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It tells the story of King's efforts to organize the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The airing is timed to mark Juneteenth.

"It's an honor for CBS to present the broadcast debut of Ava DuVernay's powerful, important and celebrated film Selma, which was distributed by our colleagues at Paramount Pictures," Noriko Kelley, Executive Vice President, Program Planning & Scheduling, CBS Entertainment, said in a statement Thursday. "Television has the unique ability to deliver collective, unifying experiences for the audience, and we hope our broadcast of this compelling and historic drama will inspire discussion among our viewers during Juneteenth weekend and beyond."