I am Spartacus!

“I am Spartacus! “ (Or” I’m Spartacus! “In the original version) is a phrase from the film Spartacus by Stanley Kubrick ( 1960 ). It is pronounced by Kirk Douglas who embodies the famous leader who unleashed the Punic war .

One of the famous scenes of the film is the capture of slaves who are asked which of them is Spartacus in exchange for their freedom. Instead, each of them confesses to being Spartacus to share his destiny. A similar scene or event is sometimes called a Spartacus moment in reference to this popular scene. It was sometimes misinterpreted as a historical fact, notably by the Scottish politician George Galloway , who identifies Spartacus as his hero.

Use in popular culture

This sentence was used outside the film on many occasions:

  • Stanley Kubrick himself refers to his film in Lolita ( 1962 ): at the beginning of the film, when Humbert goes to Clare Quilty, he asks him: ” Are you Clare Quilty?  And this one answers: ” No, I’m Spartacus!  “
  • Kirk Douglas will take up the replica for the name of his book I am Spartacus! where he tells the epic of the film, revealing that this replica would fall by the wayside 1 . The book won the literary prize of the French syndicate of film criticism .
  • In the episode Quo Doofus of Johnny Bravo , several villagers screaming “I’m Spartacus! When Johnny questions them.
  • In an episode of Kappa Mikey , the crowd chants ” I’m Mikey ” and ” I’m Spartacus “.
  • In an advertisement  [ archive ] for Pepsi .
  • In That Thing You Do! ( 1996 ), by Guy Patterson (played by Tom Everett Scott ).
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000 team has used this replica on a few occasions in the movies they satirize. All scenes showing a large number of men outside, often dirty and naked torso, are able to evoke the replica.
  • In an episode of the television series The Clique , the identification of “G-Prime” causes many supporters, “I am G-Prime”. A Roman soldier arrives then and says: “I am Spartacus”.
  • In the Monk and Red-Headed Stranger episode of the Monk series , Willie Nelson ( guest star ) is about to be arrested by the police. All the members of his group say “I am Willie Nelson”, to which he answers “I do not think it will work”.
  • In the episode Two days before the day after tomorrow of South Park , all the inhabitants claim “I destroyed the dam”, in a similar scene.
  • In Life of Brian of Monty Python , the name of Spartacus was replaced by Brian. One of the characters even says, “I’m Brian and my wife too.”
  • In Call Me Kubrick , a crook named Alan Conway pretends to be Stanley Kubrick, and eventually fails in a mental hospital. He declares to the nurse, “I am Stanley Kubrick! This sentence is repeated mechanically, in turn, by all the patients lying in the chamber, including some prestigious guest-stars, the filmmaker Ken Russell or the choreographer Peter Sellars .
  • In some French engineering schools , a “game” consists of getting up and saying loudly “I am Spartacus! Then to empty his glass in one gulp. Generally, this person’s comrades contradict her and claim to be Spartacus themselves, repeating the ritual.
  • In the film Zorro’s Mask , after several years in prison, Zorro is unrecognizable. Rafael inspects all the prisoners. Everyone answers, “I am Zorro,” to protect the real Zorro. This scene is directly inspired by Spartacus .
  • At the end of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X , children say ” I am Malcolm X!  “
  • In the movie about serial killer Theodore Robert Bundy , we find an ending showing young children identifying with the main character, this “Ted Bundy” in this case.
  • In the last plan of Soy Cuba , revolutionaries respond to soldiers seeking Fidel Castro ” Yo be Fidel Castro!  “
  • This replica has been used on several occasions in the Whose Line Is It Anyway? including Ryan Stiles imitating Carol Channing or Scooby-Doo .
  • This replica serves as an introduction to every Pink Floyd Roger Waters tour of The Wall Live .


In a perhaps subjective way, the reference to I am Spartacus! is made each time a situation in real life leads a group to support an individual using the formula I X … . The perfect example being John Fitzgerald Kennedypronouncing his famous Ich bin ein Berliner in 1963. An illustration was also noticed during the global solidarity reaction after the January 2015 attacks in France with the Je suis Charlie 2 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ ” I am Spartacus of Kirk Douglas ”  [ archive ] , on the Salon Littéraire ,
  2. ↑ The two French meanings of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ [ archive ] , on the site washingtonpost.com accessed 27-06-2015.

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