"Death Smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back." Although many points in the movie "Gladiator" were not historically accurate, the movie did portray a very accurate depiction of the lives and values of the Romans. The gladiatorial games in Rome were not only entertainment for the masses, but also used for political means as shown in the movie. Also, the violence that the viewer sees in the movie, "Gladiator" is just a small glimpse into that of a Romans daily life, and everywhere you turned, like in the movie, Romans were faced death and how you faced death could make you a hero.
The first gladiatorial games in the Colosseum took place after it was built, in 80 CE, by the Emperor Titus and in its first two weeks 2000 gladiators were killed for the entertainment of the people. As in the movie, "Gladiator," the gladiatorial games were also used as a means of political power.
In the Roman Republic popularity was brought to the giver of the games, which resulted votes at election time. Under the Empire, the Emperor did not want prominent citizens sponsoring the games, in fear that they would win too much popular favour, so the Emperor, like in the movie, would sponsor games and attend them to promote ones self. The Colosseum was also a place of public demonstration, as there is security in numbers and people could then complain to the emperor about many things. Public demonstrations at the Colosseum on one occasion led the assassination of an emperor after his refusal to listen to the crowd, being the reason why Commodus didn't have Maximus killed. A wise emperor could benefit politically from his appearances at the Colosseums by showing that he had the same interests as his people.