The historical film Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crow has a fictional storyline. It is only loosely based on historical events.
It’s interesting to read how Marcus Aurelius described the character of the real Maximus:
“Maximus set an example of self-mastery, steadiness of purpose, and good cheer that no circumstance, not even illness, could extinguish. He combined in beautiful measure gravity with charm, and he did whatever needed to be done without making a fuss. Everyone believed what he said was what he thought and that he never acted with an intention to do harm or give offense. Nothing surprised or frightened him, and he never seemed to be in a hurry or slow to accomplish a task.
He was neither intimidated and embarrassed on one hand, nor aggressive and suspicious on the other. So giving, forgiving, and loyal was he by nature that he appeared to be a man whose virtues were inborn rather than acquired. It is unimaginable that anyone ever felt inferior or superior around him, perhaps as a result of his pleasing sense of humor.”
– Excerpt from the Emperor’s Handbook by Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD) –