Richard Harris: Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius : Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?
Commodus : Yes, father.
Marcus Aurelius : You will not be emperor.
Commodus : Which wiser, older man is to take my place?
Marcus Aurelius : My powers will pass to Maximus, to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a republic again.
Commodus : Maximus?
Marcus Aurelius : Yes.
[Marcus Aurelius tries to comfort Commodus by reaching out his hand to touch him on the face but Commodus pulls his head away from Marcus Aurelius' hand in disgust]
Marcus Aurelius : My decision disappoints you?
Commodus : You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but... there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn't want me for your son.
Marcus Aurelius : Oh, Commodus. You go too far.
Commodus : I search the faces of the gods... for ways to please you, to make you proud. One kind word, one full hug... where you pressed me to your chest and held me tight. Would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years. What is it in me that you hate so much?
Marcus Aurelius : Shh, Commodus.
Commodus : All I've ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar. Father.
Marcus Aurelius : [Marcus Aurelius gets down on his knees] Commodus. Your faults as a son is my failure as a father.
[Marcus opens up his arms to Commodus and gives him a hug]
Commodus : [Commodus hugs Marcus and cries] Father. I would have butcher the whole world... if you would only love me!
[Commodus begins to asphyxiate Marcus while they hug, Marcus grunts]
Maximus : Five thousand of my men are out there in the freezing mud. Three thousand of them are bloodied and cleaved. Two thousand will never leave this place. I will not believe that they fought and died for nothing.
Marcus Aurelius : And what would you believe?
Maximus : They fought for you and for Rome.
Marcus Aurelius : And what is Rome, Maximus?
Maximus : I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light.
Marcus Aurelius : Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become. I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end... he wants to know there was some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher? The warrior? The tyrant...? Or will I be the emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish... it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter.
Marcus Aurelius : [to his daughter Lucilla] If only you had been born a man, what a Caesar you would have made.