Ridley Scott’s swords-and-sandals epic Gladiator became the rarest sort of Hollywood beast after it was released 20 years ago, on May 5, 2000: A cleverly conceived clash of popcorn vs. prestige — a summer blockbuster hit that would go on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. It was a swashbuckling sensation, a Ben-Hur for the brand new millennium.

Watch Gladiator (2000) fight scenes:

And it wasn’t nearly as meticulously planned out as you might have expected.

“We went into that film without a completed script,” Crowe told Yahoo Entertainment during a 2015 Role Recall interview (watch above, with Gladiator starting at 3:05).

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