The historical novel Spartacus by Howard Fast was made into the film Spartacus by Stanley Kubrick in 1960. It starred Kirk Douglas (Spartacus), Laurence Olivier (Marcus Licinius Crassus), John Gavin (Julius Caesar), Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, and Tony Curtis. The film follows Spartacus from slavery to liberation.

The film was re-released in 1967, 23 minutes shorter than the original release, and again in 1991, with those 23 minutes restored, plus an additional 14 minutes that had been cut from the film before its original release. That addition included several violent battle sequences as well as a bath scene in which the Roman patrician and general Crassus (played by Olivier), attempting to seduce his slave Antoninus (played by Curtis), uses the euphemisms "eating oysters" and "eating snails" to express his opinion that sexual preference is a matter of taste rather than morality.

When the film was restored, many years after Olivier's death, the original dialogue recording from this scene was missing, and so it had to be re-dubbed. Tony Curtis was able to re-record his part, but Crassus's voice is actually an Olivier impersonation by Anthony Hopkins.

C: Do you steal, Antoninus?
A: No, master.
C: Do you lie?
A: Not if I can avoid it.
C: Have you ever dishonoured the gods?
A: No, master.
C: Do you refrain from these vices out of respect for the moral virtues?
A: Yes, master.
C: Do you eat oysters?
A: When I have them, master.
C: Do you eat snails?
A: No, master.
C: Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral, and the eating of snails to be immoral?
A: No, master. Of course not.
C: It is all a matter of taste, isn't it?
A: Yes, master.
C: And taste is not the same as appetite, and therefore not a question of morals, is it?
A: It could be argued so, master.
C: That will do. My robe, Antoninus.
C: My taste includes...both snails and oysters.

The videotape is available in both formats, but fans prefer the "wide-screen" or "letterbox" version, because many of the scenes, especially "The Last Supper" one, depend on having the full width of the screen visible.