Hollywood hardman Russell Crowe has furiously attacked director Ridley Scott for killing off his Gladiator character MAXIMUS - because he's convinced they could have made a fortune from sequels to the epic movie.

The Australian hunk won an Oscar for his role as a Roman general who is betrayed by a jealous prince and returns to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

But he's devastated Scott ended his dreams of turning the story into a lucrative film franchise, with his last-minute decision to kill Crowe's character at the end of the Academy Award-winning movie.

Crowe complains, "It's cost us hundreds of millions. Great idea mate. We could have been on Gladiator 10 by now."

A close friend adds, "Crowe sort of jokes about it but he knows he could have kept going back to they character for years."