Comment: This is a clip from Mel Gibson's masterpiece, Apocalypto, one of the best action-adventure thrillers and one of the best movies in general I've ever seen. Reading through the comments on YouTube, I was surprised to see that a lot of people think that the Mayans didn't practice human sacrifice, or, if they did kill people to appease their bloodthirsty gods, they didn't rip out their victims' hearts like the Aztecs. Some of the commenters admit that the Mayans may have sacrificed people at times, but claim that they only did it on a limited basis or that it only happened when Mayan civilization was in its final stages.
None of this is accurate. Human sacrifice was an integral part of Mayan religion -- both in their classical and final periods -- especially during times of crisis. They killed their victims by decapitation, heart extraction or shooting them full of arrows, sometimes after ritualistic torture. The history is well known and backed up by surviving Mayan artwork and archaeological finds. Roger Sandall, author of "The Culture Cult: Designer Tribalism and Other Essays," has discussed this in detail in his excellent article, "Collapsing the Maya."