Barabbas, the criminal that Pontius Pilate induced the populace to vote to set free, so that Christ could be crucified, is haunted by the image of Jesus for the rest of his life.



(screenplay), (novel)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Norman Wooland ...
Joseph of Arimathea (as Arnoldo Foa')
Michael Gwynn ...
Laurence Payne ...
Guido Celano ...


Epic account of the thief Barabbas, who was spared crucifixion when Pilate manipulated the crowd into to pardoning him, rather than Jesus. Struggling with his spirituality, Barabbas goes through many ordeals leading him to the gladiatorial arena, where he tries to win his freedom and confront his inner demons, ultimately becoming a follower of the man who was crucified in his place. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"The motion picture that begins where the other big ones leave off" See more »


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Release Date:

10 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barabbas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(TCM print) (DVD release)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (Westrex Electric Recording) (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


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Pontius Pilate: It seemed to me at the time, Barabbas, when you were given your liberty before, it wasn't a fortunate exchange. They were calling for death and disorder when they called your name. This is what I thought and this is what has occurred. They put the scourge back into the fist. By that I mean you and your life. And many men have suffered and died in consequence.
Barabbas: [referring to Christ] The other man, too. They're dying because of that.
Pontius Pilate: This is a local matter, which I hope will soon be adjusted. The ...
See more »


Version of Barabbas (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

The Mighty Quinn eludes the cross...for a while.
16 November 2004 | by (Cincinnati, OH) – See all my reviews

Whatever happened to that guy who was let off the hook when Jesus was crucified? Here is a fictional account of his life after he was released in Jesus' place. Quinn plays the title character, a thief and rabble-rouser who is set to be crucified when a technicality allows one prisoner to be released due to a holy day. It is brought up in order to free Jesus, but the crowd instead calls for Barabbas' freedom and stay of execution. Quinn spots Jesus briefly through piercing sunlight, then finds himself touching the blood that he's left on a post. He shakes it off and returns home only to find that his lover (Mangano) has fallen under Jesus' spell and won't play anymore. Soon, he has returned to his old ways and when he's arrested, he discovers he can't be killed due to the same technicality that freed him the first time! So he's shipped off to a harrowing sulfur mine where he is chained to man after man, each of them dying in turn until he's paired with an ideological Christian (Gassman.) Circumstances then lead this pair to the Roman Coliseum where they are trained in the art of gladiatorial combat and must face down the deranged and powerful Palance. As the many years go by, Quinn finds himself tempted to believe in Jesus, but always wavering until finally he must make a choice. The film is epic in story and scope with several memorable sequences including a solar eclipse, a stoning execution, a cataclysmic cave-in and a spectacular visit to the Coliseum. The film must be seen in its wide-screen format in order to appreciate the magnitude of its composition. Quinn gives an understated performance with surprisingly little dialogue. His grunting, mumbling approach near the beginning fortunately gives way to a more comprehensible, accessible performance later. The film has a parade of famous actors each of whom is billed in order of appearance except for Mangano (who unfairly gets special treatment due to her marriage to the producer!) It's really Quinn's show, but several others get a chance to shine. Gassman is given a heroic and dignified role, Andrews adds weight to the film with his surehanded presence and Palance is quite notable as the unbeatable gladiator. With his ear-to-ear, snarling grin and his stony stares at his opponents, he presents a formidable foe in the arena. The production is quite eye-filling and visually arresting, but also relentlessly downbeat. Jurado, as Quinn's second favorite bed-mate, adds a little earthy humor to the proceedings, but is dispatched without much ado. There is a tad of unintentional humor along the way thanks to some of the conventions of film-making at the time, but mostly from the entire sequence featuring Lazarus, recently risen from the dead and not looking too great for it! The hysterically wan and creepy looking performer does little to encourage anyone's desire to be resurrected! It's an oddly under-appreciated film, though, which can stand proudly aside its cousins such as "Ben-Hur" and "Spartacus".

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