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Barabbas (1961)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,070 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 17 critic

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.

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(screenplay), (novel), 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
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Sahak
Norman Wooland ...
...
Julia
...
Torvald
...
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Joseph of Arimathea (as Arnoldo Foa')
Michael Gwynn ...
Laurence Payne ...
Disciple
...
Vasasio
Guido Celano ...
Scorpio
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barabbas  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) (DVD release)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sharon Tate was an extra in the amphitheater scene. See more »

Goofs

When Barabbas is sent to the sulfur mines, a guard chains him to another prisoner by hammering closed an iron link shaped like a 'C' with both ends of the 'C' glowing red-hot. The same technique is shown at least one other time. However, it's not the ends of the 'C'-shape that should be glowing red-hot in order to hammer the link closed, it is the middle, where it needs to bend. Cold iron is brittle and needs to be heated to bend or it will fracture. See more »

Quotes

Peter: [Arrested for arson, Barabbas has been brought to the dungeons housing the Christians falsely accused of the act] This burning city is no work of ours. This isn't how the new kingdom is going to be made. You were wrong.
Barabbas: Who are you to tell me I'm wrong?
Peter: Many years ago, we spoke together. Do you remember?
Barabbas: No.
Peter: You asked me why I was making a net so far from the sea.
Barabbas: Jerusalem. The street of the potters.
Peter: You were as mistaken then as you are again now.
Female Christian: We didn't set fire to the city.
Male Christian: You've done the...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Followed by Slave of Dreams (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Among the best of all Biblical epics
17 April 2006 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

Richard Fleischer was a good jobbing director but there were occasions when he seemed inspired. "The Vikings" is one of the great genre movies and "The Boston Strangler" is one of the best police procedural films ever made. This is very much in the same class and has much to commend it. It's biggest drawback is that the early scenes never quite shake off the enforced piety that engulfed Hollywood movies that centered on Christ. Is it any wonder that Monty Python lampooned such movies in their "Life of Brian"? On the other hand, coming as it does from a novel by Nobel prize-winning author Par Lagerkvist and scripted as it is by Christopher Fry, the film is more intellectually challenging than we have any right to expect, (for example Barabbas has a discussion with Lazarus on what it was like to have died and then to be raised from the dead), while at the same time not skimping on the spectacle, (the gladiatorial scenes are superb).

It begins with the freeing of Barabbas in the place of Jesus, then follows him on his own journey of redemption as he realizes that it was through Christ's death that he came to live. It's a theme, of course, as old as the Bible itself and as religious movies go it's a bit simplistic but it does work on a primitive, intellectually jarring level and it doesn't thrust it's religiosity down our throats. Barabbas' journey of discovery is long, slow and painfully questioning and is consequently quite moving.

No one in the large, international cast gets to rise above being a Biblical or gladiatorial cliché with the exception of Anthony Quinn in the title role. He is excellent and had yet to give way to the bombast of Zorba the Greek. Still, neither Quinn's performance nor the film have ever been given their due. Perhaps a movie about the man who lived so that Christ might die proved unpalatable. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth rediscovering.


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