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Jesus of Nazareth (TV Mini-Series 1977) Poster

(1977 TV Mini-Series)

Trivia

Rarely during the movie do any of the actors portraying Jesus blink their eyes. Director Franco Zeffirelli decided on this as a means of creating a subconscious visual mystique about the character that not only differentiated him from all other characters, and is eerily effective. The boy Jesus in the Temple blinks twice in the Temple, and the adult Jesus blinks only once on film.
Jesus Christ says "Talitha Cumi" when he brings the girl back to life from her death. Talitha Cumi is Aramaic which means "Little girl, rise." Aramaic was the language of first century Israel. Aramaic continued to be the language of Hebrews in early second century AD until Simon Bar Kokhba tried to revive Hebrew and tried to make Hebrew the official language of Hebrews during Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135 AD). According to Book "Naming the Witch: Magic, Ideology, and Stereotype in the Ancient World" written by Kimberly B. Stratton (p. 232), Dead Sea Scrolls Archaeologist Yigael Yadin suggests that Bar Kokhba was trying to revive Hebrew by decree as part of his messianic ideology.
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Franco Zeffirelli considered both Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino for the part of Jesus and Robert Powell to play Judas.
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Yorgo Voyagis, who plays Joseph (Mary's husband), can be seen speaking in English, but his voice is dubbed by an uncredited actor. Voyagis' real voice can be heard in the Diane Keaton film The Little Drummer Girl (1984). Franco Zeffirelli also used this technique with a few of the actors in his film version of Romeo and Juliet (1968).
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The eye makeup for Robert Powell consisted of a thin line of dark blue eyeliner on the upper lid of the eye, and a thin line of white eyeliner on the lower lid. This had the effect of highlighting the piercing blue of the actor's eyes, thus giving him a penetrating stare, when combined with very little blinking, made the character appear surreal and supernatural.
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Peter O'Toole was cast as Judas, but had to back out of the project due to illness.
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Banned in Egypt after religious leaders objected to its content.
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Maria Schneider was originally offered the role of the Virgin Mary but declined and later regretted the decision.
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In this film, Jesus Christ's opposition against the scribes and the Pharisees ("Woe to you scribes and Pharisees!") come from Matthew 23 and Luke 11 in New Testament. Jesus Christ's biggest opponents were the Pharisees and the scribes because the Pharisees, the scribes, and all Hebrews who belonged to the sect of Pharisees obeyed Traditions of the Elders ("Mashlmanwatha da Qashishe" in Aramaic) which nullified the word of God (Matthew 15, Mark 7). Traditions of the Elders later came to be known as Talmud. This is also agreed by Jewish society. Rabbi Michael Rodkinson - "The Talmud, then, is the written form of that which, in the time of Jesus, was called the Traditions of the Elders, and to which he makes frequent allusions" (Source - The History of the Talmud, Vol. II, page 70, Chapter IX).
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This was Francis De Wolff's final television appearance before his death on April 18, 1984 at the age of 71.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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