Flavius Silva, commander in Roman Judea, wants to reach a reasonable compromise with the Jewish Zealots and withdraw his legion. Events and personalities in Rome, however, lead to his besieging the fortress of Masada. There the engineering genius of the Romans must fight both the harsh climate and landscape, and the passion and ingenuity of Eleazar Ben Yair and his people. Written by
In order to avoid the heat of the Israeli desert, the crew employed a unique shooting schedule: they divided the day into three eight-hour segments and only shot either late at night or early in the morning. They avoided shooting between late morning and late afternoon, the hottest part of the day. See more »
When the zealots try to hide the body of the legionnaire they have killed by the goat pen, the dead man lifts his head before they lift him up. See more »
Eleazar ben Yair:
You say you will catch us, and kill us? I invite you to try.
Cornelius Flavius Silva:
You invite me to try? Your country is one long and narrow graveyard already; your cities are flatter than your deserts, your temple has been destroyed and most of the survivors are slaves, all for seven years of our 'trying'. Give us our due, man, we know how to kill.
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I thought it was masterful history and Peter O'Toole's greatest performance!
This story brings out the idealist and the need for faith in me whenever I view it. The historical accuracy and the sheer information provided about the Roman Empire, the province of Judea circa 70AD, and the Roman Legions, are truly astonishing. Every semester, whenever I teach World Civilizations I at Essex County College in Newark NJ, I always include a classroom viewing of the 2 hour version for my students (and lament not time enough to show the full saga). Peter O'Toole's performance as the competant but troubled Flavius Silva I humbly believe is his masterwork and the life he places in his character is thought provoking and emotionally stirring. The music, the material, the true story and the detail from building the ramp to the costumes and location re-create what actually happened better than any textbook or lecture could. By the way, Barbara Cararra almost steals the show from Peter O'Toole and her acting performance also deserves special mention. I proudly own the full saga on VHS and eagerly await the DVD edition. This is a must-see for anyone interested in Roman, Israeli, or general history.
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