IMDb > "Masada" (1981)
"Masada"
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"Masada" (1981) More at IMDbPro »TV mini-series 1981-

Photos (See all 8 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
Masada: Season 1: Episode 4 -- Conclusion. Action builds to a tragic climax as the Romans assault the fortress with a siege engine--a massive ram mounted on a mobile tower.
Masada: Season 1: Episode 3 -- A Zealot plot to demoralize the Romans provokes retaliation against the camp's Jewish slaves by the scheming envoy Falco, who replaces Silva as commander.
Masada: Season 1: Episode 2 -- While the Romans ready their offensive, Silva seeks comfort from a beautiful slave who plucks at his conscience.
Masada: Season 1: Episode 1 -- Raids on Roman garrisons lead to a showdown between the Zealot leader and a Roman commander.

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   1,417 votes »
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Contact:
View company contact information for Masada on IMDbPro.
Seasons:
1
Release Date:
5 April 1981 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada. Full summary »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 12 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(8 articles)
2013 celebrity deaths: Paul Walker, Cory Monteith, James Gandolfini
 (From Zap2It - From Inside the Box. 31 December 2013, 11:00 AM, PST)

Curio: Blue-Eyed Bravura
 (From FilmExperience. 17 December 2013, 1:00 PM, PST)

Peter O'Toole Dies
 (From PEOPLE.com. 15 December 2013, 10:35 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
"We have won a rock in the middle of a wasteland on the shore of a poisoned sea." See more (21 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 31 of 34)

Peter O'Toole ... General Cornelius Flavius Silva / ... (4 episodes, 1981)

Peter Strauss ... Eleazar ben Yair (4 episodes, 1981)

Barbara Carrera ... Sheva (4 episodes, 1981)

Alan Feinstein ... Aaron (4 episodes, 1981)
Giulia Pagano ... Miriam (4 episodes, 1981)

Anthony Quayle ... Rubrius Gallus (4 episodes, 1981)

Paul L. Smith ... Gideon (4 episodes, 1981)

David Warner ... Falco (4 episodes, 1981)
Clive Francis ... Attius, Head Tribune (4 episodes, 1981)
David Opatoshu ... Shimon (4 episodes, 1981)
Richard Pierson ... Ephraim (4 episodes, 1981)

Joseph Wiseman ... Jerahmeel, Head Essene (4 episodes, 1981)
David A. Block ... Reuben (4 episodes, 1981)

Vernon Dobtcheff ... Chief Priest (4 episodes, 1981)
David Mauro ... Epos (4 episodes, 1981)
Alexander Peleg ... Zidon (4 episodes, 1981)

Joey Sagal ... Seth (4 episodes, 1981)
Michael Shillo ... Ezra (4 episodes, 1981)
Christopher Biggins ... Albinus (3 episodes, 1981)
Heinz Bernard ... Elder (3 episodes, 1981)

Warren Clarke ... Plinius (3 episodes, 1981)

Ken Hutchison ... Fronto (3 episodes, 1981)

Reuven Bar-Yotam ... Butcher (3 episodes, 1981)
Denis Quilley ... Gen. Marcus Quadratus / ... (2 episodes, 1981)

Anthony Valentine ... Merovius, Head Tribune (2 episodes, 1981)
Jack Watson ... Decurion (2 episodes, 1981)
Derek Newark ... Engineering Officer (2 episodes, 1981)

Michael Elphick ... Vettius (2 episodes, 1981)

Nick Brimble ... Milades (2 episodes, 1981)
Michael Schneider ... Surgeon (2 episodes, 1981)

Richard Basehart ... Narrator, Modern Day Scene (2 episodes, 1981)
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Series Directed by
Boris Sagal (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Writing credits
Ernest K. Gann (4 episodes, 1981)
Joel Oliansky (4 episodes, 1981)

Series Produced by
George Eckstein .... producer (4 episodes, 1981)
Arnon Milchan .... supervising producer: Israel (4 episodes, 1981)

Richard Irving .... producer (unknown episodes)
Jennings Lang .... executive producer (unknown episodes)
 
Series Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith (2 episodes, 1981)
Morton Stevens (2 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Cinematography by
Paul Lohmann (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Film Editing by
Edwin F. England (4 episodes, 1981)
Peter Kirby (4 episodes, 1981)

Robert L. Kimble (unknown episodes)
Ron Rutberg (unknown episodes)
 
Series Casting by
Weston Drury Jr. (4 episodes, 1981)
Mark Malis (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Production Design by
Jack Senter (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Art Direction by
George Renne (4 episodes, 1981)
Kuli Sander (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Set Decoration by
Edward M. Parker (4 episodes, 1981)
Joseph J. Stone (4 episodes, 1981)

Ladislav Wilheim (unknown episodes, 1981)
 
Series Costume Design by
Vittorio Nino Novarese (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Makeup Department
Del Acevedo .... makeup artist (4 episodes, 1981)
Terri Cannon .... hair stylist (4 episodes, 1981)
Irene De'Atley .... hair stylist (4 episodes, 1981)
Albert Jeyte .... makeup artist (4 episodes, 1981)
Chris Taylor .... hair stylist (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Production Management
Ben Bishop .... unit production manager (4 episodes, 1981)
Richard Irving .... executive in charge of production (4 episodes, 1981)
Robert G. Stone .... unit production manager (4 episodes, 1981)
Roni Ya'ackov .... production manager: Israel (4 episodes, 1981)

Edward D. Markley .... production manager (unknown episodes)
 
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jim Gardner .... first assistant director (4 episodes, 1981)
Dov Maoz .... assistant director: Israel (4 episodes, 1981)
Mark R. Schilz .... second assistant director (4 episodes, 1981)

Forrest L. Futrell .... trainee assistant director (unknown episodes)
Shemi .... first assistant director (unknown episodes)
Leo Zisman .... second assistant director (unknown episodes)
 
Series Art Department
Roy Barnes .... set designer (unknown episodes)
James Passanante .... painter (unknown episodes)
 
Series Sound Department
James R. Alexander .... sound (4 episodes, 1981)
Brian Marshall .... sound (4 episodes, 1981)
Kendrick Sweet .... sound effects editor (4 episodes, 1981)

Barney Cabral .... sound editor (unknown episodes)
 
Series Special Effects by
Kevin Pike .... special effects (unknown episodes)
 
Series Visual Effects by
Bill Taylor .... matte photography (4 episodes, 1981)
Albert Whitlock .... special visual effects (4 episodes, 1981)

Syd Dutton .... matte painter (unknown episodes)
Henry Schoessler .... visual effects assistant (unknown episodes)
 
Series Stunts
Jack Gill .... stunts (unknown episodes)
Jack Tyree .... stunts (unknown episodes)
 
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Kenneth J. Withers .... camera operator: second unit (4 episodes, 1981)

Nimi Getter .... gaffer (unknown episodes)
 
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Alex D'Alessio .... costume supervisor (4 episodes, 1981)
Eddie Marks .... costume supervisor (4 episodes, 1981)
Lambert Marks .... costume supervisor (4 episodes, 1981)

Jerry Herrin .... set costumer: USA (unknown episodes)
 
Series Editorial Department
John Bloom .... editorial consultant (4 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Music Department
Robert Mayer .... music editor (4 episodes, 1981)
Jerry Goldsmith .... composer: theme music (2 episodes, 1981)
 
Series Transportation Department
Michael Hartman .... transportation manager (unknown episodes)
 
Series Other crew
Danny Ben Menahem .... location manager (4 episodes, 1981)
Marge Champion .... dialogue coach (4 episodes, 1981)
Claude Hudson .... production coordinator (4 episodes, 1981)
Ian Lewis .... production coordinator (4 episodes, 1981)
Vittorio Nino Novarese .... technical advisor (4 episodes, 1981)

Alan J. Lam .... production accountant (unknown episodes)
 
Series Thanks
William Sackheim .... acknowledgment (4 episodes, 1981)
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
394 min | Argentina:131 min | Finland:122 min (theatrical version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
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 »
Goofs:
Continuity: In one scene General Silva is having a conversation with Eleazar ben Yair. One of the men's chain around is neck is stuck around a pin on his body armor in one camera view, but not in a different view.See more »
Quotes:
Cornelius Flavius Silva:A victory? What have we won? We've won a rock in the middle of a wasteland, on the shores of a poisoned sea.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Dead End (1985)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
"We have won a rock in the middle of a wasteland on the shore of a poisoned sea.", 30 March 2008
Author: TrevorAclea from London, England

Back in 1981 this epic mini-series about the ill-fated Jewish rebellion against Roman rule pulled in what was then the biggest TV audience of all time, yet it's languished on the shelf forgotten for the past couple of decades. The Region 1 DVD isn't even released by producers Universal and comes with no extras, though it does include the uncut six-hour-plus series, but not the abridged feature film version released outside the US as The Antagonists, which apparently featured some different scenes (the abridged version was not a success: in the UK it had the dubious honour of being the lowest-grossing film of it's year).

As with most siege epics, the action is limited to the beginning and the end, with much of the interim filled in with intrigue and character development while we wait for the big battle that in this case, famously, never actually happens. Not altogether surprisingly it spends more screen time with the Romans than with the zealots - even if the zealots' strategy was more than simply watching and waiting while sporadically taunting their would-be conquerors, with their penchant for spectacle and infighting, the Romans are always better dramatic value in these sorts of epics. Certainly Peter O'Toole effortlessly dominates the series as the humane Roman commander forced by the political situation back in Rome to fight the rebels rather than negotiate with them only to find himself facing mutiny, senatorial spies and other political animals as well as heat, windstorms and not enough water before his legions can even start to virtually move mountains to reach the clifftop fortress of Masada. By contrast, then-reigning king of the miniseries Peter Strauss has less to work with as his character spends much of the series waiting and trying to raise moral with only a few half-hearted attempts at soul-searching along the way, only really coming into his own in the still powerful final scenes.

The supporting cast is impressive, with a line-up of familiar Brits including David Warner, Anthony Quayle, Timothy West, Dennis Quilley, Anthony Valentine and Nigel Davenport making up the officers, emperors and senators while the likes of Jack Watson, Norman Rossington, Warren Clarke, Michael Elphick and Nick Brimble swell the Roman ranks. The Judeans have to make do with Barbara Carrera, Joseph Wiseman, David Opatoshu and Paul L. Smith. For the most part they're blessed with exceptionally good dialogue with few lapses (though Anthony Valentine's "I'm a tribune, darling" is an unwelcome moment of unintended camp) thanks to Joel Oliansky's surprisingly intelligent and often witty screenplay, which boasts a good understanding of the politics of the day on both sides and an ability to offer memorable character moments for even the bit players - siege engineer's Quayle's briefing on the practicalities how to get the most out of slave labour is a perfect example of how to juggle exposition and background research without it seeming like a history lecture.

Visually it's often impressive too, although at times Boris Sagal's direction is caught between location naturalism and old-school studio work. The destruction of Jerusalem has something of the look of a late De Mille epic to it, with Albert Whitlock's old school columns of fire matte paintings having an almost storybook stylisation that wouldn't look out of place in The Ten Commandments but despite some obvious studio interior-'exteriors' in a few scenes, it's a genuinely spectacular production from a time when the big-screen epic had long fallen from favour. There's also an extraordinarily good score from Jerry Goldsmith (with additional music by Morton Gould based on his themes) at the peak of his powers even if his great elegiac finale cue was never used. Still pretty impressive stuff.

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The height of the real Masada makes this movie impossible? kinglerch
OT but Not Really: Roman Destruction of Jerusalem 70 AD Nomouth
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Complete MASADA double-CD soundtrack available! ScopeWatcher
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