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This is one of the best biblical movies I have seen. The fact it was
made for TV makes it more remarkable, considering its' best competition
was filmed for theatrical release.
As a Christian, I was a little wary of the approach Mr. Hopkins would give in his portrayal of one of the greatest men to have ever lived, the Apostle Paul. Hopkins gave a wonderful performance. His vision of Paul was entirely believable. Paul was supremely faithful, but wrestled with unforgiveness, illness, hardship, anger, etc. Mr. Hopkins' showcased the entire spectrum of Pauls' strenghts and weaknesses, without losing the strength of his immense faith in Christ.
I highly recommend this movie because it is well done, it is true to the Biblical accounts, and it is a moving account of the lives of Peter and Paul.
This is a great movie for those who want to understand the early
decades of the Christian church. Anthony Hopkins as Paul and
Robert Foxworth as Peter are fabulous in their acting. Paul is
obviously more passionate and the story tends to give him more
screen time. The movie tells the story of how and what the
disciples did following the Resurrection. In the book of Galatians
in the New Testament, Paul is revisiting churches he started which
have come under the influence of Judiazers who say that
Christians must be Jews, and that Gentiles must be circumsized.
Paul meets with Peter, who has not left the general area of Jerusalem to discuss this problem. His argument is that Jesus came to save all--Jew and Gentile alike, and he has been travelling to Greece and Asia Minor making large numbers of converts. The arguments he makes to Peter, is that salvation is by faith, that Jesus plus nothing is the key to salvation, and that works or previous Jewish religious practices are now irrelevant. Peter eventually is pursuaded, and after about 30 years of doing little, agrees with Paul's arguments. Paul's other journeys are dramatized and his final days seem to drag out the movie, but the performances are top notch!
Without the contributions of Peter and Paul to the early Christian
church it might very well have gone on to be an obscure offshoot of
Judaism and Jesus might have died a lonely and forgotten death. This
film, Peter and Paul, is based on their contributions in spreading the
Robert Foxworth is a rugged Peter, along the lines of Finlay Currie and Howard Keel previous portrayers of St. Peter, who also looks like a man who worked outdoors and with his hands. Anthony Hopkins is the scholarly Saul of Tarsus, rabbi who was charged with the apprehension and elimination of this Jewish sect worshiping a carpenter who allegedly rose from the dead.
To mark his change of mind about this group, Saul changed his name to Paul and his forcible conversion on the road to Damascus is shown here in detail. The bolt of lightning that knocked him off his ride and blinded him and his later restoration to sight changed him 180 degrees. He becomes their champion and their most eloquent spokesperson.
Paul before Peter took the commandment seriously about the new faith being universal. Others of the early Christians wanted to do the work of evangelizing strictly amongst the Jews. Peter was caught between a rock and a hard place on the issue.
Undaunted Paul goes out among all various and sundry folks spreading the word. His travels are recorded in the names of the various books of the New Testament, his letters of commission and instruction to the various churches he founded.
Whatever one's view of Christianity is, for better or worse Paul's probably the guy who did the most to spread it. That is indisputable. Anthony Hopkins combines the intellect with the personal magnetism that the man had to have in order to get as many folks as he did to listen and heed.
You will find some other good performances in Jose Ferrer as Rabbi Gamaliel teacher of Paul who thought that we ought to give the new followers of Jesus a hearing, Raymond Burr as Herod Aggripa, Jon Finch as a worldly St. Luke and John Rhys Davies and Herbert Lom as Paul's traveling companions Silas and Barnabas at different points of his life.
The direction is good, the script is literate without some of the banal lines associated with DeMille productions. Had this been done thirty years earlier, Peter and Paul would have had far more acclaim than it got. Still I think Christians will like it and nonbelievers will find it entertaining and factual in terms of the accounts in Scripture.
This is a great movie. As with any Hollywood film it does glamorize and
alter God's word to fit their perception. However, it is very
representative of Paul and his encounters with Peter and the other
It is for Christians as well as for NON-christians and yes it does portray
Paul in a very accurate representation of his nature based upon the
scriptures. As for as I'm concerned ... a great job was done on this film
and it is being widely distributed as a study film.
I have never seen Anthony Hopkins act any better than he did in this film. A film worth owning and sharing with others. It gives a true picture of persecution and how Jesus Christ can change a life and use it if it is totally turned over to Him.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A fairly faithful retelling of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles,
Peter and Paul centers around Anthony Hopkins playing Saul Paulus of
Tarsus, the apostle of Christ to the Gentiles.
Let's be honest: Only Christians (and possibly some bored historians) would be interested in a film about the early Christian church, so let's look at it from that point of view. There is no objectionable content to Christians in this film, as I can see. Peter's crucifixion is fairly shocking (and heart-breaking), but the rest of the film is pretty devoid of violence (thankfully, we don't have to witness Paul's end at the chopping blocks of Rome). I am about as fundamental as a Christian gets, and I was very pleased with the tight adherence to scripture present in the film, so don't worry about that.
Some of the bickering amongst the fathers of the Church may be a bit unexpected to Christians, but if you read the book behind this movie, you'll see that men of God didn't always see eye-to-eye, and their conversations didn't always end with a handshake and a "God bless you." Anthony Hopkins is a commanding presence as Paul, and he acts fairly well (he didn't phone this one in). I can't help but wonder, however, if the man that evangelized the gentiles wouldn't have been a bit more... dynamic. Hopkins is a bit reserved at time, but still does a good job (especially at the "dissimlitude" with Barnabas and Peter).
I've got to give props to the director for getting good performances out of the supporting cast as well, the emotions are entirely believable.
The musical score is appropriate, with one or two memorable tunes.
Overall I was very pleased with this movie, and it is one of my favorite scriptural adaptations on film. I heartily recommend it to its target audience.
for a Christian, each religious movie is a challenge. not only for the common expectations font to a film but for essential fact than the story is part of him. so, the subject remains, always, extremely delicate. this case is a happy one. for respect of original story and precise-careful exploration of nuances, for credible image of Church birth, for a brilliant acting and wise music, for the feeling of a special film and for the courage to build a support for faith. it is not lesson, not speech. it is a fresco and a powerful touching definition of a religion basis. artistic values are only details of a thoroughly work , not easy, not comfortable. and that fact transforms it in an impressive result.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This miniseries is a must-see for everyone (that includes unbelievers). It is a faithful presentation of Peter and Paul's lives as Apostles of Jesus Christ, and captures the mood and tensions of Jerusalem and Rome. Anthony Hopkins merits praise for delivering a performance that is equal parts genuine, passionate, and representative of how faith in Salvation will turn anyone (including a murderer of the new Jewish sect) away from a lifetime of sin thanks to our Heavenly God. Robert Foxworth is equally up to the challenge of his role as Simon Peter. The entire supporting cast, including cameos by Jose Ferrer and Raymond Burr, is up to the challenge of giving life to these early Christians. All-around a worthy production, and again, I commend the actors who all display their thespian gifts here admirably. The simple and subtle ending detailing Simon Peter's imprisonment and then upside crucifixion on Emperor Nero's command will bring (even the most farthest person from Christ) anyone to tears at what piggish things man will do to another man.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has some wonderful moments. The acting is excellent in the
primary roles, but there are some clunky performances in the incidental
roles (Festus is strangely very American while the other actors have
adopted a British standard. John is wooden and all the Roman Soldiers
seem to have lead tongues).
However, I thoroughly enjoyed both Robert Foxworth (Peter) and Anthony Hopkins (Paul) in the title roles. I also thought Jon Finch (Luke), Herbert Lom (Barnabas) and Jose Ferrer (Gamaliel) were standouts - their performances seemed effortless. Kudos also to Julian Fellowes as Nero, who was sufficiently creepy and dangerous. I felt that Tony Hopkins was best in the more personal moments, and Robert Foxworth was heartbreaking, particularly at his crucifixion.
As a Christian who believes in the absolute infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, there were some points of contention I had with the film.
First, it starts with the stoning of Stephen without showing his amazing speech to the Sanhedrin that brought about the hatred from the ruling council in the first place. Also, by the time the film starts, the narrative thread is promoting a 'Christianity in Crisis' theme that the book of Acts never goes near. Christianity was certainly heavily persecuted, but the work of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles has primacy in Acts, not the work of the men themselves. One major, crucial, aspect left out at the beginning of the film is the realm of the miraculous. By the time Stephen has been stoned in Acts, Peter has given incredible sermons that turn thousands to Christ. He and John have healed a lame man, been imprisoned, whipped, and counted it all joy that they partook in the sufferings of the Lord. Peter was not angry at the competition coming from Paul, in fact, he is the one at the Jerusalem council who affirms salvation by grace for Gentiles as well as Jews who believe in Christ.
Second, by downplaying the gospel affirming miracles, the director undercuts the authority of the early church and the gospel itself. For instance, Paul's conversion was actually one of the weakest parts of the film when it should have been the strongest. In the film, the wind whips up, he falls over, looks at the sun, and answers a voice that is not there. It allows for someone to say his conversion was internal only, almost psychological, like an hallucination. However, in the Acts account, Paul is blinded by a light brighter than the sun, and asks the risen Christ "who are you, Lord" who answers him "I am Jesus, who you are persecuting." The others hear the voice but don't understand it. The conversion, while happening in his heart, was also, like the Bible, an objective thing verifiable by others. Peter's escape from prison was treated in the same manner. He looks at a torch, weird, cold music plays and his chains break off as he tugs at them. In Acts, an angel comes in, speaks to him, and leads him out of the prison and out of the city. Peter thinks he's having a vision, but then knows what's really happening. When Paul is at Philippi, the woman who mocks him is demon possessed and Paul commands the evil spirit to come out of her. In the film, they downplay the supernatural and show the woman totally in her right mind, just able to throw her voice to make it appear that someone else is speaking. Paul rebukes her by saying "you will never speak in two voices again".
I could go on but I don't want to belabor the point. I think producers get nervous with miracles and the supernatural, and try to make it appear more rational. That's why in most movies about Jesus, they spend about 45 minutes on the crucifixion and about 30 seconds on the resurrection. In the Gospels the emphasis is on Jesus rising from the dead. That's why we believe.
Thirdly, Peter and Paul does not show the Pentecost, which gave the church undying confidence and authority in Christ, His apostles, and His word. Too often in Peter and Paul they make Christianity look like it is a business in a precarious position trying to gain market share, instead of the divinely appointed way to God through Christ. Of course, many and most don't believe this, but if you are going to produce New Testament movies, do it as the New Testament teaches, all miracles and confrontation of Jewish authority included.
I liked the more intimate moments of the film, subtle relationships and the like. I found myself moved near the end of the film, where the record of Acts has stopped and the director is not hampered by trying to stay true to a text he possibly doesn't believe in. At this point, Day does include voice-overs of Paul's epistles which are effective. However, the competition between Paul and Peter in the film is not shared by the New Testament. They are almost always harmonious save one confrontation where Paul rebukes Peter for adhering to Jewish law too rigidly after already eating with Gentiles. Furthermore, Peter preached to Gentiles as well when he converted Cornelius's household. Nothing like a good drama, but I felt that the conflicts between Paul and Peter in the film were ratcheted up too far in search of drama over truth.
Loved the settings and the costumes.
I understand that a film cannot necessarily follow the Bible word for word, but I still wait for the day when a fully realized and accurate Acts film is made. I don't think it'll happen because it would probably be too offensive, but I would love to see it.
This movie is among the more engaging of the TV Biblical films, as well
as holding true to scripture, with just a little 'creative license' for
areas that are vague. However, when I heard Anthony Hopkins was playing
Paul, I was quite leery, at best, yet he did a magnificent job -
Magnificent! One of the mysteries of the Bible is the manner in which
people spoke and communicated in various scenarios. Did the person
express agitation or anger when he/she said this/that? Or were they
always full of patience and grace? We must remember that these people
were all human beings, just like us. Each movie and play we view that
is an adaptation, it is the creators that create the mood and the mode
of each scene and conversation. It is simply a guess at best as to how
things were spoken or acted out, however, we do know that Paul was a
man absolutely full of fire and passion, and had his share of a temper.
I believe the execution of Paul's character in this film had greater
accuracy then many others, due to this truth that many times is
over-looked. And Anthony Hopkins was the man to nail it.
The film really brings us to a greater place of understanding the reality and nature of what took place back then. The cast is filled with actors/actresses that executed their roles just beautifully. Praise God there are players out there that desire to spread the word through their vocation, and to do so with such care.
it is its great virtue. to present a story not only in convincing manner but in the grace of its nuances. story of a fight for faith, it is a remarkable portrait of the two apostles. for the science to explore vulnerabilities, searches and the need to serve the Truth. for the force of words and the trips in the heart of an empire. for the life of the first communities. for the courage to be more than a historical film. for the admirable portraits. and for the roots of the sacrifice. sure, nothing surprising. a great cast, smart script. and the images with the gift to be more than illustration of Christian first steps. a film of questions. useful for rediscover a battle who seems today almost a myth.
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