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If there is any better way to enjoy a day I know it not! This mini-series won an Emmy for good reason! Christian history is pretty accurate, but the addition of Roman history is exceptionally amazing. It's great to see how history and Biblical history coincide. The fictional heroic characters add to the exceptional drama -- two Jewish persons (brother and sister) and Romans they each become attached to. The all-star cast (James Mason as Tiberius, Anthony Andrews as Nero, Colleen Dewhurst, Susan Sarandon, Ava Gardner, Ian McShane, etc.) is extensive. The acting and storyline are very well-cast and the acting well-done. Stirring and excellent soundtrack follow as well. Definitely go for the longest series possible, as the shorter versions are VERY condensed! Begins with Christ being taken off the cross during the reign of Tiberius and follows the lives of the apostles and the fictional characters through the decades under the reign of Ceasars Caligula, Claudius, to the reign of Nero. Follows the historical aspects of Roman politics and treason, the senate, and the Biblical histories such as Peter converting the Ceaserean, Paul on the road to Damascus and Luke's written works. All in all, a historical dramatic gem!
The team Anthony Burgess/Vincenzo Labella has after tremendous movies like
"Jesus of Nazareth" and "Moses the Lawgiver" once again surpassed itself
retelling the story about the birth of christianity in such a fascinating
and powerful way. Nothing compares to the profound "road to Emmaus-scene"
which conveys the new hope in Christs resurrection in a very moving way.
Dennis Quilley played Peter in accordance with Luke's descripion of him in
the book of the acts. But the greatest performance was undoubtetly Philip
Sayer as Paul who especially knew how to portray the change that took
in his character on the road to Damascus. Watching him in his role was
seeing a vivid portrayal of what it means and takes to change from Saul to
Paul. Nobody knows what Paul acctually looked like but everytime I hear
name Paul or think about this great apostle the image of Philip Sayer as
Paul popes up in my mind - an astounding performance! The roman emperors
Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero were depicted in a very impressive
way. They even had some similarity with the real emperors busts which are
Apart from the wonderful spititual message this movie conveys it is as
other viewers already observed very accurate with historical details like
e. Claudius who hid himself behind the curtain before he was hailed as
new emperor or Calebs mentioning of Pilates massacre among the samaritans
that made him lose his position. Scenes like these were in absolute
accordance with the historical records of the roman age. (A little flaw:
baptisms were performed by immersion at that time)
Not only the acting but also the music was first class! It couldn't have
I also wonder why this movie isn't available on DVD or at least on VHS.
To whom it may concern: Release it on DVD!
In the tradition of the Robe, Quo Vadis, and Jesus of Nazareth, this film
more than just a religious movie but a historical account of the Roman
Empire. It goes in greater detail than any thing I've seen before about the
time period. I've seen it only once and that was when I was ten years old.
It left such a good impression on me that I still remember it fifteen years
I plead with the people who own this, PUT IT OUT ON DVD please, and Thank You.
"Soon the night will come, and we shall be questioned of LOVE..." (the most memorable quote from the movie).
When I watched the miniseries ANNO DOMINI, it made me think that I watch the continuation of Jesus of Nazareth (1977). This has its basis in the fact that the screenplay of Anthony Burgess appears in Jesus of Nazareth too, as well as the photography by Ennio Guarnieri. Other crew are also the same, except for the director, of course. What else makes it strikingly similar to Zeffirelli's colorful depiction of Christ's life is the convention, the music (very touching), the way Jews are showed. And I like it. It is really a true depiction of the situation of the first Nazarenes, or later called Christians. Some scenes showing the spread of Christian faith are really touching!
The historical plot is, however, a background. What comes into view are the fictitious characters, mostly Jews and a Roman, who, in the long run, convert to Christianity. One of them is a Roman soldier, Valerius (Neil Dickson) who falls in love with a Jewish girl, Sarah (Amanda Pays). He experiences the insane reign of Caligula (John McEnery) and sees the decadence and moral downfall of the Roman Empire. When he meets Paul of Tarsus, his life is never the same... I was particularly moved by the scene near the end when he says that while holding the body of a little girl killed on arena, he knew he had been holding Jesus crucified. As a result, the movie is not only another mini series about the 1st century, but leads to profound religious reflections.
The Roman story, however, is poorly presented. It is faithful to history but it too much imitates the style of a classical BBC series I CLAUDIUS (1976) (most viewers remember an excellent acting of Derek Jacobi). Here, in A.D. it is not that interesting! Maybe, the role of Nero (Anthony Andrews) - but that's one of the very few good portrayals of Romans. Ava Gardner as Nero's mother gives a memorable performance, but not her finest one, James Mason is not bad as Tiberius (his last role), and John McEnery is good as insane Caligula (but I like John Hurt in I CLAUDIUS more). The arena moments are haunting and historically exaggerated. Children, worn as sheep, go to arena to be bitten by wild dogs.
/When Caleb wants to rescue them he says to the guard: "Leave them in peace! These are children!" The Roman's reaction is: "Children? These are Christians"!/
I also don't know what led the producers present Poppaea, Nero's wife, as such a gentle, good woman.
Nevertheless, the cast of the movie are very good - lots of great stars (another similarity to Zeffirelli's movie), like already mentioned Ava Gardner, James Mason, John Mc Enery, Anthony Andrews and lots of others. They are a real treasure of this film and make it more valuable.
I love Philip Sayer's portrayal of Paul. He is the best Paul ever. His eyes, his face expression are wonderful!!! In fact, I can't imagine a better choice for Paul of Tarsus. The scene of Saul's (later Paul's) conversion is visually stunning and very moving. "Saul, why do you persecute me?"... Denis Quiley's portrayal of Peter is also worth considering, but not that memorable.
In sum, I would put it like that: ANNO DOMINI is worth watching due to its story, its cast and its touching content combined with lovely music. The Christian plot is done very well; however, don't pay too much attention to the Roman plot if you saw I CLAUDIUS (1976) before. 7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have a 6hr version on DVD, I have seen it many many times.
This film captures the true reality of what it means to be a Christian in the world at that time or our time right now. Its not just a film to be watched and enjoyed but a film to be studied to fine detail.
Every time I watch this film, my understanding of Christ, Christianity and my life Changes, it is such a profound film that really convays the beauty of Christianity and also the level of commitment Christianity demands.
If your a Christian this film is a much watch, if your studying Christianity it is a must Watch, if your in any way shape or form effected by Christianity This film is a must Watch. I believe everyone in the world is effected by Christianity in some shape or form, so it is a must watch for everyone.
The bible comes alive, you finish the film and you feel you know these people on a personal level, St Peter is not some unknown man who lived 2000 years ago, St Paul not a faceless authour of the epistels, these people become real and they touch you personally.
I converted to Christinity a few year ago and when I was confirmed I took the name peter and my friends have seen such a Change they often say to me what happened to the Real David, someone has snached him away and sent an alien in his place, he looks like David, sounds like David but he is nothing like David and I often use the words used by St Paul in AD at his own baptism and applie them to myself "David no longer, David is the name of another man, now dead - I am Peter" Watch this film, it is out of this world.
I don't know much about ancient Roman history, but I thought the A.D. film was very good and moving. I really liked the portrayal of Paul and Peter. I thought the actors who played them did a marvelous job. I have the 9 hour version on 5 VHS tapes. It is a nice movie to watch during the cold winter months. It was really sad and touching when the early Christians are thrown into the arena and when Valerius picks up the dead child in his arms. That scene moved me to tears. The girl that played Sarah, Amanda Pays was also good. I liked the character that played Caleb. The sets and costumes were very nice too. I wish that they had this on DVD. It's too bad that they don't make movies like this anymore. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.
I was surprised how good this movie actually was. I've watched this almost ten hour movie twice already. As a christian I just loved to see Peter and Paul in action. There acting was just great. Peter was so great, and Paul too. You could almost see, that the Holy Spirit was working in them, and the message was very Biblical and good... This one is released on VHS in three parts. So it is possible to get it on VHS. But I hope it will be released on DVD soon. This movie is highly recommended. I give it 9 out of 10.
When this mini-series first aired on television, I had the foresight to videotape it. Since then, I have watched it every year. I am glad to have it and I wish that it was available on DVD. I am hoping to get in put on DVD. It is well worth the watch. I have notice that a number people on this sight have asked to have this movie put out in the wider market. I think that it should be. It is far too often that such great movies come along and have the staying power that this movie has. The casting is phenomenal and, despite the leaps in time within the movie itself, the timeline is good in its movement. Historically speaking, the major events during the 35 years after the death of Jesus are given due time and attention. I heard tell that an additional mini-series was supposed to flow out from this, but never heard about it coming to TV.
I love the way this made-for-TV mini-series very accurately reveals details about the culture and lifestyles of both the Jews and Christians, as well as the Romans. It's a compelling, epic story. Actually, I've also seen and like the slightly edited Gospel Communications -distributed versions even more. One is 9-hours and the other is 6-hours with a study guide that really helps to bring out the incredible accuracy of producer Vincenzo Labella's work. The cast is full of stars and the acting is appropriately...excellent!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anno Domini - Disc 1 out of 2
The movie begins two days after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. The Romans are moving into the Middle East and the tension between the early Christians and Jewish Zealots increases. Two men are on a journey to Jerusalem in the wake of Jesus's death and disappearance from the cave where his body was placed. They encounter a Shepard whom joins them on their journey. They debate why the prophecy did not account for the Roman presence and the wicked acts they carried out on the people of the land. Also disusing if Jesus would ever return to them. There is a very symbolic moment where the Shepard splits a piece of bread and hands one piece to each man. This is when the audience realizes the Shepard that has been traveling with them all along, discussing the resurrection of Jesus and the roman presence, is in fact Jesus Christ himself. The men are shocked and beg him to stay but Jesus walks out into the night.
There are constant themes of violence vs. nonviolence and believing through seeing or simply believing through faith. A Jewish student is taken by the Romans after having, without the intention, pushed one of the guards. He is to be crucified and there is questioning if violence should save him or if nothing should be done. "Violence breeds violence" is stated to argue against using force to get what one wants. However his friends decide on violence and attack the Romans. The Romans march through the streets with the friend to be crucified as their prisoner. The Jewish Zealots set fire to the plants that hang from the rooftops and seize the opportunity to rescues their friend. Even though the prisoner is saved, as violence breed violence, a Roman guard kills one of the Jewish Zealots.
Pontus Pilatus is depicted as a ruthless and cunning man. He is merciless and will jump on any opportunity to further Roman rule. He speaks of feeling restless when Jesus was still alive and then when he was killed he spoke of feeling relief.
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