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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Good Message About 'Giving'

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
9 March 2007

This made-for-TV movie turned out to be much better than I anticipated, thanks to the two main characters, played by top actors, and a very thought-provoking message.

This is a fictional Biblical story, but one that leaves one reflecting about ourselves, regarding where our hearts lie, and the importance of helping our fellow man. Martin Sheen plays the "fourth wise man" or fourth Magi who knew about the upcoming birth of The Messiah, like the three who did make it to see baby Jesus in Bethelem.

Unfortunately, "Artaban," as he was named, got sidetracked en route. He kept running into people in need and he helped each one by giving them the gifts he was intending for Christ. This went on for years, until he finally meets Jesus, at the cross.

He is accompanied by Alan Arkin's pessimistic servant "Orontes," who plays off Sheen's optimistic character with humorous results.

To those who are repelled by any Biblical implications, this movie is simply an old-fashioned story more about giving, helping others out who are in need, than anything else....and if that's offensive to you, God help you!

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

when I was.... Did you not???

Author: fred (morganfj) from Marianna, FL
26 October 2004

This Biblical Fictional tail which is sometimes comic and still serious in message is excellent. Those in Chris will enjoy this Movie and Will Vote High those who are not of faith will probably dislike this film. The story starts with with the Wise men reading the signs of the coming of Jesus and thus beginning their Journey, however one (Martin Sheen) is a bit slow in leaving and misses the other three. Thus begins his 33 year quest to find Christ. Bearing Gifts, he finds himself in situations where he must sell a gift to help others. This continues till the is left with one at the time of the Cross... The life of the 4th wise man reminds us what we do for the least of Gods children we do for him. I recommend this film.. Available on DVD and VHS at local Christian Bookstore or online here.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

spiritual and thought provoking

Author: calmaxmjc from United States
19 February 2006

While certain elements of the storyline are not compatible with the Biblical time-line (harvesttime just before Passover in the spring, Peter's denials in the courtyard of the High Priest, etc.) the overall story is one of true spiritual devotion and compassion, as Arteban tirelessly ministers to those less fortunate. Arkin's character of Orontes as the whining, pessimistic servant provides the best contrast to Sheen's patience and benevolence. I have always admired Sheen, and he plays his role magnificently. The ending scene sweeps in and delivers a punch that still makes me tingle every time I watch it, at least once a year! Don't pass up a chance to view this if you can!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

one of the best movies of all times

Author: laini47 from Dallas, Texas
19 December 2003

This is absolutely one of my favorite movies. All the acting is superb. The storyline is excellent. While the story itself is fiction, the movies is filled with a lot of facts, and makes for a wonderful Christmas story, which encompasses the basic story of true Christianity.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A story that will never lose its meaning

Author: Ian Stuart Ferguson from London, England
30 December 1999

I first came across this story as a condensed edition in the Reader's Digest monthly and enjoyed its simple but inspiring message of self-sacrifice and reward. Many years later I found the video adaptation in my local rental store and hired it. I had no idea that a film had been made. The adaptation was equally enjoyable. Good performances from some major players yet nicely understated. There is little to add to the reviews already submitted, other than to say that I wish I had been able to buy the video at the time, as I would dearly love to have it. It is an inspirational story not only of the nature of Christmas, that it is in giving that we receive; but of the meaning of life itself - we are here to help others.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Great Film!

Author: riker-17 from Kitchener Ontario
25 December 1999

I had never had the PLEASURE to see this film until now. Although, as the previous comment mentioned, this film suffered from a small budget, it was spectacular. Although the Bible never records that there were three wise men, or that Christ was born on December 25 (history shows that he was NOT), this film delivers a POWERFULL message to believers and non-believers alike. Even if one does not subscribe to Christian doctrine, I submit that this film will deliver a powerful message. Basically, to sumarize (without spoiling the film) this film is about one mans lifelong journey to seek the Christ, and in the end he is rewarded. It took him ALL of his life, and he gave up everything. Although the ending could be called "cliche," it really is a marvelous piece of work. My words are not sufficient to stress enough the amazing piece of work that this film is. I give it 2 thumbs up!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

packs a punch

Author: FilmLabRat
7 August 2003

Rarely does a TV movie have such excellent acting, humor and pack a punch like this one does. Interesting characters, plot and ending. Keeps the viewer hanging on the edge of the seat wondering how it will end and what the "fourth wise man's" purpose and destiny are. Curious message hits you between the eyes about values, too.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful fictional story about what is important in life

Author: videocritic01
19 May 2003

Based on Henry van Dyke's clasic, "The Story of the Other Wise Man," a fictional story set in Biblical times, told in gently comic terms. It concerns a Magi named Artaban (Martin Sheen" who studies the prophecies and witnesses a sign in the heavens that he hopes will lead him and his faithful servant, Orantes (Alan Arkin), to the Messiah. Artaban takes with him three precious gifts to present to the Messiah. For 33 years, Artaban and Orantes pursue Jesus, only to miss him at every turn. Along the way Artaban chooses to use his gifts to help people in need. The story culminates on Easter Sunday as Artaban finally encounters the new King and finds peace in his life.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A tale of the true meaning of Christmas.

Author: William Pollard from Elk River, Minnesota
9 December 1998

This short tale tells a wondrous and important story of the true meaning of Christmas. This picture suffers from a low budget and despite a strong performance by the main characters lacks inspired direction. I enjoyed this somewhat predictable parable. I would recommend this movie to anyone anytime they begin to think the Christmas season is getting too commercial. It refreshes one's perspective.

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Great story and acting

Author: vlasec from Czech republic
23 September 2012

This is one great story, well played. It is obvious the budget wasn't huge, which is not surprising since it is a TV movie. But still, it's worth watching.

Unlike many Christian movies, there is no sugar added. This movie doesn't tell us we will be successful if we follow Jesus. The protagonist doesn't pray to win a baseball tournament, he doesn't pursue success. He just wants to see Jesus.

Set in ancient world, the story starts about a year before Jesus was born. A magus named Artaban sees a star that foretells the advent of the King of Kings. He sets on a long journey, helped by his slave Orontes. He takes precious gifts with him as well. But we all know only three magi made it to Bethelem the night Jesus was born, leaving Artaban struggling.

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