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King David (1985)

This is a movie about the life of Israel's king David.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Denis Quilley ...
Niall Buggy ...
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Jack Klaff ...
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David de Keyser ...
Ian Sears ...
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Arthur Whybrow ...
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Storyline

Israel circa 1,000 B.C. The adult life of David, who would eventually become King of Israel, is presented. The blessing of the Prophets, as the voice of God, is required before the King can take any major action. It is because God is annoyed with King Saul for not following his word that the Prophet Samuel, taking his cues from God, surprisingly and unexpectedly anoints David, the teenaged and youngest of Jesse's four sons, the next King. Regardless, it isn't until David's encounter with Goliath that he and many of the Israelites believe he could and should be King. Believing the anointing of David undermines his rule, King Saul, whose army is far outnumbered by those of the enemy Philistines, takes one measure after another against David and by association at the peril of his army in battles against the Philistines. These moves by Saul do not sit well with many, but especially his son Jonathan, who supports David as the next King. Over David's eventual rule as King, he will have his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

29 March 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le roi David  »

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(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second of three films that actor Edward Woodward made with director Bruce Beresford. The movies include Breaker Morant (1980), King David (1985) and Mister Johnson (1990). All three pictures had two-word titles and were all made in around five year intervals. See more »

Goofs

In Saul's final battle scene, a warrior is lassoed around the neck and dragged behind a chariot. However, the camera angles show that he is attached to a rope tied around his waist under his costume. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Saul's guard: The king cannot speak with you now. He is engaged in the affairs of state.
Samuel: Since when have the affairs of state taken precedence over the affairs of God?
[shoves his way past and enters Saul's throne room]
Saul: ...Samuel. We welcome you. With God's blessing, our victory is complete.
Samuel: Is THIS how you show Him your gratitude... by robbing the Amalekites of their women and cattle? By holding their king in chains?
Saul: We were discussing a possible treaty. The king is to be ransomed...
Samuel: A *treaty?*...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Ken Adam: Designing Bond (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Good but lacks the oomph & detail to make it great
13 March 2014 | by (Ohio/PA border) – See all my reviews

David is hands-down my favorite Biblical character (aside from JC himself, of Course). I never tire of reading and studying the events of his life -- the trials & perseverances, the agonies & ecstasies, the successes and failures (man, that sounds hokey, huh?).

Well, 1985's "King David," starring Richard Gere in the titular role, essentially covers IT ALL. That's right, you'll see all the following events covered in the picture:

-- Samuel's choosing of David as successor to King Saul -- Israel's battles with the Philistines -- The challenge of the hulk Goliath and David's victory with a sling shot -- David playing his harp to soothe Saul's torment -- Saul's increasing jealousy and hatred of David -- David & Jonathan's brotherly love -- David's wandering in the wilderness with his men, fleeing Saul -- David's stealing Saul's spear while he sleeps in a cave, sparing him -- Saul's suicide -- David dancing in his skivvies when the Ark is brought into Jerusalem -- Michal's love and, later, hatred of David (as he dances before the LORD) -- David secretly ogling hottie Bathsheba bathing from his palace roof and the ensuing adultery -- David's murder of Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) and Nathan's rebuke -- Amnon's rape of his half-sister Tamar -- Absalom's justified slaying of half-brother Amnon -- Absalom's stealing of the Israelite's hearts -- Absalom's death and David's grieving

WHAT WORKS:

-- The film is very worthwhile if you desire to see these numerous events depicted before your very eyes. -- The cast, sets, costumes, locations and filmmaking are all of the highest order for 1985. -- Edward Woodward is excellent as the jealous and bitter King Saul, even though he lacks Saul's heighth (as he was a whole head taller than any other Israelite). -- Most aspects of the David/Goliath challenge are great; for instance, the troops shown on two separate hills. -- Alice Krige is truly beautiful as Bathsheba. Along the same lines, the woman who plays Michal is very good and possesses a very unique beauty.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK:

-- Despite the numerous events covered in David's life, the film only runs 1 hour and 51 minutes before the closing credits. Let's face it, there's at least 3 hours of material here. Condensing it down to less than 2 hours prevents the viewer from being captivated by the myriad characters and events. The viewer is left struggling to connect with the people and their stories. -- Despite the numerous events flying by, the film has a bit of a lazy vibe. There's very little spectacle like "The Ten Commandments" or "Ben-Hur." -- David was a very passionate man -- a "man after God's own heart." Gere is fine for this role (the Bible explicitly states that David was a ruddy and handsome man) but he plays the character a bit overly righteous, pensive and noble, hence, David never fully comes alive to the viewer. Please notice I said "a bit" and "never FULLY comes alive." In other words, Gere is quite decent in the role. In fact, the failures may be the writers' fault. -- When the boy David takes on Goliath there's zero passion and righteous ferocity as is in the Biblical account (e.g. "Who is this uncircumcized Philistine who would defy the armies of the living God?!!"). Plus the film doesn't show the serious trash-talking that went back and forth between the two. The fight's just too low key.

Although the gist of the story is accurate there are inaccuracies that some could nitpick, e.g. Goliath challenged David and the Israelites himself, he didn't speak through another man; David picked up stones before going out to fight the giant, not while fighting him; Absalom waited a long time before slaying Amnon, he didn't do it immediately; etc. Changes like these aren't that big of a deal and won't ruin your viewing experience unless you're completely [...] about it (sorry for my crudeness).

One reviewer criticized the film for showing Bathsheba at fault for seducing David. Actually, they both share fault equally. Everyone in Jerusalem knew the king stayed home while the troops were out fighting, so Bathsheba was likely fully aware that the king could catch a real nice tantalizing glimpse of her while she was bathing. Besides, even though David was the king, she could have said 'no' when the proposition of adultery later presented itself. In other words, she was both into it and into David.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I've seen "King David" 3 times now and enjoy it every time. It's a very worthwhile and well-done film account of David's life. Unfortunately the picture cuts off way more than it can chew in a mere 1 hour and 51 minutes, leaving the viewer detached from the characters and events, in particular those who know little about the biblical account.

Don't listen to those who give this film an absurdly low rating. They're way off. It's good, it just lacks the oomph and detail to make it great.

GRADE: B


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