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

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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

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PG-13 | See all certifications »

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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

Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Almost fatally flawed, but not without merit
17 July 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

King David was the Alexander of its day, a critically reviled epic box-office disaster that was damned more for what it got right than what it gets wrong. Critics at the time were aghast at the violence and ridiculed the scene where Richard Gere dances through the streets of Jerusalem in a loincloth, but in actuality both are straight from the Book of Kings and are considerably watered down: this David doesn't give his father-in-law hundreds of Philistines foreskins in return for the hand of his daughter, and the decimation of his enemies takes place safely offscreen. But the film's attitude to religion is strikingly grim. This isn't the cosy feelgood God of Sunday school but a vengeful, unforgiving God who orders genocide and abandons those He anoints. Both Saul and David fall from Grace, but strangely enough it's Saul's fall that really registers. Edward Woodward is superb in the role, and all too easily dominates the film in the face of little competition from some especially bland British and Irish actors.

Gere should be ideal casting for David's vanity at least, but he's a transparent presence in the film, lacking depth and over-reliant on his limited range of affectations. But he's not helped by the fact that David never becomes a character or even an active participant in his own life story: if anything, he is almost a bystander observing the deeds of others. After slaying Goliath, we never see him in battle or earning his reputation as a great king, and he doesn't feature in either of the two underwhelming battle scenes, a problem highlighted by intercutting them with shots of David miles away waiting to hear the result. As an epic, it's desperately underpopulated (they had major problems getting enough extras to the Italian locations), and you get the feeling at time that it's almost a picture made up of leftovers – the costumes were originally made for Scorsese's first abortive attempt to film The Last Temptation while the Ark of the Covenant probably has 'Property of Indiana Jones' stamped inside it Somewhere in there there's an idea fighting to get out about the search for God, but unfortunately it's so low-key and evenly paced that there are no real highs to the film. Carl Davis' score has its moments and it's not the turkey its reputation implies, but it never catches fire. As Bruce Beresford noted, they should have taken the hint when they started shooting in Israel only to get caught up in snowstorms – someone was definitely trying to tell them something!


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