IMDb > King David (1985)
King David
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King David (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Andrew Birkin (screenplay) and
James Costigan (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
29 March 1985 (USA) See more »
This is a movie about the life of Israel's king David. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
It may be in the Bible- but you can't always put it in a film without looking ridiculous See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Directed by
Bruce Beresford 
Writing credits
Andrew Birkin (screenplay) and
James Costigan (screenplay)

James Costigan (story based upon The Books of Samuel I and II Chronicles I and the Psalms of David)

Produced by
Martin Elfand .... producer
Charles Orme .... associate producer
Original Music by
Carl Davis 
Cinematography by
Donald McAlpine 
Film Editing by
William M. Anderson  (as William Anderson)
Casting by
Irene Lamb 
Production Design by
Ken Adam 
Art Direction by
Terry Ackland-Snow 
Aurelio Crugnola 
Set Decoration by
Peter Howitt 
Costume Design by
John Mollo 
Makeup Department
Lynda Armstrong .... makeup artist
Colin Arthur .... makeup artist
Desideria Corridoni .... hair stylist
Franco Corridoni .... key makeup artist: Italy
Maria Teresa Corridoni .... key hair stylist: Italy
Graham Freeborn .... makeup artist
Kathleen Freeborn .... makeup artist
Stuart Freeborn .... makeup supervisor
Richard Glass .... standby contact lens optician
Giorgio Gregorini .... hair stylist
Daphne Martin .... key hair stylist
Stephen Rose .... chief hair stylist
Freddie Williamson .... makeup artist (as Frederick Williamson)
Marian Wilson .... hair stylist
Gino Zamprioli .... makeup artist
Production Management
Clive Challis .... production manager
Franco Cuccu .... unit manager: Italy
John Davis .... production manager
Laura Fattori .... unit manager: Italy
Mario Francini .... assistant unit manager: Italy
Marco Valerio Pugini .... assistant unit manager: Italy
Federico Tocci .... unit manager: Italy
Lucio Trentini .... production manager: Italy
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Roy Button .... second assistant director
Antonio Gabrielli .... second assistant director: Italy
Mike Gowans .... assistant director: second unit
Steve Harding .... second assistant director
David Tomblin .... first assistant director
David Tomblin .... second unit director
Victor Tourjansky .... assistant director: Italy
Art Department
Alessandro Alberti .... assistant art director
Peter Aldridge .... stand-by stagehand
Elio Altamura .... property master: Italy
Luciano Antonetti .... chief plasterer: Italy
Terry Apsey .... construction manager
Maria-Teresa Barbasso .... assistant art director
Maurice Binder .... graphic designer
Peter Childs .... draughtsman
Fred Evans .... modeller
Franco Fumagalli .... set decorator: Italy
Lucy Hardwick .... art department runner
Maurice Jones .... chargehand stand-by prop
Bernard Kramer .... sculptor/modeller
John Lanzer .... production buyer
Charles Page .... propmaker
Andrew Palmer .... stand-by props
Maciek Piotrowski .... sketch artist
Angelo Santucci .... set dresser: Italy
Stephen Scott .... draughtsman
Danny Skundric .... dressing props
Bruno Tempera .... set dresser
Ivano Todeschi .... head painter: Italy
Charles Torbett .... property master
Fernando Valento .... construction manager
Francesco Valento .... carpenter
Peter Western .... stand-by painter
Sound Department
Stefano Bausano .... sound maintenance: Italy
Clive Copland .... sound maintenance
Alfred Cox .... dialogue editor (as Alfie Cox)
Robert Gavin .... assistant sound editor (as Bob Gavin)
Andrew Glen .... assistant sound editor
John Hayward .... re-recording mixer
Brian Marshall .... sound mixer
Ron Pender .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Bob Risk .... post-synchronization
Joe Seaton .... assistant sound editor
Terry Sharratt .... boom operator
Stephen Spencer .... assistant sound editor
William Trent .... sound editor (as Bill Trent)
Special Effects by
John Baker .... special effects technician
Jeff Clifford .... senior special effects technician
Dino Galiano .... special effects coordinator: Italy
Franco Galiano .... special effects
Fabio Traversari .... special effects
Kit West .... special effects supervisor
Trevor Wood .... special effects engineer
Sergio Mioni .... stunt coordinator
Stefano Maria Mioni .... stunts
Claudio Pacifico .... stunts
Angelo Ragusa .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Elio Bosi .... grip: second unit, Italy
Jean-Marc Bringuier .... Steadicam operator
Adam Cooper .... clapper loader
Ted Deason .... focus puller: second unit
Augusto Diamanti .... key grip: Italy
Colin Gardiner .... stand-by rigger
Vince Goddard .... electrician (as Vincent Goddard)
Gordon Gowing .... best boy
Keith Hamshere .... still photographer
Paul Kenward .... clapper loader
Nic Milner .... focus puller: second unit (as Nick Milner)
Douglas Milsome .... camera operator (as Doug Milsome)
Steve Murray .... clapper loader: second unit
Mario Schiavone .... gaffer: Italy
Bruce Sumar .... electrician
Miki Thomas .... focus puller
Mario Tursi .... still photographer: second unit, Italy
Robin Vidgeon .... director of photography: second unit
Jimmy Waters .... grip
Freddie Webster .... gaffer
Massimo Zeri .... assistant camera
Casting Department
Francesco Cinieri .... casting: Italy
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Nic Ede .... wardrobe supervisor (as Nicolas Ede)
Stewart Meachem .... wardrobe assistant
Bona Nasalli-Rocca .... wardrobe supervisor: Italy (as Bona Nasalli Rocca)
Anne Thomopoulos .... costume assistant: Italy
Editorial Department
Michael Campbell .... associate editor
Robert Hambling .... assistant editor
Angelica Landry .... second assistant editor
Location Management
Frank Ernst .... location manager: Sardinia
Marco Valerio Pugini .... location manager
Music Department
Nick Barnard .... assistant music editor
Carl Davis .... conductor
Alfred Di Rocco .... music supervisor: Italy
Robert Hathaway .... music editor (as Bob Hathaway)
Dick Lewzey .... music recordist
Benjamin Luxon .... singer: psalms
Colin Matthews .... orchestrator
The Philharmonia Orchestra .... music played by
Christopher Warren-Green .... musician: orchestra leader
Transportation Department
Paolo Bernardini .... driver
Enrico Pini .... transportation manager
Other crew
Cate Arbeid .... production assistant
Sergio Casadei .... horsemaster: Italy
Nikki Clapp .... script supervisor: second unit
Caroline Cornish-Trestrail .... assistant to producer
Susan d'Arcy .... unit publicist
Allen Davies .... accounting assistant (as Allan Davies)
Patsy de Lord .... publicity assistant
Jack Dearlove .... stand-in: Mr. Gere
Eleanor Fazan .... choreographer
Marco Giannoni .... production assistant: Italy
Jo Gregory .... production accountant
Melissa Holm .... production runner
Marcello Lanza .... assistant accountant
Mark Mayling .... production runner
Renata Paccariè .... production assistant: Italy
Linda Rabin .... production coordinator
June Randall .... script supervisor
Luigi Riitano .... accountant
Gail Samuelson .... pre-production coordinator
Kathy Shaw .... production assistant
Phillip Small .... catering manager
Adalberto Spadoni .... production accountant: Italy
Antonio Stefanucci .... set-runner
Luciano Tartaglia .... assistant accountant
Franca Tasso .... production coordinator: Italy
Daniele Tiberi .... assistant accountant: Italy (as Daniele Tiberi)
Gabriella Toro .... production assistant: Italy
Jenny Wykes .... unit nurse

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
114 min
Color (Rankcolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film was released in a number of territories around or before Easter 1985 or 1986 so as to connect with the religious festivities of that holiday period.See more »
Factual errors: Unlike the film, according to the Bible King Saul was "more handsome than any of the sons of Israel" and being very tall he "stood head and shoulders above any of the people". (1 Sam.9:2)See more »
[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?* *Ransom?* Saul, for this you have betrayed your own soul in the sight of God. His instructions were plain enough: "... Spare nothing from the sword."
[beheads the Amalekite king]
Samuel:... When our tribes clamored for a king, to make us like other nations, I answered them: "We are not like other nations. The Lord of Hosts is both our God and our King." The people said, "We want a king we can see. We want a king of our own flesh and blood."
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of David and Goliath (1960)See more »


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
It may be in the Bible- but you can't always put it in a film without looking ridiculous, 13 March 2014
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England

There were two Golden Ages of the Biblical epic. The first was during the silent era of the 1920s. The second started in the late forties, when Hollywood needed to rely upon spectacle in its battle with the upstart newcomer television. DeMille's "Samson and Delilah" can be seen as marking the opening of this revival, and several notable dramas such as "The Ten Commandments" (also by DeMille) followed it over the next fifteen to twenty years.

This second Golden Age lasted until about the mid-sixties, with Huston's "The Bible" perhaps marking its close. Thereafter there were occasional productions based on the New Testament, but the Old no longer seemed to be of interest to film-makers. "King David", therefore, made in 1985, is virtually unique, an Old Testament epic from the eighties, a decade during which not only Biblical epics but also those based on Classical or Mediaeval history had fallen from favour. When eighties film-makers wanted to work in the epic style they generally turned to modern history, as Richard Attenborough did with "Gandhi" or Bertolucci with "The Last Emperor".

The look of this film is far less grandiose than that of the traditional epics directed by the likes of DeMille. I think that this is historically accurate; the Kingdom of Israel was not a great empire like Rome, Egypt, Babylon or Persia but a modest Middle Eastern state, notable not for its wealth or power but for the fact that its monotheistic religion gave rise not only to modern Judaism but to Christianity and Islam as well. The costumes and architecture, therefore, are far more sober and restrained than those on view in most epics, and the battle scenes are fairly small-scale.

The film is relatively faithful to Biblical accounts of the life of David, although there are some discrepancies. Filming this particular story does, however, pose some problems which director Bruce Beresford and the scriptwriters never really overcome. The first problem is that the story of David is one of the Bible's more complex narratives; this film draws upon four different Books, Samuel I and II, Chronicles I and the Psalms. (Some well known Biblical heroes have their stories told in a few verses, or at most chapters). This narrative contains several different stories- the power struggle between David and Saul, the friendship between David and Jonathan, the love-story of David and Bathsheba and the rebellion of Absalom- any one of which could have been the basis of a complete film in its own right. This film tries to deal with all of them, and does so rather perfunctorily. An example of what I mean is that Bathsheba's husband Uriah the Hittite never appears, even though as the third party in the triangle he would be a key figure in the love-story element. David's estranged first wife Michal is not omitted entirely, but her role here is a very minor one.

The second problem- one common to a lot of Biblical epics- is the discrepancy between the harsh and often intolerant tribal morality of Old Testament religion and the gentler ethos of modern Christianity. In the film David is seen as the advocate of a greater tolerance when he spares the lives of the Philistine civilians after defeating their armies, an act of mercy for which he is taken to task by the prophet Nathan. Nathan's position is that if Jehovah has mandated the wholesale slaughter of pagan nations, then it is not for David, as Jehovah's anointed, to question the justice of His commands.

There is an attempt to soften, even justify, the David/Bathsheba affair by painting Uriah as a brute who refuses to consummate his marriage and who treats his beautiful young wife with savage cruelty, a version of events not found in the Biblical story This does not, however, prevent the scriptwriters from presenting us with the scene (which is in the Bible) where Nathan rebukes David for adultery and his part in Uriah's death, although its impact is lessened by the fact that the man now appearing as the voice of conscience and morality was, only a few scenes earlier, appearing as the advocate of religiously sanctioned genocide.

The best acting contribution, by a considerable margin, comes from Edward Woodward as the tormented Saul, a man quite literally driven mad by rage and by his unreasoning jealousy of David. (Woodward was better known for his television work than for films, but he had earlier collaborated with Beresford on the excellent "Breaker Morant"). Richard Gere, however, seems miscast in the title role; even Beresford was later to admit that Gere, who received a Razzie nomination for "Worst Actor", is much better in contemporary pieces than he is in historical dramas. Alice Krige as Bathsheba is never given much to do except stand around looking beautiful. There are a surprising number of little-known actors, some in quite major roles. It would, for example, make an interesting quiz question to test the knowledge of the most enthusiastic movie buff to name two films starring, say, Jack Klaff (Jonathan) or Jean-Marc Barr (Absalom).

Like a number of other reviewers I was amused by that scene in which Gere, dressed only in a loincloth, does a dance through the streets of Jerusalem. Yes, I know it's in the Bible- it was presumably part of the coronation ritual of the Israelite monarchy- but that doesn't prevent it from looking ridiculous. That last comment, in fact, could sum up my view of the film as a whole. A lot of this stuff might be in the Bible. That doesn't necessarily mean you can put it in a modern film without looking ridiculous. 5/10

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