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Esther and the King (1960)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 14 December 1960 (USA)
Two decades before she would gain fame and some fortune as Alexis Carrington in television's Dynasty series, Joan Collins starred as Esther in this melodramatic, routine Biblical story. The... See full summary »


Raoul Walsh, Mario Bava


Raoul Walsh (screenplay), Michael Elkins (screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Joan Collins ... Esther
Richard Egan ... King Ahasuerus
Denis O'Dea ... Mordecai
Sergio Fantoni ... Haman
Rik Battaglia ... Simon (as Rick Battaglia)
Renato Baldini ... Klydrathes
Gabriele Tinti ... Samual
Rosalba Neri ... Keresh
Robert Buchanan Robert Buchanan ... Hegai
Daniela Rocca ... Queen Vashti
Folco Lulli Folco Lulli ... Tobiah


Two decades before she would gain fame and some fortune as Alexis Carrington in television's Dynasty series, Joan Collins starred as Esther in this melodramatic, routine Biblical story. The setting is Persia in the 4th century BC, as Esther comes to the attention of the recently widowed King Ahasuerus. The king has been trying to stifle and defeat the campaign of hatred fomented against the Jews by his evil minister Haman (Sergio Fantoni). Before the King can pair off with Esther and defeat the villainous Haman, there are several intervening adventures and an additional, attractive woman who competes for attention.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Celebrated Love Adventure of All...From the Greatest Book of All! See more »


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Parents Guide:

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Italy | USA



Release Date:

14 December 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of Esther See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film was made in Italy because there was a writers' strike in Hollywood. See more »


Corn fields appear in several exterior scenes. Corn was cultivated only in the Americas in the days of Esther and Ahasuerus. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: The time is 2,500 years ago. The place is Persia. The man is Ahasuerus, king of the Medes and the Persians, ruler of 127 provinces, the most powerful man on Earth. The army is the conqueror of all the lands from India to Ethiopia. They are returning home now from fresh victories in Egypt.
See more »


Version of Lamp Unto My Feet: Esther (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Overlong , impressive , but mediocre Biblical epic by the classic filmmaker Raoul Walsh
21 October 2017 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

¨The power , the pageantry , the sweep of one of the greatest love adventures of all¨ . Biblical costumer with the hunk Richard Egan as the great Persian king , statesmanlike as well as conqueror ruler , and the gorgeous Joan Collins as Judean maid , the young Jewish girl , Hadassah , goes on to become the Biblical Esther , the Queen of Persia , who saves the Jewish nation from annihilation at the hands of its archenemy , Haman . As the stiff king wants to her in place of the murdered queen , Daniella Roca . The movie is partially true to the Biblical account of a Jewish woman who , at the risk of her own life, stands up to the King and a man named Haman , Sergio Fantoni , who was almost successful in convincing the king to wipe out all of the Jews in the land . In the Bible, one of the best lines is spoken by Mordecai , played by Denis O'Dea , Esther's uncle , who tries to assuage Esther's fear by saying, "Who knows, perhaps you have been chosen for such a time as this" . It was written : ¨Gather together all the fair young virgins unto the palace and let the maiden which pleased the king be queen¨ . In the end , Haman constructed a gallows from which to hang Mordecai whom he insisted was subversive , but things go awry .

This is the classical and biblical story of Esther , a book in the Old Testament and King Artexerxis , a powerful Babylonian king . This is breathtaking movie in every sense : filmmaker used spectacular palaces , luxurious gowns , stirring dances full of beauties , and lots of extras . Writing and direction , however are average . ¨Esther and the king¨ is in the greatest Cecil B DeMille tradition , the best in mass audience , displaying great production design and lavishly made . There is romance , battles and intrigue as is common with many Old Testament accounts . Epic , rambling events and spectacle are regularly blended in this flick realized in Peplum style , if raggedly and tortuously scripted story of Esther and the King . Wooden acting by Richard Egan and marvelous Joan Collins , though this vehicle first was announced for Hedy Lamarr in 1953 . Here Esther is portrayed as one who is not only fun-loving but brave and wise and Artexerxes is portrayed as a man who carefully measures his decisions and falls deeply in love with Esther . It boasts superior secondary cast plenty of known American/Italian actors . As support cast is pretty well , such as Dennis O'Dea , Rick Battaglia , Gabrielle Tinti , Rosalba Neri , Folco Lulli , Renato Baldini and Sergio Fantoni as Haman who was hanged on his own gallows . There is another version about these deeds titled ¨One night with the king¨ (2006) by Michael O. Sajbel with Tiffany Dupont as Hadassah / Esther , Luke Goss as King Xerxes , John Noble as Prince Admantha , Omar Sharif as Prince Memucan , John Rhys-Davies as Mordecai and James Callis a Haman, the Agagite

This long epic Italian/USA co-production shot in Cinemascope and color by De Luxe well photographed by Mario Bava . Evocative and moving musical score by Angel Francesco Lavagnino . The motion picture financed by Galatea Production and realised by Twenty Century Fox Corporation was professional but middlingly directed by Raoul Walsh . Raoul was an expert on action , thriller , Film Noir , Western genres . He made several adventure/epic movies as ¨Blackbeard pirate¨, ¨Sea Devils¨, ¨Captain Horacio Hornblower¨, ¨The world in his arms¨ and this ¨Esther and the king¨ and at the same time collaborated , but uncredited , in ¨Helen of Troy¨ by Robert Wise .

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