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King of Kings (1961)

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The temporary physical life of everyone's Savior, Jesus Christ.



Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jesus
... Mary
... Pontius Pilate
... Lucius
... Claudia
... Herodias
... Mary Magdalene
... Salome
... Barabbas
... Judas
... Herod Antipas
... Caiaphas
... Peter
... John The Baptist
Edric Connor ... Balthazar


The story of the life of Jesus Christ from his birth in Bethlehem to his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Filmed on a relatively grand scale, the film includes all of the major events referred to in the New Testament; his baptism by John the Baptist; the miracles - cripples walking, blind men seeing; the fishes and the loaves; and so on. The film actually begins with the Roman invasion by Pompey in 65 B.C., the appointment of King Herod the Great by the Romans and finally the crowning of Herod Antipas after he murders his father. The revolt led by Barrabas is also included and John the Baptist's beheading as Salome's price for dancing for Herod. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most exciting human drama the screen has ever told. A story of the Christ, His life, His deeds, the inspiration of His spoken words. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Samuel Bronston's Production King of Kings  »


Box Office


$5,037,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,000,000, 31 January 1989
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35mm prints)| (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The production was photographed in Technirama by Manuel Berenguer, Milton R. Krasner and Franz Planer, and was presented in 70mm Super Technirama at selected first-run engagements. It was the first film of the life of Christ to be presented in 70mm, which was not in use when previous films on the same subject had been made. The previous film version of Christ's life Day of Triumph (1954), had been filmed in standard "spherical" widescreen by many of the same people who had filmed television's The Living Christ Series (1951). See more »


As Jesus is led before Pilate, servants are laying out a red carpet and setting up other decorations as we see Pilate for the first time. The carpet is left rumpled and folded on the stairs as the camera cuts to a close up of Jesus; when we cut back to a shot of Pilate seconds later, the carpet is neat and flat on the stairs. See more »


Lucius: Pilate offered that mob a choice.
Barabbas: [incredulous] And they chose me?
Lucius: Your followers yelled the loudest! Go; look at Him who is dying for you!
See more »

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User Reviews

A Classic!
27 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

Growing up as a young boy in the early 1970's and attending catholic school you weren't assured of many things but you could always count on your Mom making sure that at Easter and Christmas time you were parked in front of the television watching "King Of Kings" in two parts on channel 7's "4:30 Movie"! Now in my late 30's I own a copy of this film on video and watch it much in the same manner with my young daughter who is so eager to learn about the life of Jesus Christ. I'm no religious fanatic but I am as good a catholic as I can be and must say that this is one of my all time favorite movies and certainly THE classic among all biblical epics! The photography is gorgeous, the direction tight and often seamless and the musical score will raise goosebumps on the most hardened person. Clocking in at 3 hours the film not only details the life of Christ but also focuses on Roman rule and it's politics as well as the turmoil of Judas and the radicalism of Barabbas among other things. Directed by Nicholas Rey, the unusual cast does it's best led by Jeffrey Hunter as Christ and including veteran actor Robert Ryan as John The Baptist. Most of the rest of the cast seems to have their dialogue dubbed in but I am not sure that is the case, though that is the way it appears. There are many emotional highlights in the film such as Johns first meeting with Christ at his baptism. No words are spoken between the two but the intercutting camera work of both mens eyes as they stare at each other with that wonderful background music puts a smile on your face before you even realize it. Other scenes of note include the healing of the paralyzed boy who emerges from his bed and walks towards the door which is bathed in bright sunlight. Also powerful is Christ calming the raving mad man by simply holding him in his arms and staring into his eyes. There are many wonderful scenes throughout the epic film and of note is the "battle" scene between Barabbas and his followers and the Roman army whcih for 1961 comes off quite violently. There are also some vital scenes that are not in the movie which may leave you with an "empty" feeling. Scenes that should have been included I feel are Christ calming the raging sea and walking on water and the incident where just before he is arrested an apostle lops off the ear of a roman soldier to whcih Christ picks up the ear and repairs it. This would have made the film even more powerful. Overall this is a wonderful, uplifting movie that is truly a classic of it's genre. And then of course there is Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus Christ. Though his performance is a bit understated, he does fine and gave many of us baby boomers the ultimate "image" of Christ with his handsome features, long hair and the incredible, piercing blue eyes. for many of us, we were convinced that when we went to heaven, Hunter would be there with a white robe and arms outstretched. See this wonderful film or better yet, share it with your family and young ones and help pass on a wonderful tradition.

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