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Barabbas (1961)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 10 October 1962 (USA)
Barabbas, the criminal that Pontius Pilate induced the populace to vote to set free, so that Christ could be crucified, is haunted by the image of Jesus for the rest of his life.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Christopher Fry (screenplay), Pär Lagerkvist (novel)
Reviews
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Quinn ... Barabbas
Silvana Mangano ... Rachel
Arthur Kennedy ... Pontius Pilate
Katy Jurado ... Sara
Harry Andrews ... Peter
Vittorio Gassman ... Sahak
Norman Wooland ... Rufio
Valentina Cortese ... Julia
Jack Palance ... Torvald
Ernest Borgnine ... Lucius
Arnoldo Foà ... Joseph of Arimathea (as Arnoldo Foa')
Michael Gwynn ... Lazarus
Laurence Payne ... Disciple
Douglas Fowley ... Vasasio
Guido Celano Guido Celano ... Scorpio
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Storyline

Epic account of the thief Barabbas, who was spared crucifixion when Pilate manipulated the crowd into to pardoning him, rather than Jesus. Struggling with his spirituality, Barabbas goes through many ordeals leading him to the gladiatorial arena, where he tries to win his freedom and confront his inner demons, ultimately becoming a follower of the man who was crucified in his place. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"The motion picture that begins where the other big ones leave off" See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barabbas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) (DVD release)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (Westrex Electric Recording) (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Richard Fleischer in his biography, Jack Palance had an affair with Sharon Tate during the production of the movie. See more »

Goofs

The gladiator that Torvald kills from the two-horse chariot remains on his back. The next shot, however, shows him on his chest. See more »

Quotes

Sahak: Do you think all the things of the earth and the heavens have been made for no other reason except that we should eat and make money and spawn children and kill and die ?
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Among the best of all Biblical epics
17 April 2006 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

Richard Fleischer was a good jobbing director but there were occasions when he seemed inspired. "The Vikings" is one of the great genre movies and "The Boston Strangler" is one of the best police procedural films ever made. This is very much in the same class and has much to commend it. It's biggest drawback is that the early scenes never quite shake off the enforced piety that engulfed Hollywood movies that centered on Christ. Is it any wonder that Monty Python lampooned such movies in their "Life of Brian"? On the other hand, coming as it does from a novel by Nobel prize-winning author Par Lagerkvist and scripted as it is by Christopher Fry, the film is more intellectually challenging than we have any right to expect, (for example Barabbas has a discussion with Lazarus on what it was like to have died and then to be raised from the dead), while at the same time not skimping on the spectacle, (the gladiatorial scenes are superb).

It begins with the freeing of Barabbas in the place of Jesus, then follows him on his own journey of redemption as he realizes that it was through Christ's death that he came to live. It's a theme, of course, as old as the Bible itself and as religious movies go it's a bit simplistic but it does work on a primitive, intellectually jarring level and it doesn't thrust it's religiosity down our throats. Barabbas' journey of discovery is long, slow and painfully questioning and is consequently quite moving.

No one in the large, international cast gets to rise above being a Biblical or gladiatorial cliché with the exception of Anthony Quinn in the title role. He is excellent and had yet to give way to the bombast of Zorba the Greek. Still, neither Quinn's performance nor the film have ever been given their due. Perhaps a movie about the man who lived so that Christ might die proved unpalatable. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth rediscovering.


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