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
During the burning of Rome scene, all of the city sets built to film at eye-level angles, were torched and burned for the effect. And so, like the burning of Atlanta in "Gone with the Wind", everything had to be shot in one night, in one take. See more »
When Barabbas is sent to the sulfur mines, a guard chains him to another prisoner by hammering closed an iron link shaped like a 'C' with both ends of the 'C' glowing red-hot. The same technique is shown at least one other time. However, it's not the ends of the 'C'-shape that should be glowing red-hot in order to hammer the link closed, it is the middle, where it needs to bend. Cold iron is brittle and needs to be heated to bend or it will fracture. See more »
[Arrested for arson, Barabbas has been brought to the dungeons housing the Christians falsely accused of the act]
This burning city is no work of ours. This isn't how the new kingdom is going to be made. You were wrong.
Who are you to tell me I'm wrong?
Many years ago, we spoke together. Do you remember?
You asked me why I was making a net so far from the sea.
Jerusalem. The street of the potters.
You were as mistaken then as you are again now.
We didn't set fire to the city.
You've done the...
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Pontius Pilate asks the people of Jerusalem whom they want freed, Jesus Of Nazareth or Barrabas?, the former has been tagged as a King of the Jewish people, the latter a thief and a murderer, they choose Barrabas.
This is a pure work of fiction based around the 1950 Pär Lagerkvist novel of the same name. It has basically taken a passage in the New Testament and extended it to ask what became of the man who was freed instead of Christ? We open of course with the people choosing Barrabas, and the subsequent Crucifixion of Christ that is now scripture legend. This event doesn't at first seem to bother Barrabas, but as the story progresses it becomes clear that he himself has his own cross to bear. We follow him as he witnesses a barbaric stoning of someone close to him, this turns him bitter and a return to a life of crime is his only response. Once again arrested, he is sent to work in the sulphur mines, here he ages fast and hangs on desperately to his life and sanity. He forms a friendship with a fellow inmate and after both men get sent to gladiator school, he finds that the faith surrounding Christ looms large and bright in his life story.
Richard Fleischer directs, producer is Dino De Laurentus, Anthony Quinn takes the role of Barrabas, and Jack Palance and Ernest Borgnine add weight to the acting roll call. There is some very good work to be sampled here, Quinn manages to put a bit of sincerity into the lead role; for as Barrabas' perspective alters, Quinn convinces with a nice show of depth. Palance is decently nasty as Torvald, and although Ernest Borgnine is wasted as Lucius, he does however leave a very decent impression due to a good show of acting restraint. There are some lovely shots here as well, particularly around the sulphur mines sequences, whilst both the sets and costumes are suitably on the money.
Barrabas is a film that is rarely mentioned when talk of biblical epics arises, and the small amount of user comments here suggests it's largely forgotten. That's a shame because it holds up considerably better than the likes of The Robe. 7/10
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