After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.
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1981  
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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A dramatic and gripping telling of one of the most famous sieges in human History - Masada.

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Peter O'Toole ...  General Cornelius Flavius Silva 4 episodes, 1981
Peter Strauss ...  Eleazar ben Yair 4 episodes, 1981
Barbara Carrera ...  Sheva 4 episodes, 1981
Alan Feinstein ...  Aaron 4 episodes, 1981
Giulia Pagano Giulia Pagano ...  Miriam 4 episodes, 1981
Anthony Quayle ...  Rubrius Gallus 4 episodes, 1981
Paul L. Smith ...  Gideon 4 episodes, 1981
David Warner ...  Falco 4 episodes, 1981
Clive Francis ...  Attius, Head Tribune 4 episodes, 1981
David Opatoshu ...  Shimon 4 episodes, 1981
Richard Pierson Richard Pierson ...  Ephraim 4 episodes, 1981
Joseph Wiseman ...  Jerahmeel, Head Essene 4 episodes, 1981
David A. Block David A. Block ...  Reuben 4 episodes, 1981
Vernon Dobtcheff ...  Chief Priest 4 episodes, 1981
David Mauro David Mauro ...  Epos 4 episodes, 1981
Alexander Peleg ...  Zidon 4 episodes, 1981
Joey Sagal ...  Seth 4 episodes, 1981
Michael Shillo Michael Shillo ...  Ezra 4 episodes, 1981
Christopher Biggins ...  Albinus 3 episodes, 1981
Heinz Bernard Heinz Bernard ...  Elder 3 episodes, 1981
Warren Clarke ...  Plinius 3 episodes, 1981
Ken Hutchison ...  Fronto 3 episodes, 1981
Reuven Bar-Yotam ...  Butcher 3 episodes, 1981
Denis Quilley ...  General Marcus Quadratus 2 episodes, 1981
Anthony Valentine ...  Merovius, Head Tribune 2 episodes, 1981
Jack Watson ...  Decurion 2 episodes, 1981
Derek Newark Derek Newark ...  Engineering Officer 2 episodes, 1981
Michael Elphick ...  Vettius 2 episodes, 1981
Nick Brimble ...  Milades 2 episodes, 1981
Michael Schneider Michael Schneider ...  Surgeon 2 episodes, 1981
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Storyline

Flavius Silva, commander in Roman Judea, wants to reach a reasonable compromise with the Jewish Zealots and withdraw his legion. Events and personalities in Rome, however, lead to his besieging the fortress of Masada. There the engineering genius of the Romans must fight both the harsh climate and landscape, and the passion and ingenuity of Eleazar Ben Yair and his people. Written by Cleo <frede005@maroon.tc.umn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Масада See more »

Filming Locations:

Masada, Judean Desert, Israel See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical) | (cut) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

British actors are cast as the Romans and American actors are playing the Jews. See more »

Goofs

When Eleazar and his party descend down the mountain during their nighttime mission, notice their feet. All of them appear to be wearing 20th century sneakers. See more »

Quotes

Cornelius Flavius Silva: [to Gallus] We must face the truth. We laid out this camp for the prosecution of a siege. We didn't expect them to come visiting at all hours. We expected them to be stubborn, and they've turned out to be clever. I hate cleverness! It's the soldier in me, but we could use a little bit of it ourselves at the moment.
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Alternate Versions

An extremely edited, two-hour version was released on video c. 1982. See more »

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User Reviews

 
What a spectacle! Absolutely brilliant!!!
24 October 2004 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

The movie is based on the book THE ANTAGONISTS and shows the story of the Jewish defense from the Roman oppressor. The story seems to be quite short and not the main focus of the film. Jews led by Eleazar stay in a huge fortress of Masada on the Judean Desert which is their only safe place away from the Roman Empire. Romans are forced to conquer them.

The movie shows human soul, psychological aspect of humanity, even of the "triumphant Roman leaders". This psychological aspect is revealed in both main characters: the Jewish leader Eleazar, portrayed wonderfully by Peter Strauss (one of his really best roles), and Flavius Silva (great Peter O'Toole), the leader of the 10th legion attempting at finishing the conquest and returning to Rome. Both of them are full of doubts. They change over the movie, develop like all of us do.

Silva doubts the logic of the whole campaign, which is especially emphasized at the end when he says desperately "What victory!? We have won a rock on the shore of the poisoned sea!" A rock that has cost thousands of innocent lives. He is also an honorable man. When Pomponius Falco takes over the leadership and occurs to be brutal, Silva tries his best to prove that this way of dealing with the enemy is "not Rome!" He even meets with Eleazar to justify these deeds.

Eleazar is a good Jew. He cares for his people but there is one thing which makes others confused. He doubts in the existence of God. However, deeply in his heart, there is a place for Him. Peter Strauss stresses this memorably when he goes to pray in order the Romans to stop killing the innocent Jews. In fact, he proves to love his people and that is, most appealingly, a better knowledge of God than any other...

The character that needs mentioning is Sheva (Barbara Carrera). She, in fact, is not very sure if she loves Silva or not. On the one hand, she wants to stay with him. On the other hand, her people seem to be more important. Finally, she decides to leave him. Her love is divided and demands a difficult choice. VERY PSYCHOLOGICAL!

In this comment I concentrated mostly on the psychological aspect. Yes, I admit that it appears to be the most significant factor for me. There are, of course, other factors that make me love this movie: the whole story, the locations, the music, the stars... EVERYTHING! But you will have a chance to appreciate all these aspects when you decide to see MASADA.

Finally, the end is unforgettable: "Take them their victory! Then they will remember..." Truly impressive script! One of the best lessons of life! 10/10 for the whole movie!

The final reference to modern Israel appears to be particularly touching!

YES, WE REMEMBER MASADA AND THE GROUP OF BRAVE PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT AFRAID TO REMAIN THEMSELVES AND RETAIN THEIR DIGNITY.


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