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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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.



Series cast summary:
...  General Cornelius Flavius Silva 4 episodes, 1981
...  Eleazar ben Yair 4 episodes, 1981
...  Sheva 4 episodes, 1981
...  Aaron 4 episodes, 1981
Giulia Pagano ...  Miriam 4 episodes, 1981
...  Rubrius Gallus 4 episodes, 1981
...  Gideon 4 episodes, 1981
...  Falco 4 episodes, 1981
...  Attius, Head Tribune 4 episodes, 1981
...  Shimon 4 episodes, 1981
Richard Pierson ...  Ephraim 4 episodes, 1981
...  Jerahmeel, Head Essene 4 episodes, 1981
David A. Block ...  Reuben 4 episodes, 1981
...  Chief Priest 4 episodes, 1981
David Mauro ...  Epos 4 episodes, 1981
...  Zidon 4 episodes, 1981
...  Seth 4 episodes, 1981
Michael Shillo ...  Ezra 4 episodes, 1981
...  Albinus 3 episodes, 1981
Heinz Bernard ...  Elder 3 episodes, 1981
...  Plinius 3 episodes, 1981
...  Fronto 3 episodes, 1981
...  Butcher 3 episodes, 1981
...  General Marcus Quadratus 2 episodes, 1981
...  Merovius, Head Tribune 2 episodes, 1981
...  Decurion 2 episodes, 1981
Derek Newark ...  Engineering Officer 2 episodes, 1981
...  Vettius 2 episodes, 1981
...  Milades 2 episodes, 1981
Michael Schneider ...  Surgeon 2 episodes, 1981


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama | History


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Масада  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (theatrical) | (cut) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the lengthy location filming, Peter O'Toole was the only cast member who didn't fall ill. This was due to the fact that these were similar locations to " Lawrence of Arabia ", and he knew how punishing and gruelling the region could be. See more »


In one scene General Silva is having a conversation with Eleazar ben Yair. One of the men's chain around is neck is stuck around a pin on his body armor in one camera view, but not in a different view. See more »


Cornelius Flavius Silva: A victory? What have we won? We've won a rock in the middle of a wasteland, on the shores of a poisoned sea.
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Referenced in Striptease (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Very impressive, outstanding mini-series
7 March 2012 | by See all my reviews

Brilliant historical epic, and one of the finest productions I've had the pleasure to watch. Dealing from multiple points of view with perplexing issues such as honor, courage and patriotism, the series gets into the intricacies of military strategy and politics. 'Masada' is a fascinating character study, a most compelling commentary on the futility of war and a love story all together.

Outstanding performance given by Peter O'Toole and excellent acting from David Warner, Barbara Carrera and Anthony Quayle. O'Toole is the main star in any setting; he steals the show and his presence is overwhelming. O'Toole's Silva is so complex and believable, it's impossible to match.

Outstanding music score.

Excellent script, with strong character development and psychology, historical detail, complexity of themes and good dialogues. I was also impressed with the tact and sensitivity displayed given the subject matter, an intelligent approach that didn't diminish the emotional impact whatsoever.

Six-hour long series, and not a single minute to get bored. A cleverly built anticipation will keep your eyes on the screen.

Good 2-disc DVD release for its price. A must-have! However, it's about time for a properly restored and subtitled edition, and maybe some extras.

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