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King David (1985)

Israel circa 1,000 B.C. The adult life of David, who would eventually become King of Israel, is presented. The blessing of the Prophets, as the voice of God, is required before the King can... See full summary »

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writers:

Andrew Birkin (screenplay), James Costigan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Gere ... David
Edward Woodward ... Saul
Alice Krige ... Bathsheba
Denis Quilley ... Samuel
Niall Buggy Niall Buggy ... Nathan
Cherie Lunghi ... Michal
Hurd Hatfield ... Ahimelech
Jack Klaff ... Jonathan
John Castle ... Abner
Tim Woodward ... Joab
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Ahitophel
Ian Sears Ian Sears ... Young David
Simon Dutton ... Eliab
Jean-Marc Barr ... Absalom
Arthur Whybrow Arthur Whybrow ... Jesse
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Storyline

Israel circa 1,000 B.C. The adult life of David, who would eventually become King of Israel, is presented. The blessing of the Prophets, as the voice of God, is required before the King can take any major action. It is because God is annoyed with King Saul for not following his word that the Prophet Samuel, taking his cues from God, surprisingly and unexpectedly anoints David, the teenaged and youngest of Jesse's four sons, the next King. Regardless, it isn't until David's encounter with Goliath that he and many of the Israelites believe he could and should be King. Believing the anointing of David undermines his rule, King Saul, whose army is far outnumbered by those of the enemy Philistines, takes one measure after another against David and by association at the peril of his army in battles against the Philistines. These moves by Saul do not sit well with many, but especially his son Jonathan, who supports David as the next King. Over David's eventual rule as King, he will have his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of a many collaborations of director Bruce Beresford and cinematographer Donald McAlpine. See more »

Goofs

The "Star of David" on the shields and military standards is inaccurate. The symbol only came into common usage as a religious/national symbol many decades later. (Some believe during the middle ages) Assuming that this symbol represents David, as the name suggests, this would not be an Israelite symbol until the time of David's Kingship. This is out of place during the reign of King Saul. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Saul's guard: The king cannot speak with you now. He is engaged in the affairs of state.
Samuel: Since when have the affairs of state taken precedence over the affairs of God?
[shoves his way past and enters Saul's throne room]
Saul: ...Samuel. We welcome you. With God's blessing, our victory is complete.
Samuel: Is THIS how you show Him your gratitude... by robbing the Amalekites of their women and cattle? By holding their king in chains?
Saul: We were discussing a possible treaty. The king is to be ransomed...
Samuel: A *treaty?*...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of David (1997) See more »

User Reviews

 
Good but lacks the detail to make it great
13 March 2014 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

David is my favorite biblical character aside from JC himself. I never tire of reading the events of his life: the trials & perseverance, the agonies & ecstasies, the successes and failures.

"King David" (1985) stars Richard Gere in the titular role and covers the bulk of the events. You'll see all the following happenings in the picture:

Samuel's choosing of David as successor to King Saul; Israel's battles with the Philistines; the fight with the hulking Goliath and David's victory with a sling shot; David playing his harp to soothe Saul's torment; Saul's increasing jealousy and hatred of "the man after God's own heart"; David & Jonathan's brotherly love; David's wandering in the wilderness with his men, fleeing Saul; his stealing of Saul's spear while he sleeps in a cave, sparing him; Saul's suicide; David dancing in his skivvies when the Ark of the Covenant is brought into Jerusalem; Michal's love and, later, hatred of David (as he dances before the LORD); David secretly ogling the nude Bathsheba bathing from his palace roof and the ensuing adultery; David's indirect murder of Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) and Nathan's rebuke; Amnon's rape of his half-sister Tamar; Absalom's justified slaying of his half-brother Amnon; Absalom's stealing of the Israelite's hearts; Absalom's death and David's grieving

The film is worthwhile if you desire to see these numerous events depicted before your eyes. The cast, sets, costumes, locations and filmmaking are for the most part of the highest order for 1985. Edward Woodward is excellent as the jealous and bitter King Saul, even though he lacks Saul's height (as he was a head taller than any other Israelite). Most aspects of the David/Goliath challenge are great, like the troops shown on two separate hills. Cherie Lunghi possesses an intelligent and unique beauty as David's first wife, Michal, while Alice Krige is beautiful as Bathsheba.

Despite the numerous events covered in David's life, the film only runs 1 hour and 50 minutes before the closing credits. The problem with this is that there's at least 3 hours of material and shortening it down to less than 2 hours prevents the viewer from being captivated by the myriad characters and happenings. This will leave some struggling to connect with the people and their stories.

Regardless of the numerous events flying by, the film has a bit of a lazy vibe. There's very little spectacle like "The Ten Commandments," but it's more realistic. David was a ruddy and handsome man, according to the Bible, and Gere is quite good in the role. Yet David was a very passionate, a "man after God's own heart, which is effectively shown in some parts, like what he does with the model of the Temple at the end, but not in others, like when the boy fights Goliath there's zero passion and righteous ferocity as seen in the Biblical account (e.g. "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who would defy the armies of the living God?!!"). Plus the film doesn't show the serious trash-talking that went back and forth between the two. The fight's just too low-key.

Although the gist of the story is accurate there are inaccuracies that some nitpick, e.g. Goliath challenged David and the Israelites himself, he didn't speak through another man; David picked up stones before going out to fight the giant, not while fighting him; Absalom waited a long time before slaying Amnon, he didn't do it immediately; etc. Changes like these aren't that big of a deal and were made for dramatic or condensing reasons.

Someone criticized the film for showing Bathsheba at fault for seducing David. Actually, they both shared fault equally. Everyone in Jerusalem knew the king stayed home while the troops were out fighting, so Bathsheba was likely fully aware that the king could catch a tantalizing glimpse of her while she was bathing on the nearby roof. Besides, even though David was the king, she could have said 'no' when the proposition of adultery later presented itself. In other words, she was both into it and into David.

I've seen "King David" four times now and enjoy it every time. It's a well-done cinematic account of David's life for 1985 with a kinda weak ending. But the picture cuts off more than it can chew in a mere 1 hour and 54 minutes, leaving the viewer detached from the characters and events beyond David, in particular those who know little about the biblical account.

But don't listen to those who give this film an absurdly low rating. They're way off. It's good; it just lacks the detail to make it great. Nevertheless, I'd watch "King David" any day over the overrated "Braveheart."

The movie was shot in Italy with studio stuff done Pinewood Studios, London.

GRADE: B


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

King David See more »

Filming Locations:

Abruzzo, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,212,481, 31 March 1985

Gross USA:

$5,111,099

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,111,099
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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