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Original Title: King of Kings
Genres: Biographical, Biblical, Religious, Drama
Director: Nicholas Ray
Screenplay: Philip Yordan
Photography: Manuel Berenguer, Milton R. Krasner, Franz Planer
Music by: Miklós Rózsa
Distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Italy)
Jeffrey Hunter -> Jesus Siobhán McKenna -> Mary
Robert Ryan -> John the Baptist
Ron Randell -> Lucius
Hurd Hatfield -> Pontius Pilate Mario Pisu -> Peter
In 63 BC, Pompey conquered Jerusalem and the city was sacked. He entered the Temple to seize the treasure of Solomon and massacred the priests there. He discovered that the treasure is only a collection of scrolls of the Torah. These Pompey held over a fire until an old priest reached for them imploringly. Pompey relented and handed them to the old man and left to carry out massacres of enemy villages and towns.
Many years later, a series of rebellions break out against the authority of Rome, so the Romans crucify many of the leaders and place Herod the Great on Judea's throne.
A carpenter named Joseph and his wife Mary, who is about to give birth, arrive in Bethlehem for the census. Not having found accommodation for the night, they take refuge in a stable, where the child, Jesus, is born. The shepherds, who have followed the Magi from the East, gather to worship him. However, Herod, INFOrmed of the birth of a child-king, orders the centurion Lucius to take his men to Bethlehem and kill all the newborn male children.
Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt with the child. The Massacre of the Innocents occurs, Herod dies, killed in his death throes by his son Herod Antipas, who then takes power. In Nazareth, Jesus, who is now twelve years old, is working with Joseph when soldiers arrive under the command of Lucius, who realizes that Jesus escaped the massacre of the infants. But Lucius does nothing and only asks that Mary and Joseph register their son's birth before the year's end.
Years pass and Jewish rebels led by Barabbas and Judas Iscariot prepare to attack a caravan carrying the next governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate and his wife Claudia. The ambush fails, partly due to the diligence of Lucius, and Barabbas and Judas flee for their lives.
Pilate and Herod Antipas meet on the banks of the River Jordan, where John the Baptist preaches to the crowds. Jesus arrives here, now 30 years of age. He is baptized by John, who recognizes that he is the Messiah. Jesus goes into the desert, where he is tempted by Satan. After forty days, Jesus travels to Galilee, where he recruits his Apostles.
In Jerusalem, Herod Antipas arrests John the Baptist, who is visited by Jesus in prison. Judas leaves the rebel Barabbas and joins the Apostles. Jesus begins to preach and gather crowds, among which are Claudia, Pilate's wife, and Lucius. Herod reluctantly beheads John on a whim of his stepdaughter, Salome, who despises him.
Herod, Pilate and the High Priest Caiaphas are terrorized by the works and miracles of Jesus. Barabbas plots a revolt in Jerusalem during Passover, during which time Jesus enters the holy city in triumph and goes to the Temple to preach. The rebels storm the Antonia Fortress, but the legions of Pilate, having learned of the plot, ambush and crush the revolt, massacring the rebels. Barabbas ends up arrested.
Jesus meets the disciples on the evening of Thursday, having supper one last time with them and afterwards goes to pray at Gethsemane. In the meantime, Judas wants Jesus to free Judea from the Romans, and, to force his hand, Judas delivers him to the Jewish authorities. Jesus is brought before Caiaphas and then brought before Pilate. Pilate starts the trial, but sensing that the issue is one of Jewish sensibilities, sends him to Herod Antipas, who, in turn, sends him back.
Pilate is infuriated by Antipas' returning of Jesus and commands his soldiers to scourge Jesus. The people demand the release of Barabbas, and Pilate bows to their pressure and sentences Jesus to be crucified. Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns on his head, carries his cross to Golgotha where he is crucified with two thieves, one of them being the penitent thief Dismas.
Desperate because he has betrayed Jesus to his death, Judas hangs himself and his body is found by Barabbas. Jesus dies in front of his mother, the apostle John, a few soldiers, Claudia (Pilate's wife), and Lucius (who utters the fateful words: "He is truly the Christ"). His body is taken down from the cross and is carried to a rock tomb. Two days later, Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty, and encounters the Risen Jesus.
The film ends on the shores of Lake Tiberias when Jesus appears to the Apostles for "a final time" according to the narration, and tells them to bring his message to the ends of the world. Only his shadow is visible, forming the shape of a cross where it falls on the stretched-out fishing nets. The apostles then leave, and, as the shadow of Jesus falls across the screen, it could be assumed that he is ascending to Heaven.
Movie Quality: DVD9
Size: 8035 Mb
Languages: Italian, English, French, German Ac3 2.0
Runtime: 170 min.
Video Resolution: 720x480