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Barabbas

Barabbas(1962)

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teaser Barabbas (1962)

A thief is pardoned so Jesus can be crucified in his place.

Producer: Dino De Laurentiis
Director: Richard Fleischer
Screenplay: Cinematography: Aldo Tonti
Art Direction: Mario Chiari
Music: Mario Nascimbene
Film Editing: Raymond Poulton
Cast: Anthony Quinn (Barabbas), Silvana Mangano (Rachel), Arthur Kennedy (Pontius Pilate), Katy Jurado (Sara), Harry Andrews (Peter), Vittorio Gassman (Sahak), Jack Palance (Torvald), Ernest Borgnine (Lucius), Valentina Cortese (Julia).
C-138m. Letterboxed.

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teaser Barabbas (1962)

Par Lagerkvist's novel had been filmed in Sweden in 1953 and would later serve as the basis of a 2012 TV movie starring Billy Zane. But it is this international, all-star production from Dino De Laurentiis that is best remembered, even if it is not completely true to the novel. Lagerkvist had speculated about the life of the rebel leader spared by the crowd in place of Jesus just before the crucifixion. In the novel, Barabbas rejects Christ's message of love and peace, eventually dying alone and in darkness. For the film, however, Barabbas is given a conversion, convincingly played by Anthony Quinn, after more than two hours of suffering. Di Laurentiis and director Richard Fleischer went all out with spectacle, subjecting Quinn to a mine explosion and violent gladiatorial combat. Fleischer even managed to catch an actual solar eclipse while filming the crucifixion scenes. And De Laurentiis poured on the star power, surrounding Quinn with such international names as Silvana Mangano, Ernest Borgnine and Vittorio Gassman as early Christians, Jack Palance as a sadistic gladiator, Arthur Kennedy as Pontius Pilate and Harry Andrews as St. Peter. But the film's real star is screenwriter Christopher Fry, one of the most important of the uncredited writers on Ben-Hur (1959), who manages to create a literate, sensitive depiction of one man's struggles with faith.

By Frank Miller

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