The story of the life of Jesus Christ from his birth in Bethlehem to his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Filmed on a relatively grand scale, the film includes all of the major events referred to in the New Testament; his baptism by John the Baptist; the miracles – cripples walking, blind men seeing; the fishes and the loaves; and so on. The film actually begins with the Roman invasion by Pompey in 65 B.C., the appointment of King Herod the Great by the Romans and finally the crowning of Herod Antipas after he murders his father. The revolt led by Barrabas is also included and John the Baptist’s beheading as Salome’s price for dancing for Herod. —IMDb
Born in small-town Wisconsin in 1911, Nicholas Ray’s early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the University of Chicago after a year, but made such an impression on his professor and writer Thorton Wilder that he was recommended for a scholarship with Frank Lloyd Wright, where he learned the importance of space and geography, not to mention his later love for CinemaScope. When political differences came between the seasoned architect and his young protégé, Ray left for New York and became immersed in the radical theater. He joined the Theater of Action and later the Group Theater, which is where he met his good friend Elia Kazan. Times were tough and money was tight, but Ray loved the bohemian lifestyle of the close-knit group and enjoyed one of the happiest times of his life. Anybody who met him always noted his intellect and amazing energy. During this period he, along with his fellow Theater Group members, was also active in Socialist/Communist… read more
Nicholas Ray's Biblical epic is perhaps unique among its peers for its focus on the geopolitical turmoil surrounding the life of Jesus, paralleling the story of Christ with that of his revolutionary contemporaries, John the Baptist and Barabbas. Sweeping in scope and grand in scale, Ray's magnificent film stands apart from many of the stodgy Biblical films of the 60s with grace and power.
Masterpiece. Nicholas Ray's stylistics overcome Christian dogma and an unnecessary narrator. The triple plot of Jesus, Lucius, and Barabbas is unique and compelling. Proof along with Rossellini's Il Messia that in cinema the depiction of the life of Jesus is best when left at the hands of a nonbeliever.