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Barabbas (1962)

Anthony Quinn , Silvana Mangano , Richard Fleischer  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Arthur Kennedy, Katy Jurado, Harry Andrews
  • Directors: Richard Fleischer
  • Writers: Christopher Fry, Diego Fabbri, Ivo Perilli, Nigel Balchin, Pär Lagerkvist
  • Producers: Dino De Laurentiis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005V1WY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,957 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Barabbas" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Starring Anthony Quinn in the title role, Barabbas was released in 1961 in the midst of a wave of widescreen epics based on biblical characters. The screenplay, by playwright Christopher Fry (who also contributed to Ben-Hur), is an unusually intelligent one. Further assets are the imaginative, sparingly orchestrated score by Mario Nascimbene and a handsome production design by art director Mario Chiari that is so rewarding to the eye in Aldo Tonti's often dazzling cinematography.

Many scenes, such as Christ's crucifixion, are shot and staged like tableaux in a style reminiscent of the great masters of art. And director Richard Fleischer surpasses anything Ridley Scott achieved years later in Gladiator: he fills the huge arena--a vast Roman amphitheatre--with a gladiatorial school of hand-to-hand combat, a parade of elephants, and a den of lions, and then caps his production with a riveting and thrillingly mounted duel between Jack Palance, careering round the circumference of the arena in his chariot, and Barabbas dodging him on foot. --Adrian Edwards

Product Description

Epic account of the thief Barabbas, who was spared crucifixion when the Jews chose Christ in his place. Struggling with his spirituality, Barabbas goes through many ordeals leading him to the gladiator arena, where he tries to win his freedom and confront his inner demons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richard Fleischer's Barabbas June 5, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is not your father's uplifting wishy-washy Biblical epic. This is a violent, dark, and sometimes depressing story that is quite a change from many religious films.
Based on a novel, this film imagines what happened to Barabbas after he was chosen over Jesus to be released before crucifixion. Anthony Quinn is a perfect choice as the unrepentant thief who goes back to the world he knows- crime and carousing. His favorite prostitute Rachel, however, has become a Christian and is later stoned for it. Barabbas is not just an observer, he sees Jesus go to the crucifixion, and later finds Rachel at the open grave. Barabbas goes back to his old gang of thieves, murders the new leaders, and they rob some Jewish clerics. Caught, he is sent to the sulfur mines for life, where he meets Christian Sahak, played by Vittorio Gassman. Sahak knows Barabbas' name and reputation, and attacks him. They eventually become friends, since they are shackled together in the pit. Barabbas survives in the mine for twenty years, refusing to die. He is tormented by the memory of his near death years before, and he sees the sacrifice Jesus made not just for him, but for all of us.
Barabbas and Sahak survive a cave-in at the mine, and are taken to Rome as good luck charms by a newly appointed senator's wife. They are recruited to fight in the coliseum, ruled by a maniacal gladiator played by a very young Jack Palance. The duo also make contact with a Christian servant, Ernest Borgnine in a small but good role. Eventually, Sahak dies for his beliefs at the hands of Palance, and Barabbas has his bloody revenge on the field. Granted his freedom, Barabbas takes Sahak's body to a group of Christians, who reject Barabbas' half hearted attempts at Christianity.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Great Film March 5, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've often wished for a widescreen edition of Barabbas and now here it is. I became excited several months ago when I saw this edition was to be relased on DVD. So here I am on March 5th ordering my copy. I own the VHS version which distracts from the excellent photogarphy. There are some important things to know about the production of this film: the crucifixion sequece was filmed during an actual eclipse, a one shot scene. The sets were constructed three dimnesional so the streets of Jerusalem and Rome appear real. Anthony Quinn was a perfect choice for Barabbas. If you've read the book this film will provide a quality visual to the fine, simple telling of a man's life, the man who was spared crucifixion and free'd instead of our Lord. Also if you've read the book you'll know what Barabbas is thinking most of the time. Quinn is excellent, his eyes ever roaming in thought of survival. This is a big movie shot in a down to earth realistic way. A fine study in seeking truth, arriving on it's doorstep only to turn away. Because of the book, when Baabbas is helping set fire to Rome, I am aware of how truly emotional this last scene in the film is. (I hope am not giving anything way in the film). Barabbas finally makes an open commitment, acting out on a belief system that he's denied since Christ's crucifixion, only to discover in the end it was Nero who set fire to Rome and not the Christians. It's really all there. The muscal score is unsual and unique. I have the old mono 33 1/2 rpm version which gives musical examples at the end of how Mario Nascimbene wrote and orchastrated the incedibe score. Sadly enough this old recording is far supeior to the new CD issue which edited cuts and left out the 5 minute + prologue. I rate this movie 5 stars. If you like the old spectaculars this one is unique and should be in your library.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars grim but interesting March 20, 2005
One always wonders what might have happened to both Barabbas and Pontius Pilate, and this is a fanciful tale about the fate of the man who was chosen to live, based on the novel by Par Lagerkvist (winner of a Nobel prize for Literature in 1951).

The scourging and crucifixion are shown, but mostly, Jesus is seen through His followers, and the faith that endures in them throughout the film. A solar eclipse apparently happened during the filming, and it is the backdrop for the darkened sky at the crucifixion, used to great effect.

Anthony Quinn is perfect as Barabbas, and heads a fine international cast, with Silvana Mangano as his former girlfriend who has become a follower of Jesus, Arthur Kennedy as Pontius Pilate, Harry Andrews as Peter, Valentina Cortese as the wife of a high-ranking Roman, Ernest Borgnine as a Christian in Rome, and Katy Jurado (at the time Mrs. Borgnine) as one of the raunchy women in Barabbas' Jerusalem gang.

Two of the best performances come from Jack Palance as a sadistic gladiator, and especially, Vittorio Gassman as a young Christian who shares the latter part of Barabbas' life.

Richard Fleischer keeps the pacing so that the dark nature of the story doesn't get too gloomy, and the film is also helped by Mario Nascimbene's score, and Aldo Tonti's Technicolor cinematography.

The script has some inspirational touches, and the scenes I found fascinating were the ones in the "school of gladiators", where the physical feats are astounding, and the arena itself, especially at the conclusion when Jack Palance makes his entrance in a chariot.

Interesting as both an historical supposition, and an interpretation of that era of Roman rule, as well as for its excellent acting, this is probably the grimmest of the big sword and sandal religious epics of its era, but well worth watching. The DVD extra is the theatrical trailer, and total running time is 137 minutes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good movie
Published 3 days ago by phantommaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The DVD is great. Fast service.
Published 26 days ago by Robert A. Nickel
3.0 out of 5 stars A modest telling of a powerful subject.
A fictional story of the crucifixion. A good but not great movie. Stars the very fine actor Anthony Quinn. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rudy
5.0 out of 5 stars awsome
was awsome see the dvd with colors, definition and sound. I already buy more dvd's and they are very good.
Published 1 month ago by Francis Orozco
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film;
I've always thought that this was a very highly under-rated film. The acting is superb, the story line is interesting, and it has one of the most unique musical scores I've ever... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Stover
5.0 out of 5 stars A CLASSIC!
I remember watching this as a child, and my teenagers now loved it too! A great story to watch around Easter!
Published 1 month ago by lz
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a really good movie. I recommend it for anyone that's a fan of Anthony Quinn. It's also perfect for your Easter collection.
Published 2 months ago by David Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
My husband and I really enjoyed this classic film. A great addition to our collection. Even the grand-kids liked it!
Published 2 months ago by Grand Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Anthony Quinn's many great movies
Anthony Quinn always makes a movie he's in. I can't say enough about his acting abilities. He brings stories to life in a way that few actors do. Worth watching, more than once.
Published 2 months ago by bee
4.0 out of 5 stars The journey of a violent man to Christian
This Italian-made biblical drama differs from most in that it takes a darker view. The movie is visceral, violent and melodramatic in its treatment of the life of Jesus Barabbas,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jaime Contreras
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Topic From this Discussion
end diallogue? (last words from Barabbas)
Barabbas's last lines can be interpreted in several different ways. It is possible he was giving his soul over to the darkness of oblivion or the unknown. However, there is a more hopeful interpretation as well. Barabbas was obviously affected by the darkness at Christs... Read More
Jan 16, 2008 by Ky. Col. |  See all 4 posts
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