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Constantine's Sword (2007)

Philip Bosco , Natasha Richardson , Oren Jacoby  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Constantine's Sword + Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews,  A History
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Product Details

  • Actors: Philip Bosco, Natasha Richardson, Eli Wallach, Liev Schreiber, James Carroll
  • Directors: Oren Jacoby
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00181XY6M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,314 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Constantine's Sword" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Constantine's Sword is an astonishing exploration of the dark side of Christianity, following acclaimed author and former priest James Carrol on a journey of rememberance and reckoning. Warning of what happens when military power and religious fervor are joined, this new film from Oscar-nominated director Oren Jacoby asks: Is the fanaticism that threatens the world today fueled by our own deeply held beliefs?


At once enthralling and troubling...'Constantine's Sword' is a cri de coeur about the abuse of religion when aligned with the state. --New York Times

Endlessly fascinating --Errol Morris

Highly controversial, deeply felt....vividly immediate --Variety

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Constantine's Sword October 26, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I read James Carroll's book several years ago and felt it was well researched. The movie included much of this research and some more current ways the Christian Church continues to use the sword! It reminded me of what the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church: "If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." How many centuries will it take the church to learn it's better to be loving then right!! The film is worth seeing in this time when elements of two great world religious are at war/jihad with each other. Neither is innocent, both need to confess their sins. One down, one to go.
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64 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Man's Struggle with His Father September 4, 2008
"Constantine's Sword," the movie version of John Carroll's book, is now available on DVD; it can also be watched on-line if you have Netflix.

There's a great deal of autobiography in the film. Carroll's father, Joseph Carroll was an important Air Force general; an FBI agent, Joseph Carroll was then sent to the new Air Force, commissioned a colonel, and within two years was a major general. He was the founding director of the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, and then the founding director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; it was he who brought the photos of Russian missles in Cuba to Kennedy's attention.

The younger Carroll grew up on military bases, met John XXIII with his family as a teenager, and in the wake of the nuclear uncertainty of the Cold War, opted to pursue those things that would last. His first mass was celebrated at a chapel on an Air Force base; growing disillusioned with the war in Vietnam, and feeling called to follow the Prince of Peace, he slipped in just a tiny allusion in that first homily. He preached on Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones; he mentioned they had been burned by the sun. More than that, burned by napalm. Such a tiny rebellion-such a miniscule insult to the military-but enough to drive a wedge between James and Joseph.

Carroll was a priest from 1969-1974, increasingly active in opposing the war, which destroyed his faith in both governmental and churchly authority. In an interview from those days he notes the silence of the US Catholic hierarchy to the bombing of civilians in Vietnam and opines, "Were US bombers dropping contraceptives on the Vietnamese, the American Catholic hierarchy would have condemned it quickly; but we were dropping napalm, and they said nothing.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carrol's truth of Christianity December 23, 2008
Jim Carrol presents a scholarly and truthful presentation of Christianity and its roll in the world since Emperor Constantine at about 320. He also explores Christianity's effect on Jews for the past 1700 years, in a most honest and open way.
Carrol deserves a humanitarian prize for his scholarly work.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, scholarly. November 22, 2008
In his scholarly work, James Carroll, a former Catholic priest, becomes a modern-day Indiana Jones. His quest is to understand the role of Christianity in the persecution of Jews in ancient times as well as today. Not only is Carroll courageous and honest in his evaluation, but he exposes how other priests who wish to expose similar findings are systematically sidelined or silenced. Carroll should win a prize for his excellent documentary.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christianity not of the Sword February 1, 2010
It's a testimony to James Carroll's brilliance that in the course of a 90-minute documentary he manages to weave together three distinct themes, showing how the personal and the political are related, and how the stories we tell can change everything - including our most fundamental beliefs.

The documentary's first thread is personal. Carroll's father was an important general during the Cold War. Vietnam divided father and son. Carroll wrote about this in "An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us," which won a 1996 National Book Award. Carroll became a priest rather than following his father into the Air Force. The key moment of this story is Carroll's first Mass, on a military base, his father in attendance. The young Carroll preached from Ezekiel of the Old Testament, who wrote about bones from the slaughter of war, burned by the sun... and napalm, Carroll added. His father never forgave him, he says.

The second thread, public but also personal for Carroll, now an ex-priest, is the shadow cast by the cross - a symbol for Christianity only since the fourth century, when Roman Emperor Constantine conquered in its sign. Carroll wrote an award-winning book about this as well - the 2001 "Constantine's Sword, The Church and the Jews - A History." Whereas before Constantine Christianity's symbols referenced life, the cross is all about the tortured death of God, caused by... the Jews. Carroll interviews Elaine Pagels, who speaks to the unlikelihood of that actually being the truth - but (for historical reasons not covered in this film, i.e.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I will keep this short and sweet. It is a selective account covering well know points relating to Judiasm and the Catholic Church in large part. It does an excellent job of showing the ambiguity and outright both commission and omission.
What we need to do is take a look at what kinds of roles we want religion to hold in your public life? Should Chaplains be in the military? What limitations should be placed on them? How are chaplains chosen?
We need to strongly look at the place religion holds in our judicial and social network system. One of the darkest histories of state supported religious brothels (called Orphanages) was in Newfoundland in Canada. The Brothers of Ireland had full sway over kids that resulted in both brutal violence and sexual abuse. The police and other chose to ignore or downplay any reports.
I said I will keep it short. What will you allow religious groups to influence in your society? Will you take your part in the public debate?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a Must see for any: christian / military / history fans
Published 18 days ago by D. Goucher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Watch this!
Published 19 days ago by Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very interesting documentary on the role or lack of it from the Vatican durring WWII.
Published 22 days ago by KG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by MaryEllen Agolia, Ph.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written Journey into History!
Very well Written! It is a very interesting thought on Religion and History. The documentary version is also excellent!
Published 1 month ago by Prince of Peace
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by THEODORE SMITH
3.0 out of 5 stars More political rather than historical.
The writer should focus more on the ramifications of Constantine's actions and less on his own conspiracy theories -- wildly covering 1700 years. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ilene W.
2.0 out of 5 stars misguided criticism
I gave Constantine’s Sword two stars because there is some good in this documentary. James Carroll expresses a deep empathy with those who have endured the pain of persecution. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dennis Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating study of the Judeo-Christian relationship
through the eyes of of the author and his troubled relationship with orthodox Catholicism. Follows the history of the conflicts between the Church and the Jews through the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by D. Delaney
5.0 out of 5 stars There is an unspoken truth, and this speaks to it.
How come more people haven't seen this. I can't wait to watch this again. I think the format of this documentary are a key ingredient to delivering this basic message.
Published 15 months ago by whatever
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