King of Kings (1961) 1961 PG-13 CC

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(441) IMDb 7.1/10
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The powerful and critically-acclaimed story of Jesus told in a strikingly beautiful visual style.

Starring:
Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna
Runtime:
2 hours, 41 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

King of Kings (1961)

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Nicholas Ray
Starring Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna
Supporting actors Hurd Hatfield, Ron Randell, Viveca Lindfors, Rita Gam, Carmen Sevilla, Brigid Bazlen, Harry Guardino, Rip Torn, Frank Thring, Guy Rolfe, Royal Dano, Robert Ryan, Edric Connor, Maurice Marsac, Grégoire Aslan, George Coulouris, Conrado San Martín, Gérard Tichy
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

It's a great story about Jesus Christ and his life.
Myra G. Palmer
This movie is a family tradition every year around Easter time we watch it.
chief
For a movie of it's time it is well done with great acting.
Lynn Crutcher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 124 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
"King of Kings" was my favorite religious motion picture when growing up, and I believe it still is. When MGM first released it in 1961, movie critics irreverently dubbed it "I Was a Teenage Jesus", since the role of Christ was given to teen idol Jeffrey Hunter. In hindsight, it was an unfair appraisal. Unlike other actors who have played Jesus in the more sublime, "stained-glass" manner that appears to be the norm, Hunter's portrayal showed a very human, energetic Messiah whose divinity still could not be denied. Interestingly enough, "King of Kings" was directed by Nicholas Ray, who six years earlier had directed James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause". This time around, our "Rebel" has a well-defined Cause which places Him at odds with the religious and civil authorities of His day. The film's international supporting cast consists mainly of lesser-known character actors whose performances are mostly able. The great actor/filmmaker Orson Welles gives an uncredited performance as the film's narrator; curiously, the narration was written by science fiction author Ray Bradbury, who is also uncredited. The film's stirring music was composed by Miklos Rozsa, who was no stranger to religious epics (the soundtracks to "Quo Vadis?" and "Ben-Hur" stand out among his other works). Beautifully filmed in Spain, "King of Kings" is an intelligent and reverent profile of He who has been the Way, the Truth, and the Life to hundreds of millions for almost 2000 years. END
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80 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on October 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
'King of Kings' features Jeffrey Hunter's finest performance, as a young, dynamic Jesus of Nazareth, and his intrerpretation, open and earnest, is the best part of a movie both uneven and flawed.
Produced by many of the people responsible for 'Ben Hur', the film utilizes some of the same sets, actors (Frank Thring appears in major roles in both films), and composer (Miklos Rozsa, whose score for 'King of Kings' was one of his finest). The cast was fleshed out by respected actors (Robert Ryan is too old but charismatic as John the Baptist, Siobhan McKenna is a glowing Mary, Brigid Bazlen, a deliciously wicked and oversexed Salome, Harry Guardino, an 'over-the-top' Barabbas, a VERY young Rip Torn scores as Judas). While the cast didn't have the 'star power' of 'Ben Hur', or many other Christian epics, the actors, by and large, perform credibly in their roles, particularly Hurd Hatfield and Viveca Lindfors, as Pilate and his wife, Claudia, and Ron Randell as Tribune Lucius.
The film was a MUCH less expensive project than 'Ben Hur'; the budget restraints show most glaringly in recreating Jesus' ministry (most of Christ's miracles are only referred to, not shown), and extras casting (Spanish townspeople, overdubbed with some truly RIPE dialogue!).
The film works best when focusing on Jesus; unfortunately, it veers off into distracting subplots about Barabbas and the zealots, and the decadence of Herod's court. These stories consume a LOT of screen time, and damage the overall impact of the film.
Yet rising above all this is Jeffrey Hunter's interpretation of the Savior.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By k2 on September 29, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Here is the life of Christ depicted in the political climate in which He appeared. In fact, the first few minutes of the film will make you wonder if you are watching the right movie, as it reviews the Roman invasion of Judea. The Romans, the family of Herod, the Sanhedrin and Barabbas with his Zealots all play roles in the trajedy.
Samuel Bronston, a producer whose production center was located outside of Madrid, envisioned a shorter movie along the artistic lines of "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," simple and reverent. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer saw the movie as a threat to its' current blockbuster hit, "Ben-Hur." Bronston needed some additional financial backing and MGM stepped in, so that the release could be delayed until after "Ben-Hur" was finished with its' usual one year playing engagement. At the same time, the tremendous audience response to the spectacle of "Ben-Hur" convinced MGM to expand the film and make it more spectacular. At least an additional 45 minutes was tacked on the planned running time.
I find the film a great success. By giving us the political milieu, it provides us a different slant on the well-known story and invokes interest with sub-plots.
Jeffrey Hunter took a lot of unnecessary abuse for his portrayal. This was the first portrayal of Jesus by an actor who was around the same age as Christ during the events, but he was criticized as too young (???). His piercing blue eyes added a sharp edge to his appearance, making him symbolically stand out as unique. He depicted an accessible Jesus. This was certainly in evidence during the Sermon on the Mount scene. In no other movie, I feel, does Jesus come down off the lofty pedestal and talk directly to you.
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