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170 of 175 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 1999
I do not understand why most critics have very few good things to say about this movie. Okay, maybe the atmosphere is a little dead at times, and perhaps there could be more dialogue, but overall this is one of the most beautiful biblical stories I've ever seen. A superb cast - including Michael Parks as Adam, Ulla Bergryd as Eve, Richard Harris as Cain, George C. Scott as Abraham, and Ava Gardner as Sarah - bring warmth and sensitivity to the familier stories. John Huston's somewhat comical portrayal of Noah is definitely the highlight of the film. I first saw this movie when I was very young. I now own it and watch it often. The script sounds like it was taken directly from the Bible itself. The opening dialogue is, of course, "In the beginning..." The creation scenes which follow are simply magnificant. And the music which coincides with it is just beautiful. Right now I have that image of the birds in flight and the raging sea waters. The one scene which gets me every time ( and which I keep rewinding to see ) is the scene with Hagar and Ishmael in the desert. The spring of water bursting up through the ground at Hagar's feet is one of the most moving moments in the entire movie. This film is definitely worth seeing. Never mind what the critics say.
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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2002
Legendary director John Huston's "The Bible...In the Beginning" is something of a mixed bag. Though undeniably reverent and generally (though not totally) faithful to the original Scriptures, Huston's film is ultimately epic in scope but too often cold and unmoving. There are certainly some fine scenes, particularly in the Creation , the story of the Garden of Eden (Adam and Eve's storm-shrouded exile from Paradise is perhaps the most powerful moment in the whole film), Cain and Abel, and an especially moving interlude between Abraham and only son Isaac in the ruins of sinful Sodom. But Huston fails to make the movie emotionally appealing on a consistent basis, so that what should have been an enthralling picture is merely adequate--which, after all, is not so bad. The cast is very powerful, featuring Richard Harris, Ava Gardner, George C. Scott, Peter O'Toole, and Huston himself as an endearing Noah. If only Huston had let his performers live a little on camera, this might have rivaled The Ten Commandments. As it is, the whole is respectable but flawed, too passionless and slow-paced to match The Ten Commandment's grandeur. Even so, "The Bible" does bring the opening chapters of Scripture to life, and if this movie is not thrilling, it is nonetheless enlightening.
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
This film is entertaining on many levels, and if you appreciate good art direction, you'll enjoy this film.
The cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno, and the classical score by Toshiro Mayuzumi are also superb.
Outstanding are the first 15 minutes, with director Huston narrating a mix of verses from Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 (KJV), and I have a special fondness for the sprawling "Tree of Knowledge", with its strange looking white leaves.
Other favorite sections:
The great Richard Harris, fabulous in a highly choreographed telling of the Cain and Abel story.
The animals going into Noah's Ark, with its wonderful music, is a delight for kids of all ages.
The Tower of Babel, as an awesome ziggurat, with Stephen Boyd looking simply stunning in exotic makeup.
Peter O'Toole as the Angel, always a fascinating actor, and even in a small part, a scene stealer.
Yes, it's abysmally slow in parts, especially in the final Abraham section, which could have used some serious editing. A half an hour could easily have been cut from this portion, and also, this is where most of the stilted dialogue can be found...but nevertheless, even though it dwindles as the film progresses, this telling of the first 22 chapters of Genesis is one I've seen numerous times, and am sure to view again.
My tape is unfortunately, on the dark side, but still a visual treat at its best.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2003
1966: Huston's film covers the first twenty chapters of Genesis- from the Creation, the Flood to Isaac's near sacrifice. With lush cinematography, fine acting and superb music. Richard Harris, Ava Gardner, George C. Scott and Peter O'Toole are among the cast. In the 60's, and in fact years before in the 50's, the bible dramas were quite popular and appealed to many audiences who had undergone war and conflict from home- it was the turbulent 60's after all. The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur were transcendent films only a couple of years before.
Making a film about the first book in the Bible, the most mysterious and most alluring, Genesis, must not have been an easy task for director John Huston, nor was it easy enough for actors portraying biblical characters. But this film is exquisite, well-done with fine performances by the actors, most notably Richard Harris as Noah and George C. Scott as Abraham. The actor and actress playing Adam and Eve are just as most of us imagine them to be - gorgeous in the nude, walking around a beautiful, semi-tropical garden and being seduced by the apple in a tree which a treacherous snake deceived them into eating.
The film goes on to describe the biblical scenario established before the Flood, of humankind's lechery and vice in Sodom and Gomorrah, and God's wrath resulting in destruction. Very powerful imagery and very fine interpretation. It is not just a Christian or Catholic film, it is a film worth watching just for the moving drama. After all, life is but a drama, a film of which we all take part of. The music to this film is also very inspiring, although subtle and haunting. "The Bible.. In The Beginning" (as this film is often called) makes a great assignment to watch in a college or high school in which students read the Bible as a form of literature and work of human history, mainly that of the ancient Hebrews.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2005
I watched this movie on TV and I thought it was good. All of the actors were very good but I especially liked John Huston as Noah, George C. Scott as Abraham, Ava Gardner as Sarah and Richard Harris as Cain. I think John Huston did a great job directing the movie but he also acted in this movie and I think he was a very Noah. For a Biblical movie I think John Huston's The Bible is pretty low-key and simple rather than a super glossy Hollywood movie and I think some people were maybe expecting that kind of Biblical epic and though those big budget glossy Hollywood Biblical movies are good I enjoyed this more subdued movie and I recommend this movie, especially on DVD!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2011
This is a movie which has finally gotten the treatment it deserves on blu-ray disc. The VHS was terrible picture quality and the DVD really wasn't any better. Now on the blu-ray disc it finally has a crisp, colorful picture and sound treatment that such a monumental picture deserves. It,s like watching it for the first time! John Huston (director, star, narrator)would be proud. As I have already stated this movie was a monumental undertaking as evidenced in the Tower of Babel scenes and the flood and Noah's Ark. The only thing that I might want to criticize is its tendency to rather plod along at times especially in the scenes between Sarah (Ava Gardner) and Abraham (George C. Scott), but then it transforms into a haunting reminder of the results of man's depravity and God's judgment in the scene where Abraham and Isaac are walking through the udder destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. George C. Scott gives a wonderful performance of the tortured but nevertheless obedient Abraham in a test of faith.
This movie has been lovingly restored. The details are incredible. The sound is thunderous. The musical score by Toshiro Mayuzumi is a masterpiece in its own right. Once again we can sit back and truly enjoy what Life Magazine called "An Awesomely Absorbing Film!" Thank you Twentieth Century Fox! I'm looking forward to more classic movies getting this kind of treatment in the near future.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 31, 2002
This was indeed a monumental project, but not perfectly handled. Of course, John Huston was an atheist, and this needs to be taken into consideration. He did soften parts of this to portray more typically human reactions, especially with the scenes between Abraham and his son Isaac, than the Bible portrays.
The portrayal of God seems accurate enough. But to portray the devoutness of the human characters would take a more devout director. The result is a lack of conviction in some scenes.
This lack of conviction therefore will disturb many drawn to the movie who will see that this isn't truly filmed as a portrayal of actual history. It comes across more as a dramatization of myth, and the viewer's reaction therefore will depend on that viewer's perspective.
As spectacle, it avoids the DeMille type excess. As acting, Huston himself does take the spotlight with his portrayal of Noah.
Seen without great expectations, one will find it suitably reverant and still entertaining.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2005
After watching this video I examined the Bible and it is very close to the scriptures in accuracy. It helps give the Bible life so that you can see the reality of creation, and vividly picture these true events that occured thousands of years ago in our history. This is truly a video the whole family can enjoy together.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2004
John Huston's The Bible...In The Beginning is wonderful movie that captures on film the emotion and drama of the first books of the Bible. From the beautiful images of Adam and Eve in Eden - including the strange shape/figure of the temptor in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - up to Abraham's life everything here rings true. Yes, he doesn't follow the Bible to the letter, but that is a minor criticism since it was the director's intention to tell the story in a realistic and believable manner. One person here said it was "silly" that the temptor of Adam and Eve wasn't in the form of a serpent/snake. Well, I say that it would have been even "sillier" to see a snake moving its jaws and having human speech coming out of its mouth than the presentation in the movie. John Huston's role as Noah is fantastic, being one of the highlights of the film but pay attention to the people playing his sons and daughter in laws and appreciate how well they were.

Though some here say that George C. Scott over acted in his portait of Abraham, I say that you don't have an appreciation of true drama. In fact, those who call the movie slow fail to capture the same thing. This is a dramatic movie, with little in the way of being "exciting." The Ten Commandments is a good movie, but come on! You can't hardly compare the two. Huston went to great lengths to actually present this as if we were viewing the past and to my mind, he succeeded greatly. Yes, John Huston was an atheist but he shows an understanding and deep-seated appreciation for the people and the material that is hard to find in many people who claim to be all about the Bible. It makes me wonder what kind of movie these people would have made had they had the same resources. John Huston was one of the greats and I simply love this movie. If corny, largely ficticious movies are your cup of tea, then stick with the Ten Commandments but if you want intellegent, fine drama you would do very well to give this movie a watch.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
John Huston does a peplum, and the fact that it's based on Biblical myth, and has Italian production values, really carries it off. It's generally unjustly maligned, but it's a splendid epic, somewhat unfocused, but beautifully designed and shot. Its best characteristic is that it avoids spiritualistic pandering, and has a curiously faithless core. The set pieces by Mario Chiari (Babel and The Ark in particular) astound even by today's CGI standards; and the creation sequence is a tour-de-force of natural vistas, strong narrative power, and features a magnificent musical treatment by the film's Japanese composer, Toshiro Mayuzumi. The film loses power as it progresses (aside from George C. Scott's thrusting histrionics), but it's still filled with effective moments from start to finish.
The Fox Blu-Ray is impressive and true to the film's premiere roadshow quality, particularly if you have a large projection system with 6-track sound: originally filmed in the wide-gauge 70mm process known as Dimension-150 (along with PATTON), there is restored DTS-HD audio (purists can even indulge in the original 4-track, magnetic stereo delivery).
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