Jesus of Nazareth

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JESUS OF NAZARETH - God's love revealed

Aug 25, 2003 (Updated Sep 9, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:Realistic! Makes the Bible come to life.

Cons:A bit lengthy [6.22 hrs], but well worth it.

The Bottom Line: **A MUST-SEE MOVIE!! This one could change your life!

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

This is no ordinary Jesus movie!

--SUPERB acting, direction, and production!

This movie is very special to me. It's hard to put into words just how it affected my life.
God used this movie to show me, and probably many others just what really happened;
His love for me, and what Jesus went through to fulfill His plan.

I didn't know much about Jesus before watching it. It told the whole heart-wrenching story;
from conception to birth, Jesus as a youth, beginning his ministry, teaching the people,
his betrayal, trial and crucifixion. So realistic are the scenes; the lashing out of the whip;
the pain in his face; the torment placed upon Him, for us.

It was so realistic, my heart broke to see him mocked, beaten and eventually crucified.
Even though I knew the end, I was still shocked at the brutality of it all.

I fell in love with Jesus watching this movie, and this love is what drew me to Him.
I've heard it said that if we take one step toward God, He takes two toward us.
Seeing this account of the story shows me the intensity of His love.

This is a most realistic example of God's love. I felt as if I were there and He was speaking directly to me.
I have watched it several times, once even comparing with Scripture. It seems to come directly from The Living Bible and N.I.V. word for word. At one point, I actually sat with my Bible and heard "Jesus" recite
the beatitudes, and several other passages. Talk about making the Bible come to life!!!

The location, sets, costumes, even the music, provide an actual account of this timeless story.

Jesus is expressive and animated during his teachings. All of the actors do a superb job. Very believable. Very touching.

"God wants to write the law on your hearts," Jesus says. "The good news I bring you is this; your captivity is over."


A Franco Zeffirelli Production

Written by:

Anthony Burgess
Suso Cecchi D'Amico
Franco Zeffirelli

Produced by:
Vincenzo Labella

Directed by:
Franco Zeffirelli


Robert Powell as Jesus
-- Perfectly cast!! Powell truly captures, as well as any human is able, the attitude, persona; the LOOK of Jesus. With compassion in his eyes, his meek nature, he speaks the words and plays the part with confidence and authority. He portrays Jesus; the merciful heart of the Father, the knowledge of what is to come, the power, the mind of Christ. They couldn't have cast a better actor for this role. One reviewer said PRO: You almost believe Powell is Jesus. CON: You almost believe Powell is Jesus. This is true. We must remember that this man is not Jesus, however there's just something about that face! He is fierce with the Pharisees and the money changers in the Temple, and passionate in this most difficult role. During the crucifixion, he makes you feel as if he is in fact receiving the blows; the nails; the scorn. The expression in his face breaks your heart. It comes alive with torment, pain and yet still filled with compassion for the tormentors. Blood, sweat and tears add so much emotion to this film, you'd swear you were there...hearing the nails driven into his hands; feeling the tension of the crowd; witnessing the devastation of the followers and Mother of Jesus.

Anne Bancroft as Mary Magdalene-- Bancroft is perfectly cast! Mary is mocked and ridiculed, and she reacts in a way we would expect her to; with fire and passion. This tortured soul eventually falls at the feet of Jesus, loving him much, and in doing so is forgiven much, by the only one who matters. Bancroft is well known for her passionate acting, and this is probably one of her best! We can relate. She plays the part of one who has made many mistakes in her life. She portrays all of our weakest, most vulnerable moments. The expression on her face when she realizes just whom she is following is priceless. The swooning look she has when she talks of her Lord is breathtaking. Her intenseness when she tells the disciples that Christ has from the dead captures what the moment could have been like.

Olivia Hussey as Jesus' mother, Mary-- Hussey is perfectly cast. Sweetness, purity and humbleness permeate from this performance. She plays a loving mother, who upon realizing the purpose of her son, becomes a follower as well. The anguish she shows during the crucifixion brings any mother, or any one for that matter, to tears. Weeping and wailing and crying out to heaven for answers, she cradles her dead son; probably not caring so much that He is fulfilling God's plan, but just wanting her baby back. This is a heart-wrenching account of the Son of God and His mother; just like any other mother; she wants to protect her son.

Michael York as John the Baptist-- York is FIERCE, as always! He preaches with such intensity, it makes one want to either run or repent. He looks as primitive as a caveman, unclean and unshaven; and unashamedly shouts his teaching for all to hear. Yet, his countenance softens when he first sees the Messiah. He is gentle and reverend as he baptizes Jesus, then speaking the words he hears from God, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

James Farentino as Simon Peter-- Absolutely brilliant acting!!! So believable as the gruff, skeptical, prideful Simon Peter; and yet, humble and reverend under the authority of Jesus. [Peter gives the rest of us hope!] He plays this role as if he were born for it. His expression is realistic as he realizes who Jesus is, and again later as he weeps at the remembrance of his denial of Him.

Laurence Olivier as Nicodemus-- Olivier plays this role with sincere passion. One of my favorite parts of this story; when Jesus tells Nicodemus one must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. At the crucifixion, Olivier passionately quotes Isaiah 53; it seems as if his heart is truly breaking. You can see the conversion in his face.

Ernest Borgnine as The Centurion-- Borgnine plays the part wonderfully! He is a man of authority; a leader; a soldier. He plays a no-nonsense part very well. Yet, at the crucifixion, he says, "Surely this must be the Son of God," and softness fills his face; the look of regret fills his eyes. He portrays what one Roman soldier might have felt realizing they may have made a mistake crucifying Jesus.

Also starring:

Yorgo Voyagis- Joseph
James Mason- Joseph of Arimathea
Ian McShane- Judas
Rod Steiger- Pontius Pilate [Fierce and brilliant, as always]
Stacy Keach- Barabbas [great performance]
Anthony Quinn- Caiaphas [typical Quinn; huge presence]
James Earl Jones- Balthazar [classic actor as always]
Donald Pleasence- Melchior
Fernando Rey- Gaspar
Peter Ustinov- Herod the Great
Claudia Cardinale- The Adulteress
Christopher Plummer- Herod Antipas [great acting!]
Valentina Cortese- Herodias
Tony Lo Bianco- Quintillius
Ralph Richardson- Simeon
Cyril Cusack- Yehuda
Ian Holm- Zerah


Recommend this product? Yes

Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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