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Anthony Quinn





Columbia, 1962.  Directed by Richard Fleischer.  Camera:  Aldo Tonti.  With Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Arthur Kennedy, Katy Jurado, Harry Andrews, Vittorio Gassman, Jack Palance, Ernest Borgnine, Valentina Cortese, Arnoldo Fo, Norman Wooland, Enrico Glori, Carlo Giustini, Rina Braido, Douglas Fowley, Laurence Payne, Michael Gwynn, Gustavo De Nardo, Tullio Tomadoni, Maria Zanoli, Friedrich Ledebur, Guido Celano, Spartaco Nale, Gianni Di Benedetto, Vladimiro Picciafuochi, Bobby Hall, Joe Robinson, Ivan Triesault,  Roy Mangano, Nando Angelini, Marcello Di Martire.

Each year at Passover, the people of Jerusalem are permitted to grant freedom to one of two condemned prisoners.  In this process Barabbas, an assassin and thief, is pardoned by popular acclaim while Jesus is sent to be crucified.  Upon his release, Barabbas discovers that his beloved, Rachel, has become a follower of Christ, and she tells him of the Resurrection.  Unable to comprehend her faith in Christ as the Messiah, Barabbas meets with Saint Peter and Christ's disciples and hears Lazarus' story, but he remains unconvinced and returns to his old way of life after Rachel is stoned to death as a heretic.

Inevitably, he is again taken prisoner, and this time he is sentenced to a lifetime of slave labor in the sulphur mines of Sicily.  In the years that follow he is chained to a Christian, Sahak, who wins his admiration, but Barabbas still refuses to admit the existence of a God.  Barabbas and Sahak emerge the sole survivors when the mine collapses, and they are eventually taken to Rome, where they are trained as gladiators.  Because of his faith, Sahak refuses to kill, and he is put to death.  Barabbas vanquishes Torvald, the sadistic captain of the gladiators, in the circus arena.  As a reward for his courage, he is granted his freedom by the emperor.

After giving Sahak a Christian burial in the catacombs, Barabbas discovers that Rome is on fire.  Believing the Roman charge that the Christians are responsible for the deed, Barabbas decides to help those whom he has denied, and he adds a torch to the flames.  He is captured and sentenced to be crucified along with many Christians.

The film is based on the novel Barabbas by Pr Lagerkvist (Stockholm, 1950).  It opened in Rom in December 1961 as Barabba.

American Film Institute Catalog