L'eroe di Babilonia (1963) 





Director:     .

Starring:     Gordon Scott (Nippur),  Geneviève Grad (Tamira),  Andrea Scotti (Namar),  Célina Cély (Agar),  Moira Orfei (Ura),  Mario Petri (Zairo, King of Persia),  Piero Lulli (Balthazar),  Andrea Aureli (Anarsi),  Giuseppe Addobbati (Licardio),  Paola PetriniHarold Bradley (Mursuk).

last Mesopotamian king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626 BC to 539 BC), Nabonidus (reign 556-539), left rule to his son Belshazzar, and Babylon is overthrown by Cyrus the Great of Persia (Italian language)



Spoiler Warning:

Something shoots through the sky during daytime and a farmer says this means the end of the world.  The family gathers around father because everyone is afraid.  They have two daughters.  A group of slaves is being driven to take out rocks from a quarry.  They notice the shooting object.  Even the nobles are worried about what the object in the sky means.  The slaves chained to a wall ask to be released to save themselves.  Nothing doing. 

The Emperor himself, evil usurper, Balthazar, is also very concerned.  With him is the high-priestess Ura who has ambitions to become queen.  The last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, Nabonidus (reign 556-539 BC) left his kingship to his son Belshazzar, but Balthazar grabbed the throne instead.  Ura tells Balthazar that there is great danger ahead for him.  His enemies are already here.  He especially has to worry about Nippur, the son of the former king.  He instructs his men to arrest those that look suspicious and bring him the most beautiful slave women for sacrifice to the god Ishtar. 

The soldiers start grabbing pretty women off the streets of Babylon.  One of them, Agar, gets away by escaping and running into the house of  the local leader of a spirit of rebellion among the slaves. 

A group of soldiers goes out to the quarry to look for good-looking females.  They grab some women and then they come to a really pretty woman named Tamira.  They grab her.  They tie the hands of the four women and each one is pulled along by a rope behind a horse rider. 

Nippur and his buddy ride toward Babylon.  The women loosen the ropes around their hands and escape.  Three of them are soon captured, but Tamira is still free. 

Nippur and his friend Namar are down by a stream getting a drink of water.  Tamira comes running by them with a horseman right after her.  Nippur sees that the lady is in distress and he runs over to the horseman and shoves him off his horse and onto the ground.  Tamira begs them for help saying they are chasing after her.  Namar runs with Tamira, while Nippur takes on the soldiers.  He readily keeps them at bay.  Four at once come at him and he knocks them all down with one large log.  The soldiers see he is too strong for them and leave Nippur alone.  He now goes to speak with the woman.  She says she is just a slave and her name is Tamira.  Tamira rides with Nippur on his horse. 

Nippur and the two others speak to the chief of a village, who says they can't hide a slave here.  Nippur and Namar object to this decision.  The old man says that Nippur is a stranger here and doesn't really know the dangers.  Tamira tells Nippur that she is very grateful for him saving her and calls him "my master".  He says he hopes to see her again. 

The leader of the soldiers on slave patrol has to report what happened to the King.  The King scolds the leader asking how can one man hold off a whole group of soldiers?  The leader says that this man was extremely strong.  One of the slave girls tries to escape again.  The King tells the strong man to deal with the woman.  The strong man chokes the poor woman to death.  The King enjoys that piece of cruelty. 

Nippur and Namar go through the main gate of the walled city of Babylon.  Nippur wants to find out about his father while he is here, but a soldier recognizes Nippur and tells the others that the man is the one who stole the slave woman from them.  Nippur senses that he is being followed by the three soldiers behind him.  He ducks behind a column and when two of the soldiers come after him he gets behind them and knocks their heads together, which knocks out both men.  He then badly wounds the other soldiers in a sword fight.  Other soldiers run after Nippur who gets away for awhile by climbing up to the top of a building. 

The guards continue to pursue Nippur.  One guard gets up on the roofs with Nippur.  To get away from him Nippur jumps two stories down upon two other soldiers waiting for him.  His jump knocks them both down and he escapes. 

A group of Babylonians meet together in the house of a man who provided refuge for the woman trying to escape the attempt to catch her for the big sacrifice.  The men want to stop the sacrifice of the women to the gods. But they are going to need some help.  Just then there's a knock on the door.  Coming in is Namar. 

Ura prays to Ishtar asking the god to accept the sacrifice of blood of these slave women.  She asks that the god protect the reign of Balthazar.  Women dancers now perform a dance.  Nippur comes into the room and comes to the front.  He watches the dancers.

Namar knocks on the door of Agar.  She lets him in.  The only problem is that the couple are being watched by some soldiers.  Agar hugs Namar.  She tells him they should go far away from here to somewhere they can be free.  But just then the soldiers burst into the home.  They grab the two people.  They take Agar away.   Namar fights off the soldiers and gets away.

Ura tells the big man to begin the first sacrifice.  The big fellow picks the first woman up.  The King virtually salivates with anticipation.  The big giant then throws her screaming into the fire.  Nippur is disgusted by this outrage.

Nippur comes to see the King as Nippur.  The King acts as if he is happy to have Nippur come back. 

Nippur asks where is his father?  He has heard that the his father was being held as a prisoner.  The King says no and takes Nippur down into the dungeon prison to show that his father is not there.  Agar is brought into the prison while Nippur is there.  The King says she is a beautiful example of the women that will be sacrificed.   Nippur asks her name.  Then he asks that the woman be given to him as a gift.  The King thinks that's a very good choice and says the woman will be brought to his room. 

Ura finds out about Agar going to Nippur and she intends to stop it.  She tells Nippur that the woman is to be sacrificed.  But she will gladly take the woman's place.  It would be good if she and Nippur became good friends.  They could help each other.  He says since she offers her friendship, he wants her to tell him where is his father?  She says that's a matter for another day.  She wants Nippur to think about her proposition.  She leaves saying they will see each other again. 

Nippur hears some noise from outside and goes to investigate.  He sees that Namar is being dragged along by four soldiers.  He hides his face behind a bandana.  He then drops from the second floor into the courtyard.  He knocks all four soldiers down.  He and Namar now take off running.  The two men later separate.

Nippur travels to a peasant village.  There he meets with the leader of the coming rebellion, Licardio.  Tamira is with the leader.  Nippur says he is determined to save his father and will join the leader's revolt.  Licardio is grateful for that.  He says he has no news about Nippur's father.  Nippur says he will go back to the court.  He says goodbye to the leader and his daughter and Tamira.  Tamira follows him outside the village hut.  She doesn't want him to abandon her.  He says he will return soon. He says he loves her and they kiss.  She says she loves him too.  He says that will live together without fear. 

At court a wrestling match is staged and the royals place bets on which man they think will be triumphant.  Nippur jumps in between the wrestlers and throws them both down on the ground.  The King is pleased with this display of strength. 

Two ambassadors come to speak with the King of Babylon.  They say their King has heard many terrible stories about what they are doing to law-abiding citizens in Babylon.  Their King wants these terrible practices stopped or there is a chance of war between the two kingdoms.  The Babylonian King becomes infuriated with the ambassadors for daring to threaten the King of Babylon.  He has the ambassadors forcibly removed from his court.  This act maddens Nippur and he and the King start arguing.  Both men are getting madder and madder at each other until Ura intervenes and takes Nippur out of the room to talk to him. 

The Babylonian King now orders his aide to go around and arrest suspicious people that might mean harm to the King.  His idea pleases him very much and he is gleeful thinking about torturing these suspects and offering them as sacrifices to Ishtar.  He now orders that the wrestling match begin again and he's betting the man in red will win the bout. 

Outside Nippur says he can't stand seeing these injustices inflicted on innocent people.  Ura tells him to be careful what he does.  Nippur says he does not fear for his life.  He starts to leave Ura.  She tells him to wait for she has a response to his question of where is his father?  She has some type of seal that belonged to his father.  He asks where are they keeping his father?  She tells him he was killed.  Nippur is saddened and infuriated by this answer.  His father was murdered.  Nippur leaves.  Ura orders her an aide to follow Nippur wherever he goes and report back to her. 

Nippur rides fast to a cave where the rebel conspirators are meeting.  A guard goes inside to tell Licardio that Nippur is here to see him.  Tamira rushes toward the cave opening to greet Nippur.  They hug each other.  Nippur tells the leader that the diplomatic attempt was a failure. A man among the conspirators says that Nippur is a traitor.  He knows that he is a cousin to Balthazar.  Accompanied by some other rebels, he then goes after Nippur.  Nippur is able to push the men off him, dodge a punch by his accuser and  hits the man so hard that he smashes into the cave wall.   Licardio and Namar now speak out forcefully in defense of Nippur.  So the hostile atmosphere comes to an end. 

A man says they will assassinate the Babylon King at the next festival.  Another man says they are all in agreement on this.  Now Nippur says he has to go.  Tamira walks with him.  She says she is scared of what might happen to him.  He says she doesn't have to be afraid and that he will be back shortly.  They kiss again. 

Back in the palace, Ura comes to see Nippur again.  She wants to dethrone Balthazar too.  If he does not cooperate with her, she can always tell Balthazar that Nippur is a part of a plot of rebellion.  Nippur wants to know why Ura so keenly wants him to come over to her side.  She now says that she loves Nippur and wants to be by his side.  He says alright.  He kisses her and she's a willing partner.  She then says he will forget about that slave girl he likes.   

Nippur sends his servant on an errand, the two soldiers follow him and catch up with him.  He tries to run from them and he gets knocked around by the soldiers.  They take him into their custody. 

The conspirators go into the temple of Ishtar where the King sits on his throne.  The slave women are brought in to be sacrificed. Agar is among them.  The sacrificial fire is lit.  Ura asks for the first sacrifice, Agar.  Nippur runs down from the throne area and pushes the big giant down to the floor.  He then tells the conspirators that their plot has been discovered.  The soldiers are intent on killing Nippur, but they ate no match for his strength. He runs out of the temple and the soldiers follow him.  In the market place he has to fight off more soldiers. 

The sacrificial ceremony starts again.  Agar will be thrown into the fire.  Her lover tries to stop this, but two of the other conspirators grab him and force him out the door.  Agar is thrown into the fire.

Nippur rides away on a horse.  The soldiers comes after him.  They shoot an arrow into him and he falls off his horse, out of sight of the soldiers.  They go past him.  He gets up and starts walking. 

The King's men now grab the female conspirators, including Tamira.

Foreign soldiers find an unconscious Nippur by a stream.  They take the arrow out of his back and put a bandage on the wound. They take Nippur to the encampment site of the soldiers.  Nippur gets some rest and then talks with the foreign leader, Zairo, King of Persia,who is plotting out the battle plan against Balthazar.  Nippur says that the plan should include help from inside Babylon itself. He is referring to a slave revolt.  The foreign leader accepts Nippur's suggestion. 

On an open plain the two forces attack each other.  Both forces are very large. 

Tamira and the other women are taken to Babylon.  They are followed by Nippur.  Once in Babylon, Nippur goes to visit the rebel leader.  The rebels there are very happy to see Nippur because they feared that he had been killed by the pursuing soldiers.  Nippur learns that Tamira is now a prisoner in the dungeon.  So he decides to get into the palace and do something about it.  He pushes back an altar that hides the entrance to the prison and goes in.  He grabs a spear from the cave opening.  But as soon as Nippur is inside the cave, a set of bars comes down to stop his forward progress and then another set of bars descends to complete the trap. 

They chain Nippur to the wall of the dungeon.  He is right next to Tamira. 

The Persians defeat the Babylonians in battle and now their forces head for the fortressed walls of Babylon.  The Babylonians tie slave women to x-shaped frames and place them up on the ramparts.  The women are lashed by whips in order to disturb the Persian King.  The Persian King leaves the immediate area to get away from the torture of the slaves.  The King of Babylon celebrates that.  And now news arrives that the Persians are abandoning their encampment. Now that makes the King really happy. 

The time for the rebellion among the slaves has come.  They awaken from the noise of the striking of the grand gong. 

The soldiers come down into the prison to grab the women to be use in the sacrificial ceremony.  Tamira is the first to be taken.  Nippur struggles to free himself from his chains.   

Nippur does free himself from his chains.  He now frees his fellow prisoners.

The first to be sacrificed is brought forward and thrown into the fire.  Tamira calls out for Nippur. 

Now the slave revolt begins led by Licardio.  Soon afterwards Nippur and the prisoners get out of the dungeon.   The daughter of Licardio lights a flaming arrow and sends it shooting up into the sky.  It looks like a small meteor streaking through the sky.  

Now it's Tamira's turn to be thrown into the fires.  Nippur works his hardest to undermine the stone foundation holding up the King's throne.  He is able to push the stone away from the dungeon opening.  He throws his sword right into the left side of the big ginat executioner.  Tamira  is saved.  She is quickly back in trouble as another man tries to grab her and throw her into the fire.  The small servant belonging to Nippur is able to kill the man and save Tamira. 

Nippur kills one soldier after another.  He then goes after Ura.  She runs from him, but then slips and falls into the sacrificial fires.  The rebels finally get the main gate open and the Persian horsemen race in.  They are followed by the Persian infantry.  The Persians come into the throne room.  This gives a chance for Nippur to go after Balthazar.  The Persian King arrives on his horse.  He is able to thrust his sword into the King's mid-section.  The Persian King congratulates Nippur.  Later the Persian King puts Nippur on the throne as the Babylonian king. 

Tamira starts to leave the room with the others, until Nippur calls her back.  She runs to him and they kiss. 


Not a very good historical movie.  The history is wrong in key parts of the tale.  See the Historical Background below for the real story as we know it.  Otherwise, the story is okay.  It's a sword and sandal movie complete with the strong man hero, played by muscleman Gordon Scott (who was the 11th actor to play Tarzan, starting with Tarzan's Hidden Jungle in 1955).  Geneviève Grad was a French actress, active from 1961 to 1983, who played the part of the love interest, Tamira. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



Historical Background:

626 - 539 BC --  Neo-Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history.

556-539 BC  --  reign of Nabonidus.  Nabonidus is said to have worshiped the moon-god Sîn beyond all the other gods.  He also paid special devotion to Sîn's temple in Harran, where his mother was a priestess.  Sin was in but Marduk was out.  Nabonidu neglected the Babylonian primary god, Marduk.

 553  --  because of the tensions brought about by Nabonidus' religious reforms generated, he had to leave the capital for the desert oasis of Tayma in Arabia early in his reign, from which he only returned after many years. In the meantime, his son Belshazzar ruled from Babylon.  Tayma was an important oasis, from where lucrative Arabian trade routes could be controlled.  There is no evidence that Belshazzar ever officially held the title of "king".

543  --  after an absence of ten years, Nabonidus returns to Babylon from Tayma.  His returns may have had to do with the mounting threat of Cyrus and growing disagreements with Belshazzar, who was relieved of his command directly after Nabonidus had come back, along with a number of administrators.

When Cyrus attempted to march into southern Mesopotamia, he was met by the Babylonians near Opis. In the ensuing battle, the Persians were victorious. This in turn led to the nearby city of Sippar surrendering. Meanwhile, the Babylonians had withdrawn south to establish a line of defense near the Euphrates that was intended to prevent Cyrus from advancing too far, but a small force of Persians were sent south along the Tigris River to try to take the capital by surprise. The Persian troops reached Babylon undetected and caught it unawares, meeting only minor resistance near one of its gates. Thus, they were not only able to capture Babylon, but also King Nabonidus.

This left the Babylonian army in an untenable position and it soon surrendered.

Ugbaru, the commander of the Persian forces that had captured Babylon, had taken good care that his men would not plunder or otherwise harm the city. He had even made sure that the temple rites continued to be observed.

A month later Cyrus proceeded towards the city. Many Babylonian officials as well as the Babylonian administrative system stayed in place after the transition of power.  What happened to Nabondius is uncertain.  He may have been spared by the Persians.  The leader and another man now






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