Jesus of Nazareth (1977)



Director:  Franco Zeffirelli

Starring:  Robert Powell (Jesus Christ), Anne Bancroft (Mary Magdalene), Ernest Borgnine (The Centurion), Claudia Cardinale (The Adulteress), Valentina Cortese (Herodias), James Farentino (Simon Peter), James Earl Jones (Balthazar), Stacy Keach (Barabbas), Tony Lo Bianco (Quintilius), James Mason (Joseph of Arimathea), Ian McShane (Judas Iscariot), Laurence Olivier (Nicodemus), Donald Pleasence (Melchior), Christopher Plummer (Herod Antipas), Anthony Quinn (Caiaphas).



Spoiler Warning:




Historical Background:



8 to 4 B.C. -- born in Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary had gone to comply with the Roman edict of enrollment for the census.

Joseph and Mary flee into Egypt in order to take Jesus out of reach of the Judean king Herod the Great.

They journey with the young Jesus to the Temple for the Passover feast.

John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan River, after which Jesus retires to the neighboring wilderness for a 40-day period of fasting and meditation.

Jesus begins his one or three year public ministry after the imprisonment of John the Baptist.

Jesus returns to Galilee, visiting his home in Nazareth, but the people there objected to him so much that he moves on to Capernaum and begins teaching there. Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew, along with James and John his brother become the first disciples; the number of disciples eventually reaches 12.

Using Capernaum as a base, Jesus and his disciples travel to neighboring towns and villages.

Jesus, with his emphasis on moral sincerity rather than strict adherence to religious ritual, brings on the wrath of the Pharisees.

Jesus travels back and forth to cities in and outside the province of Galilee combined with periods of retreat with his disciples in Bethany and Ephraim, near Jerusalem.

On the Sunday before Passover, Jesus enters Jerusalem, where he is met by enthusiastic crowds. On Monday and Tuesday he drives the moneychangers from the outer court of the Temple. He disputes with the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees about his beliefs. Fearing the wrath of Rome, his opponents conspire with Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. Thursday was the date of the Last Supper at Passover. After dinner Jesus and his disciples head to the Mount of Olives and Jesus retires to the Garden of Gethsemane to meditate and pray. Judas Iscariot, leading a crowd sent by the religious authorities, arrests Jesus there.

Jesus is taken to a meeting of the supreme council of the Jews, the Sanhedrin. He answers in the affirmative to a question as to whether he is "the Christ, the Son of God" and the council condemns him to death for blasphemy.

On Friday morning, Jesus is taken before the procurator, Pontius Pilate, for sentencing. He tries several ways to save Jesus without success. So Pilate sentences him to death. Jesus is crucified at Golgotha.




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