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Franco Zeffirelli’s – Jesus of Nazareth

19/04/2019

This film runs for just over 6 hours, as it was a minseries broadcast in 2 parts originally

Jesus of Nazareth is a 1977 British-Italian television miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli and co-written by Zeffirelli, Anthony Burgess, and Suso Cecchi d’Amico which dramatises the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It stars Robert Powell as Jesus, and features an all-star cast of famous American and European actors, including eight who had won or would go on to win Academy Awards: Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, James Earl Jones, and Peter Ustinov.

Extra-Biblical traditions were used in the writing of the screenplay and some characters (such as Zerah) and situations were invented for the film for brevity or dramatic purposes. Notably, Jesus of Nazareth depicts Judas Iscariot as a well-intentioned man initially, but later as a dupe of Zerah who betrays Jesus largely as a result of Zerah’s false platitudes and pretexts. However, in accordance with the Gospels, the film depicts Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea as sympathetic members of the Sanhedrin. Many of the miracles of Jesus, such as the changing of water into wine at the wedding at Cana, the transfiguration, and the calming of the storm are not depicted, although Jesus healing of Jairus’s daughter, the blind man and the crippled woman on the Sabbath, the feeding of the multitude, and the raising of Lazarus from the dead are presented here.

Jesus of Nazareth premiered on the Italian channel Rai 1 on 27 March 1977 and was first aired in the United Kingdom on the ITV Network on 3 April 1977. It became a ratings success and received positive reviews.

This had an excellent cast including the supporting actors outside the big names.

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