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   Movie Review: Masada

The Complete Epic Mini-Series

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Not Rated

Photo: Barbara Carrera in "Masada."

Starring: Peter O'Toole, Peter Strauss.

Photo: Roman Battering Ram from "Masada."

Starring alphabetically: Barbara Carrera, Nigel Davenport, Alan Feinstein, Giulia Pagano, Anthony Quayle, Denis Quilley, Paul L. Smith, Anthony Valentine, David Warner as "Falco." 

Photo: from "Masada."

Also starring alphabetically: George Peter Innes, David Opatoshu, Richard Pierson, Joseph Wiseman.  Produced by George Eckstein.  Based on the Novel, "The Antagonists" by Ernest K. Gann.  Written for television by Joel Oliansky.  Directed by Boris Sagal.  Executive in charge of Production: Richard Irving.

Photo: Zealots in "Masada."

Produced in association with Arnon Milchan Film Productions, Ltd.

1981 Universal City Studios, Inc.  (In Notice: 1980)  All rights reserved. __________________

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"It will be a war to the finish."

Peter O'Toole, Peter Strauss, Barbara Carrera

The historic clash of extraordinary men, with the future of a proud nation, and the pride of a mighty empire at stake, becomes a passionate epic film in Masada.

Photo: Roman General and Roman Priest in "Masada."

Peter O'Toole and Peter Strauss star as the unlikely antagonists, one driven by a soldier's loyalty, the other by a patriot's zeal, in an encounter that would come to stand through the ages as a symbol of freedom's undying challenge to tyranny.

70 A.D. - The Destruction of Jerusalem  - The Roman General Titus Destroys the Jewish Temple

In the year 70 A.D., Jerusalem is devastated by the Roman Army, killing a million citizens and sending thousands into slavery.  Eleazar ben Yair (Strauss) leads a band of resistance fighters to a fortress atop Mount Masada in the Judean desert., a fortress blessed by nature and a king's careful planning with water, food supplies, and seemingly impregnable defenses.  From this fortress, the unforgiving rebels swoop down on their Roman conquerors, harassing and humiliating the powerful army.

Photo: Peter Strauss as Eleazar in "Masada."

By the year 73 A.D., the Roman court can no longer tolerate the public embarrassment caused by the band of ragged warriors, and the army's finest general--Flavius Silva (O'Toole)--is ordered to return to the desert and destroy the fortress.

 The Zealots Will Not be an Easy Military Target

From the distance of Rome, this sounds simple.  The worldly-wise and battle-weary Silva knows better; the Zealots will not be an easy military target, and he sends for Eleazar in an effort to arrange an agreement for a mutually honorable peace.

Photo: Peter Strauss leads the Zealots in "Masada."

Frustrated by Eleazar's continued defiance, Silva cages the rebel leader, freeing him later after the two men discover a grudging mutual respect, agreeing on peace terms that Siva will take back to Rome. ______________________________

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Image: Front Cover of "Masada" Video.

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Silva's trip is futile.  Politics decree that the rebels must be crushed and their leaders delivered in chains.  To make matters worse, Roman atrocities increase during Silva's absence, and the Zealots' determination becomes hardened steel.  It will be a war to the finish.  

(-From the Video's Back Cover). _________________________________

Our Comments:

The story told in Masada is not a Christian story, neither is it a Biblical story.  So why are we reviewing it?  

This mini-series begins with the end of the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. by the Roman General (later Emperor) Titus.  These events are climactic in the history of the Jewish people and of the nation of Israel.  As recorded in the Gospels, the Lord Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Temple 40 years before it actually happened. 

 Every soldier who enters Israeli Army is "sworn in" on top of the fortress rock of Masada (this means almost everyone in the entire country: military duty is required of almost every citizen of Israel, both men and women).   Masada covers a key period of history that Christians would do well to familiarize themselves with.

(Because it is partly the story of a Roman General and his Jewish mistress, we recommend it being previewed by parents before family showing).   

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