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Film: King of Kings
King of Kings is a 1961 Biblical epic about Jesus and his times, directed by Nicholas Ray and distributed by MGM. It stars Jeffrey Hunter, best known for playing Captain Christopher Pike in the original pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series, as Jesus - and Rip Torn as Judas, whose role is somewhat beefed up. The narration was written by an uncredited Ray Bradbury and spoken by an uncredited Orson Welles. The score was composed by Miklós Rózsa.

Not to be confused with The King Of Kings, a 1927 version of the story directed by Cecil B. DeMille.


Tropes found in King of Kings include:

  • Ascended Extra:
    • The film has an extensive subplot of Barabbas being a Foil for Jesus - a fiery would-be liberator from Roman rule as opposed to a peaceful spiritual savior. Judas is also portrayed as Barabbas's close friend, and they even get into a battle with Pilate's soldiers early in the film. When Judas meets Jesus, he thinks he can help them overthrow the Romans through force. When this doesn't work out Judas betrays Jesus to the priests.
    • The Roman centurion at the crucifixion also gets this treatment. He is given the name Lucius, and he keeps popping up in various points of Jesus's life, like being in charge of the massacre of Bethlehem, and acting as Jesus's defense attorney during his trial before Pilate. But he doesn't age much if at all.
  • Bible Times: Naturally, as it's about Jesus.
  • Epic Film: With a poster of the "huge towering letters" kind later parodied by the posters of Monty Python's Life of Brian.
  • Follow the Leader: Made in the wake of Ben Hur.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Pompey the Great has a cameo in the beginning, when the Jews are conquered by the Romans.
  • Klingon Promotion: When Herod the Great is too old and sickly to sit on his throne, his son Herod Antipas claims it. Herod the Great crawls at his feet, but he kicks him away, killing him.
  • La Résistance: The underground movement of Barabbas. They actually start an uprising in Jerusalem after Jesus has entered it, but it's swiftly put down by the Romans. Barabbas is captured in the fighting, and this leads to the scene in the Gospels where he is set free in place of Jesus.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Salome, whose famous dance is shown in its entirety.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Lucius the centurion, who is unnamed in the Gospels (the figure who says "Truly this man was the son of God!")
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Jesus appears to his disciples on a beach after the resurrection, he's only presented through voiceover and a shadow - which merges with a fishing net to form a giant cross.
  • Sword And Sandal: Through the battle scenes, not mentioned in the Gospels.
  • Younger Than He Looks: When it first came out, the film was dubbed "I Was a Teenage Jesus" because of Jeffrey Hunter's youthful looks, though he was actually 33 years old - ironically the traditional age of Jesus when he died.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Barabbas views himself as a freedom fighter but the Romans view him as a dangerous outlaw.
The King Of KingsJesusLamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
James BondCreator/Metro-Goldwyn-MayerKiss Me Kate
Kingdom of HeavenEpic MovieThe Last of the Mohicans
Judgment At NurembergFilms of the 1960sLast Year at Marienbad

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