DVD Release: March 12, 2013


Billy Zane stars as Barabbas in this epic saga based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner Pär Lagerkvist. Most of the world only knows Barabbas as the thief whom the crowd spared from crucifixion instead of Jesus. But when his brief biblical portrayal ends, this gripping tale of struggle and redemption begins. Join the spiritual journey of a survivor whose life was spared because of extraordinary circumstances.

Dove Review

This is an interpretation of Barabbas that the Scriptures never mention. On the other hand, it includes several Scriptural moments including Jesus teaching his followers, the famous “he that is without sin, cast the first stone” statement, as well as raising Lazarus from the dead and Jesus’ death and resurrection. In addition to the positive elements, Billy Zane does a commendable job playing a man who is zealous to fight Roman oppression. He plays him as a complex man, one with warrior-like qualities and yet a tender heart.

This film is based on a novel and I am not sure how much historical research the author did. In the film Judas Iscariot comes to Barabbas after Judas has betrayed Christ and tells Barabbas he was God’s tool in putting Christ to death and that Barabbas is indeed God’s chosen one! That does not show up anywhere in Scripture. Also, Barabbas has contact with the other disciples, even giving himself up in place of a captured Peter, another incident not recorded in Scripture. Neither is his death on a cross or ultimate belief in Jesus as the Messiah.

At any rate, strong violence and a 3 rating in the sex category on our content chart prevents us from awarding this movie our Dove Seal.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: Young woman, a follower of Jesus, sleeps with Barabbas and becomes pregnant; brothel scene in which many men are with women although nothing graphic is shown; kissing by a few couples.
Language: SOB-1; the word "whore" is used multiple times.
Violence: Much bloody violence and death including gladiator fighting, men on the cross; bloody and beaten Jesus with bloody stripes and wearing crown of thorns, seen whipped and also on the cross; punching and fighting; stabbings and slashing by swords; corpses seen on ground; man seen hanging after hanging himself; man is choked and almost dies; spears seen thrust into mens' backs; robbery.
Drugs: Wine is seen and consumed in several scenes.
Nudity: Shirtless men; woman's bare back is seen.
Other: Several incidents in the movie are not portrayed in the Bible such as Barabbas speaking with Jesus on several occasions and with other disciples, Barabbas becoming a believer, and an odd scene where Jesus is seen dancing at the marriage feast of Cana.


Company: Cinedigm
Director: Roger Young
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 188 min.
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter