Once We Were Slaves

DVD Release: January 6, 2015
Once We Were Slaves


The second short film from Vertical Church Films, “Once We Were Slaves,” captures the uncommon grace and redemption of the crucifixion from a perspective that’s never before been captured on film. 2,000 years ago, two Jewish prisoners await their fate in a Jerusalem jail cell. One, a lifelong criminal and a rebel against the Roman occupation, is resigned to his death. The other, a lifelong rabbinical student and peacemaker, refuses to accept his fate. As the afternoon progresses their history is revealed, a history that leads them to a shocking encounter with a mysterious man who changes their lives forever.

Dove Review

“Once We Were Slaves” is a powerful story of redemption. The crucifixion story is told through the eyes of the two thieves imprisoned and crucified with Jesus. They see their companion Barabbas freed, but they face the ultimate price for their crimes. Yet one of the thieves, at first railing against Christ with the other thief, asks that Jesus remember him. Christ then utters the famous words, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”

We see Roman oppression in this film, and an angry Jew reacting against it. The main focus is the freedom that Christ brings with his ultimate sacrifice, and the difference he made in one thief’s life. Due to a few bloody scenes during the crucifixion, we are awarding this movie our Dove “Faith-Based” Seal. The movie features good acting, a good story, and realistic sets. It does a terrific job showing how Christ made a difference in one man’s life.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: Jewish man learns a Roman was seen with a woman he cares for.
Language: Dogs-1.
Violence: Man beaten and has bloody head wound; man is whipped and blood is seen on arm of the man doing the whipping; man's bloody body, plus two others, on crosses; blood on the street and on a beam; blood washes down man's body after a rain; man throws plate in anger.
Drugs: Drinking of wine.
Nudity: Shirtless men; men in loin cloths.
Other: Two thieves mock Jesus but one repents; gambling over Christ's clothes.


Company: Gateway Films / Vision Video
Director: Dallas Jenkins
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 27 min.
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter