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Zerah: Now it begins. It all begins.
Jesus of Nazareth is an Anglo-Italian mini-series made in 1977 about the life of Jesus Christ. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli and produced by Sir Lew Grade, it stars Robert Powell in the title role and has an exceptionally strong supporting cast making up the rest of First Century Judea. Zeffirelli made the project after he was asked directly by Pope Paul VI to make a film about the life of Jesus from His birth to the Crucifixion and ending in the Resurrection. In order to make a more Scripturally accurate film, various religious authorities were consulted including the Vatican and the Koronic School in Meknes, Morocco.
Jesus of Navareth has been referred to as "the best mini-series of all time" and is shown on televisions at least once every year.
Tropes in Jesus of Nazareth:
- Adipose Rex: Herod the Great, played by Peter Ustinov.
- Affably Evil: King Herod the Great, initially . . .
- All-Star Cast: Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Olivia Hussey, Michael York, Ralph Richardson, Ian McShane, Ian Holm, James Mason, Rod Steiger, Anthony Quinn, James Earl Jones, Donald Pleasance, Anne Bancroft, Peter Ustinov, the list goes on.
- Ascended Extra: The Roman centurion played by Ernest Borgnine, whose servant Jesus heals, also appears at the Crufixion.
- Both Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus (James Mason and Laurence Olivier respectively) appear more often than they do in the Gospels.
- Badass Beard: Quite a few, though special mention has to go to John the Baptist's.
- Blind Seer: Herod the Great has one in his palace.
- Blue Eyes: Perhaps the most notable thing about Powell's Jesus are his extremely clear blue eyes. He also never blinks.
- Canon Foreigner: Ian Holm's Zerah does not feature in any of the Gospels but instead was made up for the series in order to give Judas motivation to betray Jesus.
- Composite Character: Both Roman centurions who appear in the Gospels (the one with the ill servant and the one who stands at the foot of the cross) are made into the same character.
- Death by Adaptation: There is a scene that shows Joseph dying despite the fact that this is not mentioned in the Gospels.
- Driven to Suicide: Judas hangs himself after he realises he has led Jesus to His death.
- Gory Discretion Shot: When Jesus is flogged by the Romans.
- Grumpy Bear: Peter.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Blackbeard is Judas, Captain von Trapp is Herod Antipas, Mrs Robinson in Mary Magdelane, d'Artagnan is John the Baptist, Bilbo Baggins is Zerah, Mermaid Man is the Centurion, and Darth Vadar is one of the Magi.
- The Messiah: Jesus, naturally.
- Name's the Same: Both kings of Judea are named Herod. However, Christopher Plummer's king is called 'Herod Antipas' to distinguish him from Peter Ustinov's Herod the Great.
- All Truth in Television, of course, as there were four monarchs all called Herod and they all followed one another.
- One-Scene Wonder: In the long run, Peter Ustinov as Herod the Great is hardly in the series, but he is completely unforgettable.
- Sir Ralph Richardson as Simeon appears in two very brief scenes but really stands out.
- Token Good Teammate: Ernest Borgnine's Centurion for the Romans and Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea for the Sanhedrin.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Judas Iscariot is portrayed as this. He believes that Jesus is the Messiah who will defeat the Romans in a grand stroke and betrays Him simply so that He can explain Himself to the Sanhedrin. It doesn't go very well.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Zealots.