THE ROBE is a Biblical epic focusing on the Roman tribune put in charge of carrying out the crucifixion of Jesus. The movie opens with a slave auction in Rome where Marcellus (played by Richard Burton) angers Caligula, the heir to Emperor Tiberius. Marcellus is separated from his true love Diana and sent to the most unpopular outpost in the empire, Jerusalem. Marcellus arrives just as Jesus enters Jerusalem for the Last Supper. Diana gets Tiberius to recall Marcellus, but his final task in Jerusalem is to lead the crucifixion of Jesus. While carrying out his assignment, he winds up winning the robe that was taken from Jesus when he was put on the cross. Later, Marcellus, who’s wracked by guilt for his part in the crucifixion, is assigned to track down track down Christians conspiring against the empire. When he finds some Christians and learns what they are really teaching, however, he becomes one.
This powerful story is similar to that of Paul who at first sought to persecute Christians but then became one. THE ROBE has many inspiring moments. It is a wonderful testament to the power of Christian faith.
(CCC, BBB, V, N, AA, M) A profoundly Christian/Biblical worldview with some pagan characters; no foul language; Jesus is whipped and crucified, man is tortured and whipped, fight scenes, some with swords, Christians killed with arrows; no sex, some kissing; upper male nudity; some alcohol use including drunkenness; considerable class, religious and nationalistic pride and injustice, including slavery and persecution of Christians.
THE ROBE, the first movie released in CinemaScope, is a Biblical epic focusing on the Roman tribune put in charge of carrying out the crucifixion of Jesus. This powerful story is similar to that of Paul who at first sought to persecute Christians but then became one.
The movie opens with a slave auction in Rome where Marcellus (Richard Burton) angers Caligula (Jay Robinson), the heir to Emperor Tiberius. For outbidding Caligula on the Greek slave, Demetrius (Victor Mature), Marcellus is separated from his true love Diana (Jean Simmons) and sent to the most unpopular outpost in the empire, Jerusalem. Marcellus arrives just as Jesus enters Jerusalem for the Last Supper. Diana manages to get Tiberius to recall Marcellus, but for his final task in Jerusalem his duty is to lead the crucifixion of Jesus.
While carrying out his assignment, Marcellus winds up winning the robe that was taken from Jesus when he was put on the cross. The spectacular storm that arises captures Marcellus attention, and he ends up facing Jesus when Jesus cried out to the Father, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Leaving Golgatha, with the storm still raging, Marcellus demands the robe from Demetrius. Demetrius, who has become a Christian, hesitates to give Marcellus the robe. Upon grabbing it, Marcellus is overwhelmed with a sense of guilt and becomes mentally unstable.
On reaching Diana and Tiberius in Capri, the cure for his madness is declared to be an imperial commission to find the robe and destroy it along with all the Christians he can find. He returns to Galilee and finds a town with Christians who treat him well. They explain to Marcellus about Jesus Christ’s resurrection and that the crucifixion was all part of God’s plan.
Marcellus meets Peter, becomes a Christian and travels with Peter and Demetrius on a missionary journey through the Mediterranean provinces of Rome. They wind up in Rome itself where Caligula has become emperor.
THE ROBE has some inspiring moments, such as when Peter tells Marcellus about having denied Jesus three times the night before the crucifixion. Marcellus winds up having to explain his “treason” to Caligula. His talk about Jesus Christ’s kingdom being “not of the world” is wonderful and is complete with a comparison of the pagan and Christian worldviews. Those anxious to make America a Pagan nation should see this movie.
There is a small diversion where Marcellus tries to be a swashbuckling hero like Errol Flynn and goes to rescue Demetrius from a Roman torture chamber, but the heart of the movie is profoundly Christian. The movie did better at the box office than any other released in 1953, with the exception of PETER PAN, which has kept making money because Disney re-released it for several generations of children.
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