"A Story of Disobedience and Redemption"
What You Need To Know:
SAMSON AND DELILAH is a remastered DVD version of a 1996 television movie that’s nearly three hours long. There are some unnecessary scenes that could be cut and some longer scenes that could be shortened. Most of the production values appear authentic, but some are distracting, such as some fake beards and wigs. For the most part, SAMSON AND DELILAH parallels the biblical story, though some events are out of place. The movie does a good job of communicating the biblical message behind Samson’s story, reminding viewers about the danger of disobedience and the forgiveness of God. SAMSON AND DELILAH has a lot of violence and some sexual situations, so extreme caution is advised.
(BBB, CCC, FR, VV, SS, N, AA, MM) Very strong biblical, moral, Christian worldview about Samson, the biblical hero, includes characters repent for their sins and seek God’s forgiveness, and Philistines worship stone gods in their temple but it is rebuked; no foul language; strong violence with some blood includes man cuts his hand to draw blood, many battle scenes showing soldiers being killed with swords and arrows, a man cuts the throat of another man, a man has his eyes burned out, a man nearly throws another man off a cliff, a man wrestles with a lion and kills it, an angry man destroys property and kills other men, hundreds of people are crushed under the weight of falling stones; one scene represents a couple engaging in fornication, several scenes show a couple in bed together implying fornication, a man lusts after women and sleeps with them, and some dialogue between characters contains sexual innuendo; many scenes contain upper male nudity; a couple scenes show people drinking and behaving in a drunken manner; no smoking or drugs; and, a teenage boy bullies some other boys, a woman lies to a man and betrays his trust, a woman agrees to sleep with a man for money, a man disobeys God’s instructions and gets many of his people killed.
SAMSON AND DELILAH depicts the biblical story of Samson as he grows up and allows his own sinful desires to interfere with the plan God laid out for his life. The movie does a good job communicating the biblical lessons learned from Samson’s life, but it’s too long and has content that’s not suitable for children.
The movie opens while the Israelites are suffering under the harsh and unjust rule of the Philistines. Mara and Manoa are faithful servants of God, but are unable to have children. Mara encounters a stranger in their desert camp one day and is told she will have a son set apart to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. She and Manoa are given instructions to never cut their son’s hair or allow him to drink alcohol.
Samson is born shortly after and grows up being taught the ways of the Lord. As he becomes a teenager, his strength begins to exceed that of his peers, and he foolishly uses it to bully some of the other boys. His abilities capture the attention of a young girl, Naomi, who has her heart set on marrying Samson one day and seeing him lead the Israelites against the Philistines. She manages to catch Samson’s eye as well, and one day he finds some Philistine soldiers threatening to kill her during a confrontation. He easily slays several of the soldiers using his bare hands, and the rest retreat back to the palace of the king, informing him of Samson’s unlikely victory.
The Philistine rulers are now aware of a powerful man who poses a threat to them. King Hanun, his son Sidqa and General Tariq hold discussions on the best way to get rid of Samson. One day they are accompanying a beautiful woman, Delilah, on a walk when a lion leaps out of nowhere, intent on using Delilah as prey. Samson intervenes and wrestles the lion, using his strength to kill it. The Philistines are impressed and shocked at the scene.
Samson soon befriends an Israelite, Amrok, who was raised as a Philistine. Amrok takes him into his home, and Samson is introduced to his sister, Rani. The two fall in love and get married, against the wishes of Samson’s parents, who see their son straying from the path God had planned for him. However, Rani betrays Samson by disclosing the solution to a riddle that Samson had challenged the men in her family to solve. Unable to control his anger, Samson kills 30 Philistines and takes their goods as payment for the bet he lost. The Philistines take revenge and kill Rani, prompting Samson to visit Gaza and find the man responsible.
When the Philistines learn Samson is in Gaza, they hatch a plan to capture him. Knowing that conventional means are useless and Samson’s propensity for lust, they employ the help of Delilah. She agrees to seduce Samson and find out the secret to his strength in exchange for a large sum of money.
Over the next several days, she and Samson engage in a steamy love affair. While Samson is selfishly indulging in pleasure, the Israelites back home are left without a leader and try to stitch together an uprising against the Philistines. Samson’s brother tries to warn Samson, but he’s too blinded by love to realize the catastrophe about to ensue.
Having gained his trust, Delilah persuades Samson to reveal how his strength could be lost. Torn between her love for Samson and her loyalty to the Philistines, Delilah delivers Samson into slavery. Samson is powerless to help his people and grieves as the Israelites attack the Philistines and are decimated. While in slavery, Samson realizes his sin against God and repents. He asks that God return his strength so that he can fulfill his purpose. God in his mercy answers Samson’s prayer and provides the perfect situation for Samson to begin the process of delivering the Israelites from Philistine rule.
Originally released for television in 1996, SAMSON AND DELILAH is a remastered version of an overly long movie approaching three hours. There are some unnecessary scenes that could be cut and some longer scenes that could be shortened. The pace is also quite slow, making the movie feel as if it’s dragging along most of the time. Occasionally, relief comes in the form of an action scene.
Much of the movie’s production values appear authentic, but some are distractingly fake, such as prosthetic beards, wigs and makeup. Another major distraction is the Irish-looking Philistine prince with his pale skin, and bright red hair and beard. There is also an odd mixture of American, British and Middle Eastern accents. The Philistines come off as incredibly British, except for the one American. For the most part the plot parallels the biblical story, but some events are out of place. Many characters are also invented for drama’s sake to fill in the gaps the Bible leaves.
That said, SAMSON AND DELILAH does a good job of communicating the biblical message behind Samson’s story, reminding Christians about the danger of disobedience, and the forgiveness of God. It’s really inspirational to see such a powerful hero make major mistakes in his life and get away from God’s will, only to see that God can use those mistakes to fulfill his original purpose. The Philistines also have their stone god, Dagon, which is worshipped in some scenes.
SAMSON AND DELILAH has a lot of violence, some of it graphic, especially during battle scenes or when Samson cuts the throat of the man who killed his wife. One scene depicts sexual relations between Samson and Delilah while other scenes imply fornication. Finally, the Philistines become drunk while partying in a scene or two. This objectionable content warrants extreme caution for SAMSON AND DELILAH.