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King of Kings Details


One major film star referred to director Nicholas Ray as a "loser," because of Ray's alleged willingness to let his more temperamental actors walk all over him. Evidently, Ray had a very compliant and cooperative cast in King of Kings, inasmuch as the film emerged as one of the most disciplined Biblical epics ever made. Jeffrey Hunter is cast as Jesus Christ, delivering a wholly credible performance in this most taxing of roles (never mind the wags who referred to the film as "I Was a Teenage Jesus"). Siobhan McKenna is a radiant if somewhat overaged Mary; Hurd Hatfield offers a properly preening Pontius Pilate; Rip Torn portrays Judas more for the tragedy than the treachery; Robert Ryan (a personal favorite of Ray's) is one of the best John the Baptists you're ever likely to see; and Harry Guardino convincingly interprets Barabbas as a firebrand political extremist. The only false note in the casting is the MGM-dictated selection of teenaged Brigid Bazlen as Salome. The best aspect of the film is its handling of the days after the Resurrection; the "Jesus sightings" are offered as secondhand information, so as to retain some of the mystery inherent in the Scriptures. King of Kings was previously filmed in 1927 by Cecil B. DeMille, with a middle-aged H.B. Warner as Jesus. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:October 30, 1961


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Miklos Rozsa Best Original Score 1961 Nominee


Jeffrey Hunter
as Jesus Christ
Siobhan McKenna
as Mary
Hurd Hatfield
as Pontius Pilate
Ron Randell
as Lucius, the Centurion
Harry Guardino
as Barabbas
Rip Torn
as Judas
Viveca Lindfors
as Claudia
Frank Thring
as Herod Antipas
Rita Gam
as Herodias
Guy Rolfe
as Caiphas
Maurice Marsac
as Nicodemus
Gregoire Aslan
as King Herod
Royal Dano
as Peter
Edric Connor
as Balthazar
Robert Ryan
as John the Baptist
Orson Welles
as Narrator [uncredited]
George Coulouris
as Camel Driver
Conrado SanMartin
as Gen. Pompey
Gerard Tichy
as Joseph
Luis Prendes
as Good Thief
Ruben Rojo
as Matthew
Fernando Sancho
as Madman
Michael Wager
as Thomas
Adriano Rimoldi
as Melchior
Barry Keegan
as Bad Thief
Felix de Pomes
as Joseph of Arimathea
Francisco Moran
as Blind Man
Jose Nieto
as Caspar
Ted de Corsia
as Innkeeper/Complainer
Felix de Pomes
as Joseph of Arimathea
Francisco Moran
as Blind Man
Jose Nieto
as Caspar


Nicholas Ray
Philip Yordan
Milton Krasner
Franz Planer
Manuel Berenguer
Miklos Rozsa
Composer (Music Score)
Renee Lichtig
Harold Kress
Georges Wakhévitch
Production Designer
Georges Wakhévitch
Set Designer
Enrique Alarcon
Set Designer
Georges Wakhévitch
Costume Designer
Carlo Lastricati
First Assistant Director
Betty Utey
Mario Van Riel