Barabbas (1962)

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Released 6-Dec-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Guns Of Navarone
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 131:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:48) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Fleischer

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Anthony Quinn
Silvana Mangano
Arthur Kennedy
Katy Jurado
Harry Andrews
Vittorio Gassman
Jack Palance
Ernest Borgnine
Norman Wooland
Valentina Cortese
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Mario Nascimbene

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Barabbas opens with Pontius Pilate (Arthur Kennedy), the Roman Governor of Jerusalem, offering to free either Barabbas (Anthony Quinn) or Jesus of Nazareth. Barabbas is a well-known robber and assassin while Jesus is accused of sedition and blasphemy. The gathered crowd and Temple Priests are quick to nominate Barabbas.

    Barabbas, surprised by his good fortune, is released from prison and returns to the local inn, where he discovers that his lover, Rachel (Silvana Mangano), has become a follower of Jesus. Tormented by a sense of guilt, Barabbas witnesses the crucifixion of Christ, his burial and the empty tomb.

    After Rachel is arrested by the Temple Guard for preaching blasphemy and is stoned to death, Barabbas returns to his old ways of drinking and thieving. Barabbas is soon rearrested and sentenced, by Pontius Pilate, to life imprisonment working the sulphur mines of Sicily.

    Barabbas is eventually moved to Rome, along with fellow prisoner Sahak (Vittorio Gassman), where they are trained in the art of gladiatorial combat. When Sahak is accused of sedition for preaching the teachings of Jesus, he refuses to denounce his beliefs and chooses to die a martyr. Once again Barabbas feels the guilt of living while a better man dies.

    The story continues to follow Barabbas throughout his tormented life, as he struggles to understand what he has witnessed and what is unfolding around him - the birth of Christianity.

    Barabbas starts where most stories leave off, with the crucifixion of Christ, and gives an insight into the early days of Christianity. The movie starts off a little slowly, but does gradually pick up pace. Overall I found Barabbas to be enjoyable, even if it doesn’t have the same impact as more recent Biblical tales. For example, The Passion of the Christ covers the same events depicted at the start of Barabbas and it does so with far more power and emotion.

    In the tradition of all great epics, Barabbas is most memorable for the grand scale of the sets, which include Palaces, the Coliseum, Jerusalem and Rome. There is even an intermission, in the form of a fade out - fade in, that takes place at 71:48 just to remind you that you are watching an epic feature film, a relic from the 50s and 60s.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer is not perfect but it is quite good considering the age of the source material.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is a little soft and shadow detail is lacking at times. Blacks aren’t quite black.

    The colours appear washed out which is fairly typical for movies of this vintage.

    MPEG artefacts have been kept to an absolute minimum but there is some posterisation present, such as the darkening sky when Jesus is crucified at 13:50. Telecine wobble was evident during the opening scenes but thankfully this wasn’t a problem throughout the movie. There is a sprinkling of minor film artefacts throughout, but they are not distracting. More disturbing are the frame jumps that appear at 35:37 and 79:28.

    Subtitles are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Turkish. They are placed at the bottom of the screen and are easy to read. By and large they reflect the spoken word accurately, but some phrases that have been shortened. For example, “Unsurpassable this fellow. The Emperor …” appears as “Unsurpassable. The Emperor …” at 82:44.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 71:48. The layer change was not noticeable as it takes place during the intermission's fade out - fade in.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer was disappointing. Despite being a remastered Dolby Digital 4.0 audio track it is heavily biased towards the front sound stage.

    There are four audio tracks available; English Dolby Digital 4.0, French Dolby Digital 4.0, German Dolby Digital 4.0 and Spanish Dolby Digital 4.0. I listened to the default English audio track.

    The dialogue sounds flat and lifeless. I needed to turn the volume on my amplifier up 7db to hear what was being said.

    Audio sync was out by a touch for most of the film.

    The musical score by Mario Nascimbene suffers from the same audio limitations as the dialogue.

    The limited use of the surround channels is disappointing, though they are used quite effectively during some scenes, such as the crucifixion of Christ and the mine collapse.

    The subwoofer is not utilised.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Apart from some trailers there are no extras.


    The main menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. It is not animated and there is no sound. The main menu offers the following options; Play Movie, Audio Set Up, Subtitles, Scene Selections (of which there are 28) and Trailers.

Theatrical Trailer – Barabbas

    The Theatrical Trailer is presented letterboxed and is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 1.0 audio track. The image contains a fair amount of grain and film artefacts.

Theatrical Trailer – The Guns Of Navarone

    This trailer is presented letterboxed and is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 1.0 audio track. The image contains some aliasing and film artefacts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

      The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    For all intents and purposes the Region 4 version of this disc is the same as the Region 1 version.


    If you enjoy watching epic features like Ben-Hur and Spartacus, then Barabbas is definitely worth a look.

    The video quality is quite good considering the age of the source material, but the audio transfer is a little disappointing.

    This is a bare bones disc with two trailers being the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
A nostalgic favourite - Neil
impressive and complete - Masoud Edraki