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Constantine's Sword

Constantine's Sword (2007)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 5

Exceptional research elevates Constantine's Sword from a talking heads documentary to a resonant and thought-provoking expose of the church's dark history.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 3

Exceptional research elevates Constantine's Sword from a talking heads documentary to a resonant and thought-provoking expose of the church's dark history.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 734

My Rating

Movie Info

Academy Award-nominated director Oren Jacoby helmed this documentary adaptation of former Catholic priest James Carroll's nonfiction book of the same name. An anti-war activist, Carroll delves into Christianity's history to learn how a faith founded on peace could come to be used as a tool for war-mongers. Jacoby follows Carroll as he explores the phenomenon from its origins in ancient times up through the modern-day U.S. military. Constantine's Sword screened at the 2007 Los Angeles Film

Sep 16, 2008

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (5) | DVD (2)

Jacoby and Carroll make their case skillfully, carefully excerpting key scenes from Lenny (with Dustin Hoffman doing a Lenny Bruce monologue on anti-Jewish prejudice) and The Robe.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Constantine's Sword speaks provocatively to history and our moment.

May 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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The breadth of Carroll's scholarship and the depth of his religious understanding strengthen his assertion that our misadventure in Iraq is the beginning of a new holy war.

May 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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But I ramble. So does the movie, in an insidiously fascinating way.

May 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Whatever your persuasion, you'll walk out enriched.

May 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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The movie covers an immense amount of shameful historical ground, but the soft-spoken Carroll's mission is less about winning an argument than prodding true believers

April 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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It's a film at once depressing and exhilarating.

August 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Absolutely stunning mixture of the personal story of a disillusioned Catholic priest and the sordid Christian history that drove him to cut his ties--all the while remaining deeply committed to the ethical vision of Jesus.

September 8, 2008 Full Review Source:

Less a history lesson than Carroll's personal odyssey through the opposing powers of church and state.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Not precisely journalistic, as a personal chronicle writ large it is a stirring, richly intellectual work.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Oregonian

This exceedingly contemplative work is both topically important -- warning of what happens when military might and religious fervor are mixed -- and intellectually stimulating as all get out.

August 28, 2008

With so much ground to cover, Carroll's own story must hold everything together. And it just about does, because it's inherently fascinating.

June 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Though Carroll's presentation is unquestionably oversimplified...his points are well-taken and worthy of serious regard.

June 2, 2008 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Former priest and author James Carroll is simply pointing out that the use of cover up and propaganda -- whether it's aimed at another religion or another country -- is still represented at the point of a sword. That sword is shaped like a cross.

June 1, 2008 Full Review Source:

James Carroll goes on a crusade of his own, exposing the hypocrisy of politically motivated religion and the violence of the evangelical Jihad in our own Colorado Springs.

May 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

[I]t was probably inevitable that such an audacious attempt would fail to succeed entirely. Which isn't to say that this bold and fearless film isn't worth a look.

May 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

A powerful documentary which makes the case that the faith-based fanaticism that has destabilized the planet has been fueled as much by the West as by radical Islam.

May 2, 2008 Full Review Source: EURWeb

Overall, rather disorganized and uneven as a documentary, but always passionate, intriguing and certainly pertinent.

April 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

[Director Oren] Jacoby's haunting documentary joins cowriter and producer Carroll, the author of Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History, for a fascinating dual journey.

April 24, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A poignant and passionately presented depiction of church-sanctioned violence against Jews.

April 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Constantine's Sword

James Carrol's theory that the Cross is a violent rather than peaceful symbol is intriguing, as is the connections he makes between the Antisemitism from the formation of the Church, to the Holocaust, and finally the disquieting merge between Evangelical Christianity and the American Military. Carrol makes some bold, possibly true, statements but his arguments are too thinly drawn for my taste. Its also hard for me to connect the Catholics with Evangelicals because of how much the latter dislikes the former.
October 12, 2011
Alec Barniskis

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