The Bible - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bible Reviews

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½ April 21, 2017
This is a film I saw on TV as a kid and marvelled at its opening sequence about the creation of the universe, the earth and Adam and Eve. Nothing quite lives up to the sheer majesty of this first half an hour or so but some of the sets such as Noah's Ark and the Tower of Babel, are amazing for the era and frankly, still look pretty damn good now. It's a loooong film and would probably bore the tits off non-Christians (even more casual Christians!) with its self-righteous tone but there's no question- it is stunningly well done.
November 8, 2016
It is very long, but a wonderful interpretation of the Genesis events.
There are some artistic liberties taken, but that is to be expected.

Will watch again.
April 24, 2016
The Bible (1966) ??
Heavy-handed screen treatment of the old testament covers most of Genesis; Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, etc. Events better told in Sunday school.
December 30, 2015
Unique interpretation on one of the most well known books. Abraham and Lot were an interesting take. It always seemed like it was epic, but then it fell short of greatness by a bit. It had all the ingredients like music, cinematography, actors etc. but was ultimately slow and monotonous.
June 21, 2015
The legendary Pauline Kael championed this film in the teeth of almost universal derision. It's over-long, funereally slow and underlit, and requires considerable stamina to get through. AND YET... there is something rather marvellous in its deliberately unflashy old-fashioned story-telling. Huston not only directs, but plays Noah and God (the narrator). There's a wonderful short sequence on The Tower of Babel, and a cameo performance by Peter O'Toole as three avenging angels. It's a movie that has flaws and strengths in equal measure, and is probably due a reassessment.
January 1, 2015
WOW! Before a few days ago I'd never even heard of this film, but now it stands as one of my favorite biblical epics of all time. Huston's vision for this film is apparent in every frame, and he was far ahead of his time. The dreamlike atmosphere at times, the carefully calculated cinematography, and the deeply rooted respect for nature can all be seen in many films of the following decade after this movie was made, specifically by Kubrick. In my eyes, the creation sequence alone is enough to cement it into cinematic history. As a follower of Christ, I appreciate the approach of Huston (an atheist) in which he simply wanted to do right by the source material and by the audience it would draw in. He stayed true to the Holy Scriptures and didn't make any attempts to make the material more commercially approachable. It was absolutely gorgeous. This is a perfectly shot film and it's a shame that it didn't garner more respect from audiences, because it certainly deserves it. A divisive and committed cinematic masterpiece about God's power and love!
September 28, 2014
A noble effort. The cinematography is beautiful, but the film is boring at times. Some segments, like Noah's Ark, are better than others. As a Christian I appreciated this film version of Genesis, but I didn't always find myself enjoying it. (First and only viewing - 9/26/2014)
½ September 10, 2014
I saw this film when I was 16 at the big screen Warner Theater in Pittsburgh with my best friend and her mother, who was very impressed at how "beautifully" they aged Sarah. I was most impressed by George C. Scott's Abraham sacrificing Isaac then, but today I loved the Noah's ark segment--loved those animals! So typical of the "big biblical epics" of the period., with their huge, elaborate sets and casts of thousands. I remember them all so well--Ben Hur, The Fall of the Roman Empire, King of Kings, and The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Maybe that is coming around again what with Gladiator, Noah,Christian Bale in his new biblical epic, not to mention Rome on HBO and Spartacus. Sword and Sandal rides again!
August 23, 2014
A movie about a bunch of phony man made tales put together uh no thank you.
March 11, 2014
In the beginning, God created heaven and Earth.

This movie depicts several worthwhile stories from the bible including Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Cain and Abel, The rise of Nimrod, and Abraham and Issac. Each story has a unique lesson, intense situation, and consequence to actions that align with people's visions and beliefs in the lord.

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

John Huston, director of The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The African Queen, The Man who would be King, The Asphalt Jungle, Moulin Rouge, and Key Largo, delivers The Bible: In the Beginning. The storyline for this picture are interesting and fun to watch unfold. The settings are marvelous and the acting is first rate. The cast includes Ava Gardner, John Huston, Michael Parks, Peter O'Toole, Franco Nero, and George C. Scott.

"The lord has taken hold the ends of the Earth and shaketh it."

I watched this film off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) because it was directed by the great John Huston. I enjoyed most of this film and found the setting and stories well depicted and delivered. This isn't your average stale and dry biblical tale. I found the film interesting and fascinating. Overall, this is worth a viewing and may even be worth adding to your DVD collection.

"And there was light."

Grade: B
½ November 6, 2013
Too big, but week. The troubled dream of a genius.
½ March 25, 2013
Algunos dirán que como se me ocurre ponerle solo 3 estrellas y media a "La Biblia" que mínimo me voy a quemar en los infiernos por ese sacrilegio. Bueno, sin intención de ofender a nadie, y creyendo que hay cosas peores que uno puede hacer en esta vida para condenarse. Considero que esta producción de Dino De Laurentis, dirigida por John Huston, aunque ambiciosa y muy meritoria, se quedaron cortos a la hora de plasmarlo en pantalla, generando una película recomendable para ver pero que dista mucho de ser una obra maestra a nivel fílmico sin cuestionar que el guión es basado en la palabra de Dios. El proyecto inicialmente iba a ser algo épico que sería toda una serie de filmes, que al final iban a cubrir todos los eventos del Viejo y Nuevo Testamento, pero debido a las fallas de realización del primero filme que cubre los primeros 22 capítulos del Genesis, este filme se quedó en el único realizado y lo demás como un sueño no realizado. La película cuenta con buenos actores como Richard Harris, Stephen Boyd, Ava Gardner, Peter O'Toole, Franco Nero y hasta el propio director John Huston hacía del narrador de la cinta y el papel de Noé también. Y a falta de algo mejor que cubra estos mismos eventos bíblicos, sigue siendo un filme recomendable para ver pero que palidece ante otras otros filmes y miniseries tradicionalmente vista en la época de Semana Santa.
March 21, 2013
Hurrah for The Bible. Well done! Bravo for taking on this giant undertaking! Is it perfect - not quite....but you have captured he Spirit of it. Thank you so very much, God Bless you
January 4, 2013
What a long movie. "The Bible: In the Beginning..." is based on the first twenty-two chapters--less than half--of the first Bible book, Genesis, but its running time is close to three hours. Still, the book that opens the Word of God has quite a bit in it, so, it would take a somewhat long film to even cover as much as this one did. The actors were great; the sets were amazing for the time; and, it mostly stayed true to the Biblical account. However, some problems did exist: First off, dialogue from or inspired by the KJV made it hard for this NIV-raised guy to decipher some of what was being said. If you have young kids who are unfamiliar with the 1611 language, you might have to sit there and translate for them. The bigger problem, though, was that some unnecessary scenes were included, which both detracted from the film and added to its already lengthy running time. Seeing part of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, and having Abraham act like he was possessed when he and Isaac stopped by the ruins of that wicked place en route to Mount Moriah, was simply not needed, and would likely scare off many kids. For that reason, I cannot suggest this movie for young children. For teens and adults who are fans of Christian cinema, though, this is worth seeing if you've got the patience and time to sit through it. As the saying goes: They don't make them like they used to!
½ January 1, 2013
classic stories from the Bible Great!
½ December 19, 2012
A pretty cool movie about the first 22 chapters of Genesis.
December 7, 2012
The book was long winded enough as it is!
November 7, 2012
Haven't seen this one yet...Looks really good ;-)
½ August 2, 2012
A competently made and quite faithful adaptation of the Book of Genesis with strong performances across the board and an involving score by Toshiro Mayuzumi.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2012
Hm, do you reckon John Huston really wasn't a religious man? Hey, as much as he's tossed in religious overtones all throughout his career, it was only a matter of time before he adapted the Bible. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the only book adaptation that makes the tag, "Based on the Best-Selling Book" somehow sound less impressive, which is saying something, because, nowadays especially, most everything seems to be based on some kind of book, and every other one of those books are best-sellers. Huh, and they said that the advancement of filmmaking would leave people to read less, yet here we are reading and prufe reedang az mutch as wee allweighs have. I don't know about y'all, but I'm that kind of guy who likes to wait for the film adaptation to come along (I'm a writer, and yet I'm not all that big of reader), so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that they finally got around to adapting the Book of Genesis, yet sadly, it's only the first 22 chapters, though I do look foward to the rest of the trilogy. Granted, this film is over 45 years old, so usually, I wouldn't expect them to round out the series, but hey, it did take them a couple of countless generations to finally get around to making this film, so it probably shouldn't be too much longer before we get that sequel, and considering how much he's into beautiful and naturally trippy imagery, meditative narrating, religious overtones and, of course, actually taking a couple of countless generations to make a film, it will probably be Terrence Malick who directs the sequel. Yeah, that's what we need, a Terrence Malick film with even less of a plot, for although this film is an enjoyable one and not even close to a Terrence Malick level of boring (Of course, what is?), all style and nearly no story is a formula that is bound to get about as old as the New Testament (1,687 years old; Yeah, brand-spanking-new).

Of course, a storyline is set, yet there is, in fact, very little actual plot, because where many religious dramas of this type go tainted by glorifying meditation upon the source material to where dramatic effectiveness goes diluted, this film is built upon it, being not so much a narrative interpretation of the Bible, but a narrated interpretation. By that, I mean that this is a straight, stylish visual and audible translation of the Bible, with little dramatic atmosphere, and by extension, actual plot, yet there are occasions in which John Huston finally shuts up and lets traditional dramatisation unfold, and it's a storytelling style transition that's fairly uneven to the general tone and themes of the film, making it somewhat off-putting. The unevenness is certainly exacerbated by the fact that the dramatisations and visualizations are not only considerably different in storytelling style, but in level of subtlety, with the visualizations being made a little bit too meditative and the dramatisations being sometimes laughably blatant, partially because there's still a bit of too much glorification left over during the dramatisations. Sure, certain bits of writing and acting are a cheesy mess no matter what way you look at it, yet such aspects as biblical behavior and dialect go overly pronounced through very matter-of-fact glorification that leaves it to come off as pretty cornball and emotionally ineffective. Still, what leaves the non-dramatic meditation to do the most damage is, well, its simply being left, rather than fought back or even accompanied by a terrible amount of dynamicity or plot oomph. At nearly three hours - a runtimes achieved partially through momentary redundance -, this film runs well past the point where it goes all but clean of steam, losing what momentum it has, little by little, due to the messiness of the non-plot, and thus, for all extents and purposes, by the end, it should have fizzled down to mediocre, at best. However, through all of its faults and messiness, the film keeps together as an ultimately enjoyable watch, quite decidedly not on the level you would hope for out of an adaptation of such a worthy anthology, yet still to where you can give it some respect, especially as a form of art.

If only stylistically, the film is admittedly pretty phenomenal, boasting brilliant, almost naturally surrealistic imagery that captures both your attention and imagination, and is complimented by Giuseppe Rotunno's cinematography, which is nothing short of breathtaking, playing with lighting and staging in a sweeping and radiant fashion that, when at its best, is near-impossible to turn away from. The overall art direction is stunning and immersive, with the aforementioned fine style and nifty production designs really establishing the environment and pulling you into it. As for Toshiro Mayuzumi's, score, it's not terribly original, yet it is very well done, with livliness and versatility that really catches your attention and further establishes the tone, while keeping the film from getting a little too slow. Of course, another aspect that fights back dullness is simply the fact that the subject matter is just so compelling, and while the stories would have been more effective if they were to use the visualizations for the sake of plot, rather than to simply have the stories told, with little dramatic emphasis, they remain immensely fascinating and it's neat to see them filmed, especially with such inspiration at the back of these interpretations. True, it is, in fact, John Huston's overambition that actually means this film's downfall to an underwhelming state, as Huston takes too much time to meditate on the subject matter, rather than really bringing it to life, yet there is an intense charm from his inspiration, and he backs it up with such stellar stylistic choices that keep his from becoming disengaging or, well, boring. It's almost all style over substance in this film, with scarce plot and much stylish meditation, and those are the ingredients to a bore of an overly artsy film if I've ever heard any (Ah, Terrence Malick, I like most of your films, but come on, just make an actual movie!), yet Huston was one of those handful of people who knew what to do in that situation, maybe not to where he could shape a genuinely good film through his missteps, yet still to where he can sustain your attention. There's no escaping the occasional, yet still inevitable dry spell in this bloated meditation piece, yet with fine style, charm and fascinating subject matter, the final product is, if nothing else, thoroughly entertaining.

In the end (Ha-ha, do you see what I did there?), John Huston meditates far too often on the subject matter, rather than actual narrative, and far too intensely, leaving the film with a scarce amount of actual plot and plenty of stylistic overwhelmingness made worse by glorification that not only makes the occasional transition into what plot there is uneven, but makes some of your more serious moments that focus too much on dated behavior and dialect come off as silly and makes the already weak moments in writing and acting (George C. Scott was particularly pretty good, though) near-laughable, thus making for a final product that should be a mediocre bore of an overambitious misfire, yet miraculously manages to keep itself afloat, thanks largely to the remarkable art direction, breathtaking cinematography and nifty score work, as well the overall default intrigue-value within the subject matter that John Huston executes with enough, albeit detrimental, yet palpable passion to create the intense charm that helps in ultimately making "The Bible: In the Beginning" an aesthetically commendable and thoroughly entertaining experience, rather viscerally dissatisfying though, it may be.

2.5/5 - Fair
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