This film gives an "alternate possibility" for the eternal life of Judas, after he betrayed the Lord and hung himself on the tree, and though there are many scriptural inaccuracies, the film is always reverent in its portrayal of Jesus, and shows him as strong, and knowing His destiny. Jonathan Scarfe is appealing in the part, and in appearance is light-haired and somewhat like a Durer painting of Christ.
As Judas, Jonathon Schaech has a forceful personality and swarthy good looks, and gives us a Judas that above all wants temporal power, has little understanding of the true kingdom of God, and is hostile to anything that doesn't include the expulsion by force of the Romans out of Judea.
Pontius Pilate (Tim Matheson) is played as a weak bumbler whose greatest dread is being transferred to Albania because of his ineffectiveness. He also has trouble taking his paws off his skimpily clad wife, Claudia Procles. Claudia (Fiona Glascott in a high camp performance) is a bossy little wench with an annoying voice, and seems to know more about the laws and how to implement them than the men in charge, reminding me of the TV ads where the woman tells the idiot guys where it's at.
Others in the cast of note are Owen Teal as Flavius and Bob Gunton as Caiaphas.
Filmed in 2001, this sat on the shelf until the interest in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" spurred the executives at ABC Television to give this a chance, and it was aired in March of 2004.
Shot on location in Morocco, it has some nice cinematography by Michael Goi, and a lovely score by Bill Conti; the writing credits go to Executive Producer Tom Fontana (from the sharp and critically acclaimed series "Homicide: Life on the Streets"), and has some distinctly unbiblical language. It was directed by Charles Robert Carner on a very low budget ($ 5 million) and limited time (23 days), and all this considered, it is an entertaining, and occasionally moving film.
I have to confess that I didn't care for it much the first time I saw it, but subsequent viewings gave me more appreciation of it.
The message it imparts according to Paulist Productions is that "It's never too late to turn back to God".
Total running time is 120 minutes.