Joseph Sargent, director of countless TV episodes and movies of everything from `Star Trek' and `Gunsmoke' to the movie `Jaws: The Revenge', does an admirable job of telling the story of Abraham here over 3 hours. It certainly has an authentic feel to it, but critically it scores plaudits for portraying Abraham in such a human, down to earth and easy to understand way.
Richard Harris heads a starry cast, making us really believe in the reality of a man who became the father of nations. All the key moments are shown, through from deciding to leave Haran for Egypt, through to the births of his sons Ishmael and Isaac, and the final altar scene with Isaac. This is an apt place to end, for the underlying theme shown is that of sacrifice and loving God above all. When sacrificing, Isaac is reminded by his father to `pick the lamb you love the most, for in this way you are showing God you put him before all'. It is this underlying understanding of the seemingly old fashioned concept of burnt sacrifice that is all too relevant to us today.
For a TV movie, the production values are not bad, and mostly on location - the only let down moment being the destruction of Sodom which is only glimpsed and what we do glimpse is poorly done.
However, the restrained way in which the other key events are shown are very realistic, and the cast all add significant gravitas to proceedings. Other key performers are Maximillian Schell as the Pharaoh - surprisingly effective, and Barbara Hershey as Sara, Abrahams wife.
Recommended not just for those already familiar with the story, but as a good summary for those discovering the story for the first time.