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Customer Review

388 of 410 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Desperately disappointing ..., 6 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Jesus of Nazareth [DVD] (DVD)
First of all, it should be pointed out that this film is a superb piece of television, beautifully crafted from a first-rate director, and marvellously performed by one of the best ensembles ever to grace our screens. In Franco Zeffirelli, this film benefited from a director of great vision who was sympathetic to the storyline, and Robert Powell's performance as Jesus is representative of both the compassionate grace of Christ, as well as demonstrating his strength of character (for instance, when challenging the Pharisees).

I have long awaited the full version of this film to be released on DVD in the UK; in between its last (dreadfully edited) video release and this current offering, I have acquired a Dutch DVD edition (fine for viewing, as the subtitles are removable), and even an Australian edition, of which the packaging actually echoes the original 80s video release, and therefore is of sentimental value. The reasons for the huge disappointment, however, are twofold: 2007 sees the 30th Anniversary of this film's first showing, and it would have been appropriate for this edition to have included either a booklet or DVD extras within the packaging. Neither exists, and as such is a wasted opportunity. More disturbing, however, is the blatant untruth of the presentation: it is labelled on the box as being "374 minutes approx."; how approximate do they wish to be? It is actually a mere 363 minutes, the remaining eleven having been omitted from episode 4, and producing a serious flaw in the plot line. We miss the fictitious (though dramatically necessary) scene where the priest Zerah persuades Judas to bring Jesus to the Sanhedrin; but more shockingly, we have also lost the essential scene that follows (this time based on the gospel narrative), from the early part of the Last Supper sequence, in which Jesus predicts Judas' betrayal and sends him out on his errand. The action on the DVD only resumes with Judas leaving the Upper Room, with anyone unfamiliar with the story (possibly young children watching for the first time) at a loss about what is now going on.

The blurb on the back of the DVD packaging announces for all the world to read that this is the "full, unedited version" of the film. It is NOT, and ITV DVD have made a heinous error in promoting it as such. Did they not realise there would be aficionados who would spot the omissions? Was the problem that the last two episodes couldn't be squeezed onto a single disc? I would have quite happily settled for the programme spread over four discs if necessary, if only to have had the full film. Surely there is a contravention of advertising standards here, and the distributors should be called to account. It is impossible to recommend this edition in the light of these factors, although people coming to the film for the first time may wonder why anyone is fussing. In my case, I grew up with this film. There has never been a production which I have watched so often (in spite of its length), no movie which I know quite as well by heart. Yet here I am, STILL waiting for a full UK release, despite the billing attached to this edition. Please, avoid buying, and contact ITV DVD to encourage them to re-release - maybe in time for the 30th Anniversary - an edition we can finally call, "complete".
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Jul 2008, 19:30:41 BST
W. Lomas says:
I myself purchased the region 1 "Jesus of Nazareth" some time ago,and this is complete as far as I am aware,with no scene missing.Running time of 382 minutes.It is still available via Amazon.com.

Posted on 14 Mar 2009, 18:13:25 GMT
R. J. Bakker says:
I Agree With You. I Have Seen The Film And It Is Not Complete.

Posted on 8 Apr 2009, 13:52:06 BST
Thanks, will source a 382min version instead. A length that corresponds to the VHS version we own already. Couldn't understand how the "uncut" figures stacked up until I read this. You saved me from disappointment.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2010, 22:41:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Feb 2010, 22:42:38 GMT
RONDANTO says:
U.S. release is the complete version .Now a blu ray release would be
the definitive.

Posted on 5 Apr 2010, 19:09:07 BST
Bedinog says:
Thank you all for pointing out the error-actually the DVD distributors are getting away with this far too often and my advice is where you encounter such misdescriptions, report to local trading standards office-there are still consumer watchdogs out there. The only reason these distributors get away with it is because no-one reports it.

Posted on 5 Apr 2010, 19:09:30 BST
Bedinog says:
Thank you all for pointing out the error-actually the DVD distributors are getting away with this far too often and my advice is where you encounter such misdescriptions, report to local trading standards office-there are still consumer watchdogs out there. The only reason these distributors get away with it is because no-one reports it.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2010, 17:39:12 BST
The full version of Jesus of Nazareth was 386:51 (PAL format). Since PAL runs 4% faster than their NTSC counterpart the full uncut version of Jesus of Nazareth would be approximately 403 minutes on an NTSC DVD so the R1 DVD is also cut (which also has been confirmed by reviewers at Amazon.com).

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2010, 16:18:02 BST
sleepyjac says:
I would like to thank all of the reviewers who have commented on this. I am bitterly disappointed as I really wanted to buy the series BUT WILL NOT. I have very good memories of watching Robert Powell on VHS as well as all the Easters when it was run on the TV. I simply would hate to have scenes missing. I agree that an anniversary edition would be grand but please also on DVD not all of us have Blu-ray - I have already got rid of a very large VHS collection to go on to DVD & simply cannot afford to do this again !

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2011, 22:57:20 BST
Last edited by the author on 17 Jul 2011, 23:01:34 BST
Aesop says:
I think the original VHS version was more complete. You had four VHS cassettes. Even though I love DVD, in this case there was something wonderful about seeing the movie in four parts as it appeared on TV. The original version was shown over two nights I believe in 1977. Later it was shown in four parts with classic montage shots and voice over, 'And now some scenes from Jesus of Nazareth part ..' - wonderful!!! It is a very stunning and classic TV series and deserves much better. Why no DVD extra's??? Its a very important TV series - being the most expensive of its time (how time has flown!!). A TV series that has affected millions of people all over the world with the story of the life and mission of Jesus (also starring the incredible Olivia Hussey as Mary, mother of Jesus) and continues and will continue to inspire people for many years to come. I sympathise with you all.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2011, 00:35:27 BST
Colin says:
This was released today (3 Aug 2011) in Australia (Region 4 - PAL) with the same 2011 artwork but Digitally Remastered, 373 mins running time. Not sure if this means it is cut but its more than the current Region 2 release.
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