"Well Researched in Sumerian custom, & Abraham's humanness!"
Jerry Parks | Lexington, KY USA | 10/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As previously mentioned in reviews of other films of this genre, I teach ancient civilizations to middle schoolers. For this reason, I am always looking for good films of the Biblical era, and this is certainly one of the best!Richard Harris portrays old Abraham as the fallible human being that he surely was. Barbara Hershey (Sarah) is equal to the challenge of becoming a woman who, even in her advanced years, maintains a beauty which can entice a Pharaoh of Egypt.The research production crew of Abraham certainly did their homework. As an ancient Sumerian, Abraham was part of a thriving and wealthy culture, which invented everything from schools, to surgery, to a codified law system. They were even the formulators of astrology, which the film skillfully sites as Abraham draws the signs of the zodiac in the sand for Isaac to learn. Probably an offensive moment to Biblical purists, but nevertheless--realistic and accurate.The Mesopotamian custom of producing a son through the wife's handmaid is handled with accuracy and tact. Relevant in light of today's Arab/Israeli conflict is the fact that this custom produced the Arab race extant today, while the children of Sarah's son Isaac became the Hebrews.Another piece of excellent background the film delivers, is the covenant-making ceremony in the presence of the king's 'Divine Right' to rule. The scene in Haran is exceptionally well done--right down to the Sumerian's penchant for bargaining. The animal sacrifice is handled with welcome reserve. So too, is the custom of midwifery, and how grief-stricken Sarah must've felt if she-childless, indeed did deliver so many children.If there is any complaint with the film, one might be the portrayal of Isaac as a young teen when he was being prepared as a sacrifice by his father. Isaac was no doubt somewhat older than this according to Biblical chronology. I shall long remember the reaction of my students to this impending sacrifice--especially from those who did not know how the story would end!Another complaint might be the Pharaoh showing Sarah a pyramid, as if this was a new thing in Egypt. In reality, by Abraham's time, the main pyramids were several hundred years old.In summary, this version of the Abraham is right up there with the best of the films in this genre (see my other reviews). I feel only the Joseph story is better."
"and you shall be the father of many nations"
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 03/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Harris is brilliant as Abraham, strong as well as tender, and with the ability to convey emotion so perfectly in his voice that it's a performance that can be enjoyed by just listening to it.
It covers Genesis 11:27 through Chapter 22:17, and stays fairly close to the scripture,
though there are a few omissions, and some additions to fill out the film; I especially like Abraham teaching Ishmael and Isaac, in separate scenes, the principles of the sacrificial rite. Christians will appreciate that Isaac was one of the "types" that run through the Old Testament pointing to Jesus.Among the other changes/additions are the shifting of the meeting with Melchizedek (Ch. 14), to after God makes a covenant with Abraham to give him the land of the "ites" in Ch. 15 (Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, etc ); Lot offering himself as well as his daughters to the people of Sodom as a substitute for his guests, and also in this film Lot is the one that suggests he separate his family and flocks from Abraham's, instead of the other way around.
Abraham was 75 when he started his immense journey of faith, and there are scenes where he talks and listens to God that are wonderful.
This would not be a good film for children however, as it is not a colorful film, with the sets and costumes all in earth tones, and there are many animals that suffer a bad fate, either from the famine that takes place in the early part of the film, or the sacrifices.The cast is splendid, with Barbara Hershey excellent as the beautiful Sarah, as is Carolina Rosi, who makes a stunning Hagar. John Gottfried plays Abraham's faithful steward Eliezar, and two venerable international actors have smaller roles, Vittorio Gassman as Terah, and Maximillian Schell as Pharaoh.
Filmed in Quarzazate, Morocco, it has lovely cinematography by Raffaele Mertes, score by Marco Frisina, and is a way above average TV production...and for Richard Harris fans, a performance not to be missed."
Entertaining, accurate, educational and stirring
Todd Hudnall | Colorado Springs, CO | 04/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is an extraordinary portrayal of the life of Abraham. It's entertaining, accurate, educational and stirring. In a world filled with gods you can build, see, hold, and collect; Abraham's trust in and obedience to the invisible God is inspiring. The up and downs of the life of faith are wonderfully depicted. The emotional aspect of Old Testament animal sacrifice is explained in a way that theological textbooks could never rival. Richard Harris is brilliant as the patriarch Abraham. Barbara Hershey makes a very believable and winsome Sarah. The costuming and scenery are outstanding. I found only minimal disagreement between this portrayal compared to the Biblical account, the culture of the time, and the ancillary facts of history. I would highly recommend the movie "Abraham." Abraham is one of the very best movies from Turner Home Entertainment's excellent Bible Collection. Running time 150 minutes."
A good movie, generally faithful to Scripture
Neil | Tennessee | 01/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good movie. The movie covers the period shortly before Abraham's calling by God to his wandering to Egypt and finally back up to Canaan. It also tells the story of Lot as a sub-plot. It then concludes with the birth of Isaac and Ishmael and the offering of Isaac.Scripturally, the movie is pretty sound. Their artistic license was not distracting from the Scriptures as happens sometimes in other films.From a production point of view, it is very well done. The actors are good and even know how to show emotion (I've seen too many Biblical movies where the actors talk in some strange distant tone of voice). Lots of action, too.This movie is definitely PG-13. It portrays some animal sacrifices and war between the four kings and Abraham, among other scenes."
An Outstanding and very Beautiful film!!!
Gregory Nyman | Winchendon, MA United States | 08/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is, without saying, one of the most beautiful ones done on the life of the biblical patriarch Abraham. Richard Harris does an outstanding job as Abraham, as does Barbara Hershey as Sarah. All throughout this film, it mostly follows the biblical narrative. The scene in Sodom and Gommorrah was done with a great deal of taste and integrity, not overdoing the perversion. Also, the scene with Sarah and the Pharaoh, when she is taken as his wife is done very well. There is some discrepancy with the flow, as with Melchizedec appearing to Abraham before he rescues Lot, as opposed to later, but this can be forgiven, given the quality of the film. A really beautiful film, and one which is a permanent part of our family library. Highly recommended."