BARABBAS (2012) – Review

An epic story of faith and redemption.


Roger Young‘s BARABBAS (2012) is a rather lengthy two-part film about the life of Barabbas the thief mentioned briefly in the Bible alongside the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Barabbas the mini-series is based on the 1950 Nobel Prize-wining novel  Swedish author Par Lagerkvist and features solid acting performances, excellent fight choreography, and dramatic sets to tell the story. Barabbas (Billy Zane) was chosen by the people of Jerusalem to be released before the Passover holiday instead of Jesus of Nazareth (Marco Foschi) despite being a violent thief. The mini-series is divided into two parts, and both his life and relationships are examined along with his internal conflict with faith and wanting to strike against the Roman Empire.

Zane gives an overall exceptional performance as Barabbas and manages to add a little charm to his rough criminal persona in the way he deals with Ester (Cristiana Capotondi), the servant girl he admires at the brothel he frequently visits and his smooth talking. Though, at times,  Zane’s performance appears to be “over acting” when angry. Which can be somewhat frustrating. However, by multiple miracles, attacks on his life are spared time and time again. Zane’s performance as Barabbas provides a sense that there is a “higher power” guiding him through his troubles.

The character wardrobes and surroundings in the film are very well done, and should be considering that it was filmed on-location in Tunisia. While there are few scenes depicting complicated action and fighting, its execution is sufficient considering that this is not a big-budget production and does manage to entertain without an excessive use of bloody scenes.

Barabbas is a film specifically made for the historic-biblical drama audience. Since the mini-series run-time is approximately 188-minutes, this is a film to take in one episode at a time. Overall, Barabbas is an entertaining and informative exploration into the struggles of a mostly unknown biblical figure.


Barabbas (2013) presents brilliantly on Blu-ray courtesy of Gaiam-Vivendi. The series premiered in March 2013 on ReelzChannel as an original miniseries event. The clear visual quality brings out the beauty of the character costumes and settings. The audio is without distortions nor disruptions. The soundtrack in the film is enhanced by the wonderful quality of the disc’s audio presentation.

Art and supplementary material courtesy ©2013 of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment and Sonar Entertainment. All rights reserved.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3 stars
  • Good

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2013-10-07

Review Summary:

Billy Zane is BARABBAS (2012), A film based on the 1950 Nobel Prize-winning novel by Swedish author Par Lagerkvist.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Tell your friends!