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Case Number 21139: Small Claims Court

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Charlton Heston Presents The Bible

Warner Bros. // 1997 // 206 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // April 16th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge Kent Dixon will read the Yellow Pages for PBS one day.

The Charge

Experience the greatest stories ever told!

The Case

One could argue there is no other actor in the history of film who has become as closely tied to Bible-era films as Oscar winner Charlton Heston. His commanding on-screen presence and significant acting abilities created many powerful film roles, most notably Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments. Heston's authoritative voice and signature delivery have always lent an air of reverence and power to Biblically-themed films, so it's not a stretch to consider Heston as the host and narrator of a series that presents four of the most familiar Bible stories ever told.

In 1981, Heston and his son Fraser established Agamemnon Films, a film, TV, and digital production company dedicated to "entertain, enlighten and inform" their audience, in that order. Originally produced by Agamemnon for A&E in 1993, Charlton Heston Presents The Bible was presented as four individual episodes in a series: "Genesis," "The Story of Moses," "Jesus of Nazareth," and "The Passion." These episodes are gathered together for the first time in this release.

The same approach is taken with each disc in the set: Heston sets some historical context, anchors Biblical events and landmarks in contemporary nomenclature, uses the King James Bible as his script, and presents a dramatic reading. As Heston reads from a podium that appears to be set in some ancient ruin, images of paintings and other works of art enrich the ambience. Interspersed among the stories, Heston pauses to add more historical context and tidbits of interesting archeological information; it's the perfect blend of entertainment and education.

Time hasn't been particularly kind to this series and its age can be seen in the softness of the grainy full frame image. With Heston's booming voice as its focus, the 2.0 audio mix does a fine job, remaining clear even in a breezy outdoor setting. The addition of a powerful score adds to the overall dramatic impact of the experience. A behind the scenes featurette relates Heston's personal connection to the Biblical stories that became such a central part of his acting career. From the first time he visited the Middle East for his role in The Ten Commandments, Heston knew he would return to tell stories from the Bible in his own way.

The Verdict

Charlton Heston Presents The Bible is a fascinating project. Whether you consider these stories to be fact, fiction, or something in between, this powerful presentation offers up some of the greatest stories ever told.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 206 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Historical
• Religious and Spiritual
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette


• IMDb

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