Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Jim Bishop's minute-by-minute account of the events leading up to the Crucifixion was the basis for the three-hour TV movie The Day Christ Died. Chris Sarandon plays the Hebrew "blasphemer" known as Jesus, who is brought before the beleaguered governor Pontius Pilate (Keith Mitchell). To avoid an insurrection, Pilate washes his hands of the matter by offering the Hebrews a pardon either to Jesus or the thief Barabbas during Passover. "Give us Barabbas!" is the answer, sealing Jesus' fate. The screenplay by James Lee Barrett and Edward Anhalt is for the most part objective and dispassionate, though there are some unsubtle parallels between Pilate and such future political "heavies" as Nixon. Also appearing in the cast are Colin Blakely as Caiaphas, Barrie Houghton as Judas, Jonathan Pryce as Herod, Eleanor Bron as Mary, and Hope Lange as Claudia. The Day Christ Died premiered -- not without protest from certain circles -- on March 26, 1980.
leader, arrest, betrayal, Bible, crucifixion, death, faith, governor, insurrection, pardon, religion, robbery, trial [courtroom]