Salome (1953) Movie Script

The day of judgment approaches.
The Lord will reward the righteous
and smite the wicked.
King Herod and Queen Herodias
are doomed, for they live in sin.
They are not wed.
But, master, they are.
Not under the law of Moses.
Herod has broken
the seventh commandment.
He has taken another man's wife.
And Herodias is equally guilty,
for she lives in adultery,
scorns our God-given law.
The hand of the Lord will fall
upon the king and queen.
They will suffer his wrath.
But be calm, my friends.
Righteousness shall rise
like a mighty river.
Truth shall be clear
as crystal.
Cease to do evil.
Learn to do good.
Relieve the oppressed.
Seek righteousness.
For his love will be with you
as a morning dew,
and you shall blossom
like a rose.
What did you learn,
my dear councillor?
Your Majesty,
the Baptist has returned
from the wilderness.
He speaks more viciously
against you than ever before.
How many listened to his poison?
Not only the rabble,
but men of means now follow him.
You must stop him, or he
will begin preaching in the city.
Micha, wait here.
I will see the king.
Yes, Your Majesty.
Your Majesty, the queen.
Tell her I have retired.
I remember when
you could not retire
without coming to me.
You wish to see me.
How rare to get so quick
an audience with Your Majesty.
It's late. I'm tired.
Not too late and not too tired
to be waiting for another.
Very well. I am waiting for another.
And your wife is the intruder.
I thought we were long past that.
I know you are.
Why did you come?
What is it you want?
The Baptist is back.
And this time,
you must silence him.
He calls me an adulteress.
No matter what is between us,
he threatens
the House of Herod.
I want him destroyed.
He is harmless.
What he says is of no consequence.
Many fill your prisons
for saying less.
Yet you allow a madman
to preach treason.
You must put
an end to him.
Stop him!
Let me alone.
Stop him before it's too late.
I said, go!
I warn you.
It must be his death,
or it will be ours.
you heard?
Everything, sire.
She descends upon me
like a plague of locusts
every time the Baptist appears.
She knows what'll happen
to me if harm befalls him
and she asks for his death.
Yet I cannot let him denounce me.
Lift not your hand against him.
But he preaches sedition.
I cannot allow that.
Remember the prophecy.
Remember when your father,
Herod the Great, was king of Judea.
Three wise men came out
of the East proclaiming
a child had just been born
who would grow up
to be the Messiah.
I don't need reminding.
In your heart, you do.
Never forget the deed
of your father when he
was seized with terror
that the Messiah
would someday
dethrone him.
I know. I know.
Why must you hound me
with it?
So that you will not follow in
the path of your father.
Remember the punishment
of the Lord upon him.
For the blood he shed.
The innocent blood.
Remember the strange illness
that came over him.
The unbearable pain
that befell him.
His mind and body became
his own torture chamber.
Your father suffered agony,
agony without relief.
Enough. Enough.
I can still hear him screaming.
You are trying to shield
the Messiah from me.
I do not know
if John is the Messiah.
Many people think he is.
It is written the Messiah
will first appear as a prophet.
But there are many prophets
in the land.
The Messiah is the prophet
and no other.
He was born in my father's time.
Now he tries to depose me.
I know him for a great prophet.
A holy man.
Harm him,
and what happened to your father
will happen to you.
You will die in agony
as he did.
If only he would not preach
against the throne.
If word reaches Rome
that I tolerate treason...
What was it the illustrious
Julius Caesar wrote?
I came, I saw, I conquered.
How easy his task was.
All he had to do was
to win battles.
I must maintain peace.
That is the impossible legacy
I have inherited.
And I dare not indulge myself
in the grand illusion:
Make war in order to keep peace.
I do not have the forces.
We are already stretched
thin across the world,
stretched almost
to breaking point.
I must keep the conquered
in place by other methods.
Well, to the business
of the day.
Pontius Pilate,
commander of the 9th Legion.
Hail, Caesar Tiberius.
Pontius Pilate,
I appoint you governor
of our Eastern provinces.
You will find unrest
and agitation,
which could lead to trouble
in your new post.
We need peace in the East.
That is of great
military importance.
There will be peace.
I cannot spare you any soldiers.
I need them to maintain
order in Africa.
I am depending upon
your reputation. But this time,
use it like a glove
not as a spear.
The great Caesar flatters me.
Not nearly enough
in view of your
accomplishments in Britain.
You will sail tomorrow night.
You'll convey my felicitations
to King Herod in Galilee.
Inform him taxes are double.
From there you will proceed
to Jerusalem.
That will be your headquarters.
Caesar commands, I obey.
Hail, Caesar.
for Senator Marcellus Fabius.
Hail, Caesar.
A petition from my nephew,
Why did he not
present it himself?
Senator Marcellus Fabius grieves.
Urgent business in the forum
makes it impossible
for him to present
this petition in person
for the favourable
consideration of
the mighty Caesar.
"To Caesar Tiberius,
most generous of emperors,
I humbly solicit
your imperial permission
to marry
the Princess Salome
of Galilee. I cast myself
on your royal forbearance,
and ask that you grant
a special dispensation..."
To Senator Marcellus Fabius,
my beloved nephew,
in answer to your petition
that you be permitted
to marry the Princess Salome...
Marcellus, why do the gods
favour you above all men?
To present you with so divine
a gift as Salome?
What does he say,
Marcellus? Tell me.
"Remember the law,
learned senator. A Roman may
marry only a Roman.
And I need not tell you
the Princess Salome
is held in ill repute."
III repute?
Because I enjoyed life here?
I knew I should not
have petitioned Caesar.
It has only made
everything worse.
If you love me,
you will not let him
stop us.
You know I want you
with me always.
But not enough
to disobey Caesar.
Why are you so afraid,
Marcellus? What can he do?
Take away your possessions?
If so, let him.
He can do worse than that.
He can deprive me of my...
Of your precious Roman rights.
They mean more to you than I do.
I'm only being practical, Salome.
I could not ask you to marry me
if I had no more status than a slave.
I would join you as a slave.
But as a Roman, l...
Salome, wait.
This is for you.
"From Emperor Caesar Tiberius
to Princess Salome of Galilee,
you have incurred
our imperial displeasure
by presuming to exceed
your status as...
As a barbarian."
"You have tried our hospitality
beyond our patience.
Know therefore you are
banished from Rome."
"You will sail on a galley
leaving tomorrow night.
You will be given safe escort
home to Galilee."
But... But I have lived in Rome
since I was a child.
Everything that means
home is...
Is here.
I know.
So I...
I am banished from Rome.
To make certain that Caesar's
nephew marries a Roman,
not a barbarian.
Please, it is difficult enough.
Is it, Marcellus?
How difficult
if you could let me go
so easily?
There will come a time
when my word will be law.
Then the princess of Galilee
will reject your petition.
Do not touch me.
I am a barbarian.
Do not defile your hands.
My noble Roman.
With a heart of pure marble.
You all come out of
the same quarry.
Make way for
His Excellency Pontius Pilate.
Make way. Make way.
Under your command again, sir.
I thought you were stationed
in Galilee.
I was in Rome on leave, sir.
Happy to have you
with me again, commander.
Like old times in Britain, huh?
Any more wounds since then?
No, not one, sir.
You will find your new post
quite different.
I hope what I've learned about Galilee
and the people after five years
in the diplomatic service
will be useful to you.
Serve me half as well as
you did in Britain,
and we'll keep
those barbarians quiet.
Captain Quintus, sir.
We must cast off immediately, sir,
or lose the tide until morning.
Sail. I am ready.
There's still one passenger missing.
What passenger?
Princess Salome.
And who may she be?
King Herod's stepdaughter.
We have orders from Caesar
to transport her home.
Well, why is she not here?
I follow orders,
and I expect others to.
I wait for no one.
Least of all a woman.
Perhaps there's one woman
worth waiting for.
No woman.
Not even that one?
Princess Salome.
His Excellency Pontius...
What impudence.
Claudius, show me to
my quarters.
Your quarters have
just been invaded, sir.
Pull the oar harder.
Pull harder!
Shall we find quarters
below deck, sir?
No, I have no stomach
for the perfume
of galley slaves.
I'd rather camp up here.
To give up your quarters
to a princess of Galilee
is diplomacy of high order, sir.
Protocol dictates
that you go one step further.
Present yourself
to the princess.
Welcome her personally
the first night aboard.
Protocol dictates?
I'm the governor. I dictate.
Then allow me to relieve you
of an unpleasant duty.
I will present your compliments.
I shall send none to her.
It's possible the princess
did not realize she had
taken your quarters.
Perhaps I could persuade her
to relinquish them.
Perhaps? Order her out.
Yes, sir.
Keep the beat.
Keep the beat!
You there, put your
weight into it.
The governor wishes...
The governor wishes
to extend his official greetings.
As for taking his quarters,
I must ask you...
Another gallant Roman.
Governors, senators,
commanders. All alike.
Men of iron, made to rule.
All heartless liars.
You know Caesar banished me.
And yet you come
to greet me officially.
As a Roman of pure blood
to a barbarian.
What else,
I assure you, my intentions were...
I am not interested in your intentions.
All I want is no Roman near me.
No Roman anywhere near me.
I will remain in this cabin
for the remainder
of the journey.
I want nothing to do
with any of you,
and I expect that courtesy
to be returned.
I will have your wish
carried out.
All Romans onboard
will avoid you.
On no condition will
any Roman speak to you.
Not one word.
Onboard ship
or on the overland
journey home.
Well, commander?
I regret to say
I could do nothing, sir.
Did you order her out?
In the name of Your Excellency.
And she still refused to go?
She ordered me out, sir.
Oh, did she, Claudius?
The most important man
in Galilee
who knows just how to handle
these barbarians.
I'm afraid the princess
is beyond diplomacy, sir.
I shall not give up the struggle.
Put your weight into it.
You there, pull harder.
I hope your mistress
is in a better humour this morning.
Sir, the princess
would like to take a bath.
My permission is not
necessary for that.
Sir, her bathtub has
been put away with
her other possessions.
The princess requests you
to send it to her with
enough water to bathe in.
The ocean's full of water.
No ocean water.
Drinking water? You can tell the...
Allow me to handle this, sir.
Ocean water.
Did you not tell the commander...?
I did tell the commander.
Remind him I do
not want a Roman in here.
I can bathe without
his supervision.
Tell him to leave.
Sir, the princess
wishes you to leave.
Now get out.
Pull that oar harder.
You there, pull harder.
Harder! Faster!
Listen back there. Harder!
Put your weight into it.
Keep the beat!
I wish you were as concerned
with my comfort, commander.
Why waste a slave?
Why not? The world's
full of them.
Land ho!
Land ho!
Tell your mistress
the litter is ready.
I will not be shaken
in that...
Inform her it's the only litter
I could find.
Tell the Roman I would
rather walk than... Than...
Instruct your mistress
to lean forward. She will be
shaken less.
Also tell her not to drink
so much water.
It will make her ill.
I baptize you with water,
but he that cometh after me
is mightier than I,
whose shoes
I am not worthy to bear.
He will baptize you
with the Holy Ghost
and with fire.
What is it?
A meeting of some kind, sir.
The leader was sprinkling water
on their heads.
Cut them out of the way.
I intend to camp
on the other side.
Yes, sir.
We are here to hallow
the name of the Lord.
Let your faith be your shield.
Tyrants of Rome!
Those who live in hatred and strife
shall vanish from the universe.
The day shall come when Roman
spears shall be ground into dust.
Silence that traitor.
The stormers shall be consumed.
And all evildoers
shall be destroyed!
The enslavers of the world
shall soon be broken
on the wheel of...
Do not kill that man!
Go on, quick.
Get away from here.
Did you send for me, sir?
I'm informed that you
countermanded my order. Why?
I said that traitor was to be silenced.
I'm sorry, I did not hear your order.
That man the guard almost killed
was John the Baptist, a prophet.
His death would stir up
the populace.
The rabble-rouser has lived too long.
Sir, heed my advice.
I know these people,
how they regard a holy man.
They will not tolerate harm
to a prophet.
Why court trouble?
Caesar commanded us
to keep the peace.
Let me help you keep it
until you become familiar
with the nature of the enemy.
Who was that?
The commander.
What is that singing?
The religious people.
On the other side
of the Jordan.
It is like I have never
lived here at all.
I did all I could to stop them.
I know.
Pilate, the new governor,
is a ruthless soldier.
You must not speak against Rome
where your enemies can hear you.
I can no longer retreat
into the wilderness.
Next, I will preach in the city.
No. It is too dangerous.
Wait until you have
more followers.
There is no time to wait.
The kingdom of heaven
is at hand.
The people must know
that there is hope.
John, stay out of the city.
You will have no protection.
The Lord will protect me.
How? Will he send
a thousand swords
to guard you?
Claudius, in time you will learn
to put all your faith in the Lord.
I know it will come,
even as it came to you
after many years of killing
that the way of
the conqueror is wrong.
If I could reach
more Roman hearts,
if they were as open
as yours is to the horror
of slaughter and slavery...
You will reach no one
by inviting death.
And you embrace it
by speaking in the city.
When I do, do not risk
your life for me as you did today.
If Rome learns you follow me,
you will end on the rack.
You taught me a man
must serve his faith.
Yes, but there are
many ways to serve.
Never with a sword.
Now go before you are missed.
It's deadly. Do not move.
Why are you so bitter
against all Romans?
Because I know what a Roman is.
Tell me.
A heartless shell of a man
ruled by Caesar.
You condemn every Roman
because Caesar banished you?
Do you know why he did?
No matter why.
Because I loved a Roman once.
But he chose Caesar
instead of a barbarian.
I would make no such choice.
And I would not love a Roman
ever again.
It's a Roman caravan.
Prepare to receive them.
Your Majesty,
Princess Salome
is in the caravan.
My daughter? Oh!
Make all preparations
to welcome her.
I am to attend
your needs.
Take me to your king.
I will convey
your message.
Your Majesty.
Commander, welcome back to Galilee.
I am very happy to be here.
I trust you
relaxed properly in Rome.
I shall enjoy hearing
of your conquests
as if they were my own.
You must give me an account
in detail, my dear commander.
In detail?
I have nothing to recount
that would be of interest
to Your Majesty.
You came back
with an escort befitting...
Befitting a new governor,
Pontius Pilate.
He is now the governor
of these provinces.
I bring you his felicitations
and his request for an audience
at your earliest convenience.
At his convenience,
no doubt.
What an undeserved honour,
Caesar sending so great
a soldier to govern
our poor provinces.
To what do we owe
this favour?
Oh, I am sure
Governor Pilate will prefer
to enlighten you himself.
He has enlightened me
regarding his taste in women.
Pilate conquers supremely.
A jewel like that. Hmm.
She's incredible.
Who is she?
Princess Salome.
My stepdaughter?
Oh, what
a heaven-sent surprise.
Let me look at you.
Why, just yesterday you were
the child I sent to Rome.
You are just as
I remember you, Mother.
Come. You must
be exhausted.
Why did you not dispatch word
that you were coming?
I would have sent
the palace guard to meet you.
Though your escort would
do honour to a Roman
emperor's daughter.
I knew when you came home
it would be with the best
that Rome could give.
I knew that only in Rome
would you find happiness.
No, Mother.
I made the mistake of wanting
to marry a Roman.
And Caesar banished me.
A daughter of the Herods
banished from Rome?
Oh, Mother, forgive me.
What is it?
Your Majesty, the king
requests an audience.
Tell His Majesty...
No, wait. I will tell him.
Take the princess
to her room.
I will present you
to the king later.
This is the first time in years
you have entered my chamber.
I came to welcome
your daughter.
After all, I have not seen her
since she was a child.
And you cannot wait to see
what a difference
the years have made.
I can imagine the difference,
my dear.
I know that it is useless
to assure you,
but only my sense of duty
brings me here.
Certainly not your duty
as my husband.
Where is she? I have other
matters to attend to.
She's indisposed.
Convey my regrets.
And I suggest that you
do not keep her indisposed
for the dinner tonight
in honour of
the new governor.
Your Majesty's trusted councillor.
I've just learned that Caesar
has appointed a new governor.
The king told me.
Does it seem strange
to you that my husband
should come in here?
Why, only... I only meant that...
No need to spare me,
my dear councillor.
We have no secrets
from each other.
The king did not come
to see me, but my
beautiful daughter.
Like no other.
A rare beauty in the palace?
Your Majesty.
I wonder, should beauty
be wasted or used
for a purpose?
Strange. The identical question
crossed my mind.
Would you say that I have done
everything I could
to protect my daughter
from the king?
Well, you could do
no more.
Sending her to Rome
to keep her far from the king.
And now that she
is near him
and his appetite
has grown much keener...
Yes, much keener,
Your Majesty.
- could her return
not be used to
my advantage?
It is quite within the realm
of possibility.
Your Majesty, may I
suggest for your sake
that you lose no time
in using that advantage?
Yes, Micha.
Why is the princess not here?
Her absence is an insult.
Felicitations from Caesar Tiberius.
Your Excellency.
Your Majesty,
this is my daughter.
I remember the child.
The blossom does justice
to the bud.
Thank you, Your Majesty.
Or should I say,
the radiant flower
that bloomed in Rome
beautiful beyond
my expectations.
Is Your Excellency
ready to dine?
Splendid. As tasty
as anything in Rome.
You have not eaten
anything, my dear.
You know,
I owe your mother
an enormous debt.
She sent you to Rome
when you were a child.
We shall have all the pleasure
of becoming acquainted now.
After Rome, I'm afraid,
you'll find life very dull here.
Of course, I shall do
my feeble best to amuse you.
Do you like hunting?
I'll order a royal barge
from the Egyptians.
Your Majesty need not trouble.
I will find ways to make
the time pass.
I'll help you.
Yes, captain?
We have no secrets before
the governor. What is it?
Your Majesty,
the Baptist is in the city.
Word is about that he will speak
in the marketplace tomorrow.
The Baptist?
Was not that the rabble-rouser who
was in our way at the River Jordan?
Yes, sir.
Have you any orders, Your Majesty?
No. Let him speak.
So you allow troublemakers
to speak out?
Your Excellency,
he is a peaceful man.
He causes no trouble.
He is a menace,
Your Excellency.
He threatens...
The queen exaggerates
the importance
of a simple preacher.
He denounces the House of Herod
in the name of religion.
Your Excellency will agree.
Anyone who scorns the throne
should be silenced.
This man says nothing
against us.
He speaks against Rome.
I heard him.
Rome nails every traitor
to a cross, crucifies them
by the thousands
so that the rabble
may know their master.
And yet you let a traitor speak out.
Your Excellency,
I am king here. Thus far,
I have ruled without adding
to Caesar's troubles.
Where else does
sedition lead?
The Baptist is harmless.
Nobody listens to him
but a few beggars.
If I were to stop him,
the word would spread
that I interfere with religion.
That will inflame
the people.
You must allow me to
keep order in my own way.
Very well. Keep order
your way. But no one
is to speak against Rome.
That is my responsibility.
And yours alone.
Should you be unable to cope
with any disturbances,
the commander here
will report it to me.
I start early tomorrow
for Jerusalem. I must retire.
So you would even enlist
the Romans against me.
To save us both.
You mean, to save yourself.
We were speaking.
What were we speaking
about, my dear?
If Your Majesty will excuse me,
the journey was exhausting.
Remember, you march early.
You have been here
for many years. I'm sure
nothing has escaped you.
Who is this
John the Baptist?
A prophet.
A prophet?
But why is my mother
so afraid of him?
And the king, he seems
just as terrified.
What is happening here?
Why does he denounce them?
I understand he preaches
a new religion.
My mother says
he scorns the throne.
He speaks of a different world,
founded on justice and mercy.
Justice and mercy.
Strange words from a Roman.
Those are the words
of the prophet.
As you say, nothing escapes
a man in my position.
The truth about him certainly
appears to have escaped you.
You were supposed to meet me
for final instructions.
Must she always
take precedence over me?
No such danger.
I shall arrange for your
departure immediately, sir.
Princess. Princess.
Princess, please do not
go to the marketplace.
It is dangerous.
Is the guide here?
He is waiting at the terrace.
Run to and fro through
the streets, search in
the great plains
for one man who seeketh
the Lord.
For verily I say unto you,
the heaven of which I speak
can be found here on earth
if we live like children
of God,
and not like beasts of prey
as those that rule you now.
People of Galilee,
Herod is an alien king.
He is descended
from a desert tribe
of heathens.
He was not born
in the faith of our fathers.
Though he may profess to believe,
he makes a mockery
of the Lord's commandments.
Rulers who do not observe
the laws of God can only bring
disaster to the people.
Pay the House of Herod
no tribute!
Do not let them proceed
to new crimes,
or misery and destruction
shall fall upon thee.
And not a stone of thy house
shall remain unmolested.
For as certainly as all rivers
rush to the ocean,
the day of justice shall come.
For the cup of despair brims over.
Iniquity sits upon the throne.
The king has forsaken the people
for wine and harlots.
And the queen lives
in sinful luxury
with no heart for the afflictions
of the poor.
Her wickedness and her evil...
You will not say that of the queen!
I will speak against sin!
She has done nothing.
She is an adulteress!
That is a lie. A lie!
She has turned from her husband
to marry his brother.
She scorns the law
that was given to us.
The law. Words.
She has harmed no one.
She has brought injury
to all the people.
By placing herself
above the law,
she has destroyed
the equality of justice!
I will have you silenced.
Daughter of Herodias!
I am her daughter.
Heed me, Galilieans!
Do not visit the sins
of one generation upon another.
Daughter of Herodius, I know
your heart speaks for your mother.
But let it not blind you
to the evil of her ways.
Though you are
of her flesh and blood,
your soul is your own.
Abide not her wickedness.
Where have you been,
dressed like that?
At the marketplace.
I heard the Baptist speak.
Oh, how I hoped
you would never hear him.
He has made my life
a misery.
Why does the king allow him
to humiliate you?
He is afraid to stop him.
Why should the king be afraid of...?
Because of a prophecy
made in the time
of his father,
Herod the Great.
What prophecy?
"If a king of the House of Herod
harms the Messiah,
he will die in agony."
The king thinks
the Baptist is the Messiah.
He fears if he harms him,
he will die in terrible pain
like his father.
That a king could believe
such things and permit anyone
to speak against you.
And call for my death.
No, Mother. He did not incite
the people to harm you.
He calls me an adulteress.
There is only one punishment
for this crime:
To be stoned by the people.
But you are innocent.
I have broken
a senseless law,
and for that they want me to die.
Oh, Mother.
Mother, leave. Leave this place.
I will go with you anywhere.
I cannot leave Galilee.
But what is to keep
you here?
The king?
Not the king. The throne.
Oh, the throne.
What does it matter when
your life is in danger?
The throne is more
than life to me.
It is the legacy I leave you,
my daughter.
You will be the next queen.
The throne will be yours,
but only if I guard it for you.
I will suffer anything
so that you may inherit it.
I will endure a loveless marriage,
humiliation by a madman,
even stoning.
Therefore Rome may expect
the following yield in taxes:
From the province...
I did not mean
to disturb you.
We will continue later.
I am sorry for
my rudeness last night.
Then you no longer hate
all Romans?
Not all Romans.
What is it?
Tell me.
How much do you love me?
What is the measure
of love?
What is asked of another,
and what is granted.
One favour.
Anything you ask.
Is that a promise?
Help me save my mother.
Arrest the Baptist.
That I cannot do.
Why not?
I cannot interfere.
You can stop him!
I can do nothing.
I could report it
to Pontius Pilate.
But arrest him?
I have no such authority.
You mean, you do not
want to use it.
You're late,
my dear councillor.
My daughter has already
informed me of what was said
in the marketplace.
Did she also inform you
that the Baptist will speak
again tonight?
Even now they are gathering
to hear him.
He'll rave until the stones
are hurled against me.
What else can happen
when the people see
he is not punished?
If no retribution comes,
the rabble can only
regard it as a token
of the king's approval.
I fear so, Your Majesty.
He must be stopped tonight.
And will your daughter
persuade the king?
She cannot be rushed
into Herod's arms.
It'll take time.
There is no time.
Micha, you will silence him.
Your Majesty,
I must remind you,
the assassination
of John the Baptist may...
The king will suspect you.
And in his anger he may...
It is a risk I must take.
The desperate can only
survive by taking
desperate measures.
Your Majesty.
The crooked paths
shall be made straight.
And the rough way
shall be made smooth
so that we shall receive
the salvation of God.
The day has come
when men must cease
to march from one evil
to another and know
not the Lord.
It is true we live
in times of violence,
when men are turned
against each other.
But since the same God is our father
and we have the same destiny,
we are all brothers.
And that is our great hope,
that humanity will prevail.
When men see that hatred
and fear are the mutual enemies
of mankind.
Guards! Guards!
An assassin tried to kill
John the Baptist!
Arrest him and take him
to the king, and he will reward you!
Speak up, wretch,
while you still have a tongue.
Your loyalty is commendable.
Place it at the service of your king,
and you will be repaid with
your life. Who hired you?
I asked you to be present
because your ear is keener
than mine
to palace intrigue.
Whom do you suspect?
Your Majesty,
I couldn't even
venture a guess.
Not one?
It must be somebody
close to the throne,
very close,
who knows what
the prophet's death must
mean to me. Do you agree?
Perhaps it was thought
a service, not an injury,
to Your Majesty.
Then help me reward
my loyal servant.
Have you no recommendation?
If I knew, I would
reward him myself.
Well, wretch, still dumb?
Perhaps the rack
will oil the hinges
of your tongue. Out with him.
It is late, and I'm tired.
If that is all...
That is not all. It was your hand
behind that dagger.
Yours and yours alone.
It appears you think I had good cause.
If you ever try to harm him again...
You threaten me?
You will learn that
I am king here.
I command who lives
and who dies. And the prophet
must live.
Why? Because you are mad?
Mad, am I?
You'll let him bring
the House of Herod
down on our heads.
I will bring it down on yours
if you do not get out of my sight.
Now get out!
She will murder him.
I know it.
She will hire assassin
after assassin until one
of them strikes him down.
You must protect him, sire.
She will contrive his death.
And when the Messiah dies
at the hands of a Herod,
I will die.
What am I to do? Am I to wait
like a lamb for my own slaughter?
Why does the prophet
visit me with worse than
the tribulations of Job?
Why does he preach against me too?
What harm have I done him?
Does he not know
I want to protect him?
I will have him brought
before my ministers.
Would you try a holy man?
Is a prophet above the law
he upholds?
This prophet has spoken
against his sovereign.
Let him answer
for his treason.
Sire, to what end?
Would you sentence him?
Bring the prophecy to pass?
I have found a way at last
to make the prophet
come to terms with me.
To what terms can
a prophet come with a king?
You will see.
Captain! Have John the Baptist
brought before me
in the morning.
Sire, what are you doing?
What is your intention?
You will learn tomorrow.
Release the Baptist!
The Baptist has done no wrong!
He has committed no crime.
Down with the House of Herod!
Release the Baptist. Free him.
He has committed no crime!
I cannot believe it.
Free the Baptist!
Forgive me for last night.
Forgive you?
You had him arrested.
You knew what it meant
to me. Thank you.
You have been brought here
to answer charges of treason.
Who bears witness against me?
The people of Galilee.
I see no one here of the people.
You see my ministers
who represent the people.
They accuse you
of arousing the people
to overthrow
the House of Herod.
I do not speak for violence.
Only evildoers must resort
to force.
You call for violence
by denouncing the throne.
I call upon the people
to pay no tribute
to iniquitous rulers.
Then you would have
another king in my place?
One who would rule with godliness.
With justice and mercy.
You admit allegiance
to someone other than
His Majesty?
The one I acknowledge
is above all kings on earth.
Then he is mightier
even than Caesar?
He is the king of kings.
He will make all the Caesars
and the Herods tremble.
He will raise the yoke
from the oppressed,
right all wrongs,
bring a day of judgment
upon the evil masters
of the world.
And who is this
king of kings?
He is the Messiah.
But you are the Messiah.
You then are the king
who sets himself above me.
He does not declare himself
the Messiah.
Elder, I have never told
the people I am the Messiah.
Only that the Lord
has sent me
to awaken the conscience
of mankind to the coming
of the holy one.
Many people who hear you
denounce me say you
are the Messiah.
Then I have failed him
who follows me,
for I have not prepared the way
as I should have done.
What is your judgment?
Your Majesty,
he acknowledges a king
higher than you.
He is guilty of treason!
He is guilty!
You are twisting his words
to suit your purpose.
What is the recommendation
of my ministers?
He must be punished
like all traitors.
He must die.
To the cross.
Stoned to death.
He must die.
Death to the traitor.
Take him to the cross.
My judges have pronounced
sentence upon you.
You pronounced it.
The guilt is yours and yours alone.
You have made a mockery of justice
by trying a righteous man.
Hear me, your religious
counsellor, before it is too late.
You know that you
were not born in the faith
of our people.
Do not offend them
by committing sacrilege
against what they hold sacred.
You have already turned
their hearts against you
by breaking the law of Moses.
Do not turn the hand against you
by murdering a holy man.
Enough, I said.
I will pray for you.
Pray for them, elder.
For the Lord is beside me.
You have heard the judgment
of my ministers.
If you plead for mercy,
and if I grant it...
I will plead
for your soul.
Generation of vipers!
Do what you will with me.
But a day of judgment
is coming that will
swallow up all evildoers.
Vengeance will be the Lord's.
Silence him!
To the cross with him.
Clear the room.
Do not touch him. Get out.
You see how your enemies
are arrayed against you.
And the queen would
assassinate you. All in power
stand to murder you
were it not for me.
Have you tried me
to prove your friendship?
Yes. I am your only protector.
I, and I alone,
can save you now.
All I ask is that you
do not denounce me
before the people.
You cannot buy silence
with my life.
Say what you will
outside of Galilee.
Promise me never to return,
and I'll set you free.
My mission is here.
Then speak only of religion.
Leave the House of Herod to itself.
I cannot.
For it stands on a foundation of sin.
And I have been ordained
to root out sin,
offer repentance to all
who will listen.
I offer it to you now.
Return to God.
Give up the throne.
No. That I cannot do.
It is my life.
I speak of a life everlasting.
Seek repentance.
I will not give up
the throne.
And I cannot allow you
to preach against me
any longer.
I will place you under guard here
in the palace where
you can do no harm.
You will find no peace
in my imprisonment.
Only the Lord can ease
the terrible burden of evil
on your soul.
Take him.
Elder. What has happened
to our prophet?
What has the king
done with him?
Will he harm him?
He has imprisoned him.
We will free him!
Abide in peace.
Nothing will be gained
by violence.
But, elder... But, elder...
Your Majesty, this is more
than a suggestion.
Peace must be maintained.
I demand you release the prisoner.
This does not concern Rome.
Whatever threatens the peace
concerns Rome.
The peace is not threatened.
Every minute you keep the Baptist
increases the danger
of bloodshed and disorder.
There is less danger now.
You removed this man
from his followers.
I will treat him well.
He can have anything he desires.
Anyone can see him. Anyone.
He is still your prisoner!
The people will rise.
I will put them down.
Commander, you have
no authority to force his release.
Saddle three horses.
We leave for Jerusalem
Why does the princess
call the Roman?
Where is he going?
Does that matter?
I found him more of a friend
than anyone here.
My dear, in what way
have I been remiss?
You allowed a madman to inflame
the people against my mother.
The commander
had him arrested.
Is that what he said?
The lying dog of a Roman.
Claudius wanted me to free him.
Free him?
The Roman pleaded,
ranted, threatened,
did all he could
to make me release him.
It was I who ordered
him arrested.
I am sorry
to disillusion you,
my dear.
I lost my illusions
about Romans long ago.
To be a realist
is the beginning
of wisdom.
And the wise know
that nothing matters except
to find pleasure
in the present.
How little I've seen of you
since your return.
I've hardly had a chance
to welcome you home.
For the homecoming
of a princess.
Your Majesty
is most generous.
Please wear this at the banquet
in the honour of my birthday.
I should be giving
His Majesty a gift,
not receiving one.
Your presence will be
the most precious gift of all.
Let's see if the artisan
has done justice
to your beauty.
No silk nor spun gold
can compare.
Your Majesty, l...
I cannot wear this.
Why not?
It is more fitting
you give it to the queen.
It is mine to give
as I wish.
Not mine to accept.
Then wear it for me.
Let it be a token
between us.
That you may know
how much...
How much you please me.
Allow the queen
to please Your Majesty.
Am I to be denied
what I want above all?
One woman with whom
I can find forgetfulness.
Your Majesty takes
much for granted,
even though he is king.
And he forgets,
the queen is my mother.
Why should you want
to interfere?
Herod has good cause
to imprison this rabble-rouser.
The arrest of John the Baptist
may have serious consequences.
It might start a rebellion that
would spread throughout
the provinces.
You must order his release.
as a Roman, I would expect you
to ask for his execution.
Your Excellency, we've served
together for many years.
May I speak frankly?
I've never thought
you spoke otherwise.
Rome cannot go on as it has,
ruling with a sword and a whip.
If we are to survive,
we must recognize
that a new force
is coming into the world.
New force?
The religion of this prophet.
It will bring hope
to the conquered.
It will bring peace
to all men
by teaching every man
how to live at peace
with his neighbours.
This faith will march across
the world and win men
where Rome could
only conquer them.
Caesar is the only faith
possible for a Roman.
I believe the religion of this prophet
will surge over the earth.
Become his protector,
and you would achieve immortality.
Yes, immortality.
Think of it.
Your name will be enscrolled
on the pages of history.
Your name will ring down
through the years.
Pontius Pilate:
The first champion
of a new religion.
In a few years from now,
we shall all be dust
and forgotten
no matter what
we do here.
The name of Caesar
will live on.
But Pontius Pilate? Never.
The God of the Baptist is eternal.
Ally yourself with him,
and your name
will never die.
A new religion that
will march across the world.
A God that is eternal.
You've been here for years.
And I, only a few weeks.
Yet already I know this country
better than you.
It's ridden with prophets.
Right here in Jerusalem
there's a carpenter that
even claims he's the son of God.
Yes. They call him
a man of miracles.
They say he can make
the lame walk, the blind see.
And if the rabble
in Jerusalem wish to believe
such idiotic nonsense,
let them.
But I will not tolerate
anyone denouncing Rome
under the cloak of religion.
And this your prophet does.
But, Your Excellency...
How can you ask for his release,
knowing that he's a traitor?
I cannot understand
a valiant soldier
and a brilliant officer
turning to treason.
I've found a greater loyalty
than Rome:
Were I not your friend,
had we not fought
many battles together,
shared many dangers
in the field,
were I not mindful
of how bravely you've
served me and Rome,
I would be compelled
to execute you for treason.
However, I must relieve you
of your post.
I will not place you
under arrest.
But I cannot permit you
to return to Galilee.
You'll stay here
in Jerusalem until we
have word of a galley
leaving for Rome.
Yes, Your Excellency.
I'm sorry, Claudius.
The last remains of the 9th Legion.
Come. Join us.
We are on our way
to my villa.
No. Wait. Tell me,
do you know this carpenter
who claims to be
the son of God?
You mean the man of miracles?
The great healer
who cures everything
just by touching you?
They say he turned water
into wine at a wedding
in Cana.
Imagine the money
he would save us.
Well, come with us.
Where is he now?
Well, I heard he went to Bethany.
Why? Do you want
to see him?
I can see.
I can see.
I can see.
I can see.
I can see.
I can see.
I can see.
Down with the House
of Herod! The prophet is innocent!
Free the Baptist!
The Baptist has done no wrong!
Release the Baptist!
The Baptist must go free!
Down with the House of Herod!
He's innocent!
The king is a heathen!
What is it, Your Majesty?
My affectionate subjects
helping us celebrate
the event of my birth.
They seem quite threatening
in their affections,
Your Majesty.
Let us go on with the feast.
Down with the House of Herod!
Death to the queen!
The queen is an adulteress!
Death to the queen!
Your Majesty, I've never seen
the rabble in such a mood.
The stupid fools!
They will soon learn
how I reward those
who threaten...
Death to the queen!
Micha, stand back.
They'll break into the palace.
They'll stone me.
Nothing but my death
will satisfy them.
Micha, go quickly.
Try to pacify them.
Down with the House of Herod!
Careful. A stone may
strike you.
Mother, we cannot stay here.
We must stay here.
If I let that rabble
depose me,
you will be next.
Your life means more to me than...
I will not let them deprive you
of your heritage
after all I've sacrificed.
Listen to them. And you speak of...
I speak of your future.
My child, your destiny.
The rabble is nothing without a leader.
Free the Baptist.
If I could make the king destroy
the Baptist before it is too late...
There is a way.
Yes, yes.
One possible way
to save the throne.
you alone could accomplish it.
what can I do?
Prevail upon the king
to destroy the Baptist.
But how can l...?
You can persuade him.
With your matchless beauty.
Dance for him tonight.
Dance for him?
Mother, you know a woman
who dances for the king
becomes his possession.
Yes, I know the custom.
You would have me give myself to...?
For the throne, yes.
The Baptist must go free!
Release the Baptist!
The king is a heathen!
Romans! Romans,
the Baptist must go free!
Roman heathen! Roman heathen!
Why are you crying?
Oh, take me away from here.
Claudius, please take me away.
Do you really want to leave?
Yes. Yes.
There's something I want you
to hear. Something you
must know about me.
Then we can go away together.
What is it?
Come with me.
Where is the princess?
You keep her from me.
Command her to appear.
Command her yourself.
I bear strange tidings.
Such strange tidings.
While in Jerusalem,
I heard them speak of a prophet
who performs miracles.
If true, this would be
great tidings.
I heard them say this prophet
brings sight to the blind,
heals the sick,
that he fed thousands
of the poor
with no more than
a few loaves of bread
to divide.
I went to Bethany where
I was told he had gone.
Just outside Jerusalem,
I saw a procession
such as I have never seen
following one man.
The lame, the halt,
the blind followed him.
Those whose back were bent
from years under the yoke.
Those whose heads were bowed
from years of shame.
They followed him.
And many who were sceptical,
who came to scoff at him,
they too followed him.
I joined this procession.
We followed him
to a tomb where lay
a man called Lazarus,
four days dead.
The sister of Lazarus,
who believed,
had begged him to raise
her brother from the dead.
I heard him say to her,
"I am the resurrection
and the life.
He that believeth in me,
though he were dead,
yet shall he live.
And whosoever liveth
and believeth in me,
shall never die."
He said that.
I heard him. And then
he went to the tomb.
And while others rolled back
the stone, he raised
his head and prayed.
He said...
He said, " Father, I thank thee
that thou hast heard me,
and I know that
thou hearest me always.
But because of the people
that stand by, I said it
that they may believe
that thou hast sent me."
And when he had said this,
he cried out in a loud voice,
"Lazarus, come forth."
And Lazarus came out
of the tomb. I saw him.
I saw a man who'd been dead
four days walk out of his grave!
All of us fell
on our knees.
And then he told Lazarus
to remove the shroud
and rejoin the living.
And what had been a corpse
became a man again.
Not only did I see Lazarus
raised from the dead,
but I spoke to him.
I talked to him myself.
The one who called him
back from the grave
was named Jesus.
My kinsman, Jesus.
The Messiah.
When I baptized him,
I heard a voice
from heaven say,
"This is my beloved son,
in whom I am well pleased."
I spoke to this Jesus.
I told him that
you were imprisoned.
He said he would come to Galilee.
I shall never see Jesus again.
I will free you before he gets here.
I do not fear death.
All my life I have been
surrounded by wickedness.
I have lived
by false standards.
I have held myself
unaccountable to anyone.
And I have known evil.
For the first time,
I see there is good
in the world.
To see good is to
be awakened to the Lord.
Know that my blessings
follow both of you
all your days on earth.
Go in peace.
How can you possibly save him?
I still command the palace guards.
But Herod's soldiers
fill the palace. You cannot.
It is the only way.
There is a more certain way.
I will dance for the king.
And I will make him free
the Baptist.
Dance for the king?
Do you realize...?
He will never possess me.
No. No, I will not have you
dance for him.
Prepare to leave.
I will free the Baptist
and then come for you.
Yes, princess.
Come with me.
I have orders from
His Excellency, the governor.
Release him.
I can only release
the prisoner by orders
of His Majesty, the king.
I'd give half my kingdom.
No. Give me the head
of the Baptist.
Guards! Guards!
My mother.
That I should be
of your flesh and blood.
I never want to look
upon your face again.
Listen. Do you hear?
I can open the gates
and let the populace
tear you apart.
I could run my sword
through both of you.
But that would make
too quick an end. No.
Live. Live in torture.
May the blood of the man
you murdered rise
in your throats to choke you.
Give with us...
Ezra. Ezra.
God upon us have
mercy with us.
Love your enemies.
Bless them that curse you.
Do good to them that hate you.
And pray for them
which despitefully use you
and persecute you.
That ye may be the children
of your father which is in heaven.
For he maketh his son
to rise on the evil and
on the good.
And sendeth rain
on the just and
on the unjust.
Blessed are
the poor in spirit,
for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they
who mourn,
for they shall
be comforted.
Blessed are they
who hunger and thirst
for justice,
for they shall
be satisfied.
Blessed are
the merciful,
for they shall
obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure
of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are
the peacemakers,
for they shall
be called
children of God.
Blessed are they who suffer
persecution for justice's sake,
for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven.