The Robe (1953) Script

Rome, master of the earth, in the 18th year of the emperor Tiberius.

Our legions stand guard on the boundaries of civilisation from the foggy coasts of the northern seas to the ancient rivers of Babylon, the finest fighting machines in history.

The people of 30 lands send us tribute: their gold and silk, ivory and frankincense, and their proudest sons to be our slaves.

We have reached the point where there are more slaves in Rome than citizens.

Some say we are only looters of what others have created, that we create nothing ourselves.

But we have made gods, fine gods and goddesses, who make love and war.

Huntresses and drunkards.

But the power lies not in their hands of marble, but in ours of flesh.

We, the nobles of Rome, are free to live only for our own pleasure.

Could any god offer us more?

Today we traffic in human souls.

The slave market is crowded because the emperor's heir and regent, young Caligula, is coming to buy gladiators.

He probably will not be pleased to see me.

Look here, look here. A singer, a dancer, a companion for a noble lady, or a noble gentleman.

Stop, gentlemen. A priceless gem for your household.

Look here, look here. A singer, a dancer, a companion for a noble lady or a noble gentleman.

A physician from Egypt. Question him if you like.

Stop and look. Stop and look. A jewel, a jewel from the East.

You've heard of the beauty of the Circassians. Look.

A beauty from Circassia. Stop and look.

Buy young and train them yourself.

Children grow into men and women. These Goths grow strong.

Buy young. Buy young and train them yourself.

Too old? Why, he's still got ten or fifteen years left in him.

He costs no more than an ox, and cheaper to feed.

A pair to touch the heart of any buyer. A mother and child from Syria.

Buy them together. Buy them separately. Smile. What's the matter with you?

Tribune. You came. I have them. Wait.

Girls. Girls.

Look. Two identical rubies. They're perfect.

And this one is a hairdresser. She's an expert. Look at her hands.

Very nice. Aren't they nice, Livia? Let go of me.

I apologise for last night... Anything you say will be a lie.

Slave loose! Slave loose!

Thank you, Tribune.

A tribune. So today in Rome a tribune does the vile work of a slave master.

Fool. Will you never learn? This is Senator Gallio's son you're speaking to.

Down on your... What's this? Tried it again?

Give me his slate. "Highborn, educated, qualified for household steward. "

Sell him for lion bait. Put him up as a gladiator. Never mind the price.

But, Cleander, Caligula's buying gladiators today.

What of it? He'll get this Greek for nothing.

He's worth 1,000 pieces of gold. He's worth his weight in dog's meat.

Please. A gladiator. You heard me.

You animal. Animal!

Did you hear what he said? Lion bait.

I'm sorry. What were you saying? There's nothing more to say.

After last night you'll never hear another word out of me.

In front of my friends, too. I know you were drunk as a pig, but that's no excuse.

Do you realise you've made me the laughing stock of Rome, Marcellus?

Marcellus Gallio.

Don't think I won't talk about this.

I intend to. Yes.

It's good to see you, Marcellus.

It's good to see you again.

Then you do remember me.

Yes, of course. Let me see now, it was the...

And your promise. Have you forgotten that too?

What promise?

To marry me.

Was I drunk?

That's not very flattering, Marcellus.

If you'd tell me when I was supposed to have said this - the circumstances.

I remember them perfectly. I'd cut my finger, and I cried.

You took a dagger and cut your own finger to show me that it didn't really hurt.

Then you kissed me and I stopped crying, and then you promised to marry me when we grew up.


Where have your freckles gone? I lost them.

I loved every one of them. Then I'm sorry I lost them.

Let me look at you.

12 years... The gods must love Capri to make you blossom so.

What are you doing in Rome? Tiberius sent me.

Since my father died I've been the ward of the emperor.

Yes, this is Caligula's pavilion. Empress Julia thinks I'd be good for him.

Caligula? You can't.

He'll be emperor someday, and... Would that matter, Marcellus, to you?

More than my life. After all, I promised you.

And you'll never know how seriously I took your promise.

Do you intend to hold me to it, Diana?

I might. But I've heard that you've made other promises since.

But only one vow to Diana.

He's coming, Marcellus. You'd better go.

Caligula and I have been in competition before, and I've never lost to him.

At least you're frank, Marcellus. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way.

Then all the tales I've heard of you are true.

Every man makes enemies. All your enemies seem to be women.


Begin the sale.

And why is Tribune Gallio in my pavilion? Does he seek a favour?

I invited him, sire. We were friends many years ago when we were children.

Buying today, or looking for amusement?

Buying, I hope, sire. A pair of twins.

Male or female? Female.

Have them put up first. Sire.

No. Sit down, here with me.

You're very kind, sire.

The pleasure of our loyal tribune is important to us.

You have such excellent taste. These twins must be charming.

We have here two Macedonian twins, trained as companions, entertainers, servant for a highborn lady.

Only once a year can their like be found on the auction blocks of Rome.

They won't be sold separately. What am I bid?

500 gold pieces.




Don't lose them, Gallio. 1500.


Marcellus, are you my friend or aren't you? Not to this extent.

2,000. The bid stands at 2,000 pieces of gold.


You bid for yourself? No.

Sold for 2500.

Forgive me, Gallio, but I have decided to give them to the lady Diana.

But, sire... You wouldn't refuse me?

No, sire.

Offered as a gladiator, a Greek. I guarantee his strength and fighting spirit.

Buy him. 50 gold pieces.

50. Dog's meat!

There are no more bids. Get on with the sale.


You bid against me? Against Tribune Quintus.

Be careful, Tribune. The Greek is well-qualified, sire.

He's worth a better price. 200 gold pieces.

300. You want to make a gift of him to me?

No, sire. I want him.

And I bid against Quintus.

500. 700.

800. 900.



The bid is 3,000 pieces of gold.

A little high, but I expected to spend more on the twins.

You offend me, Tribune.

I think it's time you offend me no more.

Detail! March!

Sold to Tribune Gallio.

A wonderful purchase, sir, even though you may have to beat him.

Yes. Unchain him. Sir?

Unchain him. But he's a dangerous man.

Unchain him. Yes, sir.

What's your name?

Demetrius, from Corinth.

At the end of the street you'll find the house of my father, Senator Gallio.

It has a scarlet door. Report to the steward there.

There are times when I'm away with Senator Gallio.

In that case, the slave attending the front door is required to light the lamps.

To be a slave in this household is an honour.

To be a slave anywhere is to be a dog.

The door. Open it. Remember to bow.

The door. Run, you fool.

Good evening, Marcipor. Good evening, sir.

It's you.

No household duties. He'll be my personal attendant.

You could have run away. Why didn't you?

I owe you a debt, sir. I pay my debts.

Not a slave's reason. More like a Roman's. A Greek's.

Yes, I know. In the great days of Greece, we Romans were no more than barbarians.

Have Marcipor show you where I keep my clothes. I'll change before dinner.

Good evening, Mother. Lucia.

Sorry, Mother, I was outbid for those twins.

We know, Marcellus. Diana was here.

Diana? You should have kept her till I got home.

Marcellus. She told us that you and Caligula had a quarrel...

Don't worry about that. Caligula's very angry.

She takes him too seriously. She has to.

She's going to marry him. Did she tell you that?

Mother, look. I think he's in love with her himself.

Love's like wine. A sip hurts nobody, but to empty the bottle is to invite a headache.

Well, you won't even get a taste. She thinks you're very funny.

She does? She thought you wanted the twins.

Lucia. That's what she said, Mother.

Marcellus. Are you deliberately trying to cut the ground from under my feet, orjust too much of a fool to understand what you've done?

You mean my difference of opinion with Caligula?

I lead the senators who oppose him, and my son makes fun of him at private banquets, and now humiliates him in public.

I'm fighting for the republic against the tyranny of the emperors.

I know that. You know nothing.

Nothing but dice and women.

And now, by your behaviour to Caligula, by these petty slights, you cripple me, make my fight look like a personal quarrel.

Yes? Sir, Tribune Quintus is at the door.

For me? For your son.

I'm not at home. Yes, sir.

Your leave. Give this to Tribune Gallio when he does come home.

Well, aren't you going to read it?

After dinner.

Good eating to you.

Ladies. Senator Gallio.

Quintus is a very important man.

He was already my enemy.

May we know? It's from Caligula.

"The courage of a military tribune must not be squandered in baths and banquet halls. "

"You are ordered to the garrison at Jerusalem. "

Jerusalem. "You sail tonight on the Palestine galley. "

That's all. Not even an expression of his tender regard.

Cornelia, he will need his things.

Help your mother, Lucia.

Where's Jerusalem?


The worst pest-hole in the empire.

A stiff-necked, riotous people always on the verge of rebellion.

Our legions there are the scum of the army, the officers little better than the men.

Disease takes them off like flies.

Some have been assassinated, sometimes by their own men.

Others have spared the assassins the trouble.

What Caligula hopes he has given you is your death sentence.

"We who are about to die"? Marcellus.

Marcellus, you are the only son I'll ever have.

You know what my ambitions have been for you.

I know how I've disappointed you.

Try to endure it, Marcellus.

Grow hard.

Watch the hand of the man who walks behind you.

Drink in private and sleep with your sword at your side.

Take nothing on faith.

Bind yourself to no man.

Above all, be a Roman, my son, and be a man of honour.

Perhaps there'll be amusement in being a man of honour.

Ready, sir? Yes, that's the last of my gear.

Ready at the oars.

Man the lines.

Careful with that, it's the wine.

Yes, sir.

There's no need to be so formal, Demetrius.

We'll both need friends where we're going.

Friends can't be bought, sir, even for 3,000 pieces of gold.

Is there anything else you want, sir?


The lady Diana begs a word with you, sir, before you leave.

We don't want to lose this tide, sir.


I came to tell you that I'm going back to Capri to ask the emperor to intercede for you.


I think Caligula treated you unjustly.

Why, Diana?

It was partly my fault what happened.

The real reason.

Because I've found you again, and I don't want to lose you.

Perhaps you don't believe that a girl of 11 could fall in love and stay in love all these years.


Don't cry, my love.

Lucia thought I was in love.

I laughed at her, but women are wise in these matters.

Tribune. We'll miss the tide.

Make Tiberius promise not to give you to Caligula until I come back.

Cast off.

Pull up. Lines are up.

Start the oars.

Jerusalem's no pleasure resort at its best.

This is the worst, the feast they call the Passover.

This is when their soothsayers tell them the Messiah will come.

Messiah? What's that? King. Saviour. Redeemer.

Son of their god - and general troublemaker.

He's coming here? No one knows.

No one knows if he even exists.

He is, but he isn't. He hasn't come yet, but he's coming.

Every year the same.

You'll find out, Tribune, if you live long enough.

Thanks for the kind wish, Centurion.

The Messiah.

There he is.

What stirred them up? Perhaps he's coming after all, the Messiah.

Something's happening, that's certain.

Look. There. Those people carrying palms.

The man riding a white donkey. See him?

Flavius, clear us a path through these cattle.

Demetrius, come along. Your master will have you flogged.

Did you see him? Who?

The man who just rode past. I was over there.

He stopped here and looked at me. He looked into my eyes.

What did he want? I don't know.

I thought he was going to speak but he didn't.

Only his eyes spoke.

Come on, Demetrius.

I think he wants me to follow him.

Who is he? A general? No.

A king? No, he's not a king.


I don't know.

This is for the tribune. It's very important.

Excuse me. Let me pass, please.

Here you are, Tribune, just as I promised you.

The finest Syrian wine from the vintage you like the best.

And now, Tribune, there's a little matter of payment.

One, two, three, four skins of wine you owe me for.

Four skins of wine for four days, remember?

Who are you?

Who am I? The tribune has a sense of humour.

He asks me who I am. Ever seen this man before?

No, never. Never, sire.

Gentlemen, please. Please. I am Caleb, Caleb the wine merchant. Remember?

I'm an honest man. The tribune and I have an agreement.

A skin of wine every day. Don't you remember?

Please, gentlemen. I want my money. I'm a poor man.

You're not poor. You're as rich as Midas.

And you're not honest. You're a thief.

Then you do recognise me. As for being a wine merchant...

The stuff you sell isn't fit for a jackass.

Thank you.

Oh, dear.

Tribune, what have you done?

Enjoying yourself?

Whoever conquered this land should have been strung up.

Demetrius, pour us some of this poison. The curse of empire.

But think how we make it possible for those in Rome to enjoy themselves.

I am thinking about it.

Pilate's given orders to arrest that fanatic.

Remember? The day you arrived?

Yes, the Messiah. What did he do?

He's been preaching, stirring up a commotion.

Why don't you arrest him? It's not easy.

Pilate wants it done quietly. The man's got half the people on his side.

We've got to find out where he is at night.

And that is like finding one particular ant in an ant hill.

Vinegar, like the rest of it. I hope you drown.

I don't care how you handle it, Centurion.

Just do your duty.

There's one way that never fails. But it'll cost you some money.

Demetrius, how much is left in the purse?

Eight gold pieces and some silver, sir. That should be enough.

Give him the purse.

Give him the purse. What's the matter with you?

I'll report later. Tribune.

Pour me some of that wine.



Friend. Friend, could you help me?

I'm looking for the carpenter from Galilee, the one called Jesus.

What do you want with him? I must warn him. I'm a slave like you are.

You're not even clever, you Roman spy.


You. Stop.

I'm looking for the man called Jesus. Who?

The one they say is the Messiah. I never heard of him.

Can you help me? I'm looking for a man.

A man? What's his name? Jesus. I must warn him.

You're too late. Even now he is before Pilate.

They found him? He was betrayed to them, and by one he loved and trusted.

By his disciple, who sat at his left hand.


Because men are weak.

Because they are cursed with envy and cowardice.

Because they can dream of truth, but cannot live with it, they doubt.

They doubt, the fools.

Why must men betray themselves with doubts?

Tell them, the others. Find them and tell them not to doubt.

Even now, not to doubt.

Tell them to keep their faith.

They must keep faith.

Wait. Tell who?

Who are you? My name is Judas.

Tribune, wake up.

Come on. Do I have to drag you?

Duty calls, if the word means anything to you.

What is it? The governor wants you.

At this hour? Come. Pilate doesn't like to be kept waiting.

Sir, I need your help.

Where's my helmet?

I spoke to you of the man Jesus. Yes, the fanatic.

He's been arrested, sir. What do you expect me to do about it?

Intercede for him. Make them see that he's innocent.

No. When his trial comes up, I'll look into it.

What's he supposed to have done?

He's already been tried. He's been condemned by Pilate himself.

Pilate? You're going there, sir.

If he stains his hands with this blood, he's a murderer.

That's enough. Pilate's the governor, the Roman governor.

As far as I'm concerned, that ends the matter.

As far as you're concerned, too. Ready?


For your own good, you'd better forget you ever saw this man.

I don't like to be kept waiting, Tribune. I'm sorry, sir. I came as soon as I could.

I have special orders for you.

You're to report to the emperor at Capri.

You must have powerful friends at court.

I suppose I have, sir. There'll be a galley at the end of the week.

I have one task before you leave. It's routine.

An execution. Today.

Three criminals. Yes, sir.

One of them's a fanatic. He has a following. There may be some trouble, some attempt to interfere.

Take enough men. I understand, sir.

I've had a miserable night. Factions, no one agreeing with anyone else.

Even my wife had an opinion.

Good luck. I'm sorry to lose you.

Thank you, sir. Give me water to wash my hands.

But you just washed them, my lord. Did I?

So I did.

Some wine before you go, gentlemen?

No. You'd better.

Your first crucifixion, isn't it? Yes.

What? Never driven nails into a man's flesh?

Hail our king. Our king.

Make way.

Is it night? No.

It's the middle of the day.

This isn't like other days.


Your go, Paulus.


You're lucky today, Tribune. I'm finished.

I'm always lucky. You. Bring me that robe.

I have a proposition for you, Tribune. What?

You'll see.

Hurry up. What's the matter with that slave?

Where did you find him, Tribune? Throw the dice again, Paulus.

Mine by right of possession.

First-class homespun, previously owned by a carpenter of Galilee.

How much will you risk against it?

11. Tribune?


Lucky again.

Tribune Gallio's first battle trophy, for victory over the king of the Jews.

We've done our duty, Centurion. No need to joke about it.

You can say that. You're going back to Capri to kiss the emperor's hand.

I have to stay here in this sinkhole.

Get back to your post. Let me go.

They say the storm's a judgment. Superstitious idiot.

They say he's the Son of God. Maybe he is. I don't know.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Throw that cloth over me.

Didn't you hear me? Throw that cloth over me.

Take it off.

Take it off.

Take it off.

You crucified him.

You, my master.

But you've freed me.

I'll never serve you again, you Roman pig.

Masters of the world, you call yourselves.

Thieves. Murderers.

Jungle animals.

A curse on you.

A curse on your empire.

There it is again, sir.


No. No.

Stop it. Stop it.

Stop it. Why don't you stop it?

Stop what, sir? Were you out there?

Out where, sir?

I'm sorry.

A nightmare.

It must have been a nightmare.

We should put him in irons, sir. He's a tribune.

I don't care. He's dangerous.

If he asks me once more "Were you out there?" in that tone of voice...

I haven't slept since we left Joppa.

My lady.

My lady, he is here.

What's wrong, Marcellus? You're ill.

What is it? Let me help you. No one can help me.

It's enough that I'm with you again.

Let's sit here.

You can have no trouble so great that I'd be afraid to share it.

Ever since I went away you've been in my heart.

Your voice in my ears, your image in my eyes.

Waking and sleeping, you were with me.

And even more, since it happened.

Since what happened? Every evening of the voyage, a star appeared above the bow, standing bright and steady in the sky, as if sent to guide the ship home.

In my illness, I thought you had sent it as a sign.

It became my one link with sanity.

Sanity? What do you mean?

What is it, Marcellus? Tell me.

Marcellus? Don't come near me.

Keep away.

No, Marcellus. Don't.

My love, my poor love.

Tell me.

Soon enough you'll learn the truth.

I am ill, as you guessed.

But in my mind.

The truth is, I'm mad.

My lady?

What is it? A message from the emperor.

He'll see Tribune Gallio at once.


You can't go now, not till you've rested. It's no use. He already knows.

The captain of the galley ran to report to him as soon as we docked.

I'll go with you.

I can't ask you to.

But I want you to know you're free from your promise.

Sire, Tribune Gallio is here as you commanded.

But he was made ill by the voyage.

I beg you to postpone the audience until he is rested.

Does he ask for a postponement? No, sire, but I do. I implore you.

It would serve no purpose. I will see him now.

Bring him in.

The lovely lady Diana married to an idiot.

But she's too good for Caligula, isn't she?

After 40 years with Julia, my approaching death holds few terrors for me.

Death, sire? But my last examination proves you'll live for 20 years at least.

My physician is very loyal. Not 20, sire.

30. I read it only last night in the entrails of an owl.

And my soothsayer even more loyal.

The entrails of an owl.

No, stay. We may have need of you men of science.

The entrails of an owl.

You are welcome, Tribune. Thank you, sire.

I bring you dispatches from Pontius Pilate.

By your leave, sire, he asked me to put them into your hands and no others.

Then they must hold bad news.

Sit down, Tribune. Thank you, sire.

Tell me, what was your impression of Pilate?

It's not my place to... I'm asking you.

Did you find him capable?

Yes, sire. He is considered a good administrator.

Stern, as befits a Roman governor? I'm sure of that, sire.


I can't say.

Why not? Surely you can give me some sort of an answer.

Tell me, Tribune, what happened out there?

What happened? Were you out there?


I told you, sire, he's ill. Let me take...

Leave him alone. Stand back.

Tribune Gallio, you are a Roman officer.

I command you to get control over yourself.

Yes, sire.

This report of Pilate's, and your own condition, hint alike at a serious situation.

Now speak. Please, Marcellus. He wants to help you.

I'm not your enemy, boy.

I fought in Iberia with your grandfather. Your father was like a son to me.

Now tell me. Everything.

Is Tribune Gallio still there?

He's been talking for two hours, my lady.

And? Hopeless, my lady. Completely hopeless.

The Son of God?

What god?

I don't know, sire.

I don't know.

And you lost your wits when he looked at you?


It was later, when I put on the robe.

Miracles, disciples, slaves running away...

Roman legionaries fraternising with the natives...

Well, none of this concerns us for the moment.

We must make you well. What have you learned gentlemen to say?

A difficult matter, sire. Under my care...

He'd never improve. Who gave you permission to speak?

The clue to this man's sanity is not in a vial of medicine.

Well, where then? In the robe that bewitched him.

Go on. Plainly, there was a curse on the robe.

His only chance is to find it and destroy it.

An interesting notion.

He's right, sire. He must be right. The robe was bewitched.

Let me find it, sire, destroy it. If you do, your mind will be restored.

A lost robe in the hands of a runaway slave?

What chance would you have? He couldn't get away.

He must be still in Palestine, with the other followers of the dead man.

He had disciples. It's there in Pilate's message.

Who knows what powers he left to these disciples?

Magic formulas, potions...

Beware. He is dead, Dodinius.

Evil never dies. It lives - in the air, in the robe, everywhere.

Tribune Gallio, I give you an imperial commission.

For yourself, find this robe and destroy it.

For Rome, seek out the followers of this dead magician.

I want names, Tribune.

Names of all the disciples, of every man and woman who subscribe to this treason.

Names, Tribune. All of them.

No matter how much it costs or how long it takes.

You will report directly to me.

I understand, sire.

I am grateful. A galley will be put at your disposal.

You will leave at once, on the first tide.

That is all.

Thank you, sire.


For your sake, I interfered when my wife wanted to give you to Caligula.

For your sake, I brought your tribune back from Palestine.

For your sake, I now free you from him.

But, sire, I have no wish to be free.

Have you gone mad too?

He had everything then.

He could have had me too.

I wanted him, but I wasn't sure that I loved him.

Now I am sure.

I think it my duty to forbid you to see him again.

As a child, you were wise.

Now you reason like a woman, foolishly.

I can't help being a woman, sire, but I try to reason as you taught me.

You were a soldier, sire.

When you won, you could expect your legions to cheer you.

But when you lost, what would you have given to see the eagles raised in your honour, to hear your name on every man's lips?

I like Caligula no better than you do, but what a wife you would make for an emperor.

Very well, my dear. Your tribune shall have another chance.

Thank you, sire.

When it comes, this is how it will start.

Some obscure martyr in some forgotten province.

Then madness, infecting the legions, rotting the empire, then the finish of Rome.

But if the tribune breaks the spell...

Spell, you fool? What spell?

This is more dangerous than any spell your superstitious mind could dream of.

It is man's desire to be free.

It is the greatest madness of them all.

And I have sent the most effective physician I could find to cure it.

I have sent a madman.

Tribune. Tribune.

I warned you not to call me Tribune. Worthy merchant, then. I have news for you.

When Abidor says he'll find someone, he finds him.

You found the Greek slave. Where is he?

I haven't seen him, not myself. But he is known, in this village.

Cana, it's called. You'll find him soon. "Soon. " With you it's always "soon".

We've been to three provinces and a hundred villages. Has he been seen?

These villagers are suspicious.

In this land of Galilee, the crucified one has many friends, very many.

Names for your list, Tribune - merchant, I mean.

And coins for me too, no? A coin for every name.

The Greek. What about the Greek? He has been here.

He is somewhere in Galilee now, with one they call the big fisherman.

Fisherman? That's all I know. You'll find out the rest.

The emperor's spy is cleverer than a poor Syrian guide.

I'll prepare the way for you. A Roman merchant comes to trade for their homespun.

Your gold will buy their answers.

And their lives.

Got any woollens? He'll buy them.

He wants all the homespun in Galilee.

Who is he? The Roman merchant.

He's paying well over market prices.

Says homespun is coming into style in Rome. The fine ladies dye it fancy colours.

Maybe he'll buy this.

Look what he paid me, and there was a moth hole in it.

I wouldn't have used that rag of mine for a donkey blanket.



You've paid more than you should have.

Is this how we were taught?

Do we pray to be washed of the sin of greed only to close the book, and cheat the stranger in our midst?

Well, I'm not ashamed, Justus. This money comes from the taxes that grind us down.

Does one crime erase another?

Friends, shall we turn dishonest because life is hard?

I think you gave me too much.

Thank you, friend.

I hope you'll forgive my neighbours.

I wasn't angry. A man is not cheated when he's satisfied with the price.

But you weren't the real loser. They were only cheating themselves.

Good day.


I'd like to camp overnight here. Can you suggest a place?

I'd be glad to.

You seem to have great influence here.

Well, when age speaks, youth listens, sometimes.

That's not what I mean.

Are you their leader? I'm only a weaver.

Few travellers come to Cana. What's the news from the great world?

The world's the same. But I've heard that some new ideas have sprung up.

Ideas are...

Ideas are important. They grow like children.

Have you any children? Several. And a grandchild.

We call him Jonathan, because he was born with a crooked foot, like Jonathan of old.

Jonathan of old?

I don't suppose they teach our history in Roman schools.

Jonathan. Yes?

Wait for me.

Didn't you tell me he was crippled? He's well now.

Jonathan, this is...

Caius Marcellus. How are you, Jonathan?

I'm fine, thank you. Are these your donkeys? Yes.

Behind this house there's a good place to camp, and a well.

Jonathan, come along. It's time for you to eat.

Already? It's early. Perhaps he would like a ride on a donkey.

May I? Of course.

What's more, you can keep him. From now on he's Jonathan's donkey.

Mine? You are very generous, sir.

No. I'm still in your debt.

Is he one of us, Grandfather?

You are, or you wouldn't be giving things away. Did Jesus tell you to do that?

You must have known him. He straightened my foot.

There you are. Go. Go.

Fast, go. Grandfather, look, I'm riding.

I'm riding my own donkey. Look, everybody. He's mine.

David, look. He's my donkey. Mine.

Look, everybody. The man down there gave him to me.

Jesus used to live near here, you know. In Nazareth.

Almost everyone in Cana knew him.

Now upon the first day of the week Very early in the morning We came unto the sepulchre And found the stone rolled away, rolled away The great stone Was rolled away And we entered into the sepulchre And found not the body of Jesus

And lo, a voice spake to us, saying:

"Why seek ye the living among the dead, among the dead?"

"O seek not the living among the dead. "

"For he said unto you in Galilee The Son of Man must be delivered Into the hands of sinful men And be crucified and rise again, rise again. "

"The Son of Man must rise again. "

And lo, Jesus appeared to us And showed us his wounds And he said unto us there:

"Go ye therefore, the blessed And teach all the nations. "

"And I am with you always. "

"I am with you. "

"I am with you Even to the end of the world. "

Who is she? Her name is Miriam.

You've seen my grandson. Miriam is another on whom Jesus looked.

Another miracle?

If you want to use the word.

When she was 15, she was struck down by paralysis.

It left her hopelessly crippled, and hopelessly bitter about life.

She ate herself away with hate and consumed everyone with her envy and malice.

But she's still a cripple. She can't walk. No, she can't.

If he was such a magician, why didn't he cure her?

He did.

I don't understand.

Have you had supper? No.

Perhaps you will honour my poor house.

Thank you.

Then one day there was a wedding here in Cana.

The whole village took part in it, all but Miriam.

She stayed home and wept.

A wedding, you see, when no man would look at her and her twisted body.

But when her parents returned to the house, they found her, as she is now, as you saw her, smiling and singing.

Was Jesus at the wedding?

Yes. But he came late.

So now she spends her time singing fables about the man.

But they're not fables.

Surely you don't believe that he rose from the dead?

He lives more surely than we do.

He's dead. And no moonstruck girl can sing him back to life again.

How do you know that he's dead?

A soldier told me.

A soldier who saw the lance thrust into his side.

A soldier who was... who was out there!

What's wrong?

Were you out there?

You're ill. Let me help you.

No. Let me alone.

Since the voyage, I've been indisposed.

Forgive me.

My master. These Romans drink like pigs, but they pay well.

What do you want? I have news.

This pedlar outside is fresh from Jerusalem.

He says the governor has ordered the arrest of all these fanatics called Christians.

And for the leaders they pay in gold, generously.

Justus is a leader, no?

I act under an imperial commission, and I report to Tiberius, not to Pilate.

Fine. You are a rich tribune.

But what harm is it if I get a few extra coins out of this?

Justus on the cross is worth a year of good wine to me.

Get back to Damascus, Abidor. But...

Leave now. Tonight.

You won't get rid of me so easily, worthy merchant.

These Galileans are poor, but they might pay well to know who you are.

And you are the man who crucified him. You are his murderer, they are saying.

Stop! You are hurting me!

Let's go. Come on.

Kick him. Kick him.

Kick him harder. Let's go. I'm kicking.

Go on, kick him. He'll go.

Kick him, that's it. He'll go. Kick him.

Good morning, sir. Good morning.

Kick him. Jonathan, isn't it?

Yes. Letting your friend have a ride?

No, I gave him the donkey. You gave him the donkey?

Did your grandfather tell you to do that? No, sir. I did it myself.

Why are you so angry?

Good morning. Good morning.

I didn't mean to eavesdrop.

I sit here so that I can watch people pass.

Well, wouldn't you be angry? I gave him the donkey for himself.

Then it doesn't matter what he does with it.

I suppose not.

Is it that you resent what our master taught us?

Why should I resent it? He means nothing to me.

Then why do you consider him your enemy?

You see, we know why you're here, Marcellus.

It's simple, really. No merchant, even a stupid one, would have paid those prices.

And the look of you, those shoulders.

We guessed at once what you were.

Sit down, please, here in the shade. The sun's hot.

Why must you do this, Marcellus? Is it for Rome?


And for myself, to save my reason.

Justus said you were ill.

There's one who can help. No.

He was crucified. That was the end of him. That was the beginning.

He's with his Father, but he left his word with us and taught us how to use it.

Don't confess to sorcery. You'll make things worse.

He was no sorcerer, Marcellus. He cast no spells.

He only asked two things of us: "Love God", he said, "and love ye one another. "

And he meant not only the Jews, but Romans and Greeks, slaves and soldiers, the strong and the weak, everyone.

He asked us to build our lives on this love, this charity.

To build a new world. Worlds are built on force, not charity.

Power is all that counts.

Perhaps we have something better than power. We have hope.

That you of all people should say that.

What do you mean, Marcellus?

You say he could work miracles, but he left you as he found you.

I used to wonder at that myself, until faith taught me the answer.

He could have healed my body, and it would have been natural for me to laugh and sing.

And then I came to understand that he had done something even better for me.

He'd chosen me for his work.

He'd left me as I am so that all others like me might know that misfortune needn't deprive them of happiness within his kingdom.

It's beyond reason that anybody should think as you do.

If you had only known him, looked into his eyes, heard him speak...

I did. I don't understand.

Please. It's enough.

You're in no danger from me.

I'm leaving. Now.

We hoped you'd stay. Do you want to die?

Of course not. Then let me go.

No one's holding you, Marcellus.

But a man came here this morning I wanted you to meet, the big fisherman.

Fisherman? Simon the Galilean.

The one Jesus called Peter.

Did he come alone?

No, he has a companion, a Greek.

Where are they?

At Shalum's inn. It's not far from here.


I don't know what's in your heart. I've tried to tell you what's in mine.

But it's clear that you're troubled, and I wish I could help you.

Every man must find his own way, but sometimes it's a comfort to know that others, too, have felt confused and lost.

Don't lose heart, Marcellus.

The way is never easy, but it's a path good men must take.

I hope you'll find yours.

The Greek, Demetrius. Where is he?

Up the stairs. The first door you see.

Stand up in the presence of your master.

That robe. Where is it?

The robe?

Here. Keep away.

Sir, you look ill.

There. Burn it.

Why? It cast a spell on me.

It couldn't. I order you to burn it. Now.

Why are you afraid of it? I'm not. It brings me close to the one who wore it.

I've ordered you to burn it.

That you will have to do yourself.

I'll have you whipped and sold as a galley slave.

I'll teach you who's master here.

I know who my master is.

You're afraid, but you don't really know the reason why.

You think it's his robe that made you ill.

But it's your own conscience, your own decent shame.

Even when you crucified him you felt it.

The spell isn't in here, it's in your heart and your mind.

Face it, Marcellus. Don't be afraid of him.

He'd understand you.

He had compassion for all men.


It was for your sake that he died.

For the sake of all of us.

No. No. No.

I am not afraid.

I'm not afraid.

Until now, you only remembered what you did to a man.

The wrong, and your shame.

But now you remember the man.

Come, let me present you.

Marcellus Gallio, tribune of Rome.

Peter, fisherman of Galilee.

A humble subject of the empire is honoured, Tribune.

I think the honour is mine, sir.

Everybody, move closer.

Sit down, children. Closer, everybody.

Sit down. I want to talk to you.

Neighbours and friends, many of us were privileged to know our master.

But none was as close to him as our friend Simon of Galilee, whom he loved as his own brother, and whom he called Peter.

On that terrible night when he was betrayed, when some doubted and all fled his side, only Peter remained steadfast, loyal to the end.

You may speak in a moment, Peter. Now it's my turn.

And so, my neighbours, on this happy day, I welcome you here to honour...

Stop it. Stop it!

Stop it. Stay where you are.

Advance. Advance.


Well, Tribune. Your new command?

Centurion, by what authority do you attack these people?

I need no authority to clean out a nest of traitors.

Withdraw your men. And your authority, Tribune?

An imperial commission. I know you have it.

But it's no longer in effect. Tiberius is dead.

Caligula is emperor. Hits you hard, doesn't it?

Men. Wait.

An imperial commission is good until it is revoked by the emperor, whoever he may be.

Have you new orders from Caligula? No, but...

Then obey mine.

Make me obey, Tribune.

No. You won't try, will you?

Brave enough with a dice, or a cup of wine.

A tribune because you bear an important name, because you have friends at court.

Well, you outrank me, but I earned my rank, every step of it, in Gaul and Iberia and Africa, against the enemies of Rome.

With this.

Make me obey you, Tribune, if you're fool enough to try.

You are a fool.

I've split more men from head to foot than you see in this square.

If I win, you'll keep your word? You'll withdraw your men?

If you win, they'll be yours to command.

I'll be dead.

Well? What are you waiting for?

Finish it.

You may give that order now, Centurion.

Column! Form square!

Prepare to march.

Formation, turn.

Column forward.


Demetrius and I will leave in the morning.

We go to Syria, Lebanon, then Greece, Sicily, and finally Rome itself.

Everywhere we'll find friends.

Everywhere our movement grows.

And you, Marcellus?

I suppose I'll go back to Rome.

Demetrius and I wondered if you'd come with us.

You want me? We can always use courage and devotion.

No. No.

It's impossible. I can never be one of you. Why not?

Marcellus, is there something you want to tell me?



I'll try. If it will make it easier, let me tell you about the burden I carry.

You heard Justus say I was steadfast and loyal.

He didn't know.

The night Jesus needed me most, I denied him.

Not once, but three times. I swore I never knew him.


I crucified him.

I know. Demetrius told me.

And you can forgive me?

He forgave you from the cross.

Can I do less?

Now, does anything stand in your way?

Can you be one of us?

From this day on, I'm enlisted in his service.

I offer him my sword, my fortune and my life.

And this I pledge you on my honour as a Roman.

Will you wait for me here, please? Yes, my lady.

The emperor will see you now.

The lady Diana, as beautiful as ever.

And as cold. You commanded my presence here, sire.

Only because my invitations were ignored. I sent word that I was ill.

And you have chosen to be a guest of Senator Gallio, who bears me no great love.

Shouldn't I consider such behaviour an affront?

You are the emperor, sire.

It is not in my power to affront you.

Good. Good.

Tell me, what news have the Gallios had of their precious son Marcellus?

None, sire. And you.

He must have written to you.

Not for almost a year.

His last letter was from a village in Palestine called Cana.

And nothing since then?

Nothing from Antioch, or Ephesus, or Corinth?

You are telling the truth, aren't you?

Poor Diana. He's played you false, like the rest of us.

What do you mean? I mean he's here in Rome, and has been for some time.

That's impossible. He fooled me, too.

I thought he was only a wastrel and a clown.

He's become one of the most dangerous men in the empire, a traitor and a conspirator against the state.

No. Not Marcellus. That's why he hasn't come to you, or his family, or his friends.

You've heard of this new sect, these fanatics who call themselves Christians?

He's one of them, one of the ringleaders. It can't be true.

No? Then come. I'll show you.

You'll learn for yourself what kind of man it is you preferred to your emperor.

Where is he?

Marcellus's personal slave, remember?

The day he dared to bid against me.

But now no longer a slave.

His partner in treason.

Has he talked? No, sire.

Ask him again. Where is Tribune Gallio?

Where's he hiding?

Give him the wheel.

Three of them came here from Corinth.

The Greek slave, a Jewish fisherman, our loyal tribune.

We've caught one. Soon we'll have the others.

Where is he?

Give it to him.

Enough for now. He's no good to us dead.

Let him think about it for a while.

My lady. What's wrong?

It's Marcellus.

They say he's alive.

He's here in Rome.

Who told you that? The emperor.

They have his slave in there. They're torturing him.

Demetrius is here in the palace? I saw him.

You're sure?

What is it, Marcipor?

What do you know about it?

You've seen Marcellus.

You're one of them. A Christian.

Yes, my lady.

Take me to him.

I can't. Do you think I'd betray him?

Take me to him.


Wait here.

Where have they got Demetrius? In the armoury, below the guardroom.

I know the place.

Where's Peter? At the meeting in Bovillae.

He won't be back until midnight. Right. We can't wait for him.

Get me ten volunteers to come with me as soon as it's dark.

I'll go, Marcipor.

Why didn't you come? Why have you kept away from me?

I would have come, soon.

But Caligula's decreed against us.

He said... I can imagine what he said.

Whatever you are, you're not a traitor.

If you're still ill... No.

I'm well. Really well, for the first time in my life.

You found the robe?


Here it is.


Why, it's just ordinary homespun.

Was it really bewitched? In a way.

It changed my life. In time, it will change the world.

I don't understand.

It's a long story. And a strange one.

About the robe? Yes.

About the robe, and the one who wore it.

It's nearly dark. Good.

Send Marcipor to me when he comes back.

Why are you dressed like that?

No, Marcellus. They'll kill you.

You must have faith. Faith in what? This new god of yours?

He couldn't save his own Son. They crucified him and they'll kill you, too.

I can't leave Demetrius to be tortured. But you'll leave me.

I love you. Does this dream of yours mean more to you than our love?

Marcellus, what you've told me is a beautiful story, but it isn't true.

Justice and charity. Men will never accept such a philosophy.

The world isn't like that. It never has been, and it never will be.

Why must you throw your life away for a slave?

I owe him a great deal more than my life.

If your god means that much to you, I won't stand in your way.

I want to be your wife whatever you believe.

I'd marry you if I had to share you with a thousand gods.


Oh, my love.

Take her home.

Diana, I'll come to you as soon as I can.

Keep the robe for me.

Sentry, come with me. What's the watchword, Tribune?

Hurry, you fool. Guard!

Who's there?

Stop. You. Stop.

Get the boy up.

On the emperor's business. Open up.

What business, Tribune?

If you're in command, my message is for you.

You're not one of the Praetorian tribunes. I know them all.


The keys. The keys, quick.

Quickly now.

I can't believe you let them take an imperial prisoner from the palace itself.

Tribune Quintus, where were you when this happened?

I could send you to the galleys. The Greek was nearly dead.

By now he's a corpse. The Greek? Who cares about the Greek?

Or the Jew fisherman or any of the rest of them?

I want the Roman traitor who's responsible, who made fools of the Praetorian Guard.

I want Tribune Gallio. I want him in my hands before sunrise.

I want him alive. I want him to stand before me alive.

Do you hear me? Find him or you'll all go to the galleys.

Tear the city apart if you have to. But find him!

Now, get out, all of you.


Anything? No, sir.

And you? No, sir.

Upstairs? No, sir.

Detail, form.


Detail, march.

I can barely feel the heartbeat. He can't die.

Is he such a valuable slave? He's one of the most valuable men alive.

Well, he won't be alive for long. You're a physician.

There are limits to what science can achieve.

I can't put shattered flesh together again, nor restore the blood he's lost.

Father in heaven, he was the bravest and best of thy servants.

Why hast thou abandoned him?

Let me be alone with him.

You stay, Marcellus. And you, Diana.

Who is this man? Is he a physician?

No. Please go.

For my sake, sir. Please.



What's he doing in there? Who is he? I've never seen him before.

Senator Gallio should inform himself about what goes on in his own household, with his own son.

This is my house, sir. You were called here as a physician, not to question my family's behaviour. I'm a physician, but first of all a Roman.

And I must tell you bluntly that...

He's gone? We didn't even thank him.

What did he do?

You were here. You saw it.

Yes, he... Can't you speak?

Are you bewitched?

So that's it. Sorcery.

Doesn't your friend know the penalty for pretending to heal by such methods?


Marius, you did everything in your power, and we're grateful.

Come, stay and eat with us. No, thank you.

There are mysteries to life and death, yes.

Patients have made astonishing recoveries.

But I have never ascribed them to the magic of a sorcerer. Good night to you, Senator.


Do you think he'll go to Caligula?

I think he's a proud man and his pride's been hurt.

Well, if your slave's fit to be moved, you'd better take him back to the catacombs.

Marcipor? Order a carriage and two men to help me with Demetrius.


I'd like to see you again, to tell you more about our...

We are seeing each other for the last time.

You have chosen to make yourself an enemy of Rome.

From this night on, I have no son.

I've brought something for you.

Tomorrow I'll send for you.

All ready, sir. Yes.


We're being followed.

Faster. Faster.

Stop at the bridge. Yes, sir.

No, don't. For all you've been to me, thanks.

Into the carriage.

Get him to Peter.

Goodbye, friend.

Goodbye, friend.

I can only give you a few moments.


I prayed that I'd see you again.

We haven't much time, Marcellus, so listen.

Tomorrow you're to be put on trial before the entire court.

I never thought I'd get a trial. Your father's powerful.

Caligula can't just kill you. He's forced to prove that you're guilty.

He'll have no trouble proving it.

It's up to you, Marcellus.

What do you want me to do?

Don't defy Caligula.

Your god doesn't want you to die. He can't.

Otherwise he wouldn't have sent Peter to save Demetrius.

I'm afraid, Diana.

In Cana I lived with people who were not afraid.

People who'd met Jesus face to face, who'd spoken with him, eaten and laughed with him.

A crippled girl who thought herself fortunate to be lame.

A weaver whose words were like his work: simple, and lasting, and strong.

A little boy who gave his donkey to a friend.

Never again in his life would he own anything as fine as that donkey, and yet he gave it happily, without a second thought.

If these people had denied him one after the other, to save their skins,

would he have any followers left?

I want to think as you do.

I want to be like those people, but I can't do it alone.

I can't do it without you.

My faith in what you told me isn't strong enough.

If you die, I'll believe that you died for nothing.

My lady, you'll have to go now.

Please, Marcellus.

I need you.

Senator, the emperor wishes to speak to you and the lady Diana.

Greetings to our loyal senator.

The proceedings here today will interest you.

Sire, I am not in the mood for... Patience.

If my son is to be put on trial... Patience!

You will sit by me.

Thank you, sire, but my place is with the senator.

Your place is where your emperor decides.

Isn't that so, Senator?

You don't look very happy. Have I reason to be?

There isn't a woman in Rome who wouldn't pray for this honour.

There's only one man at whose side I pray to sit.

Before this day is out, you will be praying on your knees to me.

For his life.

Senators, Romans...

As you know, there exists today in our empire, and even in Rome itself, a secret party of seditionists who call themselves Christians.

They have enlisted in their ranks the riffraff of the plebeian class, as well as slaves.

We have known slave uprisings in the past.

We remember Spartacus.

But now it grieves us to inform you that one of our own tribunes has betrayed his trust and joined this party of conspirators.

You, not we, shall be the judges of his treason.

Bring in Tribune Marcellus Gallio.

Tribune Gallio, you have been informed of the charges against you?

I have, sire.

You stand before the senators and nobles of Rome.

They wait to hear your defence.

It is true that I am a Christian.

It is not true that those of us who follow the teachings of Jesus are engaged in any plot against the state.

But isn't it a fact that you call this Jesus a king?

Yes, sire.

But his kingdom is not of this world.

He seeks no earthly throne.

He reigns over the hearts and minds of men in the name ofjustice and charity.

And are these virtues not to be found in our empire?

Was it justice, or was it charity that gave me my orders when I put him to death on the cross?

You put him to death?

Then why are you risking your life for him?

I owe him more than my life.

He forgave me my crime against him. Crime?

Do you maintain that it's a crime for a Roman soldier to obey his orders?

The empire is governed by men.

Men sometimes make mistakes. And this was the greatest mistake ever made by Rome.

So, the empire makes mistakes.

And perhaps the emperor himself makes mistakes?

Sire, it is I who am on trial here, not you.

What's that thing you're holding?

His robe. He wore it to the cross.

Let me see it.

No. I remember. It's bewitched.

No, sire. You. Take it.

Destroy it. Sire, may I keep it?

Sorcery too.

Did you think it would protect you here?

No, sire. Tell me, Tribune.

Do you expect us to believe stories that Jesus could heal by the touch of his hand, make the crippled walk and the blind see again?

It makes no difference whether you believe them or not, sire.

All that matters is that there's no story that he ever made anyone blind, no story that he made anyone a cripple, or ever raised his hand except to heal.

Sire, if you'd had the chance I had, to talk with those who knew him, to learn what was in his heart...

Stop. Are you trying to convert me to your treason?

I only want to show you your opportunity, sire.

If the empire desires peace and brotherhood among all men, then my king will be on the side of Rome and her emperor.

But if the empire and the emperor pursue the course of aggression and slavery that have brought agony and despair to the world, if there's nothing left but chains and hunger, then my king will march to right those wrongs.

Not tomorrow, sire. Your Majesty may not witness the establishment of his kingdom.

But it will come.

You have heard him. He stands convicted out of his own mouth.

What is your pleasure?



You see? It is the will of the people.

The will of your slaves and parasites. How dare you speak ofjustice?

He's not a traitor. You haven't proved that and you never will.

Then listen. You will see that I am just.

Listen. Tribune Gallio, you stand condemned to death.

But it is our desire to be merciful.

We give you a chance to recant your treason and go free.

Kneel to us and renew your oath of loyalty to your emperor.

Renounce your allegiance to this dead Jew who dared to call himself a king.


With all my heart I renew my pledge of loyalty to my emperor and to Rome, a pledge which I have never broken.

And the other? Jesus?

Renounce him, so all can hear.

I cannot renounce him, sire. Nor can you.

He is my king and yours as well.

He is the Son of God.

And that is your answer? Yes, sire.

Tribune Gallio, we decree that you be taken immediately to the palace archery field and put to death for high treason.

No, Diana. There's no reason for it.

Sire, Marcellus is my chosen husband.

I ask to go with him. Stand back.

You're not on trial. There's no evidence against you.

Then if it please you, sire, I'll provide evidence.

I have no wish to live another hour in an empire ruled by you.

You dare to call yourself a Caesar.

Once the Caesars of Rome were noble, but in you noble blood has turned to poison.

You corrupt Rome with spite and malice.

Stop. Stop it! That you should be Caesar!

Vicious, treacherous, drunk with power.

An evil, insane monster posing as emperor.

Stop it!

As for me, I have found another king.

I want to go with my husband into his kingdom.

Then by the gods you shall.

Go. Both of you. Into your kingdom!

They're going into a better kingdom.

They're going into a better kingdom.

They're going to meet their king.

They're going to meet their king.

For the big fisherman.

Visiontext Subtitles: Paul Murray