When this film was released in 1985, the critics were not kind, but I love this film, and think it's a good telling of the story of David, based on I and II Samuel, I Chronicles, and the Psalms. Though much of it has been compressed (David's relationship with Bathsheba is limited mostly to the consequences of it for instance) and some creative license used for plot continuity, it has a tremendous amount of Biblical accuracy.
Taking place from 1000 to 961 B.C., the costuming, sets, and artifacts are fabulous; filmed in Pinewood Studios, U.K., and on location in Italy, the cinematography by Donald McAlpine is wonderful. The score is also lovely, by Carl Davis.
The brief nudity in the wedding chamber sequence has in my tape, been darkened so as to be imperceptible; either this is a flaw in the tape, or an effort not to offend and capture a wider audience, which would be silly, as this is a very mature drama. It contains much brutal violence making it unsuitable for children, and the confrontation with Goliath for example (which is exceptionally well done), is one of four beheadings.
Richard Gere is a marvelous David, and stands up well against an excellent international cast. He was thirty-five when this was filmed, and is about as handsome as a human has a right to be. The actor who shines above all though is Edward Woodward as Saul. He is riveting, and it's a brilliant character study of courage mixed with jealousy, revenge, and madness.
This is far from being a "Big Bible Epic" with lots of well known stars, instead it's serious and beautifully acted, and perhaps arrived on the scene at the wrong time, that it was so unappreciated two decades ago. Total running time is 114 minutes.
"It is through the heart, the heart alone, that God speaks to man".