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Masada

MasadaSet in 70 AD at the time of the fall of
  Jerusalem along with the second
  temple, the explosive historical drama
  Masada chronicles the rebellion of
  Jewish Zealots against Roman rule.
  It features an all-star cast of great acting
  talent — including Peter O
Toole,
  Anthony Quayle, Peter Strauss, David
  Warner and Dennis Quilley...


HAVING OVERTHROWN JERUSALEM, the Romans are unaware that they are now faced with fighting a group of Jewish Zealots lead by Eleazar ben Yair (Peter Strauss: The Jericho Mile) who have taken refuge with their families in the seemingly-impregnable Masada (the Hebrew word for Fortress).

The occupation of Palestine is not without its difficulties for the Roman Tenth Legion under their commander, Cornelius Flavius Silva (Peter O'Toole: Lawrence Of Arabia). The Roman soldiers have spent many long and tiring years of service away from home with little or no news of their families and have begun to feel resentful and are desperate to get back to Rome.

Convinced that the Jews are now under control, Rome calls Silva back. But when Eleazar ben Yair begins to lead raids from the safety of Masada, Silva is sent again to Judea, having secured the services of veteran siege commander Rubius Gallus (Anthony Quayle). Silva is also warned that two of his officers are spies for the political enemy of Emperor Vespasian (Timothy West).

While Silva is in Rome, the two traitors are plotting to take away Jewish land to give to Roman soldiers — and they will kill anyone who gets in their way. As they sack one of the villages, the beautiful Egyptian-born Sheva (Barbara Carrera) gives herself to Head Tribune Merovius (Anthony Valentine) to save herself — but does she have higher goals in sight?

Silva arranges a meeting with Eleazar ben Yair to try to reach a compromise and restore peace, but he initially betrays the Jew and imprisons him. Eleazar gives him the advice: "You want to know how to destroy the Jews; leave them in peace, they will be at each other's throats soon enough. As long as we have an enemy, we are brothers."

It is now up to Silva to restore some semblance of peace and quash those who conspire against him and his loyalties. Made in 1981, the six-part television mini-series attracted huge critical acclaim, winning two Emmys and three Golden Globe nominations. Masada is an epic sword-and-sandal drama with lavish battle scenes and stunning locations. There is a typically Eighties feel but, even by today's standards, Masada is impressive — a period drama of epic proportions that reflects a moment in history when a small number of Jewish Zealots held out against the might of Rome.

Masada also features Giulia Pagano as Miriam; David Warner as Senator Pomponius Falco; Jack Watson as Decurion; Christopher Biggins as Claudius Albinus; Warren Clarke as Plinius; Michael Elphick as Verrius; Ken Hutchison as Fronto; Kevin McNally as Norbanus; and Joey Sagal as Seth.

Masada is based on the novel The Antagonists by Ernest K Gann and was written for television by Joel Oliansky. Produced by George Eckstein, the series' Director of Photography is Paul Lohmann with music by Jerry Goldsmith. Masada is Directed by Boris Sagal.

Universal Playback is delighted to announce the release of the multi-award winning, epic TV mini-series drama Masada, presented as a fantastic two-disc set that features more than six hours of action. Masada will be released on 7 July (2008) and the DVD will be available exclusively from HMV until January 2009. RRP: 19.99 | Certificate: 12.

"Even by today's standards, Masada is impressive — a period drama of epic proportions that reflects a moment in history when a small number of Jewish Zealots held out against the might of Rome" — MotorBar

Today, visitors marvel at the brilliant engineering skills and immense labours that went into the formidable mountain-top fortification of Masada. It was an impregnable citadel and, with unlimited provisions and water, an army could survive up there for years; a handful of people could hold off the approach of thousands.

Historic Note — It took four years, the full might of Rome and 600,000 Jewish dead before Jerusalem fell and the Romans could claim the rebellion was at an end. Masada still echoes with the moment in history when 960 Hebrew men, women and children stood against the 5,000 men of the Roman Tenth Legion. And Israeli soldiers still take an oath: Masada shall not fall again.