David and Bathsheba (film)

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David and Bathsheba
David Bathsheba.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Henry King
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Philip Dunne
Starring Gregory Peck
Susan Hayward
Raymond Massey
Kieron Moore
James Robertson Justice
Music by Alfred Newman
Edward Powell
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Edited by Barbara McLean
Distributed by 20th Century-Fox
Release dates
  • August 10, 1951 (1951-08-10)
Running time
123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.17 million[1]
Box office $7.1 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[2]

David and Bathsheba is a 1951 historical Technicolor epic film about King David made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Henry King, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, from a screenplay by Philip Dunne. The music score was by Alfred Newman and the cinematography by Leon Shamroy. King David was the second king of Israel and this film is based on the second Old Testament book of Samuel from the Bible. Gregory Peck stars as King David and the film follows King David's life as he adjusts to ruling as a King, and about his relationship with Uriah's wife Bathsheba (Susan Hayward). It was shot entirely in Nogales, Arizona. Goliath of Gath was portrayed by a Lithuanian wrestler named Walter Talun.



While Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. owned the rights to the 1943 book David written by Duff Cooper, the film is not based on that book. It was, though, the inspiration that led the studio to this film project. The production of the film started on November 24, 1950 and was completed in January 1951 (with some additional material shot in February 1951). The film premiered first in New York City August 14, and later in Los Angeles August 30, before opening wide in September 1951.[3]


The film earned an estimated $7 million at the US box office in 1951, making it the most popular movie of the year.[4]

David and Diana Garland argue that, "Taking remarkable license with the story, the screen writers changed Bathsheba from the one who is ogled by David into David's stalker." They go on to suggest that "the movie David and Bathsheba, written, directed and produced by males, makes the cinematic Bathsheba conform to male fantasies about women."[5]


The film was nominated for five Academy Awards:[6]


  1. ^ Sheldon Hall, Epics, Spectacles, and Blockbusters: A Hollywood History Wayne State University Press, 2010 p 137
  2. ^ "All Time Domestic Champs", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  3. ^ "David and Bathsheba". Retrieved 2006-04-27. 
  4. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  5. ^ Garland, David E.; Garland, Diana R. "Bathsheba’s Story: Surviving Abuse and Loss" (PDF). Baylor University. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "NY Times: David and Bathsheba". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 

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