King David (film)

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King David
King david.jpeg
Original film poster
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Produced by Martin Elfand
Written by Andrew Birkin
James Costigan
Music by Carl Davis
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by William M. Anderson
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
March 29, 1985 (1985-03-29)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $21 million
Box office $5,111,099

King David is an 1985 American epic historical drama film about the life of the second king of the Land of Israel, David. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford, produced by Martin Elfand and written by Andrew Birkin. The film stars Richard Gere in the title role, alongside ensemble cast such as; Edward Woodward, Alice Krige, Denis Quilley, Cherie Lunghi, Hurd Hatfield, Jack Klaff, John Castle, Tim Woodward, George Eastman, Christopher Malcolm, Gina Bellman and James Coombes in supporting roles.

King David was released by Paramount Pictures which was also the production company, on March 29, 1985, while in other countries it was released in 1986 and 1987. Upon release, the film received mostly negative reviews aimed for its screenplay writing, pace, some of the acting and the action sequences. However, Gere's performance and the cinematography were praised. In addition to being a critical failure, the film was also a box office failure with grossing $5.9 million worldwide against its $21 million production budget.


The film follows the life of David, drawing mainly from biblical accounts, especially I and II Samuel, I Chronicles, and the Psalms of David.[1]



It was filmed in 1984 in Matera and Craco both in Basilicata, and Campo Imperatore in Abruzzo, the Lanaitto valley (Oliena) in Sardinia, Italy, and at Pinewood Studios in England.[2]


The film was not well received by the critics, with The New York Times calling it "not a good film".[3] Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 'rotten' 14% rating.[4] Richard Gere's performance in the film earned him a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor, which he lost to Sylvester Stallone for Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV.


Years later, Bruce Beresford said of the film:

I think there are a few things in it that are interesting. But, I think there are so many things that are wrong. We never liked the script... we never really caught the friendship between David and Jonathan. There weren't enough scenes between them. And David, himself – I think Richard Gere was miscast. He is a wonderful actor but he is much better in contemporary pieces.[5]

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