David and Goliath (1960)



Director:     Richard Pottier

Starring:     Orson Welles (King Saul), Eleonora Rossi Drago (Merab), Ivica Pajer (David), Giulia Rubini (Michael), Pierre Cressoy (Jonathan), Hilton Edwards (Prophet Samuel), Massimo Serato (Abner), Kronos (Goliath), Furio Meniconi (King Asrod), Luigi Tosi (Benjamin Di Gaba).

Country: Italian film


Just an o.k. movie based on the Biblical tales of David and Goliath.  


Spoiler Warning:  the below tells the whole story (although many of you know the story already).

King Saul of Israel appears to be somewhat afraid of the Prophet Samuel.  Samuel visits Saul and tells him that a man out of the land of Benjamin will become the next king of Israel for Saul has done evil with his sacrifices.  An evil spirit has made its home in Saul. This is bad news for the king's main adviser Abner who plots with Saul's daughter Merab to make himself the next king.

The big enemy of Israel is Philistia.  King Asrod had earlier won a quick victory over Israel and had taken the ark of the covenant.  He plans a new attack on Israel and this time he aims to make himself king of that nation.  He sends for a new human weapon, the giant Goliath who lives in a cave.  With the promise of gold and beautiful women, Goliath reports to the king. 

David of Bethlehem is a shepherd tending his flock.  He is very fond of Egla (spelling?), but she is killed by a lightning bolt.  Samuel visits the house of Jesse and says that David has been called to serve for David will be the next king of Israel.  With three nights and days of travel David arrives in Jerusalem.  There he is shocked by the abuses and the vice and corruption he sees in the society.  He says "Saul, thou art to blame for it."  Saul learns of David and has him brought to the palace.  Abner is extremely hostile to David, but Saul takes him in anyway.  David plays his harp to soothe Saul's troubled mind.  Another person who likes David is Princess Michael.  And David comes to love her.

News arrives that the Philistines are gathering for war.  David rides to the border area.  He learns from the refugees that the Philistines are destroying everything in their path.  It's war!

David rides out to talk with King Asrod of the Philistines.  The King challenges David to meet the giant Goliath in man to man combat.  David accepts and with his sling he is able to kill the giant.  The Philistine cavalry meet the Israelis in battle and the Israelite Jonathan kills King Asrod, which makes the Philistines call off the battle and return to Philistia. 

David is received in Jerusalem as a hero.  Abner tries to assassinate David, but Saul kills Abner with his bow and arrow.  And then Saul gives Princess Michael to David.

The film is o.k.  Orson Wells (playing King Saul) is huge physically.  I did not recognize him at first, but then there was that voice that revealed his true identity.  The film quality is not that great.  But this is a B movie, so what can one expect. 


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Ethno-Geography at Time of King Saul:



                    Israel                  Ammon

Philistia                Dead Sea

                              Dead Sea     Moab




Egypt        Edom

Historical Background:


Saul becomes first king of Israel (-1002 to -1000) and is defeated by the Philistines.

At age 17, David, son of Jesse, is summoned by King Saul to the battlefield to play music for him. The giant Philistine Goliath curses the God of Israel and dares the Israelites to send out their strongest soldier to one-on-one combat.  

David is offended by the curses and taunts of Goliath and the lack of a volunteer to meet the challenge that he shouts: "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"  (Beautiful language; like Shakespeare, isn't it?)

David tells Saul that he had killed a lion and a bear when he was the family's shepherd and declares that he, with God's help, will handle Goliath too.  Saul agrees and with his sling, some pebbles and his staff, David approaches Goliath.  Upon seeing David, Goliath shouts: "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks? ...Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" (1 Samuel 17:43-44).  David responds: "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (verses 45-46).

David rushes forward, puts a stone in his sling and tosses it at Goliath, striking the giant's forehead.  Goliath falls and David take the fallen's own sword and cuts off his head. The Philistines then flee as the Israelites rout them from the battlefield.

-1000 to -901

Accession of David as king of united kingdom of Judah and Israel (-1000 to -960), with Jerusalem as capital; returns ark of Covenant and Decalogue to city.


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