Remembering Hollywood's Best Movie

by asefati

No I am not talking about the Matrix, Star Wars, Godfather, or Scarface.

I am talking about a movie much more superior both in terms of content and in terms of arts of cinema. Yes I am talking about The Message. The story of Islam. That is the best movie Hollywood ever made. Staring with Anthony Quinn, may he rest in peace.

Yes the movie is controversial. I have heard the director of that movie was warned not to make any more religious movies or else he would not be funded any more. And Anthony Quinn himself was not offer any major movies after that for a while. But the movie is simply simple and beautiful. And for the most part it shows a good part of Islam and its early history.

Anyway watching the movie in English is different than watching it in Farsi. Specially if you watch it after IRI era, they have modified it a bit so it can fit according to their side of Islam.

So I was drawn to watch it again, and on YouTube having the power of fast forwarding past the scenes you don't like (in my case the wars), I really enjoyed

I just though I share. Please respect others and keep comments clean and mature


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movie tried to show why Moslems had to go to war

by asefati on

I underestand when watching other biblican movies there is more spritualty than message but the movie attempted to show why Moslems were dragged into wars.


The bottom point is that Islam has always tried to be more than a religion. It has been a way of life for many so it would make sense that would allow wars for self defense.


Darius Kadivar

A Good Movie but with an Ambiguous Message

by Darius Kadivar on

I actually enjoyed Mustafa Akkad's film on the origine and birth of Islam. I have it in my DVD collection. Akkad was probably one of the most gifted Arab directors who perfectly understood and practised the craft of filmmaking both as a spectacle and as a way of educating the masses on history through the medium of film. I think he could well be described as the Cecile B. deMille of Arabian Cinema along with Egyptian Youssef Chahine who directed Destiny which earned him the Palme of Palmes at the 50th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival and also was set in Andalusia under Islamic domination. Destiny  was however censored in Egypt because it denounced religious fundamentalism in both the Christian and Arab world through the story of Philosopher Averoes.

Akkad's films on the otherhand had all the ingredient of Hollywood productions and were directed with style and often with an international cast which gave his films a certain cache and quality to appeal to large audiences.

I saw the Message for the first time in Iran shortly after the revolution and it was quite an experience with people shouting Allah Akbar each time Ali slained an infidel. One scene however made everyone silent and confused when one of the messengers enters the court of the Persian Sassanian King who throws the message of God to the ground and tells the Arab ambassador to return to the desert where he belonged. People were surprised but they all knew the story of Persian Resistance to Islam and it was ironic to see the faces on some viewers who seemed embarrased not knowing what to say or even dare shout "Marg Bar Shah". Maybe the souvenier of Cinema Rex burning was on everyone's mind and it made people uncomfortable. I will never know why the sudden silence took place after all the previous cries but I found the reactions in the audience at times more entertaining than the film ...

The film as a spectacle is superb but the message remains at times ambiguous because unlike Biblical films or that on judaism, violence is perpetuated in the name of the faith. Jihad from this point of view is unique to Islam all the more that the Prophet Mohamed ( whome we never see but feel the presence in the film through subjective camera shots) is also a warrior. The christian crusades only happened in the middle ages and not at the time of Jesus. So the message of fighting and killing the infidels in a war of conversion seems to me as an ambiguous message from a religious point of view. Mustapha Akkad cannot be blamed for this illustration for that is at the core of Islam's genesis. The other ambiguity is that the film seems to address only a male audience. There is basically no positive female character in the film. The major female character is played by Irene Papas who plays Hind the wife of the idolator Abu Sofyan and she appears as the EVIL impersonated for she even avenges the death of someone in her family ( I think her son killed in battle) by cutting the dead body of Hamza ( Anthony Quinn) to pieces. The image of the "Kafar" becomes powefully associated to the only female character in the movie that is Irene Papas. Even her husband becomes acceptable in the eyes of the viewers which makes one question the mysoginistic interpretation of Islam as a religion or at best that of the director. See full cast in the English version ( An arab version had other actors but included Quinn)

The film's music score is very beautiful and not surprisingly composed by the Great French composer Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zdjivago

Another film he directed with Anthony Quinn and Oliver Reed was The Lion of the Desert about the colonial war against Mussolini's troops in Ethiopia. Some saw the film as a propaganda film indirectly supporting Muhammed Quadaffi's anti colonialism. I think that was far fetched for a film that is describing a true account in the history of Libyia and its only fair to have also the point of view of the Libyans in regard to their history and nation.

Akkad later on went on the produce Horror films like the Holloween sequals as executive Producer.

The Sad irony is that this undoubtably talented director was killed by Islamic fundamentalists who would have loved his film the Message.

Please feel free to read my article:

Stupid Arabs ? Not So by Darius KADIVAR ( PersianMirror)

May Allah Bless Mustafa Akkad and his daughter who died in the terrorist attack by fundamentalists in 2005 in Jordan.

And VIVE LE CINEMA Nevertheless ...


Darius Kadivar

The Director was killed by Al Qaeda ...

by Darius Kadivar on

The Director of this movie : Mustapha Akkad and his beautiful daugher were killed in Jordan in a terrorist attack by Islamic Fundamentalists in 2005.

Sad and Ironic Fate for a Movie Messenger ...

Producer dies after Jordan blast (bbc)