King of Kings (1961)

It must be Easter. BBC 2 is showing King of Kings (1961) and Channel 5 the 1959 classic Ben Hur. The former is in many ways an implausible recreation; all the actors are very beautiful and are bedecked in the most gorgeously coloured robes. Even the common folk are in yellows and purple, something the real crowds could never afford. Notwithstanding minor details such as this, the film cleverly has Judas as a secret agent working on behalf of Barabbas, leader of an anti-Roman insurrection. While disappointed with Jesus' pacifist statements, the nationalist group seek to take advantage of his popularity and influence in order to provoke a general revolt. 
 
The film depicts this revolt, which the Romans efficiently and mercilessly suppress. It's a great scene showcasing Roman military tactics, although the lack of blood makes the scene somewhat cleaner than it need be. It also allows the director to have Barabbas on trial for a very specific act. 
 
The Barabbas-Judas link is tantalising, but not one provable from scripture. Judas' 'surname', Iscariot, means daggerman, perhaps supporting the link. He does go onto to betray the a Lord, suggesting a disappointment with his mission, or an attempt to force His hand and restore Jewish independence. On the other hand, he was just a greedy thief who would do anything for enough silver.