Judith - The Sword of Vengeance

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German title Judith - The Sword of Vengeance
Original title Giuditta e Oloferne
Country of production Italy ,
original language Italian
Publishing year 1959
length 76 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Fernando Cerchio
script Gian Paolo Callegari
Fernando Cerchio
Damiano Damiani
Friedrich Hebbel
Guido Malatesta
production Gian Paolo Bigazzi
music Carlo Savina
camera Pier Ludovico Pavoni

Judith - The Sword of Vengeance (original title: Giuditta e Oloferne ) is an Italian-French co-production by Fernando Cerchio from 1959. The film tells the story from the apocryphal book Judith extremely freely .


Around 600 years before Christ, Assyrian troops, under their general Holofernes , try to conquer the world at the behest of Nebuchadnezzar . Holofernes warriors devastate peaceful lands, destroy entire empires and subordinate the conquered areas to cruel Assyrian rule. After a short ultimatum, the superior army of Holofernes also marched into the small Israelite town of Betulia . The foreign occupation forbids the inhabitants to worship the only true God . Askur , a deity of the Assyrians, are to be worshiped in the future. But many of the Israelites do not want to give up their religion and they refuse. There is an assassination attempt on Holofernes, which he barely escapes. Holofernes issues an ultimatum . The attackers are to be extradited, otherwise the entire population will have to pay for the attackers.

The beautiful Judith, whose brothers are responsible for the assassination, wants to keep the disaster away from her brothers and hold Holofernes responsible for the brutality of the Assyrian occupation. She visits Holofernes in his residence and confesses her love to him, which she first felt when she saw Holofernes invading. Now she wants to be his slave . In truth, Judith wants to murder him. But Holofernes, who suspects this, does not fear the lovely Judith. Holofernes explains to her that when he conquers the world, there will be peace everywhere. Within a few days, Judith and Holofernes surprisingly fall in love with each other. Meanwhile, the city's Israeli residents are preparing for an uprising.

When Holofernes, who represents a god for his soldiers, gets drunk the day before the ultimatum expires, Judith takes his sword and cuts off his head with it. She takes Holoferne's head and shows the head to the Assyrian warriors who are gathered in the square in front of the residence. The Assyrians, robbed of their god, flee the city and leave the land of the Israelites. The rebellious Israelites rush after them. But Judith, who regrets killing her lover Holofernes, is celebrated as a savior by the residents of Betulia.


The lexicon of international film criticized: "This show piece in primitive masks and backdrops has only a few names in common with the Old Testament." Judith - The Sword of Vengeance in the lexicon of international filmTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used


The Franco-Italian co-production was produced by CEC Paris , Explorer Film Rome , Faro Film and VIC Film . Constantin Film took over the distribution in the Federal Republic of Germany . The distribution in the USA was taken over by Universal Pictures .

The film premiered in Italy on February 26, 1959 . In the same year a premiere took place in France . This was followed by premieres in the Federal Republic of Germany (1960), in the USA (1960) and in England (1963). The film was also released in Greece .

The German DVD of the film was released in 2003. Before that, the film had already been released on VHS.

Inaccuracies compared to the original book

  • According to the apocryphal biblical text, Judith was a faithful widow who had no boyfriend named Gabriel or who even fell in love with Holofernes .
  • In the template, the city is not conquered by the Assyrians, but besieged.
  • Osia does not cooperate with the Assyrians in the original, as shown in the film, nor is she killed as a traitor by the other Israelites.
  • There is no mention of brothers in the book of Judith. So they could not commit an attack.
  • In the original, Judith shows the severed head to the inhabitants of Betulia and not the Assyrian soldiers. The Assyrian soldiers did not find Holofernes' headless body in his tent until the next morning, were shaken by it and soon afterwards flee the country.

The film shows a large number of other inaccuracies which can be quickly recognized by looking at the apocryphal book of Judith .


  • DVD : Judith - The Sword of Vengeance - AVU
  • VHS : Judith - The Sword of Vengeance - Magic Video

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The film broadcast on MDR towards the end of 2005 showed this length. The length information on the Internet is very different and deviates from this length.
  2. The Internet Movie Database - Companies involved for Judith - The Sword of Vengeance (1959)
  3. The German editing was done by the AVENTIN Film Studio Munich .
  4. A synchronization has also been created for the English-speaking world .
  5. The Internet Movie Database - Start Dates for Judith - The Sword of Vengeance (1959)