Barabbas is a 1961 film expanding on the career of Barabbas, from the Christian Passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark and other gospels. It starred Anthony Quinn as Barabbas, with Silvana Mangano, Katy Jurado, Arthur Kennedy, Harry Andrews, Ernest Borgnine, Vittorio Gassman, and Jack Palance, and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film, conceived as a grand Roman epic, was based on the Nobel-Prize winning novel Barabbas (1950) by Pär Lagerkvist. A previous film version of the novel, in Swedish, had been made in 1953.
The film of Lagerkvist's novel was directed by Richard Fleischer and shot in Rome under the supervision of producer Dino De Laurentiis. It included many spectacular scenes, including a battle of gladiators in a Cinecittà mock-up of the Colosseum, and a final crucifixion shot during a real eclipse of the sun. The music score by Mario Nascimbene contained a stark experimental component -- what the composer himself called 'new sounds', in order to demonstrate the eclipse as a supernatural event in the Judean age (see liner notes of CD of original soundtracks of Alexander the Great and Barabbas, music composed, orchestrated and conducted by Mario Nascimbene).