Watch The Message
- 2 hr 58 min
The Message is a historical drama film from 1976 that tells the story of Islam's early history and the rise of Prophet Muhammad. Directed by Moustapha Akkad, the movie stars a few big names from the industry, including Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, and Michael Ansara. The movie opens with an introduction that explains the historical context and setting of the story. It's the seventh century, and the Arabian Peninsula is a land of many tribes engaged in constant warfare. One of these tribes, the Quraysh, controls the holy city of Mecca, where the Kaaba, a sacred shrine, is located. The Kaaba is a place of pilgrimage for people from all over Arabia, and the Quraysh earns a significant amount of wealth from this trade.
The story centers around two characters, the first being the Islamic prophet Muhammad, played by Anthony Quinn. When we meet him, he is a peaceful merchant living in Mecca, troubled with the corruption and injustices he sees around him. He often retreats to a cave outside of the city to meditate and pray, which is where he receives divine revelations from God. These revelations will ultimately shape the religion of Islam.
The second character is Hamza, played by Michael Ansara, who is Muhammad's uncle and a respected warrior. Though initially skeptical of Muhammad's visions, Hamza becomes one of Islam's earliest and most prominent converts.
The Message takes us through a series of events that lead to the birth of Islam. One of the critical incidents was the persecution of Muslims by the Quraysh, who saw the new religion as a threat to their way of life. Muhammad and his followers faced constant harassment and torture, and many of them were forced to flee to Abyssinia, a Christian kingdom that offered them protection. However, even in Abyssinia, they were not entirely safe, and the Quraysh continued their efforts to track them down.
As the Islamic community grew stronger, Muhammad began to receive revelations that encouraged him to take a more active role in resisting the persecution. He envisioned a city where Muslims could live in peace, and he and his followers began to believe that the time had come to create such a place. In 622 CE, Muhammad and his followers migrated to the city of Medina, an event known as the Hijra, marking the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
The Message portrays the rise of Islam with a great deal of depth and nuance. It doesn't shy away from the violence and bloodshed of the period, nor does it sugarcoat the complex political and social dynamics of a rapidly-changing society. The movie also explores the themes of faith, courage, perseverance, and sacrifice, all of which are necessary for the growth and development of any religion or society.
Anthony Quinn delivers a commanding performance as Muhammad, bringing dignity, authority, and humanity to the character. Irene Papas is equally impressive as Hind, the wife of the Quraysh leader, who struggles to come to terms with her conflicting emotions towards Muhammad and his followers. Michael Ansara also shines as Hamza, providing a powerful presence and a sense of moral clarity to the film.
The Message is a visually stunning film, thanks to the work of cinematographer Jack Hildyard. The desert landscapes are captured with a sense of beauty and majesty, and the scenes of battle and conflict are filmed with a gritty realism that underscores the stakes involved. The film's score, composed by Maurice Jarre, is also a standout, with haunting melodies that enhance the emotional impact of the story.
Overall, The Message is an engaging and thought-provoking movie that provides an insightful look at the early history of Islam. It's a powerful reminder of the influential role that religion plays in shaping human history and society, and the sacrifices that people are often willing to make in the face of adversity. The movie is a must-watch for anyone interested in history, religion or just good storytelling.