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God on Trial

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Director  Andy de Emmony
Show  BBC Drama
Episode number  6
Previous episode  The Last Enemy
Writer  Frank Cottrell Boyce
Language  English
7.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, War
Season number  1
Air date  November 9, 2008
Country  United Kingdom
God on Trial movie poster
Release date  2008
Similar movies  2 or 3 Things I Know About Him, Gloomy Sunday, Au Revoir Les Enfants, Life Is Beautiful, The Pianist, Inglourious Basterds

God on trial 2008 movie trailer

God on Trial is a 2008 BBC/WGBH Boston television play written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, starring Antony Sher, Rupert Graves and Jack Shepherd. The play takes place in Auschwitz during World War II. The Jewish prisoners put God on trial in absentia for abandoning the Jewish people. The question is if God has broken His covenant with the Jewish people by allowing the Nazis to commit genocide.


God on Trial movie scenes

The play is based on an event described by Elie Wiesel in his book The Trial of God, though Boyce describes this tale as "apocryphal". According to Boyce, producer Mark Redhead "had been trying to turn the story into a film for almost 20 years by the time he called me in 2005 to write the screenplay." However, Wiesel later confirmed that the story was true, and that he was personally witness to it.

God on Trial movie scenes

God on trial trailer


God on Trial movie scenes
  • Joseph Alessi - Kapo
  • Josef Altin - Isaac
  • Ashley Artus - Ricard
  • Alexi Kaye Campbell - Doctor (presumably Josef Mengele)
  • Dominic Cooper - Moche
  • Lorcan Cranitch - Blockaltester
  • Stephen Dillane - Schmidt
  • Rupert Graves - Mordechai
  • François Guetary - Jacques
  • David de Keyser - Hugo
  • Agnieszka Liggett - Tour Guide
  • Louise Mardenborough - Emily
  • Eddie Marsan - Lieble
  • Andre Oumansky - Jacob
  • Blake Ritson - Idek
  • Jack Shepherd - Kuhn
  • Antony Sher - Akiba
  • Stellan Skarsgård - Baumgarten
  • Rene Zagger - Ezra
  • Dailly Hilaire
  • Score

    The music for the film was especially commissioned and composed by Nick Green and Tristin Norwell.


    Reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Sam Wollaston in The Guardian found it "powerful and thoughtful stuff, with some fine performances by some fine actors - Antony Sher, Rupert Graves, Dominic Cooper." Remarking that Boyce wrote the piece from a position of personal faith, James Walton in The Telegraph observed, "Yet, as each of the characters put forward a different view on the question of God and suffering, it was clear that he was willing to interrogate his beliefs with real ferocity." This was a complex piece, and "as the fierceness of the intellectual and emotional grip tightened, it was impossible to imagine any halfway-thoughtful viewers, of whatever prior convictions, not having a disturbing sense of their own ideas coming under sustained and convincing attack." In a long review for The Times, Tim Teeman had great praise for the cast: "The performances were so strong it felt a privilege to watch the actors, among them Antony Sher, Rupert Graves, Stephen Dillane and Jack Shepherd." He also praises director Andy de Emmony's "brilliant, arresting sleight of hand... [mixing] the prisoners, naked and shorn, together with the present-day touring party in the gas chamber." For The Independent, Thomas Sutcliffe remarked on Sher's role as the play's smouldering fuse: "Every now and then you saw Antony Sher, davening silently in a corner of the barracks. Like a loaded gun in a Chekhov play, you knew he was going to go off eventually and that it would be significant when he did, and indeed it was his explosive inventory of God's biblically attested crimes that finally swung the judges in favour of a guilty verdict."

    Opposite fierce competition from the much-trailed, eagerly awaited debut episode of ITV's four-part-time travel fantasy series, Lost in Austen, and an episode of the BBC's celebrity genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring Esther Rantzen, God on Trial attracted 700,000 viewers on BBC2, a 3% share of the audience, according to overnight returns.

    When the show was shown in the United States on PBS, the Los Angeles Times said "They are big topics addressed with a striking lack of sentimentality, quite a feat considering the setting." The San Francisco Chronicle echoed the British reviewers in praising the "brilliant script" the "subtle wonders at every turn" in DeEmmony's direction, and remarked that "It seems trivial even to try to single out one superb performance from virtually every other superb performance."


    God on Trial aired on BBC2 on Wednesday 3 September 2008 and on PBS in the Masterpiece Contemporary strand on 9 November 2008.


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