One Night with the King



Brave heroine risks it all in biblical epic.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: January 29, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 123 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Girls scheme to attract the king's attention. Haman is responsible for the murder of Esther's parents. He plots to kill Jews and steal their wealth. Esther is a brave, independent heroine who risks her life to save her people.

Violence & scariness

A man is struck with a stick. Some stabbings, but very little blood is shown.

Sexy stuff

Some kissing and cleavage. One scene with the king's bare chest.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A festival includes drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a well-crafted epic that remains true to the biblical story of Esther. Some characters plot, scheme, kill, and steal, but there's not much sexual content, and the violence is limited to some stabbings (very little blood is shown). Overall the movie is definitely family-friendly -- hence our green "on" rating despite a little bit of iffy material.

What's the story?

Esther begins life as Hadassah, growing up in Susa, the capitol of Persia, under the watchful eye of her uncle, Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies), a scribe in the royal palace. Orphaned at a young age when her parents are murdered, Hadassah dreams of returning to Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people. When Haman the Agagite (James Callis), a descendant of one of the Jews' mortal enemies and the man responsible for Hadassah's parents' deaths, sets in motion the queen's banishment for her stance against a looming war with Greece, King Xerxes (Luke Goss) is desperate to avenge his father's battles. On the verge of departing for war, Xerxes' princes press upon him the importance of leaving a queen behind to keep the people together. Many young girls -- including Hadassah -- are rounded up and taken into the palace to prepare for their presentation to the king. Mordecai warns Hadassah to keep her Jewish identity a secret, so she changes her name to Esther and immediately makes an impression on Hagai (Tommy Lister), the king's aide assigned to oversee the girls. Instead of plotting and scheming to attract the king's attention, Esther stirs the king's passion by being herself -- a smart, savvy, independent girl. When a plot to poison the king is discovered, Esther quickly finds herself embroiled in the dangerous world of politics.

Is it any good?


It's easy to forget that the Bible is filled with intrigue, romance, and adventure. ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING reminds us of that by telling the story of Esther, the young Jewish orphan who started out as a lowly peasant but eventually became queen of Persia. Not too many bona-fide epics get made anymore, but this one definitely fits into that category. Shot on location in the exotic ancient Mogul palaces of Rajasthan, India, One Night With the King features beautiful cinematography and lavish costumes. Dupont is superb as Esther, holding her own among screen legends like Peter O'Toole (as Samuel the prophet) and Omar Sharif (as Prince Memucan).

Esther is a good example of what it means to be courageous and stand true to your beliefs, and the film is a beautiful, heart-wrenching love story intermixed with adventure, intrigue, and -- ultimately -- the bravery of a lone girl standing up against a tyrannical plot. At its core, One Night With the King explores hatred, racism, revenge, and courage -- things that, sadly, are still worldwide problem centuries later.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how a queen was chosen in biblical times (from a harem of girls, trained in how to behave for the king). Families can also discuss how courageous Esther was to risk her own life to save her people. Why did she have to keep her Jewish identity a secret, and how does destiny play into this story? Why was Haman determined to kill Esther's parents and destroy the Jews? Why did he feel that war was necessary? Families can also talk about the difference between using power for evil and for good.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 12, 2006
DVD release date:January 30, 2007
Cast:Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Tiffany Dupont
Director:Michael O. Sajbel
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Run time:123 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:violence, some sensuality and thematic elements.

This review of One Night with the King was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byBevG April 9, 2008


With God all things are possible.
Adult Written byjimegli April 9, 2008

Enjoyed it

I went to see this film with my wife and 16 year old daughter. It was a real pleasure to see. I avoid most movies out there because they are depressing or have questionable values or messages. I found One Night with the King to be a positive, enjoyable experience for myself and my family.
Adult Written byhockeymamma April 9, 2008

Poor Script

The photography and costumes were lush. But the screenplay was difficult to follow. Most kids won't be interested whether Esther is the concubine chosen to be queen and that is a major portion of the movie. The motivation of the king and queen's behavior is barely dealt with. Why doesn't Esther tell the king she didn't have an affair?


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