The movie opens with the Prophet receiving the first revelation and builds around the early Muslims. In the early days the Muslims are persecuted in Mecca for their beliefs and even an assassination attempt is made on the Prophet. The Muslims are tortured and boycotted by the Pagan tribes of Mecca until the exodus to Yatrib (Later Named as Medina in the honor of the Prophet). Where the fortunes of the Muslims change, from being tortured and frowned upon the Muslims suddenly find themselves as the rulers of Medina. A number of important events in history like the Battles of Badr and Uhud are depicted. A peace treaty is signed with Mecca and these years of peace are used to spread the message of Islam. When Mecca breaks the truce the Muslims decide to go on a war with Mecca. The large army marches towards Mecca and the city surrenders without a drop of blood being shed. The prophet declares a general amnesty for all the population of Mecca. With the message of Islam conveyed to the people the movie ends with the death of the Prophet.
The movie has big names like Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, and Michael Ansara who have done great justice to the roles played by them. The movie itself faced many issues in its initial stages. Though Islamic scholars were consulted and the Al-Azhar of Egypt approved it, the movie faced opposition from Muslim world league. Its financers withdrew and the movie had to be shot outside the USA. Finally, Akkad was financed by the governments of Morocco, Libya and the king of Saudi Arabia.
Akkad has done complete justice to the historical facts portrayed in the movie. Though acclaimed by critics the movie ran into trouble in various countries including the UK and the USA due to its sensitive subject. Later however the movie was a huge success. The movie has received an Oscar for the best music.
The uniqueness in portraying the role of the Prophet Mohammed has been accomplished by making his presence felt. Even characters like his wives, children and the first four Caliphs are not portrayed. The closest the movie comes to showing images close to the family of the prophet is the two thronged sword of the fourth caliph (Ali) and the camel of the prophet. The messages of the Prophet are relayed by having another character repeat after the Prophet.
The life portrayed in the movie is a successful recreation of the actual life of the people of the Middle East during the time of the
Prophet. Even the battles have been recreated to give a very close resemblance to the actual events as they may have happened.
In my personal opinion the movie is a true and correct deception of the early days of Islam and is comparable to other great classics like Ben-Hur. I feel it is one of the best movies I have ever watched. It is unique in style since the main character has not even spoken any word or being physically shown. It is indeed an epic of a holy man. The acting, no doubt about how great it is. The talented actors such as Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas really do their jobs well. The movie is a truly reliable source for someone who is interested in the history behind the beginnings of the religion of Islam and the 6th Century Arabia.