Prophet Mohammed biopic speaks to the enduring power of cinema

As Moustapha Akkad’s biopic of the Prophet Mohammed's life premiered in the US on March 9, 1977, 12 extremists armed with machetes and shotguns laid siege to three buildings in Washington DC. The deadly 39-hour stand-off ended when their demand was met, bringing screenings of the The Message to a halt mid-reel in New York cinemas.

The siege was an ignominious portent of the controversy and false rumours surrounding the ambitious film, which charted the life of the Prophet Mohammed and the birth of Islam but was banned from much of this region for years. Now, 42 years on and after being digitally restored, Akkad’s $17 million masterpiece will finally be shown across the Middle East this Eid.