Alan Bates received his only Oscar nomination for playing Yakov Bok a Russian Jew who is falsely accused of ritual killing a young boy.
Alan Bates's performance is the whole of the film. Bates is completely up to the task in the film, and creates fully realized character here. Bates takes the viewer through everything he goes through in the film very effectively. Bates does not try to do a Russian accent no one does in this film, it would just be distracting. Instead he focuses on the emotion of the character. Bates gives a very emotionally effecting performance. It creates his character with the utmost subtlety, and strength. The man is worn down by his situation but he does not go into a performance of one tired face which would be the easy way. Instead Bates keeps the power of his performance throughout the film. His constant defense of his innocence is completely felt during the film. I like how he never lets his performance become only a one note victim performance. Bates shows the defiance of the character with the pain perfectly. He pleads for help, and his cries of pain are truly felt. Bates holds the film together because of the humane portrait of the man he gives. Even though the film gets a little too heavy at the end. He never falters even though he treads on a line the whole time which could lead to either overacting or underacting. Bates never fails. A great performance from Bates which gets: