In the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), Gallilean prophet John the Baptist (Alan Badel) preaches against King Herod (Charles Laughton) and Queen Herodias (Dame Judith Anderson). Herodias wants John dead, but Herod fears to harm him after a prophecy. Enter beautiful Princess Salome (Rita Hayworth), Herod’s long-absent stepdaughter. Herodias sees the King’s dawning lust for Salome as her means of bending the King to her will. But Salome and her lover Claudius (Stewart Granger) are (contrary to Scripture) nearing conversion to the new religion, and the famous climactic dance turns out to have unexpected implications.