Friday, April 22, 2011


Easter with the Christian heritage, has been a source for many film makers with each portraying an aspect of this world celebration.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)


Directors: David Lean and George Stevens.

An epic visual rendering of the life of Jesus Christ. Max Von Sydow is cast in the leading role in the film, which was nominated for five Academy Awards According to, "Stevens has elected to stick to the straight, literal, orthodox, familiar facts of the four Gospels. He has scorned plot gimmicks and scanted on characterization quirks."

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)


Director: Franco Zeffirelli.

Considered by many as the definitive Jesus movie, this one is a reverential treatment of the Gospel stories. Robert Powell portrays Jesus with both human humility and divine power. Particularly notable are the scenes between Jesus and Pilate (Rod Steiger). Britt Gillette, author of The DVD Report, says: "For spiritual, philosophical and cinematic reasons, Jesus of Nazareth is a definite must-see film for the ages . . . "

The Passion of the Christ (2004)


Director: Mel Gibson.

Gibson, a professed fundamentalist in his Catholic beliefs, portrays Jesus' punishment with a heavy hand, but the movie is largely a traditional telling of Christ's life with James Caviezel as the lead. According to the New York Times, Gibson "departed radically from the tone and spirit of earlier American movies about Jesus, which have tended to be palatable (if often extremely long) Sunday school homilies designed to soothe the audience rather than to terrify or inflame it. His version of the Gospels is harrowingly violent. . . . "

The Robe (1953)


Director: Henry Koster.

Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton) is a cynical and hardened man. While gambling with Roman soldiers at the foot of the cross, he wins the robe Jesus wore to the crucifixion. When Gallio begins to have hallucinations and violent outbursts, he is convinced they are a curse received from the robe, which is now in the possession of his escaped slave, Demetrius (Victor Mature). He sets out to find Demetrius to destroy the robe and the curse; instead, he finds faith and converts to Christianity. This was the first movie filmed in CinemaScope and won Oscars in 1953 for costume design, art direction, and set decoration. It is based on the best-selling book by Lloyd C. Douglas, published in 1942.

The Jesus Film (1979)

Directors: John Krish, Peter Sykes.

This adaptation of the life of Jesus follows the book of Luke. The movie has an official Web site, This film is often used to introduce non-Christians to the life of Jesus and is a Bible-faithful telling of his life. It has been translated into nearly 800 languages.

Life of Brian (1979)


Director: Terry Jones.

This hilariously irreverent Monty Python's Flying Circus interpretation follows Brian, mistakenly believed to be the Messiah after he is born in the stable next door. He blunders through young adulthood, and the movie pokes fun at everything from the Romans to the crucifixion, pairing Brian's time on the cross with the absurd song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

The King of Kings (1927)


Director: Cecil B. DeMille.

Remastered and delivered in two versions by Criterion Collection, The King of Kings is a silent-film classic. Steven D. Greydanus at Decentfilms .com says that "DeMille's flawed but powerful The King of Kings remains one of Hollywood's most remarkable achievements."

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)


Director: Norman Jewison.

This film is an adaptation from the rock-opera concept album created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The musical tells the story of Jesus' final week through the eyes of Judas. The offbeat, '70s interpretation of the Bible story has achieved cult status.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Last Temptation of Christ poster

Director: Martin Scorsese.

Perennial bad guy Willem Dafoe plays Jesus to Harvey Keitel's Judas in this controversial film that portrayed Jesus as a man who struggles to understand himself. The film also was one of the first to portray Jesus and the times through authentic Near Eastern sets and scenes, with a non-biblical story line and a rock-opera score by Peter Gabriel.

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