Movies About Jesus Christ Life – (REVIEW) With Easter just around the corner and many of us stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no better time than now to watch both movies about the life and death of Jesus.
Christ has been portrayed in various ways in cinema over the past six decades. Some depictions were better than others. The debate over which depiction of Jesus was more realistic, authentic, or powerful has raged for years.
Movies About Jesus Christ Life
In 1997, James Martin came up with his own list, which was republished two years ago in America magazine. In it, he made some controversial choices, the kind that keep this debate going every Easter. For many, Jesus movies allowed many people who would otherwise have no interest in Christianity or faith to awaken some religious curiosity.
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The crucifixion of Jesus is the most important event in the Bible – the one that changed the course of history. There are many movies that captured that moment in a moving and emotional way. At the same time, several actors have portrayed Jesus to great public acclaim. The films, aimed at Christians of all denominations, are a wonderful way to celebrate Easter and educate young people about the life and times of Jesus.
. Instead, it focuses on serious interpretations of Jesus through the years. While the life of Jesus is the greatest story ever told, Hollywood’s treatment of it has not always been positive. Take Martin Scorsese’s
. The 1988 film departs from the Bible to tell a blasphemous story of Jesus, played by Willem Defoe. The film evolves into a fictionalized version of what Jesus might have been thinking as he died on the cross and what an ordinary life might have looked like. In typical Hollywood fashion, it aims to entertain audiences with shock value.
As Christians prepare for Easter, here are five Jesus movies, both in theaters and on TV, that stand out above the rest:
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) is a 1964 drama of the story of Jesus based on the account of St. Matthew. The film starts from the Nativity and goes through the Resurrection.
Why did the Italian director choose Matthew? For Pasolini, Matthew was the best because “John was too mystical, Marco too vulgar and Luke too emotional.” Jesus is played by little-known Spanish actor Enrique Irazoqu and is largely portrayed as a barefoot peasant. In 2015, the Vatican Gazette
The ensemble cast included the recently deceased Max von Sydow, also famous for playing a priest who takes on the devil in
, like Jesus. The film, directed by George Stevens, also features Charlton Heston as John the Baptist. It remains the only Hollywood film that has performed the life of Jesus in a sober and serious manner.
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A television miniseries about the life of Jesus with some of the biggest names in the history of cinema was not just a dream, but actually turned into one of the best representations about the life of Jesus. The stellar cast included Anne Bancroft as Mary Magdalene, Laurence Olivier as Nicodemus, Anthony Quinn as Caiaphas, Rod Steiger as Pontius Pilate, Michael York as John the Baptist, James Earl Jones as Balthazar and Robert Powell in the film’s title role of Jesus.
The film, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, became the gold standard for a production about the life of Jesus until its release
. The film captured the essence of Jesus’ life and the suffering and sacrifices he ultimately had to endure during his last days. Powell’s Jesus, tall and blue-eyed, has been criticized by some as an unrealistic version of Christ. Still, Zeffirelli’s film is beautiful in many ways in the way it presents Jesus as kind and powerful.
The masterpiece film, shown on television in two locations around the world, is so famous that, four decades later, it continues to be shown on television during the Easter season. Zeffirelli, who died last summer at the age of 96, is famous for another religious-themed film released five years earlier that focused on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The movie,
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Mel Gibson’s film takes all four gospels and tells the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life, highlighted by the Passion. It begins with Jesus in Gethsemane, includes the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, and the final crucifixion and death of Jesus. Christ was played by actor Jim Caviezel. Gibson, a traditional Catholic, has said he joined the Roman Catholic faith before the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965.
The film, shot mostly in Italy and entirely in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew (subtitled), was a box office hit at the time. The film, however, was considered controversial by some for its excessive violence and anti-Semitism for the way the members of the Sanhedrin are portrayed in their zeal to take Jesus. It remains the highest-grossing Christian film ever made. However, he did not win any Oscars.
Starring actor Jonathan Rumi as Jesus, The Chosen is the first multi-season television series about the life of Jesus. It also features Jonathan Roumie as Jesus and the disciples played by men who are distinctly Middle Eastern rather than European.
As critic Joseph Holmes recently wrote in Religion Unplugged: “The Chosen One is refreshingly creative and dramatic in fleshing out the people in Jesus’ life. Nicodemus is imagined as a Pharisee who goes through a crisis of faith when he discovers that Jesus can perform miracles. Matthew is a possibly autistic tax collector struggling with his status as a Jew working for the occupying Romans. Simon Peter is in debt to the Romans and will be taken to prison if he does not get a fish by morning. These additions give the characters dramatic arcs that they can deliver in deeply satisfying ways. For Simon, this allows the stakes of the story to be raised so that when Jesus performs his miracle with the fish, it is an act of salvation for him rather than just a miracle. Yes, those creative licenses never jump so far that we feel unfaithful to the letter or the spirit of the people and the narrative.”
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There’s plenty of time this week to catch all of these great shows. Who played Jesus better? Let us know in the comments section.
Clemente Lisi is editor-in-chief and regular contributor to Religion Unplugged. He is a former deputy news editor at the New York Daily News and teaches journalism at The King’s College in New York. Follow him on Twitter @ClementeLisi.
Clemente Lisi, movie, movies, Easter, Holy Week, Jesus, Hollywood, Jesus Christ, Christians, Christianity, coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, TV, Catholicism, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Prime Minister, white Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Oscars, Academy Awards, Recharge23 CommentsFeb. 17, 2014 — The Hollywood husband-and-wife team that made the miniseries “The Bible” a smash hit are hoping to bring that success to the big screen with their new biblical movie, “Son of God.”
Actress Roma Downey, known for her starring role in the TV series “Touched by an Angel,” and her husband, reality TV producer Mark Burnett of “Survivor,” “Shark Tank” and “The Voice” are the creators. team behind “Son of God,” which opens nationwide on Feb. 28.
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“Jesus hasn’t been on the big screen in 10 years since ‘The Passion of the Christ,'” Downey said.
“We know a lot of people learn through visual storytelling,” Downey said. “And for so many people, people who don’t go to church, people who maybe have never read the Bible, this movie, ‘Son of God,’ will be the first time they hear and see the story of Jesus comes to LIFE.”
“It was deeply moving to step into the role, because we know that Mary was the mother of the son of God, but she was also the mother of a son,” he said. “He knew he was born to be great.”
Last year, Burnett and Downey produced the miniseries “The Bible” for the History Channel. The Sunday school saga was hugely successful, becoming the number one drama series of 2013 with more than 100 million viewers – more than ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Mad Men’ or ‘The Walking Dead’.
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“Son of God” is the first of many old-fashioned Bible movies to be released this year. There’s also “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe. “Exodus”, with Christian Bale as Moses. and “Mary, Mother of Christ”. All have 2014 release dates.
Ever since Charlton Heston parted the Red Sea as Moses in the 1956 epic “The Ten Commandments,” Hollywood has been hungry for more. In today’s dollars (adjusted for inflation) “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben Hur,” Heston’s other Bible epic, are among the most successful Hollywood films ever made.
“I grew up in Ireland and I grew up with all these old Bible movies,” Downey said. “We’d sit there on rainy Sunday afternoons on the sofa…I couldn’t think of Moses and not somehow remember Charlton Heston.”
The Gospel stories also have precedent on the big screen, most notably in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. It is perhaps the only film ever made in Aramaic and
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