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Top 50 Best Bible Movies Of All Time

Shivam ParasharShivam-Posted Nov 20, 2022


Top 50 Best Bible Movies Of All Time

 

Given the fact that 'The Good Book' has been around for a couple of millennia, on-screen adaptations of the same span the dawn of film.

 

Needless to say, a ton of Biblical stories have been brought to life courtesy of the reverence that the western world maintains towards the Bible.

 

However, contrary to popular belief, the Bible isn't a book, but a collection of books. Therefore, it is a given that the Holy Book provides a lot of opportunities to filmmakers across the globe for cinematic adaptations.

 

That being said, it is also true that religion can make for contentious filmmaking. It is not in the least bit surprising then that several motion pictures based on the Bible have been subjected to public scrutiny.

 

Be that as it may, there is no denying that the book has, indeed, gone on to inspire some mighty good titles.

 

So, we're going to highlight the top 50 that you must not forget to add to your watch list.

 

 

50. The Gospel of Us (2012)

 

The Gospel of Us (2012)

 

Based on the Owen Sheers novel of the same name, The Gospel of Us is a slow-moving feature that thrives in the atmosphere of a small town.

 

The story depicts the people of Port Talbot battling authoritarian forces and a merciless corporation that happen to be depleting the town of its rich resources.

 

This Dave McKean directorial venture is the film version of the Passion play that was performed throughout Port Talbot in Easter 2011.

 

 

49. Jesus - Der Film (1986)

 

Jesus - Der Film (1986)

 

Helmed by German filmmaker Michael Brynntrup, Jesus - Der Film is a fairly loose and quirky interpretation of the life of Jesus Christ.

 

The film is unique in the sense that it sees its director playing a significant titular character. It is not surprising to note then that it promises its viewers to be "saved" if they pledge to see the film.

 

Add to that the fact that Jesus - Der Film was shot in black and white and is made up of 35 parts.

 

Also, 22 different filmmakers reportedly worked to make this experimental motion picture a reality.

 

 

48. Esther and the King (1960)

 

Esther and the King (1960)

 

Hollywood relied a bit too much on the Holy Book in the 1950s to lure cine-goers away from their television sets and back into cinema halls.

 

One such attempt was evident with the theatrical release of Esther and the King in 1960. Helmed by directors Raoul Walsh and Mario Bava, this motion picture was based on the Book of Esther of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament.

 

As its title suggests, it aimed to tell the story of one of the Bible's most famous matriarchs, Esther.

 

The story tracks the journey of a Jewish woman, Esther, who catches the attention of Persian King Ahasuerus. However, before trying to make her his bride, the king is compelled to defeat his minister Haman, who goes on to start a hate campaign against the Jews.

 

 

47. The Young Messiah (2016)

 

The Young Messiah (2016)

 

Based on Anne Rice's novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, this Cyrus Nowrasteh-helmed biblical drama film demonstrates a seven-year-old Jesus returning to his hometown in Nazareth with his family.

 

Soon after, a realization dawns upon Him that he has been sent by the Almighty to Earth to be the savior of mankind.

 

This fictional interpretation of a seven-year-old Jesus greatly raises the question of how much he understood his place in the world.

 

Smartly adapted by Cyrus and Betsy Nowrasteh, The Young Messiah aimed to show the thoughts of a child Jesus being in sync with the faith and consistency demonstrated by the adult Jesus.

 

 

46. Story of Judas (2015)

 

Story of Judas (2015)

 

This Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche directorial venture chronicles the last days of Jesus in Jerusalem. The story has been told from the perspective of an unexpected Judas, presented as the closest of his disciples.

 

Story of Judas, which was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, is an interesting take on the life of Judas.

 

This motion picture can be relished by those who wish to get familiar with different takes on established narratives.

 

 

45. Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus (1973)

 

Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus (1973)

 

Helmed by Robert Elfstrom, Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus showcases Johnny Cash narrating the story of Jesus, from his life to death with resurrection, on location in Israel.

 

Cash also reportedly dug into his own pockets to ensure that this feature film saw the light of day and played a part in it.

 

This relatively low-budget film flick had to resort to some creative solutions for some of the sequences to be filmed.

 

While it certainly is not among the greatest films to portray the life of Jesus on celluloid, one has to agree that the addition of jaunty country music makes it enjoyably original.

 

 

44. One Night with the King (2006)

 

One Night with the King (2006)

 

Based on Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen's novel Hadassah: One Night with the King, this Michael O. Sajbel-helmed feature film is a dramatization of the Biblical story of Esther.

 

The story follows a young Jewish girl, Hadassah, who travels to Persia, where she is selected by King Xerxes to be his beloved queen.

 

Soon after, we see the girl unearthing a dark truth; something that compels her to do her best to save her kingdom from seemingly inevitable destruction.

 

This motion picture, which failed both critically and commercially, had lavish sets to give it a fine appearance. However, besides the cinematography and the set design, almost everything else failed to make an impression.

 

 

43. Solomon and Sheba (1959)

 

Solomon and Sheba (1959)

 

Shot in Technirama and directed by King Vidor, Solomon and Sheba aim to dramatize the events described in The Bible; more specifically the tenth chapter of First Kings and the ninth chapter of Second Chronicles.

 

The motion picture tells us the story of Solomon, who is the younger son of King David. When he is about to be crowned the next king, Sheba, Pharoah, and Adonijah take a stand against him and, ultimately, make life difficult for him.

 

Even though this film is one of the most uninspired entries on our list, what makes it worth seeing at least once is the fact that Yul Brynner plays the titular King Solomon in it. Fair enough, no?

 

 

42. The Thorn (1971)

 

The Thorn (1971)

 

Even though it's usually not a great sign when a motion picture is released with multiple titles and release dates, The Thorn may still be right up your street if you possess an appetite for low-budget irreverent comedies.

 

Written, directed, and produced by Peter Alexander, this motion picture was first shown as The Greatest Story Overtold at the Detroit Institute of Art.

 

This religion-based satire aims to cast a light on the commercialization of religion through the story of the Virgin Mary.

 

 

41. Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

 

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

 

Helmed for the silver screen by Ridley Scott, this motion picture is inspired by the biblical episode of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, led by Moses.

 

The story shows us how after learning of his true lineage, Moses, a former general, rises against Pharaoh Ramesses II to assist the Hebrews in escaping from Egypt.

 

Among the several challenges that he faces is strong opposition from Ramesses. This epic retelling of the story of Moses from the Book of Genesis features an all-star cast and an A-list director.

 

However, it failed to find appreciation from fans and critics alike.

 

 

40. Mary Magdalene (2018)

 

Mary Magdalene (2018)

 

In this Garth Davis-helmed biblical drama film, we are introduced to Mary Magdalene; a Jewish woman who becomes a true disciple of Jesus.

 

Not only does she remain with Him despite conflicting with Saint Peter but she also goes on to witness His crucifixion and resurrection.

 

Rooney Mara shines as a young woman in this motion picture and her fascinating performance is aided by eye-catching cinematography and the use of apt costumes.

 

Even though Mary Magdalene lacks momentum and depth, its sincerity towards its subject is palpable, to say the least.

 

 

39. Noah (2014)

 

Noah (2014)

 

Hollywood's obsession with producing "creative" adaptations of Biblical stories continued with this Russell Crowe and Emma Watson starrer.

 

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky's controversial adaptation of the Genesis story of Noah and the Ark is one of the most successful controversial motion pictures to have ever hit the screens worldwide.

 

The plot aims to portray how God decides to wash away the sins of mankind through an apocalyptic flood.

 

However, before the momentous event, Noah is tasked with building an ark that can help carry his family and a breeding pair of all animals.

 

This dazzling Biblical epic, which was lauded for its direction, received mixed reviews for its other cinematic aspects.

 

 

38. Civilization (1915)

 

Civilization (1915)

 

This American pacifist drama film was one of the first times Jesus was portrayed on film. The story showcases the spirit of Jesus Christ entering a count's body and persuading a selfish king to end a war and, simultaneously, promote peace for progress.

 

Often viewed as one of the first anti-war motion pictures to have ever been produced, Civilization was selected in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being culturally and aesthetically significant.

 

It was one of the most popular big-budget spectacles of its time.

 

 

37. David and Bathsheba (1951)

 

David and Bathsheba (1951)

 

Featuring one of the Bible's most famous figures, King David, this Henry King directorial venture is a historical Technicolor epic film that follows King David's life and relationship with Uriah's wife Bathsheba.

 

The story introduces us to King David, who chances upon the gorgeous Bathsheba while she is taking bath. Enamored by her indisputable beauty, he goes on to commit the act of adultery with her.

 

However, his action, expectedly, leads to disastrous consequences for it ends up risking the wrath of the Almighty. The movie features Hollywood stars Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward as David and Bathsheba, respectively.

 

While most critics have come to be pleased by Henry King's adaptation of the Book of Kings over the years, film buffs, however, continue to overlook the project.

 

 

36. The Star (2017)

 

The Star (2017)

 

Directed by Timothy Reckart, this computer-animated biblical comedy feature has been inspired by the Nativity of Jesus. The story follows Bo, a donkey, who is ineffably bored with his everyday life and wishes to do something different to make things much more interesting.

 

He makes up his mind to go on an adventurous journey during the course of which he chances upon a sheep and a dove named Ruth and Dave, respectively.

 

We can assure you that no matter what time of the year it is, young adults are certain to enjoy this charming and sincere approach to telling the nativity story.

 

 

35. Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)

 

Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)

 

An adaptation of the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis in the Bible, this direct-to-video animated biblical musical drama film tracks the journey of a boy, whose ability to see the future results in familial discord.

 

Soon after, we see him traveling to Egypt, where he helps the pharaoh protect the kingdom from disaster. While the critics were of the opinion that its theatrically released predecessor The Prince of Egypt was better in comparison, Joseph: King of Dreams was also acknowledged for its animation, storytelling, and music.

 

 

34. Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002)

 

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002)

 

This computer-animated Christian musical comedy adventure film chronicles the adventures of Jonah as he delivers a crucial message from God to a sinful city.

 

Helmed for the screen by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, the motion picture uses the themes of compassion and mercy to tell two different stories; one of which is directly based on the biblical tale of Jonah.

 

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie opened to mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised its efforts to convey a wholesome message to kids in the most humorous way possible.

 

 

33. Risen (2016)

 

Risen (2016)

 

This biblical drama film outlines the journey of Clavius, a Roman military tribune, and his trusted friend Lucius. We see the duo striving to find out what happened to Jesus following the crucifixion.

 

During the course of their eye-opening journey, they get to learn some truly astounding facts. Directed by Kevin Reynolds, Risen thrives on its enticing plot and shows the crucifixion and its aftermath through the inquisitive eyes of a Roman soldier.

 

All thanks to its vivid sets and cinematography, the movie ends up providing an insight into the reality of life and death in 33 AD.

 

 

32. Pilate and Others (1972)

 

Pilate and Others (1972)

 

Based on Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita, Pilate and Others tell the story of the Crucifixion from the point of view of Pontius Pilate.

 

The motion picture may be focused on the Biblical part of the story, but it certainly adds a layer of twist to it since the setting is now modern-day Germany.

 

Pilate and Others, which was also shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006, uses a few elements of modern history to take a political jab or two.

 

This television movie thrives on its sincere camera work and can certainly be seen once.

 

 

31. The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966)

 

The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966)

 

This strictly formulaic Biblical work showcases its director, John Houston, portraying Noah. Not only did he cast himself as the guy who has to work with animals but he also cast himself as The Narrator and the voice of God.

 

The film tells us the story of how after having created the planet, God puts Adam and Eve in charge of the Garden of Eden.

 

However, we get to see how one fatal sin costs the first man and woman their heavenly abode and, as a consequence, compels them to live a life of miseries on earth.

 

Despite the grandiosity of the project, the makers ensured that the technology does not end up getting the better of it.

 

Even though this solid Biblical epic may not make it to the top ten of our list, it certainly does deserve a spot in it.

 

 

30. The Story of Ruth (1960)

 

The Story of Ruth (1960)

 

An on-screen adaptation of the biblical Book of Ruth, The Story of Ruth tracks the journey of its titular character, who falls for a Judean artisan Mahlon and, subsequently, is seen doubting her religion.

 

Even though she converts to Judaism post her marriage with Mahlon, Ruth is left to face hardships following his untimely demise.

 

Helmed by Henry Koster, the screenplay of this feature film carries a ton of intrigue and that alone makes it worth visiting.

 

Props to the makers for trying to bring to light the romantic, political, and devotional difficulties encountered by the heroine of the Old Testament.

 

 

29. The Book of Life (1998)

 

The Book of Life (1998)

 

Written and directed by Hal Hartley, The Book of Life showcases our beloved Jesus Christ having second thoughts about the Apocalypse.

 

We see New Year's Eve takes on a whole new meaning altogether when the Devil, Jesus Christ, and Christ's assistant Magdelina are seen indulging in a discourse.

 

Not only are they shown talking about the end of the world but also about the opening of the seven seals and the essence of being human, respectively.

 

While the performances of Martin Donovan and Thomas Jay Ryan are something to look out for, the true strength of this motion picture lies in its odd camera angles, the digital blur, the soundtrack, and the constant movement of the actors.

 

 

28. The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

 

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

 

The Greatest Story Ever Told may perhaps claim to bring the greatest story ever told to life on the big screen, but it really does fall short in turning out to be the greatest movie ever made.

 

Helmed by Hollywood heavyweight and multi-time Academy Award-winner George Stevens, the feature film thrives on its rich star cast to chronicle the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

 

Max Von Sydow, John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, and Shelley Winters deliver exquisite performances each in this grand retelling of one of the most crucial events in the history of mankind.

 

 

27. Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)

 

Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)

 

Written and directed by Andrew Hyatt and starring James Faulkner in the titular role, this biblical drama film tells us the story of Paul, who was the attendant of Christ.

 

We get to see how he goes on to become the greatest evangelist in the history of Christianity by bringing the important message of Jesus Christ to the whole world.

 

St. Paul is one of those figures whose life and work are chronicled almost as much in the New Testament as Jesus himself, and that is precisely why we are including this motion picture on our list.

 

The film, which follows three interconnected stories, is a stirring on-screen portrayal of a brave man who stands up for what he believes in.

 

 

26. The Robe (1953)

 

The Robe (1953)

 

This fictional Biblical epic film tells the story of Marcellus; a tribune in the Roman Military who commands a group to crucify Jesus Christ.

 

Following the event, Marcellus is constantly seen being haunted by nightmares. Therefore, to put things into perspective, he decides to embark on a life-altering journey to learn more about the man he ordered to be killed.

 

The motion picture, which earned five Oscar nods, is Hollywood at its supercolossal best. We say so because it comes alive with romance, action, and Biblical pageantry; each of which helps in keeping its cinematic elements fully intact.

 

 

25. Godspell (1973)

 

Godspell (1973)

 

Helmed for the screen by David Greene, this feature film is an on-screen adaptation of the 1971 Off-Broadway musical of the same time, which, in turn, was based on the Gospel of Matthew.

 

The plot, which is set in modern-day New York City, follows John the Baptist, who calls out to a group of young men and women to learn from the teachings of Jesus.

 

Soon after, we get to see the bunch reliving Christ's crucifixion through song and dance. Godspell has a child-like wonder to it which makes it come across as playful, silly, and goofy in equal measure.

 

In addition, it comprises a catchy soundtrack.

 

 

24. Barabbas (1961)

 

Barabbas (1961)

 

Helmed for the screen by Richard Fleischer, this religious epic drama film was based on Nobel Prize-winning Pär Lagerkvist's novel of the same title.

 

Starring Anthony Quinn in the titular role, it tells the story of Pontius Pilate, who offers to release either Jesus Christ or Barabbas shortly before the crucifixion of the former.

 

The motion picture, which aims to explore the existential crisis of the thief for whom Jesus took the rap, contains spectacular scenes, lavish production, and terrific performances from the entire cast.

 

 

23. The Miracle Maker (1999)

 

The Miracle Maker (1999)

 

A retelling of the life of Jesus Christ, The Miracle Maker has been told in stop-motion, claymation style. Helmed by directors Derek Hayes and Stanislav Sokolov, the feature uses hand-drawn animated cartoons to focus on flashbacks, spiritual encounters, visions, parables, and stories from the central plot.

 

One of the most profound and noteworthy depictions of the gospel story, The Miracle Maker banks heavily on the voice performance of the brilliant Ralph Fiennes to make an impression.

 

However, aside from the fantastic vocal performance by Fiennes, this feature has a lot many things working in its favor; each of which helps in making it a must-see for any viewer.

 

 

22. The Nativity Story (2006)

 

The Nativity Story (2006)

 

Based on the nativity of Jesus and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, The Nativity Story tells the story of Mary, who is visited by an angel who tells her that she will soon be giving birth to God's son.

 

Eventually, she becomes pregnant and leaves for Bethlehem with Joseph in order to give birth to the one and only Jesus Christ.

 

While the birth of Christ has been celebrated as Christmas across the globe for years now, this motion picture does its best to pay a fitting tribute to Mary; a holy figure who has been referred to as the "World's Most Powerful Woman" by National Geographic.

 

Even though not the best Biblical adaptation or Christmas movie to make it to our list, The Nativity Story should be seen solely because it's one of the very few mainstream features out there dedicated to the most powerful woman to have ever walked the face of the earth.

 

 

21. Son of Man (2006)

 

Son of Man (2006)

 

Director Mark Dornford-May does a commendable job at re-imagining the life of Jesus Christ in Son of Man. The film shows the great figure embarking on a quest across the African kingdom of Judea to spread a gospel of peace.

 

Since the action has been transplanted to modern-day Africa, it is understandable that there is an atmosphere of uncertainty and political unrest lurking in the background.

 

Son of Man, which gives a modern twist to the sermons of Jesus, was the first South African motion picture to make its debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

Thankfully for the viewers, it doesn't digress from conveying the message of unity.

 

 

20. Samson and Delilah (1949)

 

Samson and Delilah (1949)

 

It is a well-known fact that American cinema in the 1950s did not shy away from bankrolling big-budget and colorful Biblical epics.

 

One such motion picture was Samson and Delilah. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, it stars the eternally beautiful Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature in the main lead.

 

The plot introduces us to a stunning courtesan, Delilah, who does everything that she can to tempt Samson, who is a soldier chosen by God to destroy the Philistines.

 

She tries to seduce him with the sole aim to haul out the secret of his undeniable strength and, ultimately, destroy him.

 

Even though the fans and film pundits of the time were not too impressed by its storytelling, Samson and Delilah can still be seen courtesy of DeMille's lavish direction and Lamarr's charming character projection.

 

 

19. King of Kings (1961)

 

King of Kings (1961)

 

Even though Jesus Christ is the most significant and popular figure from the Bible, you'd be surprised to learn that he wasn't prominently featured in the Biblical epics that were produced during the 1950s.

 

However, all that changed with the theatrical release of Nicholas Ray's King of Kings in 1961, which was an epic retelling of Christ's life and the impact that his teachings had on those around him.

 

Adapted from the New Testament, the motion picture aimed to trace the journey of Jesus of Nazareth from his birth and ministry to his crucifixion and resurrection.

 

While some critics called the film one of the most interesting screen versions of the Gospels at the time, others were not too pleased with the attempt of the makers to portray Jesus Christ as a universal, non-controversial figure.

 

 

18. Abraham (1993)

 

Abraham (1993)

 

The late great Richard Harris will and should be remembered for his character projection of Abraham in the television miniseries of the same name.

 

All thanks to its run time, this Joseph Sargent directorial venture is yet another religious feature that had to be released as a miniseries back in the day.

 

Based on the life of the Biblical patriarch Abraham, the drama thrives on the tremendous lead performance of Richard Harris.

 

Even though it is less cinematic and not exactly grand in its approach, Abraham more than makes up for it with its sincere execution.

 

 

17. Quo Vadis (1951)

 

Quo Vadis (1951)

 

Director Mervyn LeRoy's Quo Vadis is a biblical epic that focuses on the early days of Christianity in Rome.

 

The plot of this motion picture follows Roman general Marcus, who sparks a rebellion when he falls in love with a Christian slave.

 

So, when the viewers get to see atrocities being performed on the Christians, Marcus rises to the occasion and strives to save his love and her family.

 

Quo Vadis combined both historical and fictional events and characters to tell a moving story that found appreciation from the public at the ticket counters.

 

The lavish tale of Roman-Christian conflict was universally loved, courtesy of the performances of Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov, and Leo Genn.

 

 

16. Jesus (1979)

 

Jesus (1979)

 

In this Biblical drama film, which has been directed by Peter Sykes and John Krish, we follow the dramatic journey of Jesus of Nazareth, from his humble beginning as a carpenter to his destiny as the son of God.

 

The motion picture uses the Gospel of Luke as the main basis for its plot structure. Bright and refreshing, it portrays Jesus Christ, unlike any other feature film that had hit the screens before it.

 

We say so because Christ can be seen as a jolly figure who is not only seen speaking but also laughing his heart out in the movie.

 

It is important to mention that Jesus has been translated into over 1000 languages so far; thus, making it the most translated film in history.

 

 

15. Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

 

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

 

Loosely based on the four Gospels, Jesus Christ Superstar is an official adaptation of the 1970 rock opera/concept album of the same title.

 

Helmed for the screen by musical veteran Norman Jewison, this feature film thrives on Carl Anderson's performance as Judas Iscariot and Ted Neeley's role as Jesus Christ.

 

The plot traces how a conflict arises between Jesus and Judas after Judas vows to stand against Jesus's growing popularity about being called the one true Son of God.

 

This must-watch Biblical movie, which is quite flamboyant in its approach, attracted criticism from a few religious groups upon its theatrical release.

 

 

14. The Milky Way (1969)

 

The Milky Way (1969)

 

This surrealist motion picture has been directed by Luis Buñuel, who is one of the best French filmmakers of all time.

 

The non-linear plot of this film follows two drifters who decide to go on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

 

While on their way, the duo can be seen hitchhiking, begging for food, and facing the Christian dogmas and heresies from different Ages.

 

The plot, however, thickens when they can be seen stumbling upon both Jesus and the Virgin Mary at crucial stages during their journey.

 

Since Buñuel, the father of cinematic surrealism was raised with a strict Jesuit education, it resulted in a lifelong obsession with the Almighty; something that was reflected in the projects he helmed.

 

 

13. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

 

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

 

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is remembered for having dominated the cultural conversation for quite some time following its much-awaited and controversial theatrical outing in 2004.

 

One of the top-grossing religious feature films of all time, it tells us the story of the one true savior of humanity, Jesus Christ, who, after having been doubled crossed by one of his disciples, is captured by the Romans.

 

Soon after, the viewers get to see how Jesus continues to redeem souls and defeat Satan's true purpose while facing a torturous death.

 

Among the most defining cinematic achievements of the early 2000s, The Passion of the Christ is also one of the most violent motion pictures that you will ever get to see.

 

 

12. The Gospel of John (2003)

 

The Gospel of John (2003)

 

This Philip Saville directorial venture tracks the life of Jesus according to the Gospel of John. A word-for-word adaptation of the American Bible Society's Good News Bible, The Gospel of John operates at a leisurely pace throughout the course of its three-hour run time.

 

What is remarkable about this feature film is that it resulted in one of the biggest divides between critics and audiences upon its theatrical release.

 

Henry Ian Cusick shines as Jesus Christ in this faithful depiction of the Gospel of John.

 

 

11. The Prince of Egypt (1998)

 

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

 

One of the better Biblical movies to make it to our list, The Prince of Egypt was the first feature film from DreamWorks to be traditionally animated.

 

An adaptation of the Book of Exodus, the animated musical drama film follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the Jews out of Egypt.

 

The viewers get to catch how two brothers, Moses and Rameses, grow up to be the best of friends.

 

However, their friendship takes a turn for the worse when one of them becomes a ruler and the other decides to live for the people.

 

All thanks to the superb vocal performances of its entire cast, The Prince of Egypt turned out to be both a critical and commercial success.

 

 

10. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

 

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

 

One of the most popular religious motion pictures on our list, The Last Temptation of Christ is an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' controversial novel of the same.

 

Helmed for the screen by the unparalleled Martin Scorsese, it aims to follow the life of Jesus Christ. Not only do we see Him facing the struggles all humans do but we also get to catch His final temptation on the cross.

 

Even though filtered, most of the movie's content still comes from the Gospels. However, what makes this motion picture stand out from the rest is the fact that it portrays Jesus in a different light.

 

The Christ shown in the film is a lot like most viewers - often confused and uncertain about God's will.

 

Be that as it may, The Last Temptation of Christ features an outstanding performance by Willem Dafoe as the Bible's most loved figure.

 

 

9. Peter and Paul (1981)

 

Peter and Paul (1981)

 

This Robert Day-helmed project attempts to cover much of the Book of Acts in its Biblical re-telling of chapters 8 through 28.

 

This not only includes the apostolic missionary journeys but also the interactions between Peter and Paul. Peter and Paul, which was nominated for two Emmys in technical categories, ended up winning one for Outstanding Makeup.

 

Since it's over three hours long, it's likely that you may want to finish it in more than one sitting. The great Anthony Hopkins delivers a scene-stealing performance as Paul of Tarsus in this one.

 

 

8. Jesus of Montreal (1989)

 

Jesus of Montreal (1989)

 

Written and directed by Denys Arcand, this French Canadian comedy-drama film shows a group of performers coming together to execute an unorthodox, but acclaimed Passion Play which goes on to instigate the opposition of the Catholic Church; all while the actors' lives begin to mirror the Passion itself.

 

All thanks to its stirring execution for the big screen, we are certain that Biblical scholars across the globe will acknowledge how the details from the gospels have been squeezed seamlessly into its storytelling.

 

Jesus of Montreal opened to critical acclaim and went on to win the Genie Award for Best Picture and the Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, respectively.

 

In fact, the film pundits at the Toronto International Film Festival were so impressed by the movie that they called it one of the best Canadian features of all time.

 

 

7. Joseph (1995)

 

Joseph (1995)

 

This Roger Young directorial venture aimed to portray the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis for the small screen audience.

 

The story follows the biblical son of Jacob, who dares to make a harrowing escape from treachery and slavery to deliver his people from famine.

 

All thanks to its over three-hour long run time, Joseph had to be released as a television mini-series back in the day.

 

That being said, its run time certainly did justice to its storytelling. The title also earned much-deserved Emmy nominations for Supporting Actor for Ben Kingsley and Outstanding Miniseries, respectively.

 

 

6. The Visual Bible: Matthew (1993)

 

The Visual Bible: Matthew (1993)

 

This Regardt van den Bergh directorial venture goes all out in covering the birth, preaching, teachings, and miracles of Jesus as found in the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Even though filming a book of the Bible word-for-word is undoubtedly a risky business, The Visual Bible: Matthew does a praiseworthy job at showing that even that is possible to achieve if the entire cast and crew are adamant about making it a possibility.

 

Special mention to Bruce Marchiano for portraying Jesus as an endearing, earthy, and deeply personal character with a sense of solid humor.

 

 

5. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

 

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

 

A sense of realism envelops 1964's The Gospel According to St. Matthew, which is easily among the finest cinematic adaptations of Jesus' life.

 

The story follows a man named Jesus from Nazareth, who claims to be the Messiah from the prophecies of Israel.

 

Matthew, who is one of the disciples of Jesus, strives to portray his life and the message he preached to one and all.

 

This Italian biblical drama film, which has been filmed in the neorealist style, has been written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

 

Considered a true-blue classic of world cinema, The Gospel According to St. Matthew won the Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.

 

In addition, it also earned three Nastro d'Argento Awards, including that of Best Director.

 

 

4. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

 

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

 

One of the most distinct mainstream features to make it to our list, Monty Python's Life of Brian is not directly based on the Bible despite sharing connections with it.

 

Helmed efficiently for the screen by Terry Jones, this British comedy-drama thrives on its themes of religious satire; some of which were considered to be controversial during the time of its release.

 

The film tells the story of Brian Cohen, who is a young Jewish-Roman man fortunate enough to be born on the same day as Jesus.

 

The catch here is that Jesus is born only next door to him. However, a sequence of events leads him to be mistaken for the Messiah.

 

The fourth-highest-grossing motion picture in the United Kingdom in 1979, it is a gentle and thoroughly engrossing parody of the life of Jesus.

 

 

3. Ben-Hur (1959)

 

Ben-Hur (1959)

 

Starring Charlton Heston in the titular role and directed by William Wyler, this religious epic film has been adapted from Lew Wallace's novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

 

Comprising the largest budget and largest sets built for any mainstream project at the time, the motion picture tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur; a nobleman who is sentenced to years of slavery after being accused of treason by his adopted brother, Messala.

 

However, he is seen returning later to seek revenge by competing with him in a race. The biblical spectacular, which truly is the grandest of Hollywood's classic biblical epics, was the top-grossing motion picture of 1959.

 

It won a record eleven Academy Awards the following year.

 

 

2. The Ten Commandments (1956)

 

The Ten Commandments (1956)

 

This Cecil B. DeMille-helmed religious drama film is one of the first movies that springs to mind when one is discussing the most "epic" motion pictures to have ever hit the screens.

 

The film traces the journey of Moses, who is saved by Pharaoh's daughter when he is set adrift on the Nile River in a basket.

 

When he grows up, he becomes aware of both his true identity and his mission, which is to save the Hebrews from the shackles of slavery.

 

This Biblical epic is not only based on Dorothy Clarke Wilson's novel Prince of Egypt but also on J. H. Ingraham's Pillar of Fire and A. E. Southon's On Eagle's Wings, respectively.

 

Also, its story dramatizes the events described in the Book of Exodus for the silver screen diligently.

 

 

1. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

 

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

 

Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, this British-Italian epic film and television drama serial strives to dramatize the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.

 

The project, which features an all-star cast of actors, is the longest movie to make it to our story.

 

However, we can vouch for the fact that its storytelling does full justice to its six-hour-long run time. Upon its debut on television, Jesus of Nazareth was dubbed the ninth most successful mini-series of all time.

 

While it stars an ensemble cast that comprises many leading names from within the industry at the time, it is Robert Powell who stands out courtesy of his stirring performance as Jesus.

 

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