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Reel Bible: Great Bible Movies  

Great Bible Movies

The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ
d. Martin Scorsese

Controversial? Yes. Based on the Kazantakis novel, Scorsese's stunning achievement is the only Jesus movie that has challenged me to reconsider how I understand him. Authoritative? No and it wasn't meant to be. Scorsese's interpretation is groundbreaking first for its presentation of a Jesus who struggles to understand his mission and identity and second for its defamiliarization of the story through authentic Near Eastern sets and scenes, non-biblical story line, slightly bizarre moments, and outstanding rock opera score by Peter Gabriel. Admittedly, the casting of Dafoe and Keitel is jarring but despite this the movie succeeds. One of the truly outstanding Bible movies!

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2. The Dekalog
Okay, I'm stretching by citing this as a Bible movie but it does explore the Ten Commandments. It is a compelling series of ten short films that explore the Ten Commandments in modern-day settings. A must-see for every Christian. more...

3. King David
An excellent retelling of the David story, starring Richard Gere in the title role. I really appreciated the characterizations in this movie, particularly the interplay between Saul and David. Bruce Beresford directs. more...

4. Peter and Paul
A British network television gem and one of my personal favourite Bible movies. Interesting interpretation of the character of Peter, who only finally realizes his role as pillar of the early church after observing the life and work of Paul. Anthony Hopkins delivers a great performance as Paul. more...

5. Jesus of Nazareth
The classic, magnum opus from director Franco Zeffirelli. Some have called this movie a fifth gospel. Keeps to a conservative view of Jesus' life and ministry. more...

6. The Gospel According to St. Matthew
The legendary (and notorious) director Pier Pasolini gives his dynamic interpretation of Jesus' life. A true art house adaptation and a truly great film. more...

7. King of Kings
Remastered and delivered in two versions by Criterion Collection, King of Kings is a silent film classic. DeMille tells the story of Christ's life and Passion with great sensitivity, along the way paying homage to the religious illustrations of Da Vinci and Doré, and, in a modern flourish, restaging Christ's resurrection in luminous Technicolor. more...

8. Ten Commandments
Most people know DeMille's 1956 version of this film but not so many know that he also directed a silent film version. The self-same titled silent film is considered by some as superior to the overwrought Charlton Heston classic. more...

9. The Passion of the Christ
While the portrayal of Jesus' punishment is excessive, Mel Gibson's movie is reverential, iconographical, and largely traditional. There are some brilliant moments in this movie; I especially enjoyed Gibson's juxtaposition of stages in the Passion with flashbacks of Jesus' life and ministry. It is groundbreaking for its Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin dialogue, even if the Romans in Palestine spoke Greek and not Latin. more...

10. Prince of Egypt
Although it takes some (unnecessary) creative license with the Bible, as most Bible movies do, Dreamworks has, in my opinion, succeeded with this animated adaptation. The burning bush and angel of death scenes are particularly well done. more...

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