Jesus in the movies

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The Passion is the latest in a long line of films about Jesus, stretching back over a century. The 100 plus years since the birth of cinema have seen Jesus portrayed over 200 times on the screen, and there are no signs of things starting to slow down. If anything, recent depictions have grown more and more diverse: Jesus was played by a puppet in The Miracle Maker (1999), and as a modern day African in Son of Man (2006). Here's a rundown of the most famous "lives of Jesus" to have graced our screens.

 King of Kings
 The Gospel of Matthew

The first Hollywood movie in which Jesus has a speaking part (1961)

Made by an Italian Marxist using non-professional actors (1964)

 Jesus Christ Superstar
 Jesus of Nazareth

The story of Jesus’ death reworked with electric guitars (1973)

A reverential portrait of Jesus that was iconic in its time (1977)

 The Last Temptation of Christ

Said to be the most-watched movie of all time (1979)

The most controversial film about Jesus, by Martin Scorsese (1988)

 The Passion of the Christ

A human retelling of the story of Jesus in a TV mini-series (1999)

Mel Gibson’s box office triumph on the violent death of Jesus (2004)

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About this module

It’s “the greatest story ever told”, according to one famous movie title, and among these films is the alleged most watched film of all time. In these pages we review some of the most significant Jesus movies made over the past 50 years.

Written by Matt Page

Categories: Creativity, Biographical, Sound & vision,


Module contents

arrow Introduction

arrow King of Kings 1961

arrow The Gospel of Matthew 1964

arrow Jesus Christ Superstar 1973

arrow Jesus of Nazareth 1977

arrow Jesus 1979

arrow The Last Temptation of Christ 1988

arrow Jesus 1999

arrow The Passion of the Christ 2004

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