Whether you are religious or not, there is no denying that Jesus Christ is one of the most influential and important figures in human history. His life and teachings have inspired billions of people worldwide, and have been the subject of many movies over the years. The crucifixion is undeniably the most significant event in the short but meaningful life of Jesus.
In this blog post, we will take a look at 10 of the best movies about Jesus Christ. We’ve ranked these Biblical epics based on an aggregate of viewers’ ratings.
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth
“Risen” is a 2016 historical drama about the aftermath of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. With a budget of $20 million, “Risen” is a 2016 American epic biblical drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds.
The story follows Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a high-ranking Roman soldier, and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) who are assigned to investigate the mystery of what happened to the body of Jesus Christ (Cliff Curtis) after the crucifixion. Clavius is initially skeptical, but his investigation leads him to believe that Christ may have truly risen from the dead. The film also stars Peter Firth, Peter Mullan, and Maria Bello.
“Risen” premiered in theaters on February 19, 2016, and received mixed reviews from critics. However, the film was a box office success, grossing over $46 million worldwide.
Despite its flaws, “Risen” is a well-made and engaging film that tells a compelling story of faith and doubt. The film’s strong cast, impressive production values, and thought-provoking themes make it worth watching.
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Director: George Stevens
Starring: Max von Sydow, Charlton Heston, Dorothy McGuire, John Wayne
“The Greatest Story Ever Told” is a 1965 American epic film directed by George Stevens. It is a retelling of the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, based primarily on the Gospel of Luke with additional material from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John.
Featuring an all-star cast, including Charlton Heston, Max von Sydow, and Sidney Poitier, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” is a must-watch for any fan of Jesus movies. John Wayne even makes a cameo appearance as a Roman soldier who proclaims Jesus to be the son of God after his crucifixion.
The film was a box office disappointment upon its initial release but has since garnered a cult following. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but did not win any.
Director: Richard Fleischer
Starring: Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, and Vittorio Gassman
“Barabbas” is a 1961 historical drama film directed by Richard Fleischer. The film stars Anthony Quinn in the titular role and is a must-watch for any fan of epic historical dramas. “Barabbas” is based on the novel of the same name by Nobel Prize-winning author Pär Lagerkvist.
The film tells the story of Barabbas, a thief, and murderer who is spared crucifixion when Pontius Pilate orders that Jesus Christ be crucified in his place. Barabbas is haunted by guilt and begins to follow Jesus, eventually becoming one of his disciples.
“Barabbas” was a critical and commercial success, grossing $18 million at the box office. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won three Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Monica Bellucci
“The Passion of the Christ” is a 2004 American epic historical Jesus film directed by Mel Gibson. It was written by Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald, and starred Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Maia Morgenstern as the Virgin Mary, and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene.
The show depicts the Passion of Jesus largely according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It also draws on pious accounts such as the Friday of Sorrows along with other devotional writings, such as the reputed visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich.
The movie covers primarily the final twelve hours of Jesus’ life, beginning with the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and ending with his crucifixion. It depicts Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, where Jesus is convicted, mocked, and tortured, then sentenced to death by crucifixion.
“The Passion of the Christ” was released in North America on February 25, 2004, and distributed by Newmarket Films. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was a huge financial success, grossing over $612 million worldwide.
The movie is the highest-grossing religious film of all time and the highest-grossing independent film of all time. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning Best Cinematography.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Director: Norman Jewison
Starring: Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman
This musical telling of the last seven days in the life of Jesus Christ was a huge hit when it was released in 1973. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Score and was nominated for six Golden Globes. The movie’s soundtrack album also went to number one on the Billboard charts.
This musical Jesus film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock opera tells the story of Jesus Christ’s final week leading up to his crucifixion. The movie was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $20 million on a budget of just $3 million.
“Jesus Christ Superstar” is widely considered to be one of the best films about Jesus. It offers a unique and compelling portrayal of the last week of his life, told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot. If you’re looking for a film that captures the true essence of Jesus, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a must-watch.
The Bible (2013)
Director: Crispin Reece, Tony Mitchell, Christopher Spencer
Starring: Diogo Morgado, Jake Canuso, Darwin Shaw
“The Bible” is a 2013 mini-series that tells the story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The series, which aired on the History Channel, was a huge rating success, averaging 11 million viewers per episode. It was also nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards.
The series was produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who are known for their work on the television series “Touched by an Angel and Survivor.” “The Bible” was one of the highest-rated cable television mini-series of all time, with over 100 million viewers.
The series received mixed reviews from critics but was generally praised for its production values and entertainment value.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey
“The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988) is a movie directed by Martin Scorsese and based on a novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis. It tells the story of Jesus Christ (played by Willem Dafoe) as he goes through his final days before being crucified.
The movie was controversial at the time of its release, due to its depiction of Jesus as a human being with doubts and fears, as opposed to a divine being. Nonetheless, it is widely considered to be one of the best movies about Jesus Christ.
It received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its boldness and others criticizing its blasphemy. It was a commercial failure, grossing only $8 million against its $6 million budget. However, this Jesus movie has since gained a cult following.
The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John (2003)
Director: Philip Saville
Starring: Henry Ian Cusick, Daniel Kash, Stuart Bunce, Christopher Plummer
This 2003 film is a word-for-word adaptation of the Gospel of John, one of the four canonical gospels in the Bible’s New Testament. The movie was shot in Morocco and Canada and features an all-star cast, including Henry Ian Cusick and Christopher Plummer.
“The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John” is a powerful and moving movie that brings the story of Jesus Christ to life. It is narrated by John, and we see the events of Christ’s life through his eyes. The movie is beautifully shot and features some amazing performances.
“The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John” is a must-see for anyone interested in the life of Jesus Christ. It is a powerful and moving film that will leave you inspired.
Director: William Wyler
Starring: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet
“Ben-Hur” is a 1959 American epic historical drama movie directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and starring Charlton Heston as the title character. A remake of the 1925 silent film with the same name, Ben-Hur was adapted from Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” The screenplay is credited to Karl Tunberg but includes contributions from Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Fry.
It went on to win a record-breaking eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, making it one of only three films to date to achieve this feat. It also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture — Drama, making it one of only a handful of films to win both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Picture.
The movie tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur (Heston), a fictional Jewish prince from Jerusalem who is falsely accused of attempted murder by his adopted Roman brother Messala (Stephen Boyd). Stripped of his title and sent into slavery, Judah becomes a charioteer and wins several races before his eventual return to Jerusalem. There, he finds that his mother and sister have been imprisoned by Messala, who now seeks revenge.
Judah takes part in the climactic chariot race, in which he defeats Messala and is reunited with his family. The film’s chariot sequence is widely regarded as one of the most influential and iconic moments in cinema history.
The movie was released to theaters on November 18, 1959, where it was a massive commercial success, grossing over $74 million at the box office (the equivalent of $646 million in 2018). In 2004, the great movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
“Ben-Hur” was remade in 2016 with Jack Huston in the lead role, but it was not as successful as the original.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Starring: Robert Powell, Olivia Hussey, Laurence Olivier, James Farentino, James Earl Jones, Anne Bancroft, Peter Ustinov
One of the most highly-rated and greatest movies of all time is the 1977 TV mini-series, “Jesus of Nazareth.” This Jesus movie is a passion project of director Franco Zeffirelli and scriptwriter Anthony Burgess.
The movie contains an all-star cast, including Olivia Hussey, Christopher Plummer, Laurence Olivier, James Mason, and James Earl Jones. The movie covers Jesus’ life from his birth to his crucifixion and resurrection.
The six-hour series depicts the life of Jesus Christ from his birth to his crucifixion. It stars Robert Powell as Jesus and was a huge rating success when it aired, becoming one of the most-watched programs in history.
The series is widely considered to be one of the best cinematic portrayals of Jesus Christ and has been praised for its Biblical account accuracy and Zeffirelli’s masterful direction. If you’re looking for the best movie about the life of Christ, this is the TV mini-series for you.
The Miracle Maker (2000)
Even though this animated story of Jesus Christ wasn’t a big critical or financial hit, it does merit a mention since most viewers think this is one of the best movies about Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth (voiced by Ralph Fiennes) is a skilled carpenter who decides to leave it all behind to spread the word of God. He functions as a preacher and faith healer, gaining several followers along the way.
Judas Iscariot is fixated on a Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire and views Jesus as somebody who could lead this revolution and emancipate the Jews. Mary Magdalene is a woman who has been suffering from hallucinations and sees Jesus as the man who can relieve her suffering.
As the news of Jesus spreads, Herod Antipas and High Priest Caiaphas begin to see him as a threat. When he visits Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate – the Roman Empire governor of Judea – will have to make a decision about his fate.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
For pure entertainment and comedic value, those not offended by satire should give Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” a shot.
“Life of Brian” is a British comedy directed by Terry Jones and starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin. The show tells the story of Brian Cohen, a man who is born on the same day as Jesus Christ and is often mistaken for the Messiah.
The movie was controversial upon its release, with some religious groups claiming that it was blasphemous. However, it has since been praised by many as one of the greatest comedy movies of all time.
If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy about Jesus Christ, “Life of Brian” is essential viewing.
The Jesus Film (1979)
“The Jesus Film” is a 1979 American movie directed by Peter Sykes and starring Brian Deacon as Jesus Christ. It is a dramatization of the life of Christ based on the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus’ parents, Mary (Rivka Neuman) and Joseph (Joseph Shiloach), have a great influence on his early life. However, as he becomes a young adult Jesus starts to become aware of his true purpose. His apostles are then gathered together one by one, including Simon Peter (Niko Nitai). Eventually, Jesus must endure his crucifixion but is resurrected afterward.
The movie has been praised for its accuracy and portrayal of Jesus Christ. If you’re looking for a movie that accurately depicts the life of Christ, “The Jesus Film” is a great choice.
King of Kings (1961)
“King of Kings” is a 1961 American epic movie made by Samuel Bronston Productions and distributed by Columbia Pictures that starred Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus Christ and Siobhán McKenna as the Virgin Mary.
The movie follows Jesus’ life from his birth, through his ministry and teachings, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus as told in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
“King of Kings” had moderate commercial success, grossing over $14 million at the box office. However, many felt that it was overly long and that Hunter was too blond and blue-eyed for playing Jesus.
Despite its mixed reception, the movie has remained popular over the years and is considered a classic of religious cinema. It is often shown on television around Easter time.
Mary Magdalene (2018)
The 2018 movie “Mary Magdalene” tells the story of one of the most important and controversial figures in Christian history. It was directed by Garth Davis and stars Rooney Mara as Mary Magdalene.
The movie begins with Mary living a life of simplicity as a member of a Jewish community in first-century Judea. Though she is a faithful Jew, Mary is drawn to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (played by Joaquin Phoenix). She soon becomes one of his most ardent followers, and when he is crucified, she is the only one of his disciples who stays with him until the end.
After the crucifixion, Mary witnesses the resurrection of Jesus and is the first person to see him alive again. This event changes her life forever, and she goes on to become one of the most important figures in Christianity.
“Mary Magdalene” is powerful and moving while telling an important story. It is sure to provoke discussion and debate, but it is also a movie that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
What are your thoughts on these bible stories? What is your favorite movie about Jesus Christ?
More Movie Suggestions from BuddyTV
Looking for more great movie suggestions about your favorite topic? Check out the following BuddyTV lists:
- 13 Movies About The Apocalypse For You
- Best Movies About Redemption Of All Time
- Best Movies About Giants That You Should Not Miss
- 20 Best Mel Gibson Movies of All Time
Senior Editor, BuddyTV