Throughout History, the story of Jesus has been the topic of many great movies. Several great actors have played the character of Jesus in their own unique ways. These movies are food for the soul and entertaining at the same time.
However, there is a great debate among religious groups over the factual accuracy of these films. So, which Jesus Movie is the most accurate? This is an open-ended question, and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Here are some of the most famous Jesus movies to have appeared on the big screen.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
The 1977 classic starring Robert Powell is one of the most popular Jesus movies to date. Franco Zeffirelli, the director, wanted a mystical stare coming from Jesus’s eyes. That mystical stare couldn’t be exuded any better than by Robert Powell’s big blue unblinking peepers.
It wasn’t just the gaze. His demeanor was so convincing that the cast and crew on the sets would immediately stop swearing when Powell would roam the sets during coffee breaks. This is a star-studded film with big names like Sir Ralph Richardson and Anthony Quinn.
The movie shows Jesus as a humble, soft-spoken, kind, and occasionally stern man. Jesus of Nazareth is the perfect depiction of the customs and traditions that existed in Jewish societies. It also sheds light on the patriarchal values, as well as slut-shaming, which was the norm in those days of political incorrectness. Jesus, on the other hand, was completely opposed to the zeitgeist.
He was forgiving and compassionate, and he also encouraged sinners to repent, never to sin again. The movie showcases the resurrection of Jesus and his last meeting with his disciples after his Father in Heaven was reconciled to the world. Before ascending to the heavens, he comforts his followers, and assigns them the task of going like lambs among wolves, to make disciples of all nations. He promises them that he will stay by their side till the end of time.
Passion of the Christ (2004)
The 2004 classic Passion of the Christ created a huge buzz in the film world. The movie is directed by none other than the great Mel Gibson, while the character of Jesus is executed by Jim Caviezel. The movie has a few scenes of lightness, but mostly, it is about Jesus being betrayed, beaten, and tortured by the Roman soldiers.
The torture scenes are bloody, gory, and not for the faint-hearted. There is also a demonic side to the movie. On several occasions throughout the movie, Jesus is seen encountering Satan in person. His first interaction with Satan takes place in the Garden while Jesus is praying on the ground. Satan tries to corrupt his mind in an attempt to make him go astray.
To scare Jesus, Satan also sets a snake on him, which Jesus crushes under his soles. However, Satan also appears in the most ominous fashion when Jesus is being lashed, whipped, and caned in a pool of his own blood. Only this time, he carries an ugly hairy baby that turns around to give Jesus a malevolent grin. The scene is very disturbing and enough to give you goosebumps.
In another scene, Satan penetrates into the mind of one Jesus’s disciples who sold Jesus to the guards – Judas. Judas sees strange visions. He even sees the blemished faces of children who come over to comfort him through his suffering.
Unable to deal with his regrets and these demonic visions, he hangs himself from a tree and dies. A rotting donkey corpse is also shown while Judas commits suicide. It’s no wonder that it’s the highest-grossing R-rated American film.
Mel Gibson has said that he will come up with a second part to the movie “The Resurrection.” This movie will shed light on what Jesus went through while he was dead.
Released in 2016, Risen has a very compelling storyline. This movie delves deeper into the aftermath of the crucifixion of Jesus. The aftermath is lived by a Roman soldier. The procurator, Pontius Pilate, strictly orders the soldier to guard the tomb where Jesus rests.
He didn’t want his followers to go inside the tomb, for he feared that Jesus’s followers would steal his body and fake a resurrection which would lead to political and civil unrest in the land. Sadly for the procurator, things don’t go according to plan.
From there, Clavius the soldier sets out on a mission to track Jesus’s followers and recover the missing body. The sets and the cinematography are all picture-perfect, and they received heavy appreciation among film circles.
Surprisingly, the idea of a roman soldier seeing the light is not a new one in American cinema. This idea has been adapted on numerous occasions in the past. Some common examples are The Robe (1953), The Inquiry (1987), as well as its 2006 remake.
Mary Magdalene (2018)
Mary Magdalene is a character from the Bible who is seen as a prostitute and an adulteress. Luckily, this movie doesn’t talk about any of the negative connotations attached to Mary. Instead, it portrays her as a simple woman who follows Jesus, just like his male disciples.
The Character of Mary is played by the beautiful Rooney Mara. She is struggling with the ordinariness of her life when she comes face to face with the preacher from Nazareth, and devotes her life to his work.
It talks about the pressure being built on the most sought-after rabbi in Judea. The movie also sheds light upon the character of Judas, who wants Jesus to lead the rebellion, as well as the dispute between Mary and Peter, which arises out of their differences of opinion over Jesus’s legacy.
The Final Word
It is hard to tell whether or not any of these movies are historically and factually accurate. It is better to watch these movies like opinions rather than manifestos. However, if you’re looking to watch a religious movie with your family or parishioners, you can’t go wrong with any of these suggestions.