Top 10 Biblical Movies

Script written by Joe Jatcko. Say your prayers. In honor of the release of Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" on March 28th, 2014, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 Bible movies. For this list, we’re focusing on movies that either take their inspiration from or follow characters or events featured in the Bible. Whether it’s a vast epic, a fictional retelling or a satirical comedy, these Bible movies are immortal. Special thanks to our users John Paul Gutierrez, Andrew A. Dennison, Jaime Enrique Gutierrez Pérez, JosephT, wdessonv@slu.edu, Jackson DeStefano, Quetzal00358, James P Bodden, Quetzal00358, Azim Abou-Khalil, Philip Folta and Walter Johnson for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Credits
Tags
Comments

You must login to access this feature

Transcript
Script written by Joe Jatcko.

Top 10 Bible Movies


Say your prayers. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Bible movies.

For this list, we’re focusing on movies that either take their inspiration from or follow characters or events featured in the Bible. Whether it’s a vast epic, a fictional retelling or a satirical comedy, these Bible movies are immortal.

#10: “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965)

This Oscar-nominated George Stevens film focuses on the life of Christ, from his birth, to his betrayal and crucifixion and finally to his resurrection. Showcasing a who’s who of 1960s’ A-listers in starring roles, cameos and everything in between, the film is a sweeping epic, with Charlton Heston, Martin Landau, Sidney Poitier and even John Wayne helping to bring the Bible’s characters to life. Though some critics derided the film for its star-studded cast, suggesting it distracted from the plot; it’s still the greatest story ever told.

#9: “David and Bathsheba” (1951)

Starring Gregory Peck and Susan Heyward, Henry King’s “David and the Bathsheba” ushered in the decade that gave the world the greatest biblical epics of all time. Inspired by the Old Testament, this film watches King David adjust to life as a monarch and form a connection with one of his soldiers’ wives, thus incurring God’s wrath. This tale of disgrace and redemption connected with audiences enough to make it 1951’s highest-grossing film, earning it a reputation as one of the great Hollywood spectacles of its time.

#8: “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1973)

This retelling of the week leading to Jesus’ crucifixion puts a modern and musical twist on the Biblical tale. Originally written as a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, “Superstar” plays up the struggle between Jesus and the Apostle Judas, which ultimately leads to Jesus’ death. Although undeniably a product of the ‘70s, the film’s gorgeous cinematography and timeless musical numbers still hold up today. Plus, with the hair, the sandals, and all the peace talk, it proves Jesus was the original hippie.

#7: “Noah” (2014)

Though some religious groups were not pleased with Darren Aronofsky’s version of the story of Noah and his Ark, critics were more kind in their appraisal. Ushering in a new era of effects-heavy, and even more visually stunning biblical epics, “Noah” features Russell Crowe as titular character – and few others could capture the grandeur as he does. Beside him is a strong supporting cast that helps turn this bible story into a thrilling tale of deception, monsters and human virtue.

#6: “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)

Sometimes the messiah just wants to be left alone. The film “so funny it was banned in Norway” was actually banned a lot of places for its purportedly “blasphemous” depiction of Jesus’ next door neighbor, Brian, who is mistaken for the true messiah. With the Pythons at their satirical best, “Life of Brian” is a whip-smart commentary on religious fanaticism, and is considered by some to be one of the greatest comedies of all time.

#5: “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)

While most films on our list incited debate, Mel Gibson’s depiction of Jesus’ last 12 hours raised the stakes. Controversial for its extreme violence, questionable historical accuracy and purported anti-Semitism, “The Passion” also found staunch supporters due to its attempts to depict the unabashed extent of Jesus’ suffering in a way no film has done before or since. Despite this, and the fact that it’s told entirely in Latin and Aramaic, it was a commercial smash and the highest grossing film ever in a language other than English.

#4: “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988)

If realism isn’t your thing, we recommend Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Christ’s sacrifice, based on the fictional Nikos Kazantzakis novel. Directed by one of the more provocative filmmakers of his time, “Temptation” is a distinct departure from the tales in the Bible. It sees Willem Dafoe’s Jesus conflicted with his role as the Son of God, and – at times – angry about the sacrifices he must make. With Harvey Keitel as Judas the Betrayer and Barbara Hershey as the temptress Mary Magdalene, this one’s not gospel – but it is entertaining.

#3: “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)

This star-studded 1998 DreamWorks production may’ve been directed at kids, but its seamless integration of traditional and computer animation breathed new life into the Book of Exodus and the story of Moses. While it features thrilling sequences, “Prince of Egypt” is also a study in complexity as it deals with intricate themes and turns the Biblical figure of Moses into a relatable protagonist. With its Oscar-winning theme as its soundtrack, this classic cartoon was – for a time – the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film, and it’s easy to see why.

#2: “Ben-Hur” (1959)

Set in biblical times, and featuring several guest appearances from Christ himself, William Wyler’s epic tale of a Jewish slave who defied the Romans set the record for Academy Awards won by a single picture at 11. With Charlton Heston as the title character, Wyler takes the audience on a journey across the Roman world, showing a cross-section of all strata of society, and culminating in one of the most exciting and well-executed action sequences in film history.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Samson and Delilah” (1949)
- “Quo Vadis” (1951)
- “The Robe” (1953)
- “King of Kings” (1961)
- “The Bible: In the Beginning…” (1966)

#1: “The Ten Commandments” (1956)

Three years before he made “Ben-Hur,” the stalwart of Biblical epics, Charlton Heston, partnered with legendary director Cecile B. DeMille for what would ultimately be the latter’s final masterpiece. Though it sometimes deviates from the Bible story, the narrative tracks Moses from his time a baby floating on the Nile to him leading the Jews from Egypt, to his smashing of the Ten Commandments. This Biblical tale is brought to vivid life with Academy Award-winning special effects, cementing its spot as a cinematic landmark.

Do you agree with our list? Which bible movies make you want to shout hallelujah? For more epic top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Download

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More Top 10