Home Video Picks & Passes 04.30.17

A look at some of the best Jesus movies.

The Miracle Maker
The Miracle Maker (photo: BBC)

Life and Passion of Jesus Christ (1905) — PICK

The King of Kings (1927) — PICK

The Miracle Maker (2000) — PICK

Looking for life-of-Jesus movies beyond Jesus of Nazareth? Here are some suggestions (not including The Passion of the Christ, both because it’s too obvious and because it’s not really a “life-of-Christ film”). First, true cinephiles shouldn’t overlook one of the earliest widely available Jesus movies and a Vatican film-list honoree, the 1905 silent Life and Passion of Jesus Christ.

With brief, pageant-like vignettes composed to resemble sacred art, it’s a meditative cinematic experience with my favorite Ascension sequence in all of cinema.

Second, fans of Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epics, particularly The Ten Commandments, should definitely check out what I believe is his most truly religious film, the silent The King of Kings, starring H.B. Warner as Jesus Christ.

Highlights include a powerful depiction of the casting out of Mary Magdalene’s seven demons, here identified with the seven deadly sins.

Finally, I can’t say it often enough: The Jesus movie for absolutely everybody, The Miracle Maker, with Ralph Fiennes voicing Jesus, is simple enough for children but sophisticated enough for theology students. Our family watches it every Easter without fail. If you see nothing else I recommend, see this. I’m serious.


Caveat Spectator: Life and Passion of Jesus Christ: Mild Passion violence. The King of Kings: Restrained Passion violence; references to adultery and harlotry; mild innuendo. The Miracle Maker: Restrained Passion violence; some intense scenes depicting evil spirits and demonic possession. All fine for at least older kids.