Jesus at the movies

Crystal, who blogs at Perspective, had a post recently that referred to the 1999 TV movie Jesus. This got me thinking that I still regard Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (with scripting by Anthony Burgess, based in part on his book Man of Nazareth) as the definitive film adaptation Jesus’s life. I also enjoyed Scorsese’s Last Tempation of Christ, and think that it’s actually more reverent than its reputation would lead you to believe. (Though I still have a hard time with Harvey Keitel as Judas.) If it’s classic Hollywood epic you’re after, George Stevens’ The Greatest Story Ever Told is hard to beat. (Charlton Heston as John the Baptist! John Wayne as the centurion at the foot of the cross!) There was also the 2003 movie The Gospel of John, which, if I recall correctly, was a word-for-word retelling of the fourth gospel (and starred Henry Ian Cusick–a.k.a. Lost‘s Desmond–as Jesus!). And who could forget Mel Gibson’s notorious Passion of the Christ, which I have to admit I found powerful, even if troubling in several respects.

What’s your favorite portrayal of Jesus on film?

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