I grew up in a home with no TV, and we never went to the movies. But our church would sometimes have movie nights. The movies told the stories of missionaries or the story of Jesus. These memories are highlights from life.
I remember one night laying in bed after I had watched a movie showing the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. I was crying thinking… Jesus did that for me. He gave his life to me. I can only give my life to him. There is no other choice.
Showing films about Jesus to your family and friends is a great way to impact their lives spiritually. The story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told and deserves to be told amazingly.
This Easter season invite some friends to your home and try some of these movies to bring risen Christ to share the gospel with your friends and family.
Ben Hur (The Tale of the Christ) (1959) (2016)
The first movie I remember watching as a child was Ben Hur. I watched it with my mother. It was the 1959 version of the film. While the movie is not specifically about Jesus, it tells the story of a Jew living in Judaea facing the rivalry of a childhood friend.
Through his eyes we see Jesus. We meet Jesus in his humanity. Charlton Heston stars in this movie, and he is possibly the greatest actor of all time.
I remember the moment when Judah’s Mother and sister are healed from a leper. It is the moment of Jesus’ Death. As the rain pours, the earth shakes, and the light turns to dark we see Jesus on the cross, and his blood pours out into the rain.
The women are healed. I remember being a very young girl, watching this scene and my mother began to sing there is a fountain filled with blood. To this day, when I hear that song sung, I picture this scene from the movie.
There are three movies I recommend with different release dates.
The original 1959 was until very recently the most the Oscar Winning Picture of all time winning many Academy awards. It is four hours long and beautifully mastered. If you enjoy old movies, this is one you can not miss.
There is a cartoon version that is available on YouTube. I watched this with my children when they were little. A great version of the story.
There is also a 2016 version, This version with Morgan Freeman stars in this film, and it is very well done. Jack Huston does an amazing job playing Judah Ben-Hur, and the filming is epic. The chariot race is breathtaking.
This film has a star cast, and you will love watching it. While most religious movies are low-budget, this movie was well-produced with a lot of money behind it.
Son of God (2014)
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are amazing movie producers. Everything this couple produces is professionally and beautifully produced. The special effects, the acting, and the cinematography are all top-level.
The movie was filmed in Morocco, creating beautiful realistic scenery that would not be captured on a set in Hollywood. The musical score in this movie was produced by Oscar Winer Hans Zimmer and is a beautiful, emotional soundtrack.
I have this soundtrack saved on my Amazon Prime music playlist. The song Through His Eyes is the perfect song to fall asleep to.
This movie shows the life of Jesus from his birth, through his teachings, the Passover, his death, and then his resurrection. The parts of the life of Christ Mark Burnett chose for this movie show the humanity and God nature of Jesus Christ.
The scene of Jesus walking on water is beautifully produced, the triumphant entry into Jerusalem was powerful, and the crucifixion scene does not hide the brutality of Jesus’ Death.
Diogo Morgado is the actor that plays Jesus in this movie, and he does an amazing job. However, in my opinion, Roma Downey’s portrayal of the Virgin Mary is the best version of Mary I have seen in any movie. As a mother watching the movie, I feel the pain Mary felt watching her son die.
A.D The Bible Continues (2015)
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett continue their work with this TV series, A.D. The Bible continues. It is a continuation of their T.V. Series The Bible, which I also recommend. I am a homeschool mom, and I used both the Bible and the A.D.
The Bible Continues as my Bible Curriculum for my children. They loved the break from bookwork, and both of these series are portrayed in a way that captivates attention.
Roma does not play the virgin Mary This time; Mary is played by Greta Scacchi. Greta does a good job, although I still enjoyed Roma’s portrayal of Mary personally. If you are a fan of Fuller House, he plays Kimmy GIbbler’s husband in the Full House Spin-off.
The series starts with the death and resurrection of Jesus as told in the last chapter of the gospel of John. We see the death, the resurrection, and the aftermath as the follower of Jesus learns of his resurrection and experiences the birth of the church.
There are some creative ideas added to this story that we don’t find in the Bible, such as family members of the disciples, the reaction of Herod and his wife to the stories of Jesus’ resurrection, and the reaction of a Roman soldier and a Roman Centurion to the death of Christ.
While only the first episode tells the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, his story continues as his followers take the words, he gave them and live out the truths as the Church is birthed into existence.
The Gospel of John (2011)
In this film, we hear the voice of Christopher Plummer who narrators the story of the life of Jesus Christ. Christopher Plummer is my all-time favorite actor; we all fell in love with him as Captain Van Trap in The Sound of Music. He passed away in 2021, and so this is one of his last pieces of work.
The Gospel of John is the book of the Bible I recommend when to new believers or people who are searching. And this movie uses the Bible as its script. The film uses the American Bible Society’s Good News Bible and is a word-perfect adaptation.
This use of the Bible as the script makes this version of Jesus film different than other movies. Since it is a word-for-word adaption, the narration is essential to the movement of the film, so Christopher Plummer as the narrator makes this a film to watch.
The scenes of Jesus Praying are powerful and remind me of the importance of powerful and effective prayer.
If you have a friend or family member who wants to learn more about Jesus, but they are not good at reading, or enjoy reading, this film is a good alternative. This movie is truly a visual Bible.
You can not talk about movies portraying Jesus without mentioning The Chosen.
The Chosen is multi-season series that can be found on the Free App. We see the life of Jesus of Nazareth through the eyes of his disciples, and we fall in love with Him, the way his followers did. This is the best betrayal of Jesus in my opinion.
Jonathan Roumie’s portrayal of Jesus is captured in the way he speaks, and walks, but especially the way he looks. Jonathan can capture love, tenderness, kindness, and wisdom in the way he looks at the other characters, and I think that is why his portrait of Jesus is the best one available.
Jonathan Roumie is not the only amazing actor in this series. Each actor portraying a follower of Jesus can capture us and bring us along, making the viewer feel as though they are also seeing Jesus.
The followers of Jesus evolve throughout the seasons. The viewers feel the transformation of men and women who were touched by Jesus. Dallas Jenkins is the producer of the show and is the son of the writer Jerry Jenkins who wrote the Left Behind series.
He raised funds for this series through crowdfunding, raising 12 million dollars from over 125,000 people. For anyone who has been involved in crowdfunding this is an unbelievable success.
I found this series during the lockdowns when churches were closed. I found it gave me hope. I know I was not alone.
The Nativity Story (2006)
Watching The Nativity Story will be your new Christmas tradition. Kid-friendly movies are important and this one tells the story of Joseph and Mary and the events that led to Jesus’ birth. Because much of this part of the story is not found in the Bible there are many parts added creativity.
Some parts are added based on what we know from History, or what most likely would have happened in that period. The movie is very historically accurate and whoever was in charge of the set and costumes did an exceptional job.
Family movies are always great to find and as a family-friendly movie that will capture the attention of your younger children, the Magi offers some comic relief to the movie, so your children will enjoy this addition.
If you are looking for a way to add the reminder of The Reason for The Season into your Christmas traditions, try this. When you are finished decorating the tree, snuggle up for a family sleepover with the lights of the Christmas tree.
Pray with your children, then play this movie, reminding your family why we are celebrating the story of the first Christmas. This is a movie for the whole family.
The Passion of The Christ (2004)
While the Nativity Story is a Family- Friendly movie, the Passion of Christ is an Adult only movie. This Mel Gibson film tells the story of the crucifixion of Jesus in great detail. Jim Caviezel, who I know from the T.V. series Person of Interest, plays Jesus in this film.
His portrayal of the death of Jesus on the Cross is something I could not finish watching. I am a more sensitive person to film, probably because I grew up without a TV in our home. My husband went to see this film without me because he knew I would not be able to handle it.
So, my thoughts about the movie come from him. He told me when he went to see the movie people were heading into the movie with bags full of popcorn, settling into their seats, excited to see the movie. The movie was so powerful, that as it ended there was silence.
No one moved. The lights turned on and as my husband looked around the theatre most people still had full bags of popcorn; from the very start of the film the powerful message, and the passion of Jesus left the audience paralyzed.
I saw as my husband came home from the theater that he didn’t want to talk about the movie until the next day. It was as if he had seen Jesus die. I saw a change in my husband after that day. A new fire lit. A new desire to draw near to Jesus.
For those who feel the fire has grown cold, this is a movie to remind you why we serve Jesus. He is the King of Kings, and He is our savior.
The Case for Christ (2017)
In this film we are not watching a movie about the life of Jesus, but the question of who Jesus Christ is. While the other movies were Bible Stories, this is a story of how Jesus moves in the world today. This is a true story with the Christian themes found in apologetics.
This movie takes place in Chicago in the 1980s and tells the story of Lee and Leslie Strobel. While not all the small details in the movie are accurate to the story of the Strobels, the story is based on the real lives of a couple being torn apart by religious differences.
Leslie becomes a Christian and Lee an atheist sets out to destroy his wife’s faith. Lee is a reporter and uses his skills as a reporter to once and for all prove that Jesus was not God and did not raise from the dead.
He knows if the resurrection of Jesus can be disproven then Christianity would crash and burn. However, as Lee works to disprove his wife’s faith he is faced with the reality of the Gospel.
This is a great movie for the skeptic in your life, but it is also a good movie for your family, to help them secure the foundation of their faith while giving them answers to the questions their friends will have for them as they share their faith.
I ran a Bible Study for teenage girls in my home. In 2017 when this movie came out, I had the girls over to my home to watch it. They all loved it, and it led to a lot of great discussions. We followed the movie up with some YouTube videos of Lee Strobel teaching apologetics.
Movies that are well-made, and also have a message of truth are the best movies for our teenagers to watch.
Jesus Revolution (2023)
This is another movie that doesn’t tell the story of Jesus but tells the story of people searching for answers. Who is Jesus? Does Jesus have any impact on our lives today? Is Jesus relevant today? This is a true story.
I went to see this movie in the theaters a few months ago with my husband, and we both loved it. I grew up in a pastor’s home, in a very traditional church, and connected with the message of the story. I can see why it was a hit at the box office.
This movie tells the story of four people: Lonnie Frisbee, Chuck Smith, Greg, and Cathy Laurie. Lonnie is the most controversial character in the movie, and I know people personally who didn’t go to the movie because of who Lonnie Frisbee was.
Lonnie was a man who faced abuse in his childhood, came to Christ as a young man, was used by God to impact the state of California, and then fell into a sinful lifestyle in his later years. He returned to Christ shortly before his death, when he died of Aids he contracted during his years away from Christ.
This movie tells the story of his time when God was using him to impact the state of California, and while there is a hint that Lonnie was heading in a bad direction, the film does not talk about his time living away from God.
Lonnie is played by Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the series The Chosen. In the story, Lonnie shows the audience the love, forgiveness, kindness, and tenderness of Jesus.
His character asks the audience to be open to the idea that Jesus was relevant today and was the answer to the questions society has about life.
Chuck Smith is played by Kelsey Grammar and is my favorite character in the film. At first, I thought the movie was sending the message that old pastors and the way the church was being done were old-fashioned and the church needed to drop them.
But what we see is that Chuck becomes open to spreading the love of Jesus to the hippie crowd other churches were rejecting. But Chuck guards the gospel and does not allow the message of truth to be changed, watered down, or neglected.
While the church is filling up with hippies, Chuck preaches the Gospel, leading hundreds of teenagers, men, and women to Christ.
Greg and Cathy are two teenagers looking for hope and truth in all the wrong places. Getting wrapped up in drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll. But when they meet Lonnie and Chuck, they eventually meet Jesus Christ who changes their lives.
Their baptism is the best scene of the movie, and I hope will inspire more teens to be baptized.
If you are looking for a movie for your next Movie Night this is the movie I recommend.