With the premier of the movie “Killing Jesus” on National Geographic Chanel receiving over 3.7 million viewers, it got me curious about what movies people watch during Holy Week and Easter.
I took a very unofficial poll with friends and family and the results were:
1. The 10 Commandments – I think most of us grew up watching this every Easter. Charlton Heston will forever be Moses in my mind. One response I got from a friend was: “It always seemed to be on TV during Holy Week growing up, but our bed times were so early we never saw them get out of Egypt.” Spoiler alert – They did!
2. The Passion of the Christ – No surprise here. An absolutely great movie and so moving. When my husband and I saw it at the theater we weren’t able to speak for hours. It hits you so deeply. A great choice to prepare you for Good Friday. Not family friendly for little ones though.
3. Jesus of Nazareth – Full disclosure here – this is not a movie but a mini- series so you need to put in the time commitment! Worth the effort though as one friend said, ” The kids always looked forward to the movie time with the whole family and it generated many questions and good spiritual conversations during the three days to Easter.”
5. Godspell – A modern-day song-and-dance recreation of the Gospel of St. Matthew. I always thought this was a hippy version of the gospel. Great songs and imagery.
6. The Prince of Egypt – Animated version. Great for kids.
7. The Greatest Story Ever Told – The title says it all – How else do you describe the life of Christ? An epic film but you better settle in as it is 225 minutes long.
Now to some of the more unusual responses.
8. Lilies of the Field – Who can forget Sidney Poitier as a traveling handyman who becomes the answer to the prayers of nuns who wish to build a chapel in the desert. Catch this video of Sidney Poitier singing Amen. I dare you not to smile and sing along!
9. Quo Vadis – The movie or the Mini-series. I have never seen either but the description is: A fierce Roman general becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.
10. For Greater Glory -A chronicle of the Cristeros War (1926-1929); a war by the people of Mexico against the atheistic Mexican government. Not an outright religious movie but a story of bravery and a fight for religious freedom. Given our current events in the news lately, this is something we all need to be thinking and talking about.
11 The Robe – One of my personal favorites. A Roman official who was present at Christ’s crucifixion wins Jesus’ garment. He becomes tormented at the memory of the man and his death on the cross. He eventually goes on a quest to relieve his torment but find he can only find peace in Jesus.
12. Groundhog Day – This was probably the strangest response. It is the story of a weatherman who has to relive the same day over and over again until he changes his ways. My friend commented: “This is thinking a little out of the box, and its not a religious movie, but Groundhog Day has underlying Easter-related themes.” and another said “I guess I generally like any movie that has “moral to the story.” I like to see the guys in the white hats win!” All good reasons to include it in your Easter movie list.
What is your favorite Easter and Holy Week movie? Share it below in the comments.
Addendum – I haven’t seen the “Killing Jesus” movie yet so I can make no recommendation. They do have an awesome website though! Explore it here.