God or man: 20 films and series about Jesus Christ

For hundreds of years, people tried to imagine what the Savior looked like, content with his descriptions in the Bible, the face on icons, paintings, and their own imagination. Thanks to the cinematography, religious texts appeared with their own eyes, and the image of Jesus of Nazareth was embodied on the screen and received the features of the actors who risked playing him. Dramatic films about Jesus Christ are always watched with interest by believers and atheists, and our list will help you choose the best of them.

Messiah (TV series 2020)

In one of the civil war-torn territories of the modern Middle East, a mysterious stranger appears who influenced the outcome of the battle. The tormented locals see in him the hope of salvation and call him the Messiah. The fame of the miracles performed by the mysterious man spreads around the world and attracts the attention of the CIA. Agent Eva Geller is sent to the scene to sort out the situation. Will the heroine expose the impostor or will she also believe in the appearance of the Messiah?

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Messiah

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:
Mehdi Dehbi, Tomer Sisle, Michelle Monahan…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6


Barabbas (2019)

Russian cinema with an original plot about the search for truth, the hero of which is a man pardoned instead of Jesus Christ, the robber Barabbas. When Pontius Pilate invites the crowd to release one of the condemned, the people, led by the spiritual leaders of the time, choose the criminal, and the religious philosopher goes to the cross. However, having received freedom, Barabbas asks the question – who was the man crucified for him? The infamous Judas helps him figure this out.

Genre:
Drama, crime, biography, history

Actors:
Pavel Krainov, Regina Khakimova, Zalim Mirzoev …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Mary Magdalene (2018)

Mary, a young resident of the Galilean city of Magdala, differed from her peers in her rejection of the traditional female lot, limited by marriage and motherhood. Relatives and countrymen did not understand her aspirations and even suspected of having connections with evil spirits. But the fearless girl continued to search for her calling and found it when she met Jesus of Nazareth. Having believed in the Savior, Mary left her father’s house and followed him to be near both at the crucifixion and at the resurrection, going down in history under the name of the Christian saint Mary Magdalene.

Original title:
Mary Magdalene

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor…

Country:
Great Britain, Australia, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 5.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)

Top films about Jesus Christ and his followers continues the story of the life of the Apostle Paul. Being a respectable old man, but continuing to fulfill a sacred mission, the hero finds himself in prison , where he was imprisoned by the personal order of the Roman emperor Nero. In prison, Paul recalls the long-standing events that turned him from a zealous persecutor of Christians, Saul, into one of the founders of the church in the name of Christ. Behind bars, the apostle is visited by Dr. Luke, who decided to write down this story and gave people the Gospel of Luke.

Original title:
Paul, Apostle of Christ

Genre:
Drama, adventure, biography, history

Actors:
James Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Ben-Hur (2016)

The epic foreign film from blockbuster master Timur Bekmambetov is based on the 19th-century novel Ben-Hur: The Story of Christ, the film adaptation of which won 11 Oscars in 1959. The action of the modern film begins in captured Judea, where the high-born Jew Judas Ben-Hur comes into conflict with the Roman Messala. Refusing to betray his own, the noble Ben-Hur falls into slavery on the galleys. Having miraculously freed himself, the hero returns with a plan of revenge , but not retribution will be the beginning of his spiritual rebirth.

Original title:
Ben-Hur

Genre:
Action, drama, adventure, history

Actors:
Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro, Morgan Freeman…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Risen (2015)

A feature film about Jesus Christ, whose miraculous resurrection Christians celebrate at Easter, and the impact of this event on a variety of characters. The prefect of captured Judea, Pontius Pilate, entrusts the Roman tribune Clavius ​​with an important mission – to find the disappeared body of the crucified Jesus in order to refute the rumors about his resurrection. Clavius ​​decides to pretend to be his own among the disciples of Christ, but, having experienced a spiritual rebirth, he truly becomes one of them.

Original title:
Risen

Genre:
Action, drama, detective, adventure

Actors:
Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Judas Story (2015)

The story of the life and death of Judas Iscariot – the beloved disciple of Christ, who betrayed his teacher for 30 pieces of silver. According to the authors of the film, the most famous traitor was the guide of the initially unknown Savior to the people, and the unseemly act that perpetuated his name was committed with the best of intentions. Judas believed that by sending Jesus Christ to the cross, he helps him fulfill his mission – to die for people.

Original title:
Histoire de Judas

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Nabil Jeduani, Mohamed Aroussi, Rabeh Ammer-Zaymesh …

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Days of Temptation (2015)

The hero of the film, Yeshua of Nazareth, played by Ewan McGregor, wanders alone in the desert, observing a strict fast. He longs to receive answers to his questions from the Almighty, but the heavens are silent. On the hero’s journey, temptations lie in wait – an elderly woman praying for help, who soon turned into a demon, or a local family offering food, water and shelter to the wanderer. Will the Son of God resist the treachery of the devil, or from the heart and out of ignorance the temptations offered?

Original title:
Last Days in the Desert

Genre:
Drama, adventure

Actors:
Ewan McGregor, Susan Gray, Tai Sheridan …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Killing Jesus (2015)

Using historical facts, this film about Jesus shifts the narrative to the premise of his assassination. The political situation of that time made undesirable and even dangerous for the Roman authorities the appearance in Jerusalem of a strange man preaching humility and forgiveness. But did the messiah himself know about his tragic destiny and was he ready for self-sacrifice?

Original title:
Killing Jesus

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Kelsey Grammer, Vernon Dobtcheff, Owen Macken …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 4.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Young Messiah (2015)

Based on biblical stories, the authors of the film tell about the early years of the life of Jesus Christ. Warned in time about the beating of babies, begun on the orders of King Herod, the carpenter Joseph and his wife Mary flee to Egypt , saving the baby Jesus. Upon learning of the death of the adversary, the family decides to return to their native lands. But it turns out that not only Herod wanted the death of the messiah, and in Israel the young Son of God is still in danger.

Original title:
The Young Messiah

Genre:
Fantasy, drama

Actors:
Adam Greaves-Neil, Sarah Lazzaro, Vincent Walsh …

Country:
USA, South Korea

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Son of God (2014)

The epic drama is a full-length version of the Bible series that tells about the life of the Savior from Christmas to the crucifixion and resurrection. The events of the eternal history are carefully transferred to the screen in a traditional but fascinating way. The Son of God, bringing His Word to people, is happy and serene. But when he realizes what kind of death awaits him in atonement for human sins, he does not hide fear, but accepts his fate, which makes his image close and understandable.

Original title:
Son of God

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Diogo Morgado, Greg Hicks, Adrian Schiller…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Bible (mini-series, 2013)

Based on the acts described in the Eternal Book, a massive series about the life, death and ascension of Jesus Christ is worth watching for both believers and atheists. Ten episodes of the film adaptation – from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation – also tell about Noah’s ark, the prophet Moses, who led the Jews through the desert for forty years, and other dramatic events of the past that are reflected in the Bible.

Original title:
The Bible

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Keith David, Robert Powell, Jake Canuso …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.5

Age Limits :
12+


Judas (2013)

A screen adaptation of the story “Judas Iscariot” by the Russian expressionist writer Leonid Andreev, according to the plot of which the acquaintance of Judas and Christ took place on the market square. The Messiah preached, and his future disciple, later a traitor, stole. Caught red-handed, the thief of donations, Judas, was forgiven by Jesus, and this kindness struck him so much that it made him become interested in Christian teaching and believe. And even the betrayal of the Teacher by the famous anti-hero was done from the best, in his opinion, motives.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Alexey Shevchenkov, Sergey Frolov, Andrey Barilo, Ivan Dobronravov …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Passions (mini-series, 2008)

The six-part film tells the events of the week leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus from the point of view of various characters. Roman-occupied Judea is in turmoil, and High Priest Caifa is worried about the decline in donations to the temple. But he is even more concerned about the growing popularity among the people of the sermons of the newly-appeared Messiah, threatening his own authority. 30 pieces of silver do their job, and Judas, unstable in faith, kisses the Teacher in front of the legionnaires, who immediately seized Christ.

Original title:
The Passion

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Ben Daniels, John Lynch, Joseph Mole …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Empire of Saint Peter (2005)

The story of the spiritual transformation of one of the most faithful followers of Jesus Christ – the Apostle Peter. On the night before the crucifixion of the Teacher, the disciple showed cowardice and denied him three times. The pangs of conscience of the future founder of the Christian church were so strong that only the forgiveness of the risen Christ saved him from the fatal step. During the persecution of Christians, the emperor Nero again demands the abdication of Peter. Will faith help the apostle endure this time?

Original title:
San Pietro

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Omar Sharif, Daniele Pecci, Flavio Insinna …

Country:
Italy

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
12+


Passion of the Christ (2004)

Gospel film about the life of Jesus, shot by the famous and deeply religious actor and director Mel Gibson in the “dead” languages: Aramaic and Latin. The plot reflects the events of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life – from praying for a cup to the crucifixion, and ends with a miraculous resurrection. Scenes of the present are interspersed with memories of childhood and the beginning of the preacher’s journey. The suffering of the Savior was filmed very naturalistically, and the cross that the leading actor carried during the filming actually weighed 70 kilograms.

Original title:
The Passion of the Christ

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
James Caviezel, Maya Morgenstern, Hristo Zhivkov, Monica Bellucci…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Gospel of John (2003)

An interesting attempt to screen the Gospel of the Apostle John the Theologian close to the text. The popular historical drama with a high rating shows the segment of the earthly life of the Son of God, starting from the meeting with John the Baptist. The forerunner of Christ predicted his appearance on earth, and then baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River. The plot ends with the miraculous appearance of the Savior to his faithful disciples.

Original title:
The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Christopher Plummer, Henry Ian Cusick, Stuart Bunce…

Country:
Canada, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.8

Age limit:
16+


Jesus (1999)

The large-scale film adaptation of the Bible is a joint creation of American and European filmmakers, a spectacular illustration of the long-known story of the birth of the Savior. Baby Jesus was born in Nazareth to Mary, the wife of a simple carpenter Joseph. The realization of the chosenness did not come to him immediately, but then he did not turn off his sacrificial path. The film shows the Son of God as bright and human, and his death and resurrection is not the end, but the beginning of the eternal history of serving people.

Original title:
Mary, Mother of Jesus

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Christian Bale, Pernilla August, Melinda Kinnaman…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 5.5

Age Limits :
12+


Visual Bible: The Gospel of Matthew (1993)

An ambitious film adaptation of the first book of the New Testament and the first of the four canonical Gospels, written by the former tax collector, the apostle Matthew. The film traditionally reflects the earthly path of Christ, the miracles performed by him, death and resurrection. However, the image of the Savior in this version is somewhat different from other interpretations, here Jesus is shown as a cheerful person with a great sense of humor and at the same time – the incarnation of God on earth, full of love for all people and ready to die for them.

Original title:
The Visual Bible: Matthew

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, Gerrit Schoonhoven…

Country:
South Africa

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
12+


The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

A film adaptation by Catholic believer Martin Scorsese of the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, which was included in the Index of Forbidden Books by the church in the 20th century. The eminent director nurtured the idea of ​​the film for 15 years, and due to obstacles he was even going to move from the USA to Europe. The drama, based on the canonical texts of the New Testament, but seasoned with a share of the author’s fiction, eventually found its fans and received nominations for Oscar and Golden Globe.

Original title:
The Last Temptation of Christ

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey…

Country:
Canada, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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