6 biblical epics to stream for Easter

  • Max von Sydow starred as Jesus and John Wayne as the converted centurion in "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

    Max von Sydow starred as Jesus and John Wayne as the converted centurion in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Associated Press

  • Moses (Charlton Heston) seeks freedom for the Jews from Pharoah (Yul Brynner) in the 1956 Biblical epic "The Ten Commandments."

    Moses (Charlton Heston) seeks freedom for the Jews from Pharoah (Yul Brynner) in the 1956 Biblical epic "The Ten Commandments."

 
 
Updated 4/10/2020 11:01 AM

With Easter on Sunday and people staying at home, here are six commanding biblical movies for your consideration.

To find out where they are streaming or available to rent, search titles at reelgood.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965) -- In George Stevens' star-stuffed epic, Swedish actor Max von Sydow -- who died last month at the age of 90 -- plays Jesus.

John Wayne's centurion caps this Hollywoodized tale with the line, "Truly, he was the son of God!" delivered with the actor's trademark cowboy cadence, in this context inadvertently comical.

"Intolerance" (1916) -- The "Judean" story about Christ's crucifixion is one of four tales told in movie pioneer D.W. Griffith's 3-hour silent epic, all about the evils of intolerance.

"The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988) -- Willem Dafoe creates a compelling, conflicted Christ in Martin Scorsese's controversial drama based on Nikos Kazantzakis' novel. Satan tempts Jesus with sex and a normal human life as he struggles on the cross. Some critics charged this movie was a Jewish conspiracy, despite that both the novelist and director are Catholics.

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"Passion of the Christ" (2004) -- Conflicted Catholic director Mel Gibson pulled off a miracle of sorts when he persuaded conservative groups to embrace a graphically violent, R-rated movie: his. Jim Caviezel's Jesus comes across as a regular guy in a movie so dedicated to historic accuracy that Gibson had his cast learn Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew. Then used subtitles.

"The Prince of Egypt" (1998) -- DreamWorks Pictures gave the story of Exodus an animated musical twist with Val Kilmer as Moses and a pre-Voldemort Ralph Fiennes as his brother Ramses. Songs composed by Stephen Schwartz, and sung by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

"The Ten Commandments" (1956) -- DeMille's last movie is a remake of his own 1923 silent biblical epic. This time the role of Moses is played by Wilmette native Charlton Heston (an alum of "The Greatest Story," "Ben-Hur" and other epics). Yul Brynner plays Ramses. Unlike "The Prince of Egypt," nobody sings.

• Editor's note: The story was updated from a previous Dann Gire column.

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