What Is the Best Jesus Movie (Best Jesus Movies of All Time

By Paul King •  Updated: 09/19/23 •  15 min read

The question of what constitutes the best Jesus movie has been a subject of considerable debate among scholars, critics, and enthusiasts alike. As we delve into the merits of various cinematic portrayals of Jesus, let us explore the profound impact that these films have had on audiences and the theological significance they convey.

One notable film that has captivated audiences is ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ directed by Mel Gibson. This powerful depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion and the events leading up to it is known for its raw and unflinching portrayal of the suffering he endured. It is a harrowing reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity’s salvation. As we watch Jesus carry his cross, we are reminded of the biblical verse from Matthew 16:24, where Jesus said, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’

Another noteworthy film is ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ directed by Franco Zeffirelli. This epic retelling of Jesus’ life provides a comprehensive portrayal of his teachings, miracles, and ultimate sacrifice. Through this film, we witness Jesus’ compassion and love for humanity, as he heals the sick and delivers powerful sermons. It reminds us of Jesus’ words in John 14:6, where he said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ directed by Martin Scorsese, offers a thought-provoking exploration of Jesus’ humanity and the temptations he faced. This film delves into the internal struggles Jesus experienced, presenting a complex and controversial portrayal. It brings to mind the biblical verse from Hebrews 4:15, which states, ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.’

‘Ben-Hur,’ a classic film directed by William Wyler, intertwines the story of Jesus with the life of its protagonist, Judah Ben-Hur. This epic tale of redemption and forgiveness highlights the transformative power of Jesus’ teachings. It reminds us of Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 22:39, where he said, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Lastly, ‘The Gospel According to Matthew,’ directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, presents a faithful and straightforward retelling of Jesus’ life based on the Gospel of Matthew. This film offers a reverent portrayal of Jesus’ ministry, teachings, and the fulfillment of prophecies. As we watch Jesus perform miracles and deliver profound parables, we are reminded of his words in Matthew 28:20, where he promised, ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

In conclusion, the best Jesus movies are those that effectively capture the essence of his teachings, convey his divine nature, and resonate with audiences on a profound level. These films not only entertain but also inspire and deepen our understanding of Jesus’ life, sacrifice, and message of love and redemption. As we engage with these cinematic portrayals, let us remember the words of Jesus himself, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:29).

Key Takeaways

The Passion of the Christ

The film ‘The Passion of the Christ’ delves into the final hours of Jesus’ life, a pivotal moment in Christian history. This film has garnered both critical acclaim and controversy for its graphic depiction of violence. However, it is important to remember that the crucifixion of Jesus is a significant event described in the Bible.

In the Gospel of Matthew, it is written, ‘And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots’ (Matthew 27:35). This verse emphasizes the brutal treatment Jesus endured, as his clothes were divided amongst the soldiers who crucified him. This detail is echoed in ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ aiming to convey the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice and the intensity of his suffering.

Some argue that the explicit violence in the film is necessary to evoke spiritual contemplation and emotional connection. The Apostle Peter wrote in his letter, ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed’ (1 Peter 2:24). This verse highlights the idea that Jesus’ suffering was not in vain but served a greater purpose of redemption. ‘The Passion of the Christ’ strives to depict this profound sacrifice and the extent of Jesus’ love for humanity.

However, critics argue that the excessive violence in the film can be seen as gratuitous and exploitative. They fear that it may overshadow the deeper messages of love and forgiveness. It is crucial to balance the portrayal of violence with the overarching themes of compassion and salvation found throughout the Bible.

Transitioning to the subsequent section about ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ it is important to consider another influential film that presents a different interpretation of Jesus’ life. The film ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ offers a more comprehensive exploration of Jesus’ life, from his birth to his resurrection. It draws upon the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to craft a narrative that encompasses Jesus’ teachings, miracles, and ultimate sacrifice.

The Gospel of John states, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). This verse encapsulates the central message of Jesus’ life and serves as the foundation for ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ The film aims to emphasize the love and compassion Jesus had for all people, regardless of their sins or shortcomings.

In ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ viewers are presented with the parables and teachings of Jesus, showcasing his wisdom and divine nature. The film also portrays his miracles, such as turning water into wine and healing the sick, highlighting his power and the hope he brought to those who encountered him.

Ultimately, both ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ offer unique perspectives on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. While ‘The Passion of the Christ’ focuses on the intensity of his suffering and the sacrifice he made for humanity, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ provides a broader depiction of his teachings and miracles. Both films contribute to the rich tapestry of religious cinema, inviting audiences to reflect on the profound impact of Jesus’ life and message.

Jesus of Nazareth

One remarkable portrayal of the historical figure from Nazareth that has garnered critical acclaim and extensive analysis is the miniseries ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ directed by Franco Zeffirelli. This miniseries, released in 1977, has been praised for its commitment to historical accuracy and its significant cultural impact.

‘Jesus of Nazareth’ presents a comprehensive depiction of the life of Jesus, from his birth to his crucifixion and resurrection, incorporating biblical narratives and historical context. The miniseries pays meticulous attention to detail and strives for adherence to historical accuracy, making it a valuable resource for scholars and theologians studying the life of Jesus. By drawing from the rich narratives and teachings found in the Holy Bible, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ brings to life the profound impact of Jesus’ life and ministry.

In the Holy Bible, we read about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. The Gospel of Luke tells us that ‘she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them’ (Luke 2:7). This humble beginning sets the stage for Jesus’ extraordinary life and mission.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus performed miracles and taught profound lessons, leaving a lasting impact on those who encountered him. The Gospels recount numerous stories of his compassion, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead. One such example is the story of Jesus feeding the multitude with just five loaves of bread and two fish, as described in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus took the meager offering and, ‘looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over’ (Matthew 14:19-20). This miracle not only provided physical nourishment but also demonstrated Jesus’ divine power and care for the needs of his followers.

However, Jesus’ journey was not without challenges and opposition. The Gospel accounts reveal the growing opposition from religious leaders and political authorities, ultimately leading to his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus’ crucifixion is a pivotal moment in the Christian faith, symbolizing his sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. As the Gospel of John states, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

The resurrection of Jesus is another central event in Christianity, signifying his victory over death and offering hope to believers. The Gospel of Mark describes the discovery of the empty tomb by Mary Magdalene, who encountered an angel proclaiming, ‘He has risen! He is not here’ (Mark 16:6). This resurrection appearance solidified the faith of Jesus’ disciples and continues to inspire Christians around the world.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ another film that explores the portrayal of Jesus in cinema, we delve into a different interpretation of the historical figure. But before we do, let us reflect on the remarkable life and teachings of Jesus as depicted in the Holy Bible, a source of profound wisdom and guidance for millions of believers throughout history.

The Last Temptation of Christ

Examining the historical figure of Jesus in cinema, Franco Zeffirelli’s miniseries ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is followed by another film titled ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ which offers a different interpretation of Jesus’ life and teachings. However, it is important to note that the Bible provides the most reliable and authoritative source for understanding Jesus’ life and teachings.

In the Bible, Jesus is often portrayed as both fully human and fully divine. The Gospel of John, for example, states, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1). This verse emphasizes Jesus’ divine nature and his eternal existence.

While ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ portrays Jesus as more human and vulnerable, it is crucial to remember that the Bible presents Jesus as sinless. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21, ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ This verse highlights Jesus’ perfect and blameless nature.

The film also explores Jesus’ struggles with doubt and temptation. However, it is important to recognize that the Bible affirms Jesus’ victory over temptation. In Matthew 4:1, it is written, ‘Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.’ Despite facing various temptations, Jesus resists and remains faithful to God’s will.

While ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ may offer an artistic interpretation of Jesus’ story, we must remember that it diverges from traditional depictions found in the Bible. The Bible presents Jesus as the Son of God who came to save humanity from sin. In John 3:16, it is stated, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’

It is essential to approach any portrayal of Jesus with discernment and to compare it with the teachings and accounts found in the Bible. The Bible provides a rich and comprehensive understanding of Jesus’ life, teachings, and mission. As believers, we should always strive to deepen our knowledge and relationship with Jesus through studying the Scriptures and seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit.


In the biblical epic film Ben-Hur, directed by William Wyler, we are transported to the time of Jesus’ ministry and introduced to the life of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince. This cinematic masterpiece beautifully captures the essence of love, compassion, and wisdom, drawing inspiration from the teachings of Jesus as portrayed in the gospel according to Matthew.

The film’s historical accuracy provides a sense of depth and authenticity, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the ancient city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Through meticulous attention to detail, the filmmakers bring to life the world in which Jesus walked and taught his disciples.

One of the most iconic scenes in Ben-Hur is the epic chariot race. This thrilling display of bravery and skill not only captivates the audience’s imagination but also symbolizes the battle between good and evil. As we witness this intense competition, we are reminded of the biblical verse from Hebrews 12:1-2, which encourages us to run the race of faith with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

The thundering hooves and swirling dust in the air during the chariot race create an atmosphere filled with adrenaline and excitement. It reminds us of the power and strength that can be found in the human spirit when faced with challenges. In the Bible, we find numerous stories of individuals who faced adversity and triumphed, such as David defeating Goliath and Daniel surviving the lion’s den. These stories serve as a reminder that with faith and courage, we too can overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

As Ben-Hur transports its audience to a bygone era, it allows us to witness the triumph of the human spirit amidst the backdrop of biblical events. It reminds us of the teachings of Jesus, who preached love, forgiveness, and compassion. In the gospel according to Matthew, we delve deeper into the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, gaining a greater understanding of his mission on Earth.

Through the use of relevant facts and quotes from Bible verses, we can connect the story of Ben-Hur to the larger narrative of the Bible. By doing so, we find a deeper meaning and significance in the film, as it serves as a powerful reminder of the timeless messages found in the holy scriptures.

The Gospel According to Matthew

The Gospel According to Matthew is a divine revelation that provides an unparalleled account of the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus Christ. This sacred text holds immense significance as it offers a profound understanding of Jesus’ mission on Earth and his role as the Savior of humanity.

In Matthew’s gospel, we are presented with a wealth of factual information and powerful quotes from the Bible that reinforce the historical accuracy of the events described. For example, in Matthew 1:22-23, it is written, ‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).’ This verse highlights the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and establishes Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

One remarkable aspect of Matthew’s account is its unique interpretation of Jesus’ teachings. The gospel emphasizes the ethical principles that Jesus embodied, such as love, compassion, and justice. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus states, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ These teachings serve as a moral compass for believers, guiding them towards a life of righteousness and selflessness.

To further enhance our understanding, let us explore a factual story from the Bible that exemplifies the teachings of Jesus. In Matthew 14:13-21, we encounter the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Jesus, filled with compassion for the hungry crowd, takes just five loaves of bread and two fish, blesses them, and miraculously multiplies them to feed the entire multitude. This powerful event showcases Jesus’ ability to provide for the physical needs of his followers and symbolizes his abundant grace and provision.

Through its profound historical accuracy and interpretation of Jesus’ teachings, The Gospel According to Matthew serves as an invaluable resource for believers and seekers alike. By immersing ourselves in this divine revelation, we gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’ life, teachings, and ministry. Let us treasure the wisdom found within these sacred pages and strive to live according to the principles of love, compassion, and justice that Jesus exemplified.

Paul King

I post written versions of my powerful sermons exploring topics like prayer, praise, biblical truths, and more expressions of faith. My church has a deeply spiritual culture, which I try to convey through vivid storytelling and applications in our everyday life. I spread the Good Word with lots of conviction and passion.