It's that time of year again. For little kids, today means that we run around trying to find eggs laid by a mammal. For the religious among us it means that we are revering the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave three days after being crucified.
In that spirit, I'd like to present five movies that are perfect for remembering the sacrifice and love of our Lord and savior, to help us keep in mind the spirit and love that this day inspires.
5. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Before he went completely off the rails, Mel Gibson was one of Hollywood's most profitable names. But when he wanted to make a movie about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he could not get anyone to fund it. His solution? Fund it and direct it himself. And that self-funded movie went on to become the most commercially successful R-rated film of all time. And, upon observation, it is a marvel. Leaving nothing to the imagination, The Passion of the Christ really illustrates the love that Christ had for us all, in His willingness to endure the most intense pain imaginable. All of the actors go all-in for their performances, and this film should win some kind of award for the creepiest Satan of all time. It's a gut-wrenching and hard movie to watch, but it's worth it.
4. The Robe (1953)
Starring Richard Burton, this classic film follows the story of a Roman military tribune whose unit is assigned to crucify Christ. When he wins Jesus' robe in a dice game, he is tormented by visions and nightmares of the fateful event. This prompts him to question his unbelief in Christ and travel to Palestine to learn of the man whom he had a hand in killing. Richard Burton is a heck of an actor, and, as with almost all biblical epics, the costuming and set design are lavish and grand. Worth watching for the visuals alone, but the spiritual message is what really drives the film and makes it a lasting classic.
3. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Technically, this is a six-hour made-for-TV miniseries. But it's still magnificent. directed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli, this tells the full and detailed story of Christ, from His birth, through His life and ministry, all the way to His resurrection. Zeffirelli made this film with the goal to portray Christ as a man, not just as a religious icon. The result: a deeply moving depiction that is respectful and visually stunning without being preachy or talking down to its audience. It portrays Jesus as the great man that He was, and asks some great questions about faith and reverence in the process.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Andrew Adamson's adaptation of C.S. Lewis' epic masterpiece is fantastic. It's hard to believe that the director who brought us Shrek could make a movie so majestic and thought-provoking, but his iteration of the first Narnia chapter is exactly that. It's a great fantasy film, but also a pitch-perfect allegory for the atonement of Christ, in its depiction of Aslan the lion being executed in place of a boy who made a dire mistake and rising from the grave to defeat the face of evil. The visuals are stunning, the creatures are imaginative, the acting is just right, and the music by Harry Gregson-Williams is totally underrated.
1. Ben-Hur (1959)
All you have to say is Charlton freakin' Heston. What an actor. And what a movie. Ben-Hur is not only one of the finest biblical epics ever made, but one of the finest films as well. As per the norm, the costumes and sets are absolutely amazing. The story, just like The Robe, is the story of Christ told from the perspective of a mere man. It's an intriguing take, especially considering you don't see Jesus nearly as often as you'd expect. Plus, the Fast and Furious franchise can forget about it, because the chariot race sequence in this film is the greatest race sequence ever. This epic and emotional masterpiece rightly takes its place at number one.
Well, there you have it! Are there any other films you like to watch come this time of year? Tell us in the comments. May God bless you and have a great Easter!
Also, enjoy this little film made by the LDS church in remembrance of Christ on this day.