Movies to Watch This Easter Weekend
There are literally hundreds of Christmas moves out there, but how many of us have a list of films we enjoy every Easter?
If you’re not tackling the traffic for the Easter long weekend, you might have some time to kill.
Here’s Film Cutting’s list of best Easter movies in chronological order.
Easter Parade definitely falls on the lighter end of the Easter movie spectrum, starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire and featuring music by Irving Berlin.
Astair plays a dancer suddenly bereft of a partner when his former colleague (Ann Miller) departs the duo for a solo career. His character finds a replacement in a chorus dancer who can not only move, but has a great singing voice (Garland).
The Robe was the first film ever shot in CinemaScope, the world’s first widescreen 3-D process.
Richard Burton plays military tribune Marcellus Gallio who commands the Roman unit that crucifies Jesus. In a dice game, Gallio wins the robe Jesus wore and is told it will serve as a reminder of his first crucifixion. Haunted by nightmares of the act he has participated in, Gallio slowly begins to believe the robe is having an effect on his life.
The nine-minute chariot race has become one of cinema’s most famous sequences and the film went on to win eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Charlton Heston is Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish merchant of noble blood in this sword-and-sandals historical epic that begins with the birth of Jesus and ends with the titular character witnessing the Crucifixion.
One key scene involves Ben-Hur collapses and a local carpenter who is revealed to be Jesus comes to his aid against the orders of the Roman guards.
Max Von Sydow portrays Jesus in this three-plus hour movie that also features Charlton Heston as John the Baptist and follows the life of Christ from Nativity to Resurrection. Other notable stars in the movie include Angela Lansbury, Jose Ferrer, Telly Savalas and Dorothy McGuire, and it marks the final film of Claude Rains.
The film centers on the conflict between Judas and Jesus leading up to the crucifixion and features the hit song, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”
Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, this rock opera follows the final weeks of Jesus’ life and features no spoken dialogue. Ted Neeley stars as Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas, and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene.
It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is the twelfth animated television special based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. It narrates that when most of the Peanuts Gang is preparing for Easter, Linus tries to convince everyone the Easter Beagle will make the holiday a success when he arrives on Easter morning.
British-Italian television miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli is dramatic version of the life of Christ. Robert Powell plays Jesus alongside an all-star cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Anne Bancroft, Laurence Olivier, Claudia Cardinale, Ian McShane, Olivia Hussey, James Mason, Ian Holm and Anthony Quinn.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s one of the more controversial retellings of Jesus’ life, with Willem Dafoe as Jesus, Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot, Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, David Bowie as Pontius Pilate, and Harry Dean Stanton as Paul. Throughout the film Jesus is tempted by the various sins he must overcome, including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust.
The film covers the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life and was controversial for its use of language and depiction of violence. Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, the entire dialogue is performed in the ancient languages of Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew, with Jesus’ arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion and resurrection shown in graphic detail.
The film was adapted from the ten-hour miniseries “The Bible” which aired in 2013 on the History channel. As a feature film it both expands upon and abridges the Jesus-driven portions of the miniseries, from birth to resurrection. While making the movie Mark Burnett says he couldn’t help but notice certain similarities to popular contemporary entertainment.