08 January 2016

Quickie Movie Review: "The Greatest Story Ever Told"

Rated: G for general audiences (US) / G (Canada)
Starring: Max von Sydow, Michael Anderson, Jr., and Carroll Baker
Released: 1965
Synopsis: This glorious epic is an inspiring, grand-scale re-creation of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, from his humble birth and teachings to his crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.  Lavishly produced at a cost of $20 million--an enormous amount for the time--and honored with five 1965 Academy Award nominations, this exceptional motion picture is exquisitely beautiful.  Presented in its original theatrical brilliance, it is truly The Greatest Story Ever Told.
(Adapted from the back cover of the DVD)

My Review: The scope and production values of this movie were incredible; despite its three-hour-plus length, it kept me interested the whole time.  A few of the performances were outstanding.  However, I had two big issues with this film: First off, I did not care for the guy who played Jesus; he came off to me as cold and stodgy, not how I would envision the Savior of the world.  I much prefer Bruce Marchiano's smiling Jesus to the one in this film.  Second off, this flick took too much liberty with the Scriptures; throughout watching it, I kept thinking, That's not how it happened! While such a movie could be used to evangelize, those who are new to the Scriptures might be disappointed to see that what they saw onscreen is nowhere to be found in the pages of the Gospels.  Despite this movie being considered a classic, I can't recommend it.

Content Concerns: I don't do my usual listing for movies based on the Bible, but, I will say that there is some violence in this film, and it gets bloody a time or two.  Also, the story where the woman is caught in adultery is found in this flick, and the stately language might go over younger viewers' heads, especially if they were not raised around the King James Bible.

Score: 2/5

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