Noah, the screening that recreates the subject of the Old Testament about the apocalypse brought by water has already premiered in different parts of the worlds and this Friday it will be present on the big screens in the USA. We could easily say that director Darren Aronosky was completely right in stating that the story of Noah could only be told in the 21st century, because now there are filming techniques that can bring the required force of the Biblical text.
While waiting for this spectacular production, remember that this year we will see on the big screens Exodus, just before Christmas, with Christian Bale, Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver and directed by Ridley Scott. This year, Son of God was also released in the U.S., and it’s a free adaptation of the ten hour TV miniseries The Bible, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. So, all these events got us thinking and we came up with a top of best productions inspired by the Holy Book in cinema history. How many of them have you seen already?
1. The Ten Commandments (1956)
The last epic production signed by Cecil B. DeMille is the “alpha and omega” of biblical stories, with Charlton Heston in the role of Moses, the head of the chosen people.
2. Life of Brian, Monty Python (1979)
Life of Brian is at the same time a harsh satire regarding religion and also an intelligent comment on demagogy, hypocrisy and fanaticism.
3. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
A controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ is a meditation signed by Martin Scorsese about Jesus Christ, which at the same time sends a sensitive message to the viewer.
4. Dekalog (1988)
Ten Commandments, ten wonderful short films, all placed in a residential neighborhood in Warsaw, signed by the master Krzysztof Kieslowski.
5. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
Through the example of the Book of Exodus, this musical animation is not only energetic, but also fair to the original material.
6. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Another controversial film, this time directed by Mel Gibson, and with special features such as the Aramaic dialogues and scenes of torture, has been widely criticized, but managed to win three Oscar nominations.
7. Ben-Hur (1959)
A slave story set in the golden age of the Roman civilization brings another magnificent game from Heston. The film captures the Sermon of Christ on the Mount scene as a key moment, offering in another scene a spectacular chariot race (throughout nine minutes out of the 212). No wonder the film won the most Oscars in the history of cinema – yet sharing the place with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
8. Quo Vadis (1951)
An approach to the New Testament from the golden era of the MGM studios, Quo Vadis captures the relationship between Romans and Christians, all mixed with a love story between a Romanian soldier and a beautiful woman, follower of the new religion, which is gaining more and more believers. With stars such as Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov, Leo Glenn in supporting roles, the film has the music signed by composer Miklos Rozsa, who will later compose the music of Ben-Hur.
9. Barabba (1962)
The film – which begins where other big films on the New Testament end – explores the existential crisis of the thief Barabbas (Anthony Quinn), pardoned in place of Christ. His story is a sort of avant- la- lettre Gladiator combined with Hitchcock’s films plus a happy spiritual ending.
10. Il Secondo Matteo Vangelo (1964)
A socialist, atheist and gay director – Pier Paolo Pasolini – made a film approved by the Vatican? Yes! What more could you possibly want?
Do you know any other movies inspired by the Holy Book that we should have included in this top? Make sure you leave a comment below.