The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

G  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  9 April 1965 (UK)
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The life of Jesus Christ.


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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ina Balin ...
Joanna Dunham ...


George Stevens' epic production. "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?" It is towards this climactic crossroads that the story of Jesus of Nazareth leads, and to which, at the final moment, it again looks back in triumphant retrospect. It is the anguishing crossroads where the eternal questions of faith and doubt become resolved. Star-studded cast includes Max Von Sydow (as Jesus), Dorothy McGuire (as Mary), Robert Loggia (as Joseph), Charlton Heston (as John the Baptist), Michael Anderson, Jr., Robert Blake, Jamie Farr, David McCallum, Roddy McDowall, Ina Balin, Janet Margolin, Sidney Poitier, Carroll Baker, Pat Boone, Van Heflin, Sal Mineo, Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn, John Wayne, Telly Savalas, Angela Lansbury, Paul Stewart, Harold J. Stone, Martin Landau, Joseph Schildkraut, Victor Buono, Jose Ferrer, Claude Rains, Donald Pleasence, Richard Conte and Cyril Delevanti. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

9 April 1965 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

George Stevens Presents The Greatest Story Ever Told  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)


$8,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(edited) | (re-issue) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Martin Landau has said in interviews that half of his role was deleted in the editing stage. See more »


Differences from the Bible accounts, and other historical inaccuracies, are not being counted as goofs, especially when they're reliant on sectarian traditions or Renaissance/Baroque art. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I am He. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, was made nothing that has been made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of man. And the light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness grasped it not. The greatest story ever told...
See more »


Referenced in Naked (1993) See more »


Music by Giuseppi Verdi
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User Reviews

Not Great, But Worth Seeing And Unfairly Criticized
15 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As someone who had read the Bible and knows what goes where, I am easily critical of too-Liberal Biblical movies, which is usually the case....except for the last 40-some years when hardly any films were made on this subject at all.

My point is that this film gets toasted a lot, even by Christians, and I think unfairly. Yes, I became a bit annoyed the first few viewings when I would hear Jesus' speeches way out of order, or a few other things that really weren't 100 percent on the mark....or it just simply dragged.

However, after a long absence and my first look at this on the ultra widescreen (2.75:1) DVD, I was impressed. For instance, the scene with the Last Supper shows everyone at the table, which is impossible to do in a formatted-to-TV mode. There are other similar panoramic shots that are very impressive. gave me a new appreciate of the work director George Stevens did here. Of course, he was one of the best in his profession so it's no surprise this is nicely filmed.

Upon that recent viewing, I was please that none of Jesus' quotes are inaccurate and I have never had a problem with Max Von Sydow's portrayal of Christ. He had a penetrating eyes and spoke his lines with authority. Why he, too, gets bashed by a few people is unfair. He was just fine.

It's a sanitized message, nothing that "preachy" to turn off the unchurched, but I do think it was a bit too slow to go three hours and 20 minutes. In this case, lopping off 15-30 minutes might have helped. It's still worth viewing, no matter what your "religious" views.

48 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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