MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 2,470 this week

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

G  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  9 April 1965 (UK)
6.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 5,867 users  
Reviews: 96 user | 26 critic

The life of Jesus Christ.

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writers:

(book), (source writings), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 21 Jul 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 10 Jul 2013
 
a list of 46 titles
created 26 Aug 2013
 
a list of 35 titles
created 13 Mar 2014
 
a list of 34 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

King of Kings (1961)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The life of Jesus Christ.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, Hurd Hatfield
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

A reverent depiction of the life of Christ using the Gospel accounts.

Stars: Robert Powell, Olivia Hussey, Laurence Olivier
The Robe (1953)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Marcellus is a tribune in the time of Christ. He is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus. Drunk, he wins Jesus' homespun robe after the crucifixion. He is tormented by ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature
Barabbas (1961)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Barabbas, the criminal that Pontius Pilate induced the populace to vote to set free, so that Christ could be crucified, is haunted by the image of Jesus for the rest of his life.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Arthur Kennedy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Extravagant production of the first part of the book of Genesis. Covers Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood and Abraham and Isaac.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Michael Parks, Ulla Bergryd, Richard Harris
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence
Quo Vadis (1951)
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A fierce Roman general becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emporer Nero.

Directors: Mervyn LeRoy, Anthony Mann
Stars: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story picks up at the point where "The Robe (1953)" ends, following the martyrdom of Diana and Marcellus. Christ's robe is conveyed to Peter for safe-keeping, but the emperor Caligula ... See full summary »

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Victor Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of Jesus' life as told by the apostle John, narrated by Christopher Plummer.

Director: Philip Saville
Stars: Henry Ian Cusick, Daniel Kash, Christopher Plummer
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, George Sanders
Summertime (1955)
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A lonely American woman unexpectedly finds romance in Venice, Italy.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi, Isa Miranda
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 April 1965 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

George Stevens Presents The Greatest Story Ever Told  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$8,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Two members of the film's crew - art director David S. Hall and cinematographer William C. Mellor - received posthumous Oscar nominations for this film, their last credit work. Mellon won the award. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Narrator: [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 »

Connections

Referenced in Dinosaurs: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem
Music by Giuseppi Verdi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Beautiful and Dignified Telling of Christ's Mission
30 July 2005 | by (Manassas, VA) – See all my reviews

There are no real spoilers in this review, for the story is familiar to Christians of all stripe: the birth, life and mission of Jesus Christ. This epic-length film moves at a stately pace; some may find it boring, but I personally like it very much. Stevens does a superb job with this sensitive material. He cast dozens of famous people, some in cameos and bit parts, but all lending their talents to this film. The costumes have an authentic look, and the landscapes are breathtaking---they are far superior to mere background paintings or sets, and convey a sense of being right there in Palestine two thousand years ago. The music is lovely, well-scored and not jarring. Every role is well-cast, from Charlton Heston as John the Baptist to Telly Sevalas as Pontius Pilate. Best of all were Donald Pleasance as the devil and the tall, lanky Max von Sydow as Christ.

The story unfolds like pages turning in a book. Jesus is born, then appears at age thirty to begin his mission. He goes to his cousin John for baptism, then calls men to follow him. Miracles are performed almost in an indirect way: Jesus speaks in Sydow's commanding voice and, instead of focusing on Christ, the camera is fixed on the person receiving the miracle. A notable exception is the raising of Lazarus. Christ pleads in anguish for the revival of his friend, not because the prayer is really necessary, but to cry out his sorrow for losing Lazarus. As God made man, Jesus hurt like we did, and this scene demonstrates this. His teachings are given gently but firmly throughout the movie. Some viewers may be put off by Sydow's almost detached mannerisms, but the quiet dignity actually suits the concept of Christ as teacher on his salvific mission. The gentle mien of Jesus also stands in stark contrast to the times when he does strongly react, whether to the death of Lazarus, to finding moneychangers in the Temple of Jerusalem, or during his passion and crucifixion. The moment when Christ's life ends is stunning; the light goes out in Sydow's clear blue eyes just before he drops his head.

There are other little gems strewn throughout The Greatest Story Ever Told, moments that shine with unexpected clarity. The calling of Matthew, the betrayal and suicide of Judas, the healing of the crippled young man are just a few examples. The Last Supper is very surprising in its similarity to the way a priest consecrates the bread and wine in a modern-day Mass. The famous actors embrace their roles and seem honored to be part of this great project. The dialogue is beautiful for a reason; American poet Carl Sandburg was in charge of rendering the ancient Bible story into modern wording without sacrificing the meaning or power of the original. Dynamics shift like the ebb and flow of tides, floating on the words as well as the events.

Others have done this story, yet this remains my favorite. Unlike the remake of King of Kings(the silent version was way better), it seems authentic in its details---what genius decided to shave Jeffrey Hunter's underarms? And Jesus of Nazareth never quite escapes the shackles of prime-time miniseries/soap opera; its melodramatic and the scene where Mary freaks out is disturbing rather than evoking sympathy from the audience. As for The Passion, it's an awesome attempt to convey just what Jesus endured for our sins, but unsuitable for children or people who are sensitive to excessive violence and gore. So, in conclusion, for Easter viewing, The Greatest Story Ever Told remains my family's favorite version of the life and work of Jesus Christ.


30 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
So what casting worked and did NOT work? angmc43
John Wayne = hysterical eganp-1
Question for Catholics shandae77
Judas suicide paulbacigalupi
Most academy awards w-godzich
Is that Frankenstein's Monster... ibotter
Discuss The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page