IMDb > The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 50 | slideshow) Videos
The Greatest Story Ever Told -- Director George Stevens disavowed gimmicks and, in his epic retelling of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, set this dramatization in a panoramic framework of splendidly evocative backgrounds, including the astonishing buttes of Utah. Jesus is portrayed by Max von Sydow in a difficult and highly praised performance. A huge all-star cast (including Charlton Heston as John the Baptist) animate the vast landscape of the film. Based on The Bible, Fulton Oursler's "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and radio scripts by Henry Denker. Carl Sandburg was a creative associate.


User Rating:
6.6/10   6,087 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Fulton Oursler (book)
Henry Denker (source writings)
View company contact information for The Greatest Story Ever Told on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 April 1965 (UK) See more »
The life of Jesus Christ. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win See more »
(86 articles)
A Few Queries for Monte Hellman
 (From MUBI. 13 July 2015, 2:36 PM, PDT)

Spider Baby | Blu-ray Review
 (From ioncinema. 23 June 2015, 7:00 AM, PDT)

‘Earthbound’ 20 years later: The greatest story ever told in a video game
 (From SoundOnSight. 6 June 2015, 5:47 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Did you Know...? See more (97 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Max von Sydow ... Jesus

Michael Anderson Jr. ... James the Younger

Carroll Baker ... Veronica
Ina Balin ... Martha of Bethany

Victor Buono ... Sorak

Richard Conte ... Barabbas
Joanna Dunham ... Mary Magdalene

José Ferrer ... Herod Antipas

Van Heflin ... Bar Amand

Charlton Heston ... John the Baptist

Martin Landau ... Caiaphas

Angela Lansbury ... Claudia

Pat Boone ... Angel at the Tomb

Janet Margolin ... Mary of Bethany

David McCallum ... Judas Iscariot

Roddy McDowall ... Matthew

Dorothy McGuire ... The Virgin Mary

Sal Mineo ... Uriah

Nehemiah Persoff ... Shemiah

Donald Pleasence ... The Dark Hermit - Satan

Sidney Poitier ... Simon of Cyrene

Claude Rains ... King Herod

Gary Raymond ... Peter

Telly Savalas ... Pontius Pilate

Joseph Schildkraut ... Nicodemus

Paul Stewart ... Questor

John Wayne ... Centurion at crucifixion

Shelley Winters ... Woman who is healed

Ed Wynn ... Old Aram

John Abbott ... Aben
Rodolfo Acosta ... Captain of lancers

Michael Ansara ... Herod's commander

Robert Blake ... Simon the Zealot
Burt Brinckerhoff ... Andrew
Robert Busch ... Emissary

John Considine ... John
Philip Coolidge ... Chuza
John Crawford ... Alexander

Frank DeKova ... The tormentor (as Frank de Kova)
Cyril Delevanti ... Melchior

Jamie Farr ... Thaddaeus

David Hedison ... Philip

Russell Johnson ... Scribe

Mark Lenard ... Balthazar

Robert Loggia ... Joseph
John Lupton ... Speaker of Capernaum
Peter Mann ... Nathanael

Tom Reese ... Thomas

Marian Seldes ... Herodias

David Sheiner ... James the Elder

Frank Silvera ... Caspar

Joseph Sirola ... Dumah

Abraham Sofaer ... Joseph of Arimathaea

Harold J. Stone ... Gen. Varus
Chet Stratton ... Theophilus

Michael Tolan ... Lazarus
Ron Whelan ... Annas
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Bakalyan ... Good Thief on Cross (uncredited)
Nesdon Booth ... (uncredited)
Marc Cavell ... Bad Thief on Cross (uncredited)

Jay C. Flippen ... Drunken Soldier - Herod Antipas' Court (uncredited)
Kay Hammond ... (uncredited)
Dal Jenkins ... Philip (uncredited)
Kyle Johnson ... Simon of Cyrene's Son (uncredited)
Felix Locher ... Elderly Man Who Touches Jesus (uncredited)

Celia Lovsky ... Woman Behind Railings (uncredited)
Victor Lundin ... Centurion Guard (uncredited)
Leonard Mudie ... Man (uncredited)
Dorothy Neumann ... (uncredited)
Gil Perkins ... Jacob of Bethlehem (uncredited)
Joseph V. Perry ... Archelaus (uncredited)
John Pickard ... Peter's Accuser #2 (uncredited)
Frank Richards ... (uncredited)
Gene Roth ... (uncredited)
Johnny Seven ... Pilate's Aide (uncredited)
Mickey Simpson ... Rabble-Rouser (uncredited)
Norm Taylor ... Roman Soldier at Crucifixion (uncredited)
Randall Taylor ... Male Baby Extra (uncredited)
Renata Vanni ... Weeping Woman (uncredited)

Ronald Walkshorse ... Male Child Extra (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... (uncredited)
Jimmy Yates ... Herodian Guard (uncredited)

Directed by
George Stevens 
David Lean (some scenes) (uncredited)
Jean Negulesco (some scenes) (uncredited)
Writing credits
Fulton Oursler (book)

Henry Denker (source writings)

James Lee Barrett (screenplay) and
George Stevens (screenplay)

Carl Sandburg  uncredited

Produced by
Frank I. Davis .... executive producer
George Stevens Jr. .... associate producer
George Stevens .... producer
Antonio Vellani .... associate producer
Original Music by
Alfred Newman 
Cinematography by
Loyal Griggs 
William C. Mellor 
Film Editing by
Harold F. Kress 
Argyle Nelson Jr. 
J. Frank O'Neill  (as Frank O'Neil)
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
Art Direction by
William J. Creber  (as William Creber)
Richard Day 
David S. Hall  (as David Hall)
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean  (as Fred MacLean)
Ray Moyer 
Norman Rockett 
Costume Design by
Marjorie Best 
Vittorio Nino Novarese 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Baxley .... second unit director
Ridgeway Callow .... assistant director
William Hale .... second unit director
Richard Talmadge .... second unit director
John Veitch .... assistant director
Art Department
Sam Gordon .... property master
Sound Department
Charles E. Wallace .... sound
Special Effects by
Johnny Borgese .... special effects
Daniel Hays .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special visual effects
Robert R. Hoag .... special visual effects
J. McMillan Johnson .... special visual effects
Clarence Slifer .... special visual effects
Jan Domela .... matte painter (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... effects camera operator (uncredited)
Albert Simpson .... matte painter (uncredited)
Matthew Yuricich .... matte painter (uncredited)
Paul Baxley .... stunt coordinator
Henry Wills .... stunt coordinator
Carol Daniels .... stunts (uncredited)
John Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Jerry Gatlin .... stunts (uncredited)
Johnny Hagner .... stunts (uncredited)
Loren Janes .... stunts (uncredited)
Neil Summers .... stunts (uncredited)
Norm Taylor .... stunts (uncredited)
Bob Terhune .... stunt double: John Wayne (uncredited)
Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
R.B. Garig .... grip
Michael A. Jones .... lighting technician
Tom May .... key grip
Owen Marsh .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Homer Plannette .... gaffer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Diana Wilson .... costumer
John Intlekofer .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Don Guidice .... assistant editor
Hal Ashby .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Eliot Elisofon .... color coordinator (uncredited)
Music Department
Ken Darby .... choral supervisor
Jack Hayes .... orchestrator
Alfred Newman .... conductor
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator
Hugo Friedhofer .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Fred Steiner .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Gene Clinesmith .... driver
James E. Haynes .... driver
Other crew
John Dutton .... script supervisor (as John C. Dutton)
Carl Sandburg .... creative associate
Tony Van Renterghem .... director of research
Ralph Helfer .... animal supervisor: Africa U.S.A, (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"George Stevens Presents The Greatest Story Ever Told" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
199 min (edited version) | USA:141 min (re-issue version) | USA:225 min (premiere version)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.76 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Chile:TE | Finland:S | Germany:6 (DVD rating) | Mexico:A | South Korea:All | Spain:T | Sweden:11 | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (1993) | USA:Approved (original release) | USA:G (re-rating) (1972) | West Germany:6 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

For The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), George Stevens reunited with his fellow actors he previously worked with: (1) Carroll Baker (as "Veronica" in the film), - Giant (1956); (2) Van Heflin ("Bar Armand") - Shane (1953); (3) Joseph Schildkraut ("Nicodemus") - The Diary of Anne Frank (1959); (4) Shelley Winters ("Woman who is healed") - A Place in the Sun (1951) and The Diary of Anne Frank; and (5) Ed Wynn ("Old Aram") - The Diary of Anne FrankSee more »
Incorrectly regarded as 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 »
[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 »
Movie Connections:
RequiemSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
18 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
Did you Know...?, 12 October 2000
Author: ( from Northridge, Ca

The reasons for the sacrificial well in the city's temple have to do with the archaeological research of the time the movie was made. Not much, then or now, is really known about the Temple, except that Herod the Great (played by Claude Rains) built it to largely to appease the Roman conquerors. The Temple had Grecian (not Hebraic) architecture and supposedly had a well for animal sacrifices. The Hebrews were a very sophisticated ancient people who mostly, by that time, considered themselves above animal sacrifices--however much had been written about such practices in their earlier times, like the days of Genesis, Exodus, etc. While it may have appeased Romans, it probably did not please Herod's own subjects.

This is a carefully made motion picture. If one finds it too subdued, at least it doesn't suffer from the highflown melodramatics that other Christ movies have. Speaking as someone who is not a Christian, I find it deeply moving.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (97 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Who is Narrator? denvertrends
John Wayne = hysterical eganp-1
So what casting worked and did NOT work? angmc43
Worst. Haircut. Ever. psbowlay
The Palm Sunday/Temple scene : did Jesus abandon his flock? buttsronc
Anointing at Bethany michaeldoherty801
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Jesus The Passion of the Christ St. Paul Ben-Hur King of Kings
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Biography section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.