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The Jesus Film (1979)

Jesus (original title)
Jesus of Nazareth,the son of God raised by a Jewish carpenter. Based on the gospel of Luke in the New Testament,here is the life of Jesus from the miraculous virgin birth to the calling of ... See full summary »




(screenplay) (as Barnet Fishbein)

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Credited cast:
Brian Deacon ...
Rivka Neuman ...
Luke (voice)
Niko Nitai ...
Joseph Shiloach ...
Ori Levy ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kobi Assaf ...
Moti Baharav ...
Ya'ackov Ben-Sira ...
Ze'ev Berlinski ...
Blind Begger
Eli Cohen ...
Dina Doron ...
Shoshana Duer ...
Hunchback Woman in the Temple


Jesus of Nazareth,the son of God raised by a Jewish carpenter. Based on the gospel of Luke in the New Testament,here is the life of Jesus from the miraculous virgin birth to the calling of his disciples, public miracles and ministry, ending with his death by crucifixion at the hands of the Roman empire and resurrection on the third day. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The man you thought you knew


G | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

19 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Jesus Film  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


All of the Israeli cast members were popular stage actors and stage directors in Israel. In Israel, live plays are more popular than cinema. See more »


During the prologue, a motor vehicle of some kind can be seen moving (for a fraction of a second) in the extreme background. See more »


Jesus: Forgive them father, for they don't know what they do.
See more »


Concerto brandeburghese No. 1, BWV 1046 : 2° movimento
by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

Some pearls of great price in the chaff...
10 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

Maybe it would be unfair, or beside the point, to review this one as a movie rather than as a cinematic Evangelization tool. As far as direction, acting, film editing, and scoring go it's amateur night in Zion almost all the way. What can you say about a movie in which a spliced-in scene between Pilate and the chief priests has a different actor from the Passion Pilate? That there are beautiful shots of the eerie undulations of the rocks in the Judean desert.

Brian Deacon tries hard as Jesus, but he's just trying TOO hard, like the new young Rev in charge of the Youth Ministry. This Image of Christ seems like the proverbial (HIS proverb) house divided. On the one hand Deacon goes out of his way to present a Flesh and Blood rather than a "Stained Glass" Christ, chuckling all the time, grinning, even having a hairy chest, but on the other, he's saddled with a perfectly straight chestnut wig which could have been left over from Greta Garbo's QUEEN CHRISTINA. A minor point, but it seems perverse. The perfect chestnut hair is the aspect of the Stained Glass Jesus most often singled out for ridicule. And why an English actor who speaks in veddy, veddy proper tones which often seem condescending? Why wasn't the actor who plays Judas chosen to play Jesus? He is tall and dark, with piercing eyes, and a little scary-looking. JESUS pours its new wine into too many old bottles on the Sunday School shelf. The result is a mess on both the visual and the dramatic level. I won't even get into the awkwardness of the camerawork and the scene transitions, the cheesiness of the sets and costumes...

The Mormons, by the way, have since shown how it SHOULD be done: their "Lamb of God" promotional video has excellent production values, elegant direction, a fine, burnished "lived-in" look of ancient reality, and a Jesus in whose Figure classic iconography is combined with the contemporary ideal of a COOL Young Carpenter Rabbi...

But there are some fine things in this most widely seen movie of all time. Seeing a movie "for the scenery" is a joke, but since the scenery here is the actual Holy Land, it's what the old Revised Standard Bibles call a Help. Someone who knew a little bit about making movies seems to have stepped in (like that Second Pilate) at a few points. The scene of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes is nicely done. Catch that low-angle shot of the Master raising the Bread to Heaven. The opening shots of the crowds kind of "chasing" Jesus are nice Gospel illustrations. The interest which St Luke had in the women who gave their all to Christ is conveyed appropriately. The brutality of the Crucifixion is shocking, moving. And for people who really know their Bible, it's kind of fun to count the peculiarly "Lukan" touches (the screenplay is based on the Third Gospel): for example, there is no Crown of Thorns because Luke doesn't mention that detail. Deacon even shines in a few scenes. So grave and kind as he raises Jairus's daughter. He even looks pretty good/Godly when that blasted wig gets wetted down, as when He is baptized and when He calms the Strom on the Lake.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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