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The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

An all-star, large scale epic film that chronicles the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Directors:

George Stevens, David Lean (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Fulton Oursler (book), Henry Denker (source writings) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 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
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Storyline

"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. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 April 1965 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

George Stevens Presents The Greatest Story Ever Told See more »

Filming Locations:

Glen Canyon, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,473,333
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alec Guinness was sought for a cameo. See more »

Goofs

After Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, three men run to a castle on a hill to announce the miracles that Jesus has performed. In the long shot, the first man runs up to the castle entrance into the shade. The shade disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Alternate Versions

Original Cinerama version ran 260 minutes, subsequently cut over the years. The shortest version runs 141 minutes. Numerous versions have been shown on television. Network television print has only the main cast credits at the beginning and the technical credits at the end shown page-by-page (not "rolled up" as most prints), including a credit for "Cinerama". The most common version of the film shown today runs 195 minutes with all the credits rolled up at the beginning, and the end titles showing only the words "Released through United Artists". That particular version has been available on home video and cable TV. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spider Baby or, the Maddest Story Ever Told (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem
Music by Giuseppe Verdi (as Giuseppi Verdi)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not Great, But Worth Seeing And Unfairly Criticized
15 June 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See 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.


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