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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 »


John Krish, Peter Sykes


Barnet Bain (screenplay) (as Barnet Fishbein)

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Credited cast:
Brian Deacon ... Jesus
Rivka Neuman ... Mary
Alexander Scourby ... Luke (voice)
Niko Nitai ... Simon Peter
Joseph Shiloach ... Joseph
Ori Levy ... Caiaphas
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mosko Alkalai ... Matthew
Kobi Assaf Kobi Assaf ... Philip
Moti Baharav Moti Baharav ... Simon of Cyrene
Ya'ackov Ben-Sira ... Zacchaeus
Zeev Berlinsky ... Blind Begger (as Ze'ev Berlinski)
Eli Cohen ... John the Baptist
Eli Danker ... Judas Iscariot
Dina Doron ... Elizabeth
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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Jesus Film Project | Jesus Video





Release Date:

19 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Jesus Film See more »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gadi Rol (Andrew) was only 20 years old when filming began. He took time away from his studies at the University of Tel Aviv to appear in the film/New Media Bible. Rol is also missing from the final scene in the film where Jesus ascends into heaven. The New Media Bible shows Jesus ascending into heaven then shows closeups of the disciples and Rol (Andrew) is not among them. Rol would go on to become a popular stage director and Israel. See more »


After laying the body in the tomb, the actor under the burial shroud can clearly be seen breathing. See more »


Jesus: Forgive them father, for they don't know what they do.
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Alternate Versions

An alternate version was filmed concurrently with the English one, with the actors speaking in the authentic languages (Aramic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin) appropriate for the events and people portrayed. This version is then used with a voice-over narration in any of several modern language. See more »


Version of Il messia (1975) See more »


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

Excellent version with one serious flaw...
14 February 2000 | by Bladerunner•See all my reviews

I have seen this version many times, and I still get goosebumps watching it. Being a Christian myself, this film has a whole different impact on me unrelated to the actual quality of the movie itself. So I rate the film higher than I might because other criteria, like accuracy to actual scripture and the focus of importance to Christ's message itself, are well done. I think this is the best version, including the Franco Zeffirelli film Jesus of Nazareth, for a 'searching' person to watch. Partly because it is so accurate, and the Zeffirelli has some important flaws.

The only contention I have with this film is the fact that the lead actor is white, and European. I have read the FAQ about this film and I understand that the director, John Heyman, meant nothing racist by casting Brian Deacon (the actor who plays Jesus). From accounts of his auditions, Deacon was simply the best actor for the job. I believe this, and I'm sure there is no underlying racism in the film whatsoever. Having said that, I still believe the casting of Deacon was a mistake.

Accuracy and strict adherence to the scriptures were among the most important guidelines in the making of this film, according to the film's creators. Yet, there is a very significant lapse in accuracy with the casting of a white actor. Jesus was NOT white. He was Middle Eastern (for lack of a better word). He was a Semite, a Jew, and the lead actor should have been also. Or at least physically similar to who Christ really was.

The message of Christ is often marginalized because His message, or His actual historical self, is conformed by man to suit his/her own agenda. It is important to present Him as accurately as possible, so that a person's decision concerning Him may be solely based on Christ Himself and not spurious, inaccurate garbage. The popular image of Christ (in America) as white, European, blonde-haired and blue-eyed is inaccurate, and it bastardizes the purity of his life, message and mission. As any gross false representation of Him would do.

Presenting Christ as a white person allows critics (of any racial background) to label His message, and indeed Christianity in general as "Western" religion. Accurately portraying him as a person of Middle Eastern descent, in one moment, renders that argument false. As false as it really is. A Middle Eastern, Israeli Christ is accurate and truthful, and truth is the very core of Christianity.

I am white, and I can accept a savior that doesn't share my skin tone. When white people make films depicting Christ as white it sends a message. The same kind of message that whites send when they hang paintings of Him in their homes that depict Him as white. All this has an underlying message that Christ's skin color, His heritage is important, for a very wrong reason. It says He must look like us for us to believe in Him, for Him to be respected. While His being a certain race and lineage was important to fulfill scripture (hence it is important to portray Him as He was), it is NOT important to His message, His mission or to our acceptance of Him.

People all over the world have responded very well to this film. If you are a believer in Christ, it is easy to understand why. Because the power of His message is as real today as it was 2000 years ago. The more accurate the re-telling of His story, the more powerful the message becomes. This movie' s power comes from that accuracy. That attention to detail. It's just unfortunate that any major element, like the actual personage of Jesus, was allowed to be inaccurate. Christ Himself spoke again and again of the importance of fulfilling prophecy, concerning His coming, accurately. He said, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." - Luke 24:44 (NASB). I think it should be our duty as Christians to present Christ as genuinely as possible, as genuinely as he lived.

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