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The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John (2003)

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

Director:

Philip Saville

Writer:

John Goldsmith (screenplay)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Plummer ... Narrator (voice)
Henry Ian Cusick ... Jesus Christ
Stuart Bunce ... John
Daniel Kash ... Simon Peter
Stephen Russell Stephen Russell ... Pontius Pilate
Alan Van Sprang ... Judas Iscariot
Diana Berriman Diana Berriman ... Virgin Mary
Richard Lintern ... Leading Pharisee
Scott Handy ... John the Baptist
Lynsey Baxter ... Mary Magdalene
Diego Matamoros Diego Matamoros ... Nicodemus
Nancy Palk ... Samaritan Woman
Elliot Levey ... Nathanael
Andrew Pifko ... Philip
Cedric Smith ... Caiaphas
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For God loved the world So much...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence involving the crucifixion | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Yahoo group

Country:

Canada | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gospel of John See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$98,363, 28 September 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,068,087, 11 April 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

75 principal actors and 2,000 extras. See more »

Quotes

Jesus Christ: A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean, and you are all clean, all except one.
See more »

Connections

Follows The Visual Bible: Matthew (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Psalm 121: excerpt
from "Music of the Bible Revealed, Vol. 3"
Musical realization and artistic direction by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura
Produced by Alienor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Henry Ian Cusick is brilliant portraying Jesus of Nazareth
12 September 2003 | by adykstra-1See all my reviews

This film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Amazingly, it avoided all of the mistakes made in most other attempts to tell this story. The Bible's presentation of the story of Jesus is based primarily on four narratives--each stamped with its author's own personality and unique perspective.

Many previous films have sampled more than one of the Biblical narratives on the life of Christ. Also, they needlessly added scenes not found in the original sources. The authors of those screenplays in merely sampling from several sources, lost the unique focus of each respective author and diluted the overall effect of the story.

This film is based on John Goldsmith's screenplay which deftly avoids all the laughably silly cliches of previous film versions. Goldsmith's screenplay is based on only one man's perspective, that of Jesus' disciple John. Many stories with which the viewer is familiar, such as the nativity, are missing from John's gospel and therefore also from this wonderfully complex and yet lucid screenplay. Jesus' words are not here presented as pious platitudes, but occur within a context where Jesus responded to those around him.

The dialogue is solely based on the Good News Bible (also known as Today's English Version) Christopher Plummer very ably supplies the verse by verse narration from the same source. His delivery re-enforces the clarity of what is on the screen. Most of the other actors were not known to me--which I felt helped. (What part could one give to an actor who previously portrayed a drug dealer?)

Jesus is brilliantly portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus the man with human emotions, Jesus the visionary resented by the religious establishment of his day. This Jesus did not refer to them for his authority. Cusick, convincingly portrays Jesus the carpenter as a handsome, masculine, very charismatic man. Cusick is very much equal to the task. I spoke very briefly with Cusick after the screening, thanking him for his portrayal of a part that is loaded with hazards--all of which he avoided. I hope we see a great deal more of this fine actor.

The music by Jeff Danna is wonderful--well beyond what I could have hoped for.

One friend of mine at the screening expressed his concern that this film in portraying Jesus' death at the hands of the Jewish establishment might make it vulnerable to accusations of Antisemitism. I reassured him that in its earliest days, Christianity was a sect within Judaism. Almost all the people portrayed in The Gospel of John were Jewish. It was not until the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 that the Christian sect became predominately Gentile.

Director Philip Saville has done an enviable job directing a project that was fraught with artistic traps.

I hope this film receives very wide distribution. Even Christian conservatives should be very happy with it.


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