Easter falls during a wonderful time of year that is filled with the first sights of spring, renewal, and warmth. It is also a time that signifies a great deal to those of faith.
Many films have documented this seminal part of the New Testament, while others merely touch on its significance. We here at Netflix DVD have assembled a list for all ages, so that your entire family can celebrate Easter with spiritual films. For a larger list of faith-based movies for any time of year, visit our films of faith list here.
This is actually a compilation of three episodes within the Storykeepers 13-part series. Ben, a kindly baker and “storykeeper,” shares the miracle of Easter Sunday. While Nero continues to persecute Christians, forcing them out of Rome, Ben’s family finds solace, strength, and hope in his stories of Jesus’ last days and resurrection.
Children will appreciate the warm characters and animation, while parents will value the ability to be "storykeepers" themselves, sharing important values and teachings with their children.
This cartoon features three young adventurers, who travel back in time to hear the Gospel of Mark and watch biblical events take place. It describes the last days of Jesus' life, leading up to the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Voices include Adrienne Barbeau (of Maude) as Mary Magdalene, Tim Curry as Judas (of Clue and Annie), and Jeffrey Tambor (of Arrested Development). The short running time, simple dialogue, and colorful animation make it a great choice for children.
This film stars Diogo Morgado reprising his role as Jesus Christ from the History Channel mini-series The Bible (another great faith-based epic). While the production values are relatively high and the Hans Zimmer score is memorable, this is a less traditional retelling of Jesus’ story. It does have its more graphic elements, but is still a good match for younger viewers, as it has less violence than The Passion of the Christ and other similar films.
For a More Mature Audience
While it has been the source of some controversy, this epic drama was the highest-grossing R-rated movie in the U.S. for over ten years. Directed by Mel Gibson (of Braveheart), the film deals mostly with the last twelve hours of Jesus's life and only briefly touches on the Resurrection. It is not for the faint of heart (violence abounds). Still, The Passion of the Christ is a critically acclaimed film—it earned three Academy Award nominations—and has a message of salvation that resonates, which is why it is one of the most commercially successful films of faith ever created.
Charlton Heston stars in this remake of a 1925 silent film of the same name that in turn is based on a novel from the 1880s. The film won 11 Oscars and three Golden Globes, and is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. The story begins with the birth of Jesus and deals predominantly with the struggle between the Romans and the Jewish population within Jerusalem, only returning to feature Jesus prominently at the end with the trial before Pontius Pilate and the crucifixion.
The plot is a retelling of the story of Christ, from the Nativity through the Resurrection, and its five Academy Awards speak to the powerful reverence brought to the storytelling.
The Greatest Story Ever Told is another Charlton Heston epic that has an incredible ensemble cast, including Martin Landau (of North by Northwest and Crimes and Misdemeanors), Telly Savalas (of The Dirty Dozen and Kojak), Roddy McDowall (of Cleopatra), and Claude Rains (of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Lawrence of Arabia).