• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Friday, September 28, 2007

    Daniel Films

    As I mentioned on Tuesday I've been looking into films about Daniel recently. Whilst I knew they were thin on the ground, I've been surprised to find out just how few films about Daniel have been made. In fact, other than the animated versions of the story there have only been four live action films made about Daniel – and three of those date back to the silent era.

    Indeed, the first two both date back to 1905. Belshazzar's Feast and Daniel in the Lions' Den were both released by the French Pathé company and were just 1 reel long. There's little information available about the two films, but I imagine that they simply focussed on chapters 5 and 6 respectively.

    It was only 8 years later that the next film about Daniel was released. Daniel (pictured above) was a two reeler by the Vitagraph company, and directed by Fred Thomson. The cast included Charles Kent, Courtney Foote and L. Rogers Lytton. Information on all three of these films is taken from Campbell and Pitts's "The Bible on Film".

    The only other live action version of this story is an entry in the Greatest Heroes of the Bible series. One of the lesser episodes was called Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. Whilst it was released on video at some point, there's been no DVD release as of yet, and It's not one that I've seen. It is interesting that it's called Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, rather than say Daniel and Darius. Far and away the most popular story about Daniel is, of course, the one about the lions' den, so it's interesting that the title puts the emphasis elsewhere.

    That leaves the animated films, the vast majority of which are merely children's cartoons telling the lions' den story. Whilst it's hard to get an exhaustive list of all these children's films, it includes entries in the "Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible", "Greatest Adventure Stories from the Bible" and the "Beginners Bible" series (all titled Daniel in the Lions' Den) as well as the Bible Animated Classics: Daniel.

    Then there's the two Veggie Tales versions of the story. I'm wary of the Veggie Tales series in general. They tend to go so far to exorcise the difficult / violent passages from their stories so that it
    The two episodes in this series are found on two different DVDs. The first "Daniel in the Lions' Den" appears in Where is God when I'm S-Scared. The other Rack, Shack and Benny deals with the story of Daniel's friends from Daniel 3.

    The only animated version of this story which is aimed at adults (perhaps more so than children) is Daniel from the "Testament: Bible in Animation" series. I discussed this on Tuesday in greater depth, so anyone wanting to find out more on that film should go there.

    Finally, the story of Daniel is included as one of the inspirational stories from "Friends and Heroes". The story is actually the first flashback story in the whole series, as it occurs in episode 1. The story starts at the beginning of Daniel 6 with Daniel ascending the steps into Darius' court, and it ends again as Daniel ascends out of the lions den. (Actually there's another shot before the story cuts back to the 1st century AD story, but that functions very much as an epilogue). This is the only CGI telling of Daniel that I'm aware of.

    I can't help wondering if the story of Daniel will ever get the big screen treatment. There's a chance the Epic Stories of the Bible series that is about to release its version of the Ten Commandments will progress as far as that, but it would be nice to see a live action version of the whole story. After a strong showing in the first 20 years of motion pictures Daniel's story seems to have been ignored, or rather consigned to simply a children's story.

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    • At 4:08 am, October 02, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      I agree and this is the story that explain the end of time! it has the calender, no wonder He'll come like a thief.

    • At 7:38 pm, December 10, 2017, Anonymous eu4 event ids said…

      I have not seen this but hope unlike (Noah 2014) it is true to scripture such a let dwn when movie directors don't be true to the story they are presenting to people who have no real knowledge of the bible just what they hear from pagan church idol worshiping people who pray to statue's of Jesus on the cross, why all the lies? learn the truth then make it.

    • At 7:51 am, December 09, 2018, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Check www.biblemovie.com.au for a word-for-word version of the book of Daniel

    • At 9:14 am, January 24, 2020, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks for all your comments. Sorry that i never got back to them individually.


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