• 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


    Sunday, February 11, 2024

    Which Bible Films Celebrate a Significant Anniversary in 2024?

    This should really have been a start of the year post, but I'm thinking about possible screenings I could introduce or films reaching significant milestones this year that might be good to write about / talk about at festivals / discuss on podcasts etc. so I thought it would be good to create a (non-exhaustive) list of the main ones.

    100 years (1924) 

    Die Sklavenkönigin (The Moon of Israel, Michael Curtiz)
    Quo Vadis? (Gabriellino D'Annunzio & Georg Jacoby)

    75 years (1949)

    Samson and Delilah (Cecil B. DeMille)

    70 years (1954)

    Day of Triumph (John T. Coyle & Irving Pichel)
    Demetrius and the Gladiators (Delmer Daves)
    The Silver Chalice (Victor Saville)

    60 years (1964)

    Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew, Pier Paolo Pasolini)
    Saul e David (Marcello Baldi)

    50 years (1974)

    Moses the Lawgiver (Gianfranco De Bosio)
    The Story of Jacob and Joseph (Michael Cacoyannis)

    40 years (1984)

    Samson and Delilah (Lee Philips)
    Second Time Lucky (Michael Anderson)

    35 years (1989)

    Jésus de Montréal (Denys Arcand)
    Visons of Ecstasy (Nigel Wingrove)

    30 years (1994)

    Al-mohager (The Emigrant, Youssef Chahine)
    Genesis: Creation and Flood (Ermanno Olmi)
    Jacob (Peter Hall)

    25 years (1999)

    La Genèse (Genesis, Cheick Oumar Sissoko)
    (Roger Young)
    Mary, Mother of Jesus (Kevin Connor)
    Noah's Ark (John Irvin)

    20 years (2004)

    The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson)
    Shanti Sandesham (P Chandrasekhar Reddy)
    Judas (Charles Robert Carner)

    10 years (2014)
    Exodus: Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott)
    Noah (Daren Aronofsky) 
    The Red Tent (Roger Young) 
    Son of God (Christopher Spencer)
    The Savior (Robert Savo)

    I guess there are three that really stand out for me at least. Firstly, the 60th anniversary of Pasolini's Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew, 1964). It's a film that has interested me for a long time and one I've written about both here and in print many times, particularly last year when I contributed a (extra-long) chapter on it for Ken Morefield's book "Film as an Expression of Spirituality: The Arts and Faith Top 100 Films".

    Then there's the 75 year mark for Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) a film which really kick-started the 1950s revival of classical era historical movies in general and of biblical films in particular.

    The other is the 20 year anniversary of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004). The milestone is much smaller, but the film still looms relatively large in the collective mind and has been quite significant in its impact it's had on what has come to be called "faith-based" films. The experience of that film being released was formative for me -- I learnt so much from the debates and the scholarship that surrounded the movie.

    Anyway, if you're a cinema/church planning on screening any of these films; a festival organiser wanting someone to discuss them; an editor looking for an article on them; or a podcaster who'd like a knowledgeable guest to chat about them, then it would be great to hear from you.

    Lastly, there are obviously a bunch of films I've missed off (some due to debatable dates, but are there any major ones I've not included?). 


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