Jesus of Nazareth
Reviewed by: Eric Paddon
6 hr. 22 min.
Year of Release:
Was Jesus Christ only a legend? Answer
Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer
If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer
Was Jesus Christ God, manifest in human form? Answer
Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer
If Jesus was the Son of God, why did He call Himself the Son of Man? Answer
Trinity—How can one God be three persons? Answer
Character—Is Christ’s character consistent with his high claims? Answer
Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer
Could Christ have sinned? Answer
Archaeology—Have any burial sites been found for the people involved in Christ’s life and death? Answer
How do we know the Bible is true? Answer
How can the Bible be infallible if it was written by fallible humans? Answer
“The Jesus Seminar”—Are their criticisms of the gospels valid? Answer
“The Jesus Seminar”—Who do they really speak for? Answer
This epic television miniseries first aired on NBC in 1977 and is arguably the best filmed dramatization of the life of Christ ever made. It manages to avoid the excesses of some of the lesser Biblical epics of the 1950s by trying to achieve a more rugged, realistic look as opposed to the opulent spectacle one associates with movies like “The Ten Commandments” or “Ben Hur.” It also boasts a better script than the two previous major dramatizations of Christ’s life, “King Of Kings” (1961) and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” by finding the perfect blend between the humanity and divinity of Christ. Robert Powell, as Jesus, does an outstanding job in this difficult role, showing gentleness, compassion and also fiery anger when denouncing the Pharisees. No one has ever matched his performance in terms of intensity, credibility and sincerity in bringing the most difficult part to life on screen.
Director Franco Zeffirelli casts a large number of familiar faces in small roles, but because of the more simplistic, rugged look of the film this doesn’t weigh the movie down like George Stevens’s similar approach did in “Greatest Story”. Also, Christians can really find nothing to object to in the way the story of Christ is told, with the only fictionalizing coming in the form of a Sanhedrin member (Ian Holm) who basically tricks Judas into betraying Jesus. Apart from that, the accounts of the NT are presented faithfully. Best of all is the beautiful simplicity of the ending where Christ returns after His resurrection and closes by looking into the camera and repeating “I am with you always even till the end of time.” Never before has the power of Christ’s love been so effectively communicated on film.