There have been several classic Bible movies from Hollywood that have shown up through the years, and some of them have found major success.
Eight Classic Bible Movies from Hollywood
King David chronicles the life of Israel's King David, the man who killed Goliath and came back to rule after King Saul died. The movie was released in 1985 by Paramount Pictures and starred Richard Gere as David, Edward Woodward as Saul, and Alice Krige as Bathsheba. The movie made over $2 million on opening weekend.
The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments was released in October 1956 and tells the story of Moses as he learns about his Hebrew heritage and his mission to lead his people. It was directed by Cecil DeMille and starred Charlton Heston as Moses and the voice of God, Yul Brynner as Rameses, and Anne Baxter as Nefretiri. The movie won an Oscar in 1957 for best effects and was nominated in several other categories.
An earlier version of this movie, done in 1925, was also called Ben-Hur: The Tale of Christ. The 1959 version by MGM typically goes by the shortened title and stars Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, Jack Hawkins as Quintus Arrius, Haya Harareet as Esther, and Stephen Boyd as Messala. This is the story of Judah, a rich Jewish prince, who is betrayed by his friend, Messala, then vows to get his revenge once he makes it out of slavery.
Samson and Delilah
The movie about Samson and Delilah, one of the most famous couples in the Bible, was released by Paramount Pictures in January 1950 and was one of the top earners that year, raking in over $11 million. It also earned two Academy Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe. It was directed by Cecil DeMille and starred Hedy Lamarr as Delilah, Angela Lansbury as Semadar, and Victor Mature as Samson. It tells the story of Samson, the strongest man in his tribe, and his love for Semadar, who betrays him and then dies. Her sister, Delilah, has loved Samson all along, but wants vengeance. She plans to seduce him and find out the secret behind his strength, then betray him as well.
In this 1953 film from Twentieth Century Fox, the man in charge of the group who crucified Jesus, Marcellus, wins Jesus' robe. Once he takes the robe, he can't escape tormenting thoughts and nightmares about what he's done, so he returns to Palestine in order to learn more about the man he had put to death. The film stars Richard Burton as Marcellus, Jean Simmons as Diana, and Victor Mature as Demetrius.
The Seventh Sign
The Seventh Sign, a film released in 1988, stars Demi Moore as Abby Quinn, Michael Biehn as Russell Quinn, Jürgen Prochnow as David Bannon, and Peter Friedman as Father Lucci. The signs that the end of the world is near as outlined in the Book of Revelation are happening, and the man who is investigating them, Father Lucci, has written them off as natural occurrences. Abby Quinn, a pregnant woman, isn't so sure.
The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Greatest Story Ever Told from MGM in 1965 tells of Jesus' life and features Max von Sydow as Jesus, Charlton Heston as John the Baptist, Angela Lansbury as Claudia, and Joanna Dunham as Mary Magdalene.
The Passion of the Christ
This is one of the newer Bible movies from Hollywood, directed by Mel Gibson and released in 2004 by Icon Productions. As of March 31, 2005, the film had grossed more than $370 milion. It tells the story of the last 12 hours of life and the crucifixion of Christ. The movie won and was nominated for several awards.
About Bible Movies from Hollywood
There was a large concentration of classic Bible movies from Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s, and many of the same stars showed up time and time again, such as Charlton Heston and Angela Lansbury. Bible movies have been around for several decades-even before they gained popularity in the middle of the 20th century-and they're still being made today. In addition to films from Hollywood, there are dozens of Bible movies made for television.