The best biblical movies engross you in the story while allowing you to relax and maybe even learn a thing or two. Movies based on the bible usually pop up around Christmas, just in time to get everyone in the mood for the year’s most significant Christian festival.
Growing up, I remember having to watch most of the movies about the bible in black and white. However, times have changed, and some of the best biblical movies ever are from the modern era, which makes watching them all the more fun.
Check out our list of the best movies about the bible and use the comments section to let us know whether you agree.
The Ten Commandments (1956)
IMDB Score 7.8/10
One of the best biblical movies of all time and the top rated bible movie on Netflix, The Ten Commandments is a true classic. Charlton Heston plays the lead role opposite a flawless Yul Brynner in depicting the Jews fleeing Egypt. The story is one of the most famous in the bible and makes for great cinema.
The Gospel According to St Matthew (1964)
IMDB Score 7.8/10
According to the Vatican, who commented on it 2015, this is one of the best movies based on the bible ever made. The retells the story of Christ as taken from the Gospel of Matthew. It was felt that Luke was too emotional and Mark too unrefined, and John too otherworldly. It stars Enrique Irazoqui as the lead, and he puts in an excellent performance.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
IMDB Score 7.6/10
Directed by the iconic Martin Scorsese, the movie is based on a book by Nikos Kazantzakis. It has a heavy-hitting cast with Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, and David Bowie. Christ is made to be more human in this film, with far more emotion and fear than other depictions.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
IMDB Score 7.4/10
The movie shows the weeks before the betrayal and death of Christ. It also follows the tension that arises between Jesus and Judas. It is based on the rock opera by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber and stars Carl Anderson, Ted Neeley, and Yvonne Elliman. It’s one of the best bible movies for music fans.
Prince of Egypt (1998)
IMDB Score 7.1/10
Regarded as one of the best animation movies based on the bible, the Prince of Egypt punches far above its weight. The story follows Moses, and all of the characters are well hashed out for a children’s movie. Ramses, in particular, stands out as they didn’t just paint him as a standard comic book villain. It has an all-star voice acting cast, including Val Kilmer, Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ralph Fiennes.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
IMDB Score 7.1/10
For those of you looking for some gore, this has to be one of the best biblical movies around. The film stars Jim Caviezel, and Mel Gibson directs. The movie received heavy criticism on its release for its brutal scenes. It follows the final twelve hours of the life of Christ with various flashbacks. You’ll need subtitles as it’s all in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin.
King of Kings (1961)
IMDB Score 7/10
Jeffery Hunter takes up the reins on the messiah in this story of the life of Christ. It follows him from birth to death and focuses more on the mystery and legend that surrounded Jesus. The film received mixed reviews, but judging by its ratings, it’s up there with the best biblical movies ever.
IMDB Score 6.9/10
Based on the Pär Lagerkvist novel of the same name, the movie was shot as a grand Roman epic. The crucifixion was filmed during an actual solar eclipse, and there is a spectacular gladiator battle scene. Andrew Quinn stars as Barabbas, the criminal set free in place of Jesus Christ.
Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)
IMDB Score 6.6/10
Jim Caviezel, who starred in The Passion of Christ, takes up the mantle of Saint Luke in the epic story. It follows Jim Faulkner, who plays Saint Paul and his journey from ruthless heretic and Christian persecutor to one of the church’s most useful assets in the early years of its formation.
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
IMDB Score 6.6/10
As far as biblical movies go, The Greatest Story moves at breakneck speed, trying to fit in every detail of Christ’s life. It’s no easy feat for the most famous person ever. Max Von Sydow stars as the man himself and does an outstanding job.
Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)
IMDB Score 6.5/10
It’s always great to see a reasonably modern entry for the best bible movies and Joseph: King of Dreams doesn’t disappoint. The DreamWorks animation brings to life the story of Joseph, a humble shepherd who becomes a guide to the King after falling into good fortune. Mark Hamil and Ben Affleck star as voice actors.
IMDB Score 6.3/10.
Risen follows the journey of the Roman soldiers tasked with finding the body of Christ after he is resurrected. Tom Felton and Joseph Fiennes star as the two men trying to locate Christ in the hope of quashing various uprisings caused by his followers. It’s one of the best action movies based on the bible.
The Book of Daniel (2013)
IMDB Score 6.1/10
Lance Henriksen, Andrew Bongiorno, Robert Miano, and Leo Gallagher star in this straight to DVD biblical movie. It tells the story of the Babylonians taking Jerusalem in 605 BC. Daniel is among the young jews captured, and the film follows his journey of faith and the inspiration it gives others.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
IMDB Score 6/10
Definitely one of the best bible movies for you action fans. Christian Bale takes up Moses’ mantle in the retelling of the exodus of the jews, while Joel Edgerton plays Ramses. It’s a unique take on the story, and certainly one with a lot of blood spilled.
IMDB Score 5.8/10
No list of the best biblical movies would be complete without an entry about the great flood caused by God. Noah is played by Russell Crowe, who is charged with building the ark and stars alongside Emma Watson and Jennifer Connolly. It saw its fair share of controversy and was banned in multiple countries, including China, for being too political.
Mary Magdalen (2018)
IMDB Score 5.8/10
Unlike other movies based on the bible, this one actually focuses on a female, arguably one of the most important in history. Mary Magdalen is played by Rooney Mara, who works her way into Christs’ familiar circle. However, there is drama as she has to compete with his male apostles for affection. Joaquin Phoenix also stars as Jesus.
Son of God (2014)
IMDB Score 5.7/10
Following a similar narrative to other bible movies, the Son of God depicts the life of Christ but struggles to reach the heights of several films on the list. It feels slightly amateur in places and more like a preaching sermon at Sunday school. Diogo Morgado plays Jesus with Roma Downey directing and starring.
David and Goliath (1960)
IMDB Score 4.9/10
David vs. Goliath is one of the most well-known bible stories of all time. However, this movie doesn’t focus on the battle of the colossal giant and a meager shepherd. Instead, we see the tension between King Saul, played by Orson Welles, and Daniel, played by Ivica Pajer after a prophet predicts Daniel will reign.
IMDB Score 4.4/10
Billy Zane and Jackson Rathbone star as the Philistine rulers in this story about the conflicts between Samson and the Philistines. Taylor James is the leading man in this lackluster movie based on the bible, although there is some action to keep you entertained.
The Book of Esther (2013)
IMDB Score 4.2/10
Another relatively recent addition to the list of the best movies based on the bible, The Book of Esther follows a young Jewish girl. She has been chosen as the King’s companion and plots to dismantle a plan to eradicate the jews. It’s a story that lacks any real bible source material, and it shows.