Jesus of Nazareth

By Tom Quiner


Jesus of Nazareth is my favorite movie for Lent.

The icon on the right sidebar lists my favorite 13 movies for Lent. Many Quiner’s Diner readers have gone to that page. I hope you enjoy some of my selections.

Since this is Good Friday, I have posted a pivotal scene from Jesus of Nazareth featuring Rod Steiger as Pontius Pilate and Robert Powell as Jesus.

I love Steiger’s Pilate as much as I love Powell’s Jesus.

Nothing touches this film.

It is the best Jesus film.

It is the best Christian film.

And it is the best religious film. Ever.

Robert Powell is the best Jesus ever, even better than Jim Caviezel and Henry Ian Cusick. This film was a 382 minute mini series on television in 1977. Every single minute of this film is worth it. Nothing is wasted. Director Franco Zeffirelli has created an artistic masterpiece.

He is true to the Gospels and creates an ancient Holy Land that seems real to modern man. You can almost smell Jerusalem.

His presentation of Jesus’ telling of the Prodigal Son is a work of genius, surely inspired by the Holy Spirit! Interestingly, one of the writers was Anthony Burgess, also the author of “A Clockwork Orange.”

What a cast! Each star was at the top of their game. In addition to Mr. Powell, James Farantino was a Peter for the ages. Ian McShane was a complex Judas whose motivations are slowly revealed in his deft political maneuverings. Olivia Hussey as the Virgin Mary, and Anne Bancroft as Mary Magdalene both shine.

The list is endless: Christopher Plummer fleshes out the human weakness of Herod Antipas. You can’t stand him in the end. And James Mason brings Joseph of Arimathea to life. The conversation he has with Jesus about the idea of being “born again” draws you irresistibly into the essence of the Gospels. That’s why this film is so good. You feel like you’re walking right alongside of Jesus. Everything seems so authentic.

Karen and I have been watching if for the umpteenth time this Holy Week. We’ll attend the Good Friday service at our church tonight and come home and finish Jesus of Nazareth.

I encourage you to buy a copy. This is a film worth watching with your family over and over again.


  1. kodonivan on March 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    My favorite movie for Lent is “Godspell.” Thanks for this suggestion as I haven’t see it. A great movie for Advent is “The Nativity.”

    • quinersdiner on March 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Godspell is a great idea. I haven’t seen it in a long, long time. I’ll have to rent it. Yes, I loved “The Nativity,” too. Let me know if you have any other suggestions that aren’t on my list. Thanks for writing. Come again.