Movies for the Family at Easter

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The Easter season has become a favorite time of year for families to watch movies about Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, and other biblical stories that point to the savior. Below are a few recommended shows for families, kids, and adults that will help keep the focus on Christ and his amazing gift of salvation. (Yes, it’s an incomplete list. Please add other favorites in the comment section.)

Classics for the whole family:

ben_hurBen Hur (1959): Opening with the birth of Christ, it ends with his crucifixion, changing the lives of Judah ben Hur (Charlton Heston), a wealthy Jew who had been falsely accused and imprisoned by the Romans and was now back in Jerusalem seeking revenge. This story of redemption continues to inspire, even leading to a 2016 remake.

greatest story ever toldThe Greatest Story Ever Told: From birth to death to resurrection, the life of Jesus unfolds at a stately pace. At almost four hours long, this 1965 epic progresses slowly compared to today’s fast-paced, shifting-viewpoints cinematography style. Adults may recognize many major actors in bit roles, while kids can experience a grown-up version of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life.

10commandments movieThe Ten Commandments: Charlton Heston as Moses leads his people out of Egypt in this 1956 Hollywood epic. Why Easter?

Of course, it does not refer to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, but it does tell the story of Passover, the major Jewish feast during which Jesus was killed.

Best for young children:

easter carol VTVeggieTales: An Easter Carol and Twas the Night Before Easter  Both of these animated tales focus on the meaning of Easter rather than directly refer to Jesus. But the kid-favorite veggie characters will delight children while the stories provide an open door for parents to expand upon the meaning of Easter.

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 10.46.34 AMThe Easter Story Keepers: A kindly baker relates the story behind the miracle of Easter Sunday, while Nero’s persecution of Christians rages outside their sanctuary. This animated feature teaches kids about Christian values, faith, and the story of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the good of mankind.

Best for teens and adults:

risenRisen: The most recent major movie to address the crucifixion of Jesus, this story follows a Roman centurion who was assigned to finish the work of crucifying Jesus and the two criminals. His experience in the following days as he attempts to track down the Christ’s disciples will inspire the whole family.

passion-christThe Passion of the Christ: This 2004 film directed by Mel Gibson is known for its graphic depiction of the violent scourging and crucifixion of Jesus. It opens in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus prays and closes with a brief vision of the Resurrection. A powerful picture of what Jesus suffered, it may be too strong for youth and others sensitive to violence. (parental guidance advised)

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 10.41.44 AMThe Case for Christ: Based on the life of author Lee Strobel. An investigative journalist and self-proclaimed atheist sets out to disprove the existence of God after his wife becomes a Christian. An ideal Easter-season movie release, it shares a compelling, real-life story about the power of the Cross. It released April 7, 2017.

A.D. The Bible ContinuesA.D. The Bible Continues, produced by husband/wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, picks up the story of Jesus at his crucifixion and explores the exciting and inspiring events that followed in the life of the early church. Four discs featuring all 12 episodes plus exclusive special features are included.

Kelley Mathews

Kelley June30
Kelley Mathews (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) serves as Managing Editor of ChristianParenting.org. Mother of four school-aged children and wife of a public school district administrator, she has written and edited for the Christian market for 20 years. A lifelong fiction lover, her current sideline work as book reviewer for Publisher’s Weekly proves to her mother…
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