Ever since the movie industry began, stories from the Bible have provided the scripts for movies, even before sound and color were a part of film-making. But of all the movies about Jesus I have watched and/or own, by far my favorite is The Gospel of John (2003) created by the Visual Bible Project. Earlier films produced included Matthew (1993) and Acts (1994), but used different actors than The Gospel of John.
The Gospel of John reproduces verbatim essentially the entire Gospel of John from the American Bible Society’s Today’s English Version (alternately called the Good News Bible). While perhaps not considered as literally accurate as some other translations, its easy-to-understand style helps the movie dialogue seem natural instead of “preachy.” Christopher Plummer is the narrator for the non-conversation parts of John, while Henry Ian Cusick plays the part of Jesus, and both do masterful jobs.
I have watched this movie numerous times as well as shared sections of it in Bible classes and other venues to help illustrate the message of the Gospel and show others something of what it might have really been like when the Son of God walked the earth. I am deeply moved, even to tears or laughter, every time I watch it. It is a long movie, about 3 hours in length, but can be paused between the various stories for discussion or continued at another time.
I greatly enjoy watching Cusick acting the part of Jesus. He presents Jesus as a very real person who smiled and laughed a lot, but knew exactly who He was and what He was on earth to do. A number of passages in John took on new or deeper meaning for me seeing them visualized in this way. A few of the other acting parts are a little wooden at times, particularly some of the apostles, since John did not focus on them in his narration. Since the script was limited to only what was in John’s Gospel, viewers would benefit by reading the other Gospels to learn more about the Twelve.
If you would like to watch two short clips from the movie, you can find them at the Internet Movie Database website. There is also a short piece narrated by Cusick on the making of the movie found here on YouTube. But I would strongly urge you invest a little money and purchase either the DVD set here or streaming digital version of the movie here from Amazon. I do not believe you will be disappointed!
Our image is a still issued to advertise the original movie, and found on www.imdb.com.