The Bible is such an enormous text that it has allowed for tons of movies to be based on its many different stories, plus a few ambitious works that attempted a broad-scoped adaptation. This year alone brings a few to add to the bunch, including last month's release Son of God and Ridley Scott's Exodus, which is due out in December.
Another opens this friday: Darren Aronofsky's Noah, a version of the Great Flood narrative from the book of Genesis, which with its effects-heavy visuals and impressive set pieces places it in the class of spectacular features considered "biblical epics."
Epics were the norm in the 1950s and 1960s, when Hollywood was trying to compete with TV and get people into theaters for grand-scale productions like The Ten Commandments, David and Bathsheba, King of Kings and the Bible-related novel adapations Quo Vadis. The Robe and Ben-Hur.
Not all Bible movies have to be so big, though. In the 1980s there was less of a spectacle selling point for dramas such as King David and The Last Temptation of Christ. Others with smaller scope include 1964's The Gospel According to St. Matthew and Mel Gibson's 2004 hit The Passion of the Christ as well as the not-so-successful The Nativity Story from 2006.
Then there are the animated features -- DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt and Joseph: King of Dreams are the two most notable. We could also count Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie and should include the 2007 computer-animated version of The Ten Commandments.
With so many and such varied takes on the material, it might be difficult to compare them and single out a best. There are definitely those considered classics, such as The Greatest Story Ever Told and the '50s versions of Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments, which many traditionally watch every Easter and/or Passover.
We polled users on Twitter to find out what they think is the best biblical movie. Here is a sample of the responses we received:
@thefilmcynic My favorite (so far) is King David starring Richard Gere. For scriptural and artistic interpretation.— Faith King (@FaithAnneKing) March 26, 2014
@thefilmcynic Ben-Hur. Tells it's own story but sews in the Jesus timeline nicely to add more weight to drama.— Kyle Ailinger (@KAilinger) March 26, 2014
@thefilmcynic BEN-HUR (1959) if it counts. Probably JESUS OF NAZARETH if we're talking strictly Biblical.— Austin Vashaw (@VforVashaw) March 26, 2014
@thefilmcynic Prince of Egypt.— August Macias (@August_Macias) March 26, 2014