How the critics see Jesus

When Jesus played in theaters in 1979-80, the New York Times said it was “little more than an illustrated Gospel, with nothing in the way of historical and social context.” The portrayal of Jesus by actor Brian Deacon was along “conventional” lines, the newspaper said. A handful of other publications, comparing the John Heyman–produced film to other movies of that genre, tended to regard it as superior to the remake King of Kings (1961) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), but falling short of Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth (1977).

In his book Jesus at the Movies: A Guide to the First Hundred Years, W. Barnes Tatum of Greensboro College in North Carolina was kind to the two-hour version of Jesus directed by Peter Sykes and John Kirsh.


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