The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bible Based Films

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the...

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the trailer for the film The Ten Commandments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 The films that I'll be listing in my April postings will not necessarily be films that I'd call my favorite films, but they will be favorites in the genres I'll be naming.   The A to Z genres are very specific micro genres as opposed to the broader genres like action, romance, or comedy.

Films based on the Bible or related to it:

      When I was growing up in the fifties, Bible movies were a cinema staple.  These were not just run of the mill movies, but epics on a grand scale in CinemaScope and glorious color.  They were actually fairly decent depictions of the Bible stories with an odd twist thrown in now and then, but at the end you'd walk out of the theater feeling elevated and perhaps even a bit blessed.

       My favorite of that era was The Ten Commandments (1956) featuring Charlton Heston in his iconic portrayal of Moses.  Some of the effects could be done much better now, but as a whole the film holds up well and I always enjoy seeing it.

       A later animated version of the story, The Prince of Egypt (1998), does a credible job presenting the same story.

        Some other more recent Bible story films are One Night with the King (2006) and The Nativity Story (2006).   And of course this category would not be complete with one of the most incredible Bible based films of all--The Passion of the Christ (2004).

       There are so many fine Bible based films that I could probably do an A to Z Theme on those alone.  But these give us a place to begin.

         What are some of your favorite Bible based films?   Have you seen any of the epics from the silent film era?    Do you find the filmdom interpretations of Bible stories to be offensive in any way?



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92 comments:

  1. I liked the Samson and Delilah with Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr. There's a girl worth getting a new haircut for.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  2. You certainly can't get any more powerful than The Passion of the Christ. I'd add the Narnia movies, as Lewis based his stories on the message and spirit of the Bible.

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  3. The Ten commandments is an EPIC in the true sense. I remember going to see it as a child and my mom telling me that the 'parting of the red sea' was almost real. No doubt, it would make a magnum opus today, but Cecil B Demille remains unbeatable.

    Mel Gibson's 'Passion of Christ' I managed to see just once. Can't bring myself to see it again.

    Bible movies might be made with whatsoever vision, what matters is what do you see in it.

    Thanks for the post and this challenge. Loving it so far.

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  4. I have had The Ten Commandments in my hands a few times but never bought the DVD. I think I may get it soon.

    One of the networks had a TV adaptation on probably 8 years ago. They messed the timeline up and I just stopped watching.

    I never have gotten around to seeing The Passion of the Christ. I got some catching up to do.

    Charlie @ The Semi-Retired Gamer

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  5. Most powerful films Lee, remember seeing some of those when younger.

    Yvonne.

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  6. I think the one I saw as a child with my dad was The Greatest Story Ever Told. I went to Sunday school and was so inteerested in the bible I loved the film.

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  7. I've seen all these movies-- I have to say The Passion of The Christ was probably my favorite!

    Cheers, Jenn
    http://imagesbyduffee.com

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  8. I agree with Alex that I'd add the Narnia movies. And I'd add Jesus of Nazareth, which was a tv miniseries but we always watch it on DVD.

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  9. Monty Python's Life of Brian!

    "He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

    wizzardSS - Empire's 5-star 500

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  10. I agree with Alex's comments on the Passion and the Narnia movies, and the following comment about not being able to see the Passion more than once! Some powerful images from that movie stick with me constantly. I loved it.

    While it is not a movie, but a series, I'm wondering what you think of The Bible series on the History Channel that has recently generated so much interest?! I thought parts of it were very well done, some caused me to question their accuracy. But I think it's a very good thing if they challenge me to pick up the Book and check the facts myself!

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  11. Oh, Passion of the Christ destroyed me.

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  12. I like Prince of Egypt because my best friend from High School was one of the animators.

    Keep up the great posts!

    Tim
    The Other Side
    Red Sonja: She-devil with a Sword

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  13. I really love Prince of Egypt and Passion of the Christ. Two powerful films right there.
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

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  14. Not religious so not offended by anything. But King of Kings was a good one.

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  15. I love ALL of these. "The Prince of Egypt" isn't the most Biblically accurate, but OH, the music!! I love it just for that. :)

    And I just saw The Nativity Story and The Passion for the first time within the last year. My husband and I and a friend watched The Passion last Good Friday... not something I need to do again. I was an emotional wreck!

    And I have fond memories of watching "One Night with the King" during sleepovers with friends. So good. :)

    Love this post, Lee!

    Jaimie
    Living in the Light

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  16. Ooh, and Alex is right, the Narnia movies are amazing too! Especially the part in Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan talks about the children knowing him in Narnia so they can know him in their world too...JESUS...YES! :)

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  17. Thanks again for starting this fun challenge. I love Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments. Classic. I'm a big fan of Jesus Christ Superstar as a play and a movie.

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  18. There was a film done called Matthew. I think it was done in the early 90's, low budget, but it is word for word from the book of Matthew, NIV. We try to watch it every Christmas and Easter. Highly recommend it.

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  19. I love The Last Temptation of Christ and anything about Salome (for some reason).
    Jan Morrison

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  20. The Ten Commandments was on TV here again, as it is every year, at Easter. Awesome stuff, even though I don't watch it anymore.

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  21. The Robe used to be a favourite of mine too. I missed the 10 this year, hubby can't stand Charlton Heston and didn't remind me it was on. Ben Hur was another of my favourites. Love the Narnia stories and am enjoying the movies.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  22. Did you watch The Bible series on TV recently? I thought it was well done, but Moses was disappointing. It's pretty hard to top Mr. Heston : )

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  23. Haven't watched any of the new ones, but would agree the older ones were epic. I liked Ben Hur, El Cid probably the best. Perhaps, those are quite Bible stories...but related?

    Wanted to let you know #1905 Lachodrom has their blog set so no one can leave comments. Apparently they get the visit/traffic; but don't intend on playing by returning visits etc. You have to "join" or log into tumblr is seems to do anything there. Very annoying and #1907 Paul's Life hasn't had a post since January..., had about 6 yesterday I was keeping track of, but lost my note.

    Traveling Suitcase

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  24. I agree with everyone above who mentioned the Narnia movies. I cry every time when Aslan is killed on the stone, because I know that symbolizes Jesus dying on the cross.

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  25. As long as I'm waking up to a lot of comments I'll just make general sporadic comments throughout the day.

    Thanks for the comments so far and the movie recommendations. I still haven't seen any of the Narnia films, but there are those and many others that are based on the Bible or derived from Bible times and many quite good. So excellent added choices.

    I still haven't seen the new series from the History Channel so I'll have to check it out on DVD. There was a pretty well done series on another network back in the 90's I think. I've seen most of those and thought they were fairly accurate in the story depictions.

    Lee

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  26. Can't think of any movies to add to this list, Lee.
    Karen

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  27. Love love love The ten commandments one of my very favorites. Another of my favorites is The Greatest Story Ever Told,it usually comes on around Easter or Christmas, it's a must see!

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  28. The Ten Commandments was a film I saw a hundred years ago, and I think it was the first Charleston Heston film I saw. Brought back some memories with that one!

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  29. I've actually never seen Charlton Heston's 10 Commandments. Sounds like a good one for family movie night. The Passion of the Christ was a powerful movie, and the catalyst for Our Youngest Teen becoming a Christian. It's too bad Mel Gibson went off the deep end after that...


    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  30. ARLEE BOID ~
    I own 'THE TEN COMMANDMENTS' and think the screenwriter was very imaginative in the way a full story, with plot twists, was fleshed out from the basic Biblical treatment.

    Charlton Heston was not a good actor and the one line where he practically transforms himself into Adam West playing Batman is pretty hilarious. But the movie is very entertaining and very well done.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention 'BEN-HUR', another good one starring Heston. I don't own it, but I've seen it probably 3 times and I love the way they did the Jesus scenes, where you hear Him but never actually see His face.

    I remember also enjoying 'THE ROBE' when I saw it long ago, but I'd put 'THE TEN COMMANDMENTS' and 'BEN-HUR' at the top of my Bible-based movies list.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  31. I'll chime in on this subject. I really enjoyed the Jesus Movie - came out in the late 70's put out by Campus Crusade for Christ. They made this movie in every language they could. I saw it in Mexico in Spanish and it was powerful.

    I also liked Jesus of Nazareth. And of course the 10 commandments. I didn't care for this new Bible series by the History channel at all.

    Thanks so much for starting this challenge. I'm so glad I decided to just go for it.

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  32. Hey Lee! I'm in no way religious, so none of these is offensive to me, but I have to say, being a lover of musical theatre and film,(and a child of the '70's) I still love Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell. I've seen the Passion of the Christ,and for me it just confirmed how cruel people can be to each other. Also, the Monty Python movie Life of Brian was pretty frigging funny!

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  33. I must admit, I'm a sucker for movies based on the bible. Ten Commandments, even though its corny, is a ritual watch at Easter. I like the Fatima Story and The Song of Bernadette. We watch The Passion on Good Friday, and my husband said he didn't think he could handle it again.

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  34. I love The Ten Commandments. That movie was ahead of its time. I watch it every year around Easter. It's a tradition at my house.

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  35. Does Se7en count as a Bible-based film?

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  36. The Passion of the Christ is my favorite above all, but The Nativity Story provides a poignant view of His beginnings.

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  37. The Ten Commandments is a classic and one I really enjoy.

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  38. After reading the comments, I realized how many of the Bible Based movies I had forgotten or not seen. A great B Post, Arlee...as always inspiring your readers to express themselves.

    I did watch the History Channel Bible Series. One thing that surprised me was the depiction of the violence, descrimination and persecution. At times it seemed to overshadow the Faith, Hope and Charity I tend to associate with the Bible...somewhat naive of me, I suppose.
    Sue~CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

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  39. Good choice on Passion of the Christ being included Lee, it's just unmissable since it's probably the biggest film in this genre we've ever had. Great post mate, had to laugh at the guy asking if Se7en counted as a bible film haha!

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  40. More great choices. Se7en? Perhaps inspired by the Bible in the way Pulp Fiction and other films might have been. The Bible has been a huge influence over popular culture no doubt.

    Lee

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  41. Billiant Blog post for B...Bravo from http://thebridgeofdeaths.tumblr.com/

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  42. Definitely the Ten Commandments and The Passion of Christ. Also remember The Chalice, but then Paul Newman apologized for doing a Christian film (he was Jewish).

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  43. Passion of the Christ is by far the best one, although I couldn't say it's a favorite, since it's a bit much. You know what I mean?

    I loved Prince of Egypt. Can't ever forget the scene where they go through the Red Sea.

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  44. I thought the Passion of the Christ was a stunning achievement in bringing the Bible to life. It is a shame Mel Gibson could not stay out of the news and reduced the impact of the project.

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  45. I fail! I've not seen any of those movies.

    I'd like to watch the History Channel's series "The Bible" I think it was titled. Looked pretty interesting.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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  46. Whenever I watch old movies like The Ten Commandments it makes me think that it looks pretty much realistic than some of the movies these days.


    Miss Uncertain---sidetracked

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  47. Thanks for this interesting post Lee. I will get some of them on DVD. It takes me back a bit down memory lane though right now my memory is not serving me well re: movie titles. The Ten Commandments sounds awesome - I would love to see this portrayed on screen ..

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  48. It's not based on the Bible, but one of my favorite religious movies is Saving Grace starring Tom Conti. Best fictional pope ever!

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  49. I don't think that a film that has claimed to be "epic" has actually lived up to that title since the ten commandments.

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  50. I'm not a big fan of biblical movies but Ill throw out two of my favorites: Jesus of Montreal - a Canadian film, and The Muppet Movie.

    One might question the Muppet Movie being including, but think about it: Kermit gathers disciples, is tempted by Doc Hopper three times, and many, many more - I wrote a paper about it in college for a Religion and Film class.

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  51. Hmm, this makes me want to put The Passion of the Christ on my Netflix queue.

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  52. Those movies were very popular back then weren't they? At the moment it's all post-apocalypse stuff. Trends come and go. I expect we'll see a remake of the 10 commandments before too long. It's definitely a classic.

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  53. I have seen none of these. though have heard of 2 mentioned here.

    will make a note to watch them.

    Thanks !

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  54. Charlton Heston made overacting an art (in a good way)...Commandments has always been one of my favorite films!

    LC

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  55. If you haven't seen The Ten Commandments it's well worth your time if you are a film buff. This was back when epic was real and not CGI or computerized effects.

    Lee

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  56. I've seen all these and would add Ben Hur as one of my favorites.

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  57. I saw The Ten Commandments for the first time when I was quite young - I was captivated. It was filmed with such scale.

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  58. I remember when the 10 Commandments would come on every Easter, but this year the History channel debuted The Bible series. It was entertaining but there were many inaccuracies in my opinion!

    Of course I loved Prince of Egypt as a kid! I could only watch the Passion once because I couldn't stop crying.

    My favorite bible based films include the Chronicles of Narnia series where Aslan the invisible lion represents God. Some would disagree but I saw similarities in the Harry Potter movies as well, and I loved that whole series. There are critics who think that Severus's deceit toward Dumbledore was like Judas to Jesus.

    I think that there is so much debate on the interpretation of the bible that every biblically-based film will offend someone one way or another, whether it be disputing the accuracy of text, how characters are represented in race, sexuality, and gender roles, etc. It's a touchy topic.

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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  59. Passion of the Christ was hard to watch. But it was a very important movie.

    Just saw The Ten Commandments on Easter Sunday (like I do every year). It never gets old.

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  60. My favorite shall forever remain the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. That movie makes me happy like nothing else! :)

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  61. I had certain movies that were Sunday appropriate while my daughter was growing up. Prince of Egypt and Dreamworks Joseph: King of Dreams were two of those. I came to really love the soundtrack from Prince of Egypt. Ten Commandments is part of our heritage, I think.

    I never saw The Passion of the Christ. I don't know if I am afraid of being overwhelmed by it or whether if it is because it attempts to depict diety. That being said, I had the opportunity of being in Germany and attending The Passion Play in Oberamagau. I will never forget that experience. (I know that is not quite the film category.)

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

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  62. I love The Ten Commandments movie and The Passion of the Christ.

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  63. I'm going to tell my Mother-In-Law how to find your blog! She is a true movie buff - I enjoyed your posts, but some is lost on me as I hardly ever see a movie all the way to the end :-( looks like your other blogs I should check too! Happy BElated birthday

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  64. I love this films! Wow...great picks!
    I missed watching Moses, this year...I am going to go see if I can stream it! Thanks Lee :D

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  65. Ha,ha, I tried to stay awake to watch the Ten Commandments on Sunday Night, after having a house full of little one full of Easter eggs. But I ended up falling asleep the rocker. Of course, I'd seen it before and knew the ending. but I never tire of watching(well maybe I do now & then)those old classic films.
    Thanks for setting us all on our journey of discovery as we travel from A to Z.
    My number is way up there past 1200. My theme is authors and their books. Hope you get a chance to stop by.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

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  66. I've never really watched any Bible-related movies. I'm sure I've seen some but I barely remember anything. Maybe at least part of The Prince Of Egypt. It would probably be good for me to watch more though, so maybe I can understand more than I can from reading.

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  67. I think Godspell is my favourite bible related film.

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  68. The Ten Commandments was in my school syllabus! Have seen it tonnes of times. I like it also.

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  69. Interesting questions. Thinking about it, I haven't see many bible based films other than The Ten Commandments and The Prince of Eqypt, unless you count satire. Life of Brian is a favorite of mine - I love most things Monty Python. The most offensive bible based film I've seen is Dogma, and I'll freely admit that I enjoyed it as well. Meant to mock the bible and specific religious beliefs, undoubtedly. But still, quite a bit of biblical knowledge to be gleaned. Thank you for the 'B' day post. :)

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  70. The Ten Commandments, definitely, is my favorite. I don't intend ever to see The Passion of the Christ. I can't imagine sitting through it.

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  71. Hi Lee,

    Excellent one. And you pose a good question. However, I'm undecided with an answer. We have noted, with much interest, over here in the UK, that a TV series on the Bible is creating a lot of attention over there.

    Happy alphabeting, my friend.

    Gary

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  72. We watch the Ten Commandments each year :) So shall it be written! So shall it be done!
    I just love that:)

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  73. You know, I've not seen many Bible movies beyond the animated ones. They cute and definitely got the message across without getting up in your face about it.

    Lovely post. :)

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  74. The Ten Commandments was made the year I was born. I saw it several times as a kid since my parents both loved it.

    I have One Night With The King on DVD but have not watched it yet. And The Passion is one I have wanted to see and I'm not quite sure why I haven't.

    Great choice for B, Lee.

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

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  75. I think The Ten Commandments is still my overall favorite.

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  76. Arlee, thanks so much for stopping by my blog today! I'm really touched to see you, given it's my first time ever in the challenge. My challenge is the A to Z part, I've been helping ensure there's a new post every single day since 2006 when the blog started (by someone else, not me).

    I'm another Life of Brian fan, and B is for Brian too! The question is, will you follow the gourd or the shoe?

    Thanks again!

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  77. One more thing, our blog does not sell houses. We point and laugh at them! However, people have been known to turn up in comments who bought a house "featured" on Burbed!

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  78. The Ten Commandments is a classic. I can't wait to see what movie types you come up with for some of the harder letters of the alphabet.

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  79. Given my dinosaur tastes, I prefer the original silent version of The Ten Commandments from 1923. I really like how Cecil B. DeMille wove together the Biblical story with a parallel modern-day story about what can happen if one keeps or breaks the Commandments.

    I haven't seen The Passion, but I heard one person sarcastically calling it The Passion of the Marquis de Sade, due to how graphic the content is.

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  80. I'm not thinking of a single Bible based film that I just love even though we own Prince and Passion. I'd probably have to go with Veggie Tales, especially Josh and the Big Wall.

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  81. The Ten Commandments is my favorite movie on your list. I just saw bits and pieces of it over the weekend, and it still holds up after all of these years even with the old special effects.

    Julie

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  82. The bible is rich with stories and ideas. Great choices and recently the History Channel did an excellent job with it's four part mini-series The Bible.

    Thanks for starting A-Z. This challenge makes us both work on our blogs and meet new people.

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  83. Ten Commandments an obvious favorite here and for good reasons. And still more interesting suggestions. I too like the Bible based musicals.

    Lee

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  84. Thanks for the A to Z Challenge, you've certainly got me motivated. I've not left my computer all day, I'm in awe of all the great blogs I've visited so far.
    Charlton Heston comes to mind as a big actor in this genre but I'm not as well informed as you or your commentors today. Cheers

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  85. The Nativity Story has to be one of my favorites, but who doesn't love The Ten Commandments? Great post!

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  86. The Passion Of The Christ was vivid... incredibly intense!

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  87. I have to tell you the truth, I've read the first 3 posts of the month and this is the only one where I've seen a movie in the genre, and even here only 2 ever, those being the Ten Commandments of course & the other being The Bible.

    The first I love & like to watch every year, even though I also bought it, but it's one of only 2 movies ever that I saw in a theater with my parents also.

    The second wasn't a movie I was supposed to be seeing, at age 8, but the theater switched movies, didn't tell parents, and, well, it caused some grief & consternation later on because it not only ran way longer than the movie we were supposed to see but they also locked all the doors, which were steel doors, so no parents could get in. lol I only remember the early parts of this one though, through Moses.

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  88. Hey Mitch! Good to see you stop by. Thanks.

    Lee

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  89. The only one I've seen is the Prince of Egypt, and I really like that one! Love the soundtrack to it as well.

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  90. Well... it would be from the sublime (The Last Temptation of Christ) to the ridiculous (The Life of Brian) for me. But seriously, can you have a movie based on the Bible that doesn't have Charlton Heston in it? I don't think so.

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  91. I've seen most of the movies you mentioned. Some good choices.

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Lee