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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Harvey

Movie Recommendations for the Easter Season

For some families there are staple movies they watch during Lent. For example, many families I interact with have a tradition of watching Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ (2004) or the 1956 film The Ten Commandments or both. The latter, starring Charlton Heston, has been airing on television each season for generations now. Some even include in their Lenten film diet, while some abstain from screens altogether during Lent, other classics such as William Wyler's Ben-Hur (1959) or Henry Koster's The Robe (1953).  


I don’t often hear people talk about movie traditions during the fifty days of the Easter season. Some of the classic films mentioned above have some reference to the resurrection. Yet are there movies that are particularly helpful for entering into the depths of the Easter season alongside our other efforts? I don’t know for certain, but I thought I would try to offer some suggestions. Below are some Easter film recommendations for those that like having movie traditions that follow the liturgical year. Some are focused on the life of Jesus and the resurrection, while others focus on the early years of the Church with the apostles. The reason for including the latter is the increase in readings from the Acts of the Apostles during Easter and the fact that the resurrection was central for the faith and preaching of those apostles.   


movies

Resurrection Themed Films for Adults and Mature Youth 

  • Risen (2016). This film includes the tagline: Witness the manhunt that changed the course of human history.” This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is not the typical bible movie. It is very focused on the resurrection. What makes it unique is that the story follows the perspective of a non-believer. A Roman pagan sees Jesus crucified, sees Jesus risen, and struggles to make sense of it all.  

  • The Case for Christ (2017). This film’s tagline is: “One Man’s Journey to Solve the Biggest Mystery of All Time.” It is the real story of former atheist Lee Strobel who sought to disprove the resurrection and eventually became a Christian. While Strobel has not become Catholic (at least not yet), Catholics may still find inspiration in his journey to the realization of the truth that Jesus was risen from the dead.  

  • The Chosen season 4 (2024). While it does not touch on Jesus’ resurrection directly, the fourth season of The Chosen has resurrection themes that run throughout it with its climax of the season being the rising of Lazarus from the dead.  

 

Resurrection Themed Films for the Whole Family 

  • Paul: Apostle of Christ (2018). This is the favorite film of my eldest. It focuses on Paul’s final days prior to his execution and his interaction with Luke the Evangelist.  

  • Quo Vadis (1951). While it is a work of fiction, it is historical fiction. Quo Vadis touches on the Emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians, Saints Peter and Paul, and the martyrdom of Peter.  

 

Resurrection or Early Church Themed Films for the Whole Family (Any children’s movies involving Jesus’ life and the apostles will often include scenes depicting death) 

 

While the sanctification of imagination through stories is important, we must also remain faithful to prayer, the sacraments, and Christ’s mission throughout the Easter season and the journey of life.  

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