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zz01|2 The Greatest Story Ever Told
Director: George Stevens
Screenplay: Fulton Oursler, Henry Denker
Producer: George Stevens, George Stevens Jr., Antonio Vellani, Frank I. Davis
Cast: Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Charlton Heston, Michael Anderson Jr., Carroll Baker
Genre: Drama, Biography, History

Running Time: 260
Aspect Ratio:  2.55:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: Spanish, French
Features: Special Edition
Studio:  MGM (Video & DVD) DVD Region:  1 G
DVD Release:  Jul 2004 Discs:  1 (Blu-ray) []
Reviews:  Starts off with some things accurate, and some things inaccurate (like the Magi coming with the shepherds). But what is said, the Scriptures, Isaiah and the Psalms, all very true and the images that this film produced, is all very telling even today. The abject horror during this time of the Israelites is the time of the Messiah.

In the telling of this film, in its 3:19 hours, it compresses the time so something is done, and at the same time another is done, both are true, yet occurred at different times. I understand that from a cinematic position. Scriptures, the whole Gospel, and the Scriptures beyond the Gospels, Acts, Romans, even Revelation, are far longer that this film allows for, so I can understand it as one who is from the film world. After viewing this film, read the Scriptures so you can place everything in the time of the Holy Bible, not in the time of this film. But as I said, cinematically, it makes sense to have one thing happening at the same time as another.

It is good that Jesus smiles, unlike other films that have Jesus not ushering one smile at all. Jesus was not a comedian, but He did smile and got the gist of a good joke or two. That's why He was able to take the appearance of man, comedy or heartache, like you or I. And look at Israel during that time. Hardship like the time of the Exodus from Egypt. Jesus was not always laughing tho. He had His heart for Israel at this time, and later His Church, and both of them had enmity against the Christ until His Resurrection and Ascension. The Acts of the Apostles was the beginning of His Church and the Gates of hell cannot penetrate the Gospel, even from within the church.

When Jesus receives the answer from Peter about Who He is, the Keys to the Kingdom, and pronounces him the leader of His Church, is all wrong in the film. Peter is not the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Read the Scriptures, delve into its meaning in the original languages. Peter was the first minister, but all pastors, all elders, are to unlock the Gates of Heaven. True we, as Christians, are prophets, kings and priest before God, yet we come to church and are under the minister and elders, who watch out for our souls, even disciplining those that forsake the Law of God.

All-in-all I rather enjoyed this film, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. Sure, it had all the stars of that day, along with George Stevens, the director (he did “Giant.”) Perhaps a lot of the cast and crew knew nothing about Christ, and I find this sad. The greatest story ever told, yet was heard by a few. But at least the film was made. Made for us. Made for years to come where all the stars is nothing compared to the one, true story that this film portrayed. Sure, as I said above, it had its tendencies to be inaccurate, as all of Hollywood, and including those companies that are Christians who produce such films, fall to grasp the significance of the life of Jesus, the Messiah (Christ) in it full orb.

The one film that portrays Jesus mostly correctly is Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” But “The Greatest Story Ever Told” receives high marks from this lowly servant of cinema, me!

Click on Title for International Movie Database link, click on Cover for Amazon link!

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