Some holidays are more in remembrance while others are celebratory. Religious holidays, observances, regardless of the religion, fall into both categories. As I’m not religious in any way I don’t know for certain, this is all speculation on my part. However, celebratory holidays seem to share common ground. Holiday specials, themed films, and yes, even a documentary or two. Easter, Passover, the holiday that can’t decide what day to be on and changes each year, call it what you will, is no exception. While I can’t think of a particular holiday special, there are many films to watch, usually lengthy epics, and a few documentaries.
Perhaps you’re the type of person who watches The Ten Commandments on network television and that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a star-studded epic and LONG. Are you looking to venture out and expand your viewing horizon? You’ve come to the right place. In this special piece, I’ll try my best to help. I’ll take a look at what I watch every year. Then I’ll list what else is out there I’d like to add to my list. There’ll even be a few documentaries thrown in along the way. I don’t claim this as the master list, the be all and end all, but it’s a good place to start. If I’ve left something out, please let me know in the comments section. I’d also like to hear what’s on your holiday watch list. Some of these I’ve reviewed. Click on the title to go see the individual review.
– Banned From the Bible I & II (2007) – The History Channel released these volumes back when the History Channel used to put out quality documentaries. The focus is on the lost or hidden Christian texts found in the Nag Hammadi library or amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. There’s a few discovered in other areas and a few still lost to history. These volumes talk about the reason why the books of The Bible got included, and why so many others weren’t, and even banned as heresy.
– Bible Secrets Revealed (2013) – A six-episode mini-series from the fine folks behind Ancient Aliens. This double disc collection is well worth the $5 on Amazon. I don’t know if this was a series History gave up on after a season, or if what’s there is what we’re supposed to get.
– Mysteries of The Bible (1994-1998) – A five season series A&E ran in the 1990s. It’s a mix of Biography, History’s Mysteries, and In Search Of rolled into one. I’d love to review this series, but there’s about 10 episodes a season. I don’t know if it would work. Some of these appear on History Channel theme collection DVD releases. All, if not the great majority are on YouTube. That’s how I got mine as the entire series has never received a full release.
– Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) – The rock opera of rock operas. Get over it Who fans. If you’ve never seen this, do yourself a favor and do so. I fell in love the first time I saw it. The soundtrack is amazing, so many great songs. Judas sings the best two.
– Barabbas (1961) – I love this film and have watched it at least a dozen times. Based on the novel about the fictionalized life of the man freed instead of Jesus in the Passover tradition. The great Anthony Quinn stars, but he has help from Ernest Borgnine and a young Jack Palance in supporting roles. Palance is like a great old school pro wrestling heel. You can’t help hating him and want to see him get what’s coming to him.
– The Ten Commandments (1956) – What more can I say about this film? Charlton Heston and the original bald man of Hollywood, Yul Brynner, square off in this film covering the life of Moses. It’s a Hollywood masterpiece. Vincent Price, Edward G. Robinson, and John Carradine lend support.
– The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) – A Martin Scorsese film starring Harvey Keital, Barbara Hershey, and Willem Dafoe in the title role. Based on Nikos Kazantzakis novel detailing Christ attempting to overcome various temptations. I’ve never read the book or seen the film. Should I?
– The Robe (1953) – Richard Burton stars as a Roman tribune who aids in the crucifixion. He wins “the robe” Jesus died in, and once he owns it becomes consumed by guilt.
– Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) – The sequel to The Robe. Demetrius is a Christian slave sent to fight in the arena. Meanwhile, Emperor Nero wants “the robe” as he believes it possess magic powers.
– King of Kings (1961) – Another Hollywood epic about the life of Jesus. TBS used to air this film every Easter. These days it airs on TCM.
– The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) – Another Hollywood epic, this one is close to four hours. A star-studded cast chronicling the life of Jesus.
– Ben-Hur (1959) – Charlton Heston stars in this award winning masterpiece. This classic epic about a Jewish prince in Judea shows the fall, loss, betrayal, rise, and revenge. Plus, there’s a must-see chariot race scene.
– The Passion of the Christ – The controversial Mel Gibson film. All I know about this South Park made fun of it a lot after its 2004 release. I’ve heard both good and bad things, but I might actually watch it this year.
It’s not the master list, but a good place to start. I hope you enjoy the holiday regardless of how you celebrate. I also hope you’ll enjoy a few of these.
Copyright © Drew Martin 2017