In 2004 Mel Gibson made film history by doing something that many deemed crazy: he directed a feature-length, Rated R film faithful to the Bible’s narrative about Jesus’ crucifixion — in Aramaic, with English subtitles.
The Passion of the Christ went on to gross over $600 million worldwide (nearly $400 million in the U.S.), becoming one of the most successful films of all time. The Passion depicts the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed, as well as a final scene of the resurrection, and a few flashbacks.
What set this movie apart from all others was the no-holds-barred realism of Christ’s torture and death. It’s hard to watch. You can’t leave that movie without gaining in your understanding of the horrors Jesus endured.
Then in 2010 our friends at Mars Hill Church made a 30-minute film entitled Good Friday. The quality is great. One of the things that sets it apart from The Passion of the Christ is that Mars Hill does a great job of showing the theological importance of the cross, rather than provide a straight historical account. The viewer comes away from Good Friday understanding what the Atonement was all about. Here’s the preview:
Mars Hill made this movie available as a free download (donations accepted) at whokilledgod.com, and some churches use it as their own Good Friday service.
Together, Good Friday and The Passion of the Christ raised the bar for movies about Christ’s work at Calvary, although God has also used others to draw people to Himself and drive them into His Word.
What is your favorite movie about the cross?