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The Greatest Story Ever Told (15-Feb-1965)

Director: George Stevens

Writers: James Lee Barrett; George Stevens

Based on a book: The Greatest Story Ever Told by Fulton Oursler

Music: Alfred Newman

Keywords: Drama, Bible, Biography

The Life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ told in epic proportions. Adequate telling though slow; excessive cameo appearances intrude. Nominated for 5 Oscars, including Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Score. Various edits for this film exist, the first at 3:20, another common version at 3:15, and a shorter version under 3:00 which is much too butchered. Best viewed on the largest screen possible.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
John Abbott
5-Jun-1905 24-May-1996 The Woman in White
Rodolfo Acosta
29-Jul-1920 7-Nov-1974 Bandido
Michael Ansara
15-Apr-1922 31-Jul-2013 Cochise on Broken Arrow
Carroll Baker
28-May-1931   Baby Doll
Ina Balin
12-Nov-1937 20-Jun-1990 The Patsy
Robert Blake
18-Sep-1933   Baretta
Pat Boone
1-Jun-1934   Lounge singer, 45M records sold
Victor Buono
3-Feb-1938 1-Jan-1982 King Tut on Batman
Richard Conte
24-Mar-1910 15-Apr-1975 The Blue Gardenia
Frank DeKova
17-Mar-1910 15-Oct-1981 Chief Wild Eagle on F Troop
Jamie Farr
1-Jul-1934   Cpl. Klinger on M*A*S*H
Jose Ferrer
8-Jan-1909 26-Jan-1992 The Caine Mutiny
David Hedison
20-May-1927   Twice Felix Leiter in Bond films
Van Heflin
13-Dec-1910 23-Jul-1971 Till the Clouds Roll By
Charlton Heston
4-Oct-1923 5-Apr-2008 The Ten Commandments
Russell Johnson
10-Nov-1924 16-Jan-2014 The Professor on Gilligan's Island
Martin Landau
20-Jun-1931   Mission: Impossible, Space 1999
Angela Lansbury
16-Oct-1925   Murder She Wrote
Mark Lenard
15-Oct-1924 22-Nov-1996 Ambassador Sarek on Star Trek
Robert Loggia
3-Jan-1930   The Jagged Edge
Janet Margolin
25-Jul-1943 17-Dec-1993 Take the Money and Run
David McCallum
19-Sep-1933   Illya on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Roddy McDowall
17-Sep-1928 3-Oct-1998 Planet of the Apes
Dorothy McGuire
14-Jun-1916 13-Sep-2001 A Summer Place
Sal Mineo
10-Jan-1939 12-Feb-1976 Dies in Rebel Without A Cause
Nehemiah Persoff
2-Aug-1919   The Harder They Fall
Donald Pleasence
5-Oct-1919 2-Feb-1995 The Great Escape
Sidney Poitier
20-Feb-1927   In The Heat Of The Night
Claude Rains
10-Nov-1889 30-May-1967 The Invisible Man
Telly Savalas
22-Jan-1922 22-Jan-1994 Kojak
Joseph Schildkraut
22-Mar-1896 21-Jan-1964 The Life of Emile Zola
Frank Silvera
24-Jul-1914 11-Jun-1970 Killer's Kiss
Abraham Sofaer
1-Oct-1896 21-Jan-1988 The Naked Jungle
Paul Stewart
13-Mar-1908 17-Feb-1986 Citizen Kane
Harold J. Stone
3-Mar-1911 18-Nov-2005 The Harder They Fall
Max von Sydow
10-Apr-1929   The Exorcist
Michael Tolan
27-Nov-1924 31-Jan-2011 The Bold Ones
John Wayne
26-May-1907 11-Jun-1979 The Duke
Shelley Winters
18-Aug-1920 14-Jan-2006 Method actress and camp queen
Ed Wynn
9-Nov-1886 19-Jun-1966 Requiem for a Heavyweight


Max von Sydow   ...   Jesus
Michael Anderson, Jr.   ...   James the Younger
Carroll Baker   ...   Veronica
Ina Balin   ...   Martha of Bethany
Pat Boone   ...   Young Man at Tomb
Victor Buono   ...   Sorak
Richard Conte   ...   Barabbas
Joanna Dunham   ...   Mary Magdalene
Jose Ferrer   ...   Herod Antipas
Van Heflin   ...   Bar Amand
Charlton Heston   ...   John the Baptist
Martin Landau   ...   Caiaphas
Angela Lansbury   ...   Claudia
Janet Margolin   ...   Mary of Bethany
David McCallum   ...   Judas Iscariot
Roddy McDowall   ...   Matthew
Dorothy McGuire   ...   Virgin Mary
Sal Mineo   ...   Uriah
Nehemiah Persoff   ...   Shemiah
Donald Pleasence   ...   The Dark Hermit
Sidney Poitier   ...   Simon of Cyrene
Claude Rains   ...   King Herod
Gary Raymond   ...   Peter
Telly Savalas   ...   Pontius Pilate
Joseph Schildkraut   ...   Nicodemus
Paul Stewart   ...   Questor
John Wayne   ...   Roman Guard
Shelley Winters   ...   Woman of No Name
Ed Wynn   ...   Old Aram
John Abbott   ...   Aben
Rodolfo Acosta   ...   Captain of Lancers
Michael Ansara   ...   Herod's General
Robert Blake   ...   Simon the Zealot
Burt Brinckerhoff   ...   Andrew
Robert Busch   ...   Emissary
John Considine   ...   John
Philip Coolidge   ...   Chuza
John Crawford   ...   Alexander
Frank DeKova   ...   The Tormentor
Cyril Delevanti   ...   Melchior
Jamie Farr   ...   Thaddaeus
David Hedison   ...   Philip
Russell Johnson   ...   Scribe
Mark Lenard   ...   Bathazar
Robert Loggia   ...   Joseph
John Lupton   ...   Speaker of Capernaum
Peter Mann   ...   Nathanael
Tom Reese   ...   Thomas
Marian Seldes   ...   Herodias
David Sheiner   ...   James the Elder
Frank Silvera   ...   Caspar
Joseph Sirola   ...   Dumah
Abraham Sofaer   ...   Joseph of Arimathaea
Harold J. Stone   ...   Varus
Chet Stratton   ...   Theophilus
Michael Tolan   ...   Lazarus
Ron Whelan   ...   Annas


Review by anonymous (posted on 29-Jun-2006)

Sure, it flopped at the box office at the time, but, in my opinion, it's the greatest of all Hollywood's "Jesus" flix. It's chock full of the leading stars and character actors of the era. The only actor missing was "Lassie". John Wayne's portrayal of the gladiator at Calvary is a hoot, and sure to elicit a few giggles. Despite this one bad casting choice, George Stevens' production is not bad at all. It's not holiday time at my house without watching TGSET at least once!

Review by Russ Asson (posted on 14-Mar-2005)

I had the intention of buying this movie for my family for Easter, but thought that because it was so old that I might have trouble finding it. Nope, and thank Goodness. Wal-Mart has a digitally remastered and restored CD set for $14.88. This is a magnificent movie, one of the grand scale movies very much in the tradition of The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur. It cost $20M to make in 1965, at the time a fabulous sum. In today's dollars that would be over $112M! They just don't make movies like this any more -- they can't. The cast is so extensive that it's astounding that so many talented people could be in one production. There are scenes in this movie that will give you goosebumps and that you'll remember all of your life. I do. In my mind's eye I can see and hear the exchange between John the Baptist (played with authority by Charlton Heston) and Herod. The raising of Lazarus will also stick in your mind's eye. This is a family friendly movie, although this remastered version (which has several scenes that didn't appear in the theatrical version) has a run time of nearly 3 hours and 20 minutes. This is a movie that you will treasure.

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