15th August 2005
Who is your favourite film Jesus? The Arts & Faith website is taking a poll. So far it appears that Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, 2004) is leading the way at 28%, while Robert Powell (Jesus of Nazareth, 1977) and Enrique Irazoqui (Il Vangelo Secondo di Matteo, 1964) are close seconds at 14% and 12 %, respectively.
There are many great Jesus films and they all have different strengths and weaknesses. While I find it difficult to name a favourite screen Jesus, I would have to say that my personal favourite is probably Colin Blakeny (Son of Man, 1969). He’s not that popular in the polls however — he has a mere 2% so far.
I probably like Blakeny more because he is so atypical and off-the-wall. One of my favourite lines from Son of Man is where Blakeny’s Jesus is asked about whether or not they should pay taxes (Matt 22//Mark 12//Luke 20). He responds, “You give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and you give to God what belongs to God — and shut up!” Another great scene is where Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount. The scene is hard to describe, but it brings out the shock value of Jesus’ teaching to love one’s enemies.
Update: Mark Goodacre at NT Gateway has posted some of his thoughts on his favourite Jesus. He likes Caviezel and parts of Willem Dafoe’s Jesus in Last Temptation of Christ, Jeremy Sisto’s Jesus (1999) and Ted Neeley’s Jesus Christ Superstar. I too liked Sisto and Neeley, but I found it very difficult to watch Willem Dafoe as Jesus. He just conjures up too many other roles for me to appreciate his performance (ditto for Harvey Keitel as Judas).