Resources for Biblical, Theological, and Religious Studies maintained by Tyler F. Williams

Bible on Film
  • The Old Testament on Film

    Heston as MosesThe many narratives of the Hebrew Bible -- often filled with sex, violence, politics, and intrigue -- have inspired film-makers from the very early days of cinema. In fact, there have been at least 110 films based on the Old Testament. The era of silent film saw the production of a number of films retelling Old Testament stories. One of the earliest films, the 1903 production of Samson and Delilah, was produced by the French production company Pathè.

    When one first brings up the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and film, however, it's hard not to think of the development of the genre of biblical epic. From the genre's genesis (!) with movies like D.W. Griffith's Judith of Bethulia (1913) to its zenith in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), the biblical epic has been a staple of the movie industry.

    This brief survey of films inspired by the Old Testament lists the movies by different production eras, and within each era films are listed by their release date. While this list is not exhaustive, I have tried to be as complete as I can. Difficulties arose especially with the very early period as most of the earliest silent films are not listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and the most recent period due to the proliferation of direct-to-video movies. I have also not included children's animated films (with a few exceptions) in this list. Sorry, no VeggieTales here! (Though I will definitely have to develop a VeggieTales section in the future).