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Home Old Testament on Film The Era of TV & Straight-to-Video
The Era of TV & Straight-to-Video

(1970s to the Present)

Richard Gere as King DavidSince the 1970s, virtually all movies based on the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible have been produced for television and/or been released straight to video and DVD -- with two exceptions. Bruce Beresford's King David was released in 1985. This film featured a lacklustre performance by Richard Gere as an impotent David (Gere was nominated for a "Razzie Award" in the worst actor category for his performance). It is no surprise that King David was a box office failure. A far better feature film was DreamWorks' 1998 animated feature Prince of Egypt. The animation for this film was excellent, as were the special effects -- I highly recommend it for adults and children alike.

Prince of EgyptPerhaps the most notable project in the history of the Bible and film -- and one of the largest television productions ever attempted -- is the Italian Lux Vide production company's Bible Project. With a budget of over $160 million (USD), they have produced a total of thirteen films on the Bible, with ten based on the Old Testament. The first five were distributed by Turner Pictures and broadcast on Turner Network Television (Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Samson & Delilah), while remaining five have been distributed by a variety of companies. With starpower provided by the likes of Richard Harris, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Monica Bellucci, Barbara Hershey, Elizabeth Hurley, among others, this series of films has been watched by over 300 million television viewers throughout the world and internationally acclaimed by critics (The Bible Project Films are identified below by "Lux Vide" before the director).

  • The Joys of Jezebel (A.P. Stootsberry, 1970). [A softcore, adult-oriented retelling of Jezebel and Old Testament tales.]
  • The Sin of Adam and Eve [El Pecado de Adán y Eva] (Miguel Zacarías, [1968] 1973).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS
  • Bible! (Wakefield Poole, 1974). [A softcore, adult-oriented retelling of Old Testament tales.]
  • Rachel's Man: A Biblical Romance [Ish Rachel] (Moshé Mizrahi, 1974).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Moses and Aaron [Moses und Aron] (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 1974).
  • The Story of Jacob and Joseph (TV) (Director: Michael Cacoyannis, 1974).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Moses [the Lawgiver] (TV) (Director: Gianfranco De Bosio, 1975).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Sodom and Gomorrah (Director: James Mitchell, 1976). [I have been unable to confirm this title]
  • The Story of David (TV) (Director: David Lowell Rich and Alex Segal, 1976).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS
  • The Bible [La Bible] (Marcel Carné, 1977).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS -  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS
  • Greatest Heroes of the Bible (James L. Conway, 1978-79). [This mini-series production included segments on many Old Testament characters]
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Wholly Moses (Gary Weis, 1980).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Adamo ed Eva, la prima storia d'amore [Adam and Eve: The First Love Story] (Enzo Doria [Vincent Green] and Luigi Russo [John Wilder], 1983).
  • Samson and Delilah (TV) (Director: Lee Philips, 1984).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS
  • King David (Bruce Beresford, 1985).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Esther (Amos Gitai, 1986). [Hebrew & Arabic with English subtitles]
    Buy from Amazon.ca: DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: DVD
  • Genesis (Mrinal Sen, 1986). [Hindi adaptation of Genesis 1-5]
  • Abraham (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Joseph Sargent, 1993).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • The Emigrant [al Mohager] (Youssef Chahine, 1994). [A retelling of the biblical tale of Joseph, told from an Egyptian perspective]
    Buy from Amazon.ca: DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: DVD
  • Jacob (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Peter Hall, 1994).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Solomon & Sheba (TV) (Director: Robert M. Young, 1995).
  • Joseph (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Roger Young, 1995).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Moses (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Roger Young, 1995).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Samson and Delilah (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Nicholas Roeg, 1996).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS
  • David (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Robert Markowitz, 1997).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS
  • Solomon (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Roger Young, 1997).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Genesis (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Ermanno Olmi, 1998).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • The Prince of Egypt (Director: Steve Hickner Simon Wells, 1998).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Jeremiah (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Harry Winter, 1998).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Noah's Ark (TV) (Director: John Irvin, 1999).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Esther (TV) (Lux Vide; Director: Raffaele Mertes, 1999).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • La Genèse (Director: Cheick Oumar Sissoko, 1999).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • In the Begining (Director: Kevin Connor, 2000).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Joseph - King of Dreams (Director: Robert C. Ramirez and Rob LaDuca, 2000).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD
  • Bible Collection: Abraham (TV) (Director: Vittorio Gassman, 2005).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: DVD
  • The Ten Commandments (TV) (Robert Dornhelm, 2006).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: DVD
  • The 'Real' Old Testament (DVD) (Curtis and Paul Hannum, 2006). [This is a humorous and irreverent (so be warned) retelling of select stories from the book of Genesis]
    Buy direct from producers at http://realoldtestament.com
  • One Night with the King (Michael O. Sajbel, 2006).
    Buy from Amazon.ca: DVD |  Buy from Amazon.com: DVD

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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2009 14:10