Imagine meeting a person who had never heard of Easter. If you could use only one film produced in your generation to describe the real meaning of the holiday, which would you use and why?

While there have been many films on Christ over the last 85 years (“The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Jesus of Nazareth,” etc.), there has been, on average, only one major blockbuster produced on Jesus per generation: “The King of Kings” (1927), “Ben Hur: The Tale of the Christ” (1959), “Jesus” (1979), and “The Passion of the Christ” (2004).

Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” focuses primarily on the final hours leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. “Ben Hur” centers on the fictitious character Judah Ben Hur (played by Charlton Heston), intertwining Jesus’ birth, ministry and death, but leaving out his resurrection.

Then there is Warner Brothers’ 1979 film “Jesus.” Based on the Gospel of St. Luke, the film, funded in part by money raised by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, did poorly at the box office. But in 1981, Campus Crusade began translating it for use in the mission field. Known as “The Jesus Film,” the movie has now been translated into more than 1,100 languages. Seen by literally billions of people around the world, it is arguably the most watched film ever—with many millions of viewers professing faith in Jesus Christ as a result. It is still being shown world-wide today.

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