The Greatest Story Ever Told

  • U
  • George Stevens (1965)
  • US
  • 190 min
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

This retelling of the life of Christ from director George Stevens is a monumental achievement, given tremendous power by Max von Sydow's masterful portrayal of Jesus. Unfortunately, the film is fatally compromised by its cumbersome length and the casting of key players in every role. While the likes of Carroll Baker and Sidney Poitier work well, the inclusion of Pat Boone and, especially, John Wayne actually damages the fabric. It's a remarkable movie nonetheless, considering the fact that Stevens fell ill and the great David Lean took over the direction, reuniting with his Lawrence of Arabia actors José Ferrer and Claude Rains.

Plot Summary

Biblical drama starring Max von Sydow and Dorothy McGuire. Destined to become the Messiah, Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph at Bethlehem, and is hailed as "the King of the Jews". Escaping the wrath of King Herod they flee to Egypt, only returning to Nazareth after his death. It is here that the adult Jesus begins to preach his gospel.

Cast and crew

Cast

Jesus
Max von Sydow
Mary
Dorothy McGuire
Herod Antipas
José Ferrer
John the Baptist
Charlton Heston
Simon of Cyrene
Sidney Poitier
Pontius Pilate
Telly Savalas
Centurion
John Wayne
Woman of no name
Shelley Winters
Caiaphas
Martin Landau
Herod the Great
Claude Rains
Veronica
Carroll Baker
Bar Amand
Van Heflin
Judas Iscariot
David McCallum (1)
Joseph
Robert Loggia
Matthew
Roddy McDowall
Claudia
Angela Lansbury
Dark hermit
Donald Pleasence
Barabbas
Richard Conte
Herodias
Marian Seldes
Uriah
Sal Mineo
Young man at the tomb
Pat Boone
Peter
Gary Raymond
James the Younger
Michael Anderson Jr
Martha of Bethany
Ina Balin
Simon the Zealot
Robert Blake
Sorak
Victor Buono
Mary Magdalene
Joanna Dunham
Joseph of Arimathaea
Abraham Sofaer
Balthazar
Mark Lenard
Aben
John Abbott
Captain of Lancers
Rodolfo Acosta
Chuza
Philip Coolidge
Herod's commander
Michael Ansara

Crew

Director
George Stevens

Other Information

Language: 
English
Colour
Theatrical distributor: 
United Artists Corp. Ltd
Available on video and DVD
Certificate U
Distributor:
MGM Home Entertainment (Europe) Ltd
Categories
Drama