After we asked the kids what they learned during Palm Sunday service, one of them replied, “Oh you know, the same thing we learned last year.” No matter how hard we try (or how guilty it makes us feel to admit it), sometimes the story of Easter and Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection can start to feel worn out. We have to work at re-immersing ourselves into the story so we are reminded, again, of the power of Love to conquer sin and death.
In the spirit of reawakening to wonder, we put together a list of our favorite Easter films for the whole family.
VEGGIE TALES EASTER
Who doesn’t love talking produce, honestly? Veggie Tales offers two Easter themed shows, Veggie Tales – An Easter Carol and ‘Twas the Night Before Easter, featuring everyone’s favorite tomato and cucumber.
THE JESUS FILM
If you’re looking for a straight-up, Jesus-y retelling of the Easter story that isn’t too long, or too graphic for the young folks in your family, The Jesus Film is a great choice. Missionaries around the globe have used this film to share the story of Jesus’ life.
SON OF GOD
Slightly more intense, but nowhere near the level of The Passion of the Christ, Son of God is a modern adaptation of Jesus’ story that includes segments from “The Bible” miniseries for today’s generation of families.
THE PRINCE OF EGYPT
While this animated movie depicts the life of Moses and the biblical book of Exodus, you can provide a leap to the life of Jesus by explaining how the Passover meal and Jesus as the Lamb of God find their origin in the exodus story.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE
A film rendition of the C.S. Lewis classic, the metaphor of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection comes through strong in this fantastic fairy tale.
For Grown Up Audiences
KING OF KINGS
This 1961 film is worth the three hours for its classic retelling of the life and death of Jesus Christ, starring Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, and Hurd Hatfield.
If you haven’t yet seen this epic tale of Christ’s life from the vantage point of Judah Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, what have you been doing all your Christian life? You’ll want to carve out 3.5+ hours, but every minute is worth it. Make it a double feature with King of Kings and you’ll be covered for Good Friday entertainment.
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
Mel Gibson’s graphic (and I mean, graphic) portrayal of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the kind of movie you want to watch once if your imagination isn’t able to conjure the suffering of Jesus. I still remember literally wailing in the theater over what Jesus endured on the cross. I realize this isn’t much of a compelling endorsement, but no other movie has captured for me the depth of Jesus’ suffering like this film, and then maybe (probably, definitely) made me never want to watch it again. Also, it’s entirely in Aramaic.
For a different perspective on the life and death of Jesus, consider this 2016 film, which tells the story of the resurrection through the eyes of two unbelieving Roman soldiers.
THE CHOSEN (TV series)
This ongoing series provides a closeup glimpse into the daily life and ministry of Jesus through the eyes of those who met him.
An Easter Filled with Sacrificial Love
The power of sacrificial love touches a longing in our hearts for God, and stories of sacrificial love hold seeds of truth realized in the story of Christ.
The message of self-sacrifice and sacrificial love rings so universally true to us that Hollywood filmmakers have incorporated it into hundreds of films. Why not put on a movie marathon of stories that echo the sacrificial love of Christ? Here are a few recommendations to get you started.
SACRIFICIAL LOVE IN MOVIES FOR YOUNGER VIEWERS
- Beauty & the Beast (Belle)
- Big Hero 6 (Baymax)
- Finding Nemo (Nemo’s Mom, Coral)
- Frozen (Anna)
- Frozen II (Elsa)
- Inside Out (Bing Bong, Bing Bong!)
- Mulan (Mulan)
- Soul (Joe)
- Tangled (Eugene)
- Toy Story 3 (Buzz Lightyear, and The CLAAAWWWW)
- WALL-E (WALL-E)
- Wreck-It Ralph (Ralph)
SACRIFICIAL LOVE IN MOVIES FOR OLDER VIEWERS
- Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
- The Green Mile
- Harry Potter Series (most of the stories have some element of sacrificial love, but particularly the last in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2)
- Ready Player One
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Saving Private Ryan
- Star Wars: A New Hope
- Wonder Woman
Help us grow this list! What movies would you add to this list of movies featuring the theme of sacrificial love? Comment on our Instagram @rootandvine and tag #rootandvine.