The Bible Stories: Jesus (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 23, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Spiritual and Inspirational.  “The Bible Stories: Jesus” is a telefilm adaptation of the life of Jesus Christ.  A more human portrayal of Jesus featuring solid production and performances!  Definitely recommended!

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DVD TITLE: The Bible Stories: Jesus

DURATION: 176 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: (1:33:1) Full Screen, English Stereo, Subtitles: English, English SDH

COMPANY: AFFIRM FILMS/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


RELEASE DATE: March 2, 2010

Directed by Roger Young

Teleplay by Suzette Couture

Executive Producer: Lorenzo Minoli, Judd Parkin

Co-Executive Producer: Frank Konigsberg

Produced by Russell Kagan, Paolo Piria

Associated Producer: Roberta Cadringher, Gianmario Pagano

Line Producer: Paolo Lucidi

Music by Patrick Williams

Cinematography by Raffaele Mertes

Edited by Benjamin A. Weissman

Casting by Barbara Giordani, Cornelia von Braun

Production Design by Paolo Biagetti

Costume Design by Simonetta Leoncini, Giovannni Viti


Jeremy Sisto as Jesus

Debra Messing as Mary Magdalene

Armin Mueller-Stahl as Joseph

Jacqueline Bisset as Mary

Gary Oldman as Pontius Pilate

David O’Hara as John the Baptist

Claudio Amendola as Barabbas

G.W. Bailey as Philo

Luca Zingaretti as Peter

Luca Barbaraeschi as Herod Antipas

Christian Kohlund as Caiaphas

Elena Sofia Ricci as Herodias

Stefania Rocca as Mary of Bethany

Gabrielle Pession as Salome

Maria Cristina Heller as Martha of Bethany

Jeroen Krabbe as Satan- Man

Manuela Ruggeri as Satan – Woman

Peter Gevisser as Lazarus

Thomas Lockyer as Judas

Ian Duncan as John

Gilly Gilchrist as Andrew

Fabio Sartor as James

Sebastian Knapp as Matthew

Sean Harris as Thomas

Karim Doukkali as Philip

Jeremy Sisto stars as the son of God in this 174 minute production that vividly explores the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth. Epic in scale and featuring a strong supporting cast (Gary Oldman, Debra Messing, Jacqueline Bisset, Luca Zingaretti, Jeroen Krabbé, Armin Mueller-Stahl and David O’Hara), this drama traces Jesus’ journey from simple carpenter to spiritual leader, philosopher and martyr–focusing on his compassionate teachings as well as his relationships with Mary, Joseph, his apostles, persecutors, and the heavenly father.

On March 2nd, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be re-releasing two films from “The Bible Stories” on DVD.  The two are “Jesus” and the other is “Esther” from Affirm Films.

“Jesus” is a film created for television back in 1999 and directed by Roger Young (“Dracula”, “Hercules”, “The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story”) and a screenplay by Suzette Couture (“The Book of Ruth”, “The Man Who Lost Himself”, “The City”).  The film was shot in Morocco and Malta featuring cinematography by Raffaele Mertes (“Carabinieri”, “San Giovanni –  L’Apocallisse”) and music composed by Patrick Williams (“Hercules”, “Finding John Christmas”, “Blonde”).

The film focuses on a more on Jesus as the human,  showing him in happiness, sadness and interaction with the apostles and the people he comes across.    His story is retold from how Joseph’s death affected Jesus, Mary telling Jesus of him coming to fulfill the prophecy, his journey to the sermon of the mount, facing temptation from Satan, the selection of the twelve Apostles, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion and his resurrection.


“The Bible Stories: Jesus” is featured in full screen (1:33:1). For a film from 1999, the film definitely has really good set and production design. Picture quality for the DVD has its share of a little compression artifacts but overall, the film does not looked age or terrible. Cinematography by Raffaele Mertes is actually well-done and it helps when the film is shot in Morocco and Malta. It looks pretty good on DVD.

As for audio, the film is presented in English stereo and dialogue is clear and understandable. Especially the music of Patrick Williams.

Subtitles are in English and English SDH.


“The Bible Stories: Jesus” comes with no special features but trailers.

Of the many films I have watched about the story of Jesus Christ, “The Bible Stories: Jesus” is a very good but very different film compared to other Jesus films.

For one, this is a Jesus Christ that starts of showing him as a human.  Having fun with his friends, dating a woman and him experiencing a range of emotions from happiness, sadness and even anger.  During the death of his father Joseph, Jesus mourns and weeps for him, during a visit at village and drinking water, he and his friends start splashing water amongst themselves and in one scene where his father’s home is occupied, he shows his anger of not wanting to see his father’s home in such a manner.

The film also shows various scenes of how he and his apostles were treated and how some reacted around him.  Some may find the various accents of the actors to be too varied for example hearing an Irish or Scottish accents especially if the characters are from the middle east but I assumed with a film featuring talent from all over the world, these things happen.  Not a distraction at all but even my wife, who watched it with me were wondering if this was done to show that there were people from different countries among the people and spoke in their various accents or this was just the actors speaking in their native tongue.

But I did find the Jesus Christ and Satan scenes very interesting, especially since Satan is wearing a black modern suit when he approaches Jesus and then shows him images of how people have used his name after his death in the far future.  From the Crusades, to the burning of innocent women who were deemed as witches, soldiers in World War I and telling him that he should not suffer on the cross and to not die in vain and doing his best to try and tempt him.  Of course, Jesus accepted his faith and knew how Judas would betray him.

Overall, “The Bible Stories: Jesus” is one of those films that depends on the individual. Especially since there has been many films about Jesus.   Personally, I enjoyed this film for the telefilm’s portrayal of Jesus as a human and not being so solemn of a film.  In many ways, this film is a celebration of Jesus and why he died on cross and how he lives within us now.  A film that is inspiring, especially for those who believe.