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20 Actors That Have Played Jesus Christ

by Greg on March 17, 2013

As an actor when you receive the script and try to assume the role you have been given, I’d imagine there is no taller task than to attempt to play the role of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus lived a sinless life, came here to be with us and experience as we experience, and ultimately died on the Cross in our place.  He became sin to make us righteous in God’s eyes.  He is Savior to the world for you and for I.  These are obviously impossible shoes to fill, so one can only put their best foot forward in the acting business.  Here is a top 20 countdown of the actors that have attempted to portray Jesus Christ throughout the course of film history.  Also included is what movie they were featured in and the year of release for that film.

20. Ralph Fiennes

Movie- The Miracle Maker (2000)

19. Jonathan Scarfe

Movie- Jesus Christ

"He is Savior to the world for you and for I."

“He is Savior to the world for you and for I.”

18. Enrique Irazoqui

Movie- The Gospel According To Matthew (1964)

17. Chris Sarandon

Movie- The Day Christ Died TV Movie (1979)

16. Jeffrey Hunter

Movie- King Of Kings (1961)

15. Ted Neeley

Movie- Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

14. Victor Garber

Movie- Godspell (1973)

“The Truth” (Psalm 23:1-3) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

13. Robert Powell

Movie- Jesus Of Nazareth TV Mini-Series (1977)

12. Jeremy Sisto

Movie- Jesus TV Mini-Series

11. Brian Deacon

Movie- Jesus (1979)

10. H.B. Warner

Movie- The King Of Kings (1927)

9. Max Von Sydow

Movie- The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

8. Claude Heter

Movie- Ben Hur (1959)

7. Bruce Marchiano

Movie- The Gospel According To Matthew:  The Visual Bible (1993)

6. John Rubinstein

Movie- In Search Of Historic Jesus (1979)

5. Martin Donovan

Movie- The Book Of Life (1998)

4. Robert Le Vigan

Movie- Golgotha (1935)

3. Henry Ian Cusick

Movie- The Gospel Of John (2003)

Cusick of “Lost” fame actually played this role before he ever went to air on “Lost” as Sayid Jarah(One of the Oceanic 6).  In this visual telling of the bible titled “The Gospel Of John” Henry portrays the Son of Man and I felt he did so well.  He has a firm understanding of how to illustrate for the audience the simple perfection of all of Jesus’ work and ministry during his time on earth.

2. Christian Bale

Movie- Mary Mother Of Jesus TV Movie (1999)

Christian Bale is famous for his roles in the “Batman” movie franchise.  I personally wouldn’t have expected him to make a good Jesus per say, but he overachieves in the role.  He personifies well the calm and peace with Jesus must’ve always had while preaching and teaching.

1. Jim Caviezel

Movie- The Passion Of The Christ (2004)

Jim Caviezel gave an amazing performance in the Mel Gibson directed blockbuster known as “The Passion”, a film which was filmed in the languages of Latin and Aramaic.  The film featured English subtitles also which pre-release was a cause of major concern as some thought it might deter the audience to have to read an entire movie.  Apparently the Hollywood audience felt that the Lord was an exception to that thought, as “The Passion” drew in over 300 Million in the box office.  A large part of the success of the film is highly attributable to the actor playing the lead role, he captivated the audience in all aspects.  The movie focuses on the final 12 hours of the life of Christ.  One of the best parts in my opinion is when Jesus escapes to the Garden to pray.  The character portraying Satan is stalking Jesus while he prays, always trying to cast doubt on Christ about the weight of what Jesus was about to embark on.  To the point that Jesus prays to the Lord to take this away if he can.  Ultimately he prays for God to let his will be done in and through Christ, Jesus.

Conclusion

As you can see the list is growing and hopefully will continue to grow in the near future as the Christian Hollywood boom continues.  It will be hard to top Jim Caviezel in “The Passion Of The Christ” as he certainly gave the most spellbinding performance any of us as has seen to date.  I hope this list was helpful and informative.  Please let us at F&E know if we missed any of your favorite actors that have ever played the role of Jesus Christ in a film.  God Bless, Jesus is King!

Resources- The Holy Bible, English Standard Version“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”, www.youtube.com, photo credit: ideacreamanuelaPps via photopin cc





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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee March 19, 2013 at 5:06 am

You forgot Jeffrey Hunter in King of Kings.

Reply

Derek Hill March 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

If only this were a top 21 list! LOL! Thank you for your suggestion Renee! We always appreciate feedback and ideas. Have a blessed day!

Reply

Annie March 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Had no idea Chris Sarandon played Jesus, Prince Humperdink himself, thank you for that. Willem Dafoe also made a pretty great Jesus … that voice!

Reply

Derek Hill March 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Thank you for your comment Annie! Prince Humperdink himself lol! William Dafoe is very talented. Thank you for your suggestion! God bless!

Reply

Sandra Ambrogio April 1, 2013 at 4:05 am

Diogo Morgado was amazing in The Bible. <3

Reply

Derek Hill April 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Yes he was! Thank you for your comment Sandra! God bless!

Reply

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