Jessy Christ on a Celluloid Cross

I’ve just had a rather weird experience: I watched *Cool Hand Luke* and *Greaser’s Palace* virtually back to back. Having recently re-screened *One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest* and *The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance*, I got to thinking about the Frequentliest Story Ever Told: Christ movies.

Besides the ones that are about JC on the literal level—e.g., Barabbas; The Last Temptation of Christ—and the ones that are an anachronism away from literal—Jesus Christ Superstar; Godspell—how many other movies can you think of that are just the Same Olde Story hung with different rags?

Hmmm, you can find Christ allegories in E.T., The Matrix and The Green Mile (John Coffey, J.C., get it? :rolleyes: ) off the top of my head. A couple of my favorites, though, position J.C. as a possible alien: Eliseo Subiela’s humanistic **Man Facing Southeast** and Larry Cohen’s brilliant horror flick **God Told Me To**.

In “The Day the Earth Stood Still” the alien played by Michael Rennie uses the name John Carpenter and more or less sacrifices himself for mankind at the end.

But he wasn’t an alien, was he? Michael Rennie? I just saw that a few weeks ago.

BTW, I’m not so much looking for the odd New Testament reference–most films probably have one embedded somewhere–but for movies whose entire function, or intent (or at any rate effect), is to retell the Christ story, like the ones I named in the OP.

Also BTW, anyone seen Greaser’s Palace? what a wacky piece of work THAT was.

Man Facing Southeast got a mention before K-Pax! It’s a miracle.

Grapes of Wath

Lord of the Flies

I’d agree that ET is a Christ figure; he comes from the heavens, attracts a following of little children to whom he teaches valuable lessons, gets killed by scientists (read, scribes and pharisees), and returns to life to further inspire his kiddie disciples by going back into Heaven.

When I was a kid in Sunday school the teacher brought up whether or not Star Wars was a remake of the Bible. Someone somewhere had suggested it was, because it involved a battle between good and evil and Obi Wan Kenobe gave up his life towards the end so that Luke and the others could escape. As I recall we were highly sceptical of this interpretation.

I don’t remember either GoW or LotF well enough to see the christ imagery in them; can you remind me?

On the animated side, you have The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Slightly off topic, but I couldn’t resist. Someone once asked Wagner if the title character in his opera Parsifal was a Christ figure. He replied “Christ? A tenor?”

Well, mentioning Grapes of Wrath really stretches it. Tom Joad makes about as good a christ figure as Jethro Bodine. He didn’t really sacrifice himself to beging with, nor did it really benefit his family when he went. The Grapes of Wrath is social commentary a la Harvey.

12 Monkeys Bruce Willis plays James Cole and is sent (back in time) to save humanity, dies at the end.
Actrually he performs miracles (his escape from the mental institution)
Seems to die and returns for an arrmegeddon.

As in PJ Harvey? as in Harvey the Puka?

That’s interesting Zebra; didn’t think of it that way. Of course, the film that’s based on has no christ imagery or associations at all.

Harvey, 1950. Josephine Hull and James Stewart.


I’m sorry, but Harvey a parallel to Grapes of effing Wrath?

Please elaborate.

** Whistle Down the Wind **. The 1961 movie starring Hayley Mills. Adapted from the book written by her mother, Mary Hayley Bell. The imdb link

My user name comes from the movie and the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Jim Steinman musical adaption.

I always thought your name came from the Prince song, “Annie Christmas.”

I wasn’t even aware there was another “Annie Christmas” song. Or did Prince do a cover of the ALW/Steinman one?

Not as a film (though I didn’t much care for it), only in that they were serious social commentaries (one under a whimsical exterior). I have a hard time drawing analogies in film, obviously. :smiley:
And what the hell is wrong with Harvey? I think it is the superior film. Lighthearted; yes, but a serious social commentary with more better performances. James Stewart is a GOD.

A. I have seen Harvey umpteen times. I almost bought a bad painting of a man and a giant rabbit, left over from some community theater production of Harvey.

B. James Stewart is one of my favorites: The Man from Laramie and The Naked Spur are two of the best movies I’ve ever seen.