Why Are Jesus Movies White?

Hi, everyone! It’s only one week until Easter! Which means it is the only time of year when you might watch a movie that shows Jesus Christ as an adult man--no longer is he a Christmas baby, but now he is fully grown! There aren’t really a ton of these films, and also, I have not seen that many, and I really wasn’t about to--I’m sorry. So instead, I wanted to look at the actor who plays Jesus. Okay, so I know this might shock some of you, but did you guys know that Jesus was not, in fact, white?? It’s true! Jesus was Middle Eastern! And yet, wouldn’t you know it, a lot of the actors who play this historically non-white person are….white. We aren’t ranking today, but I went through and found some of the most popular movies where Jesus Christ is a character (we’re excluding TV serieses like “Jesus of Nazareth”). In chronological order, here are some Jesus movies, and the corresponding actors that play Jesus. See if you notice anything.

"King of Kings" (1961) -- Jeffrey Hunter

Look at those beautiful blue eyes! Middle Eastern people have blue eyes, right?

"The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965) -- Max von Sydow

Max von Sydow sounds like a Middle Eastern name to me, yes?

 

"Godspell" (1973) -- Victor Garber

To be fair, “Godspell” does not purport to show the historical Jesus from the Gospels, since this film is set in the modern era. But still.

 

"Jesus Christ Superstar" (1973) -- Ted Neeley

Man, I love this movie but Ted Neeley is up there for Whitest Man to Play Jesus. He is BLONDE I can’t.

"Life of Brian" (1979) -- Kenneth Colley

Again, this one is a comedy that isn’t supposed to reflect the real life of Jesus Christ. And yet, Admiral Piett (Star Wars reference) is playing Jesus.

"The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988) -- Willem Dafoe

…...is that a ginger standing behind him……are we all seeing this…….

 

"The Passion of the Christ" (2004) -- Jim Caviezel

Undoubtedly the most popular Jesus movie of all time. Caviezel here has an Irish mother and a Slovak father, but he has brown eyes and hair, at least?

"Son of God" (2014) -- Diogo Morgado

I mean, “Son of God” was literally just the Gospel bits from the “The Bible” TV series put together and released to theaters, but it counts. And our dude here is….Portuguese.

What have we learned, kids? We have learned that the upcoming film depicting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus will probably star Bradley Cooper from “A Star is Born,” since that seems to be a popular look:

Happy Easter!