The film so holy, it turned Telly Savalas bald.

A 1965 epic from director Creator/GeorgeStevens, ''The Greatest Story Ever Told'' portrays the life of UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} and his miracles from Nativity to Resurrection. For a plot synopsis you might as well just read Literature/TheFourGospels.

While ''Story'' was not the first of its kind, this broad scope is one of its notable features and was something the creators wanted to play up. The then-unknown (in the U.S.) Creator/MaxVonSydow was cast as Jesus, but the rest of the cast and crew was [[AllStarCast filled with big names]], some coming in for short cameos. Among the actors seen here are Creator/CharltonHeston, Creator/ClaudeRains, Creator/DavidMcCallum, Creator/DonaldPleasence, Creator/SidneyPoitier, Creator/AngelaLansbury, Creator/JohnWayne (as the Centurion at the crucifixion), and the aforementioned Telly Savalas (who shaved his head for his role as Pontius Pilate in this film and then decided never to grow it back).

Stevens, along with uncredited co-directors Creator/DavidLean (Mr. Epic Sweeping Landscapes) and Jean Negulesco, even added exterior shooting in the great open spaces of the Southwestern U.S. to add a more epic feel than RealLife Israel could offer.

!! This work provides examples of:

* AdaptationDistillation: Of Literature/TheFourGospels.
** The film also credits "the writings of Fulton Oursler and Henry Denker". It shares its title and subject matter with a 1947-1956 radio drama series written by Denker, based on a novel by Oursler that wasn't actually published until 1949.
* BibleTimes: Naturally, along with many tropes one might find in the New Testament of Literature/TheBible.
* BookEnds: The film opens and ends with shots of a church, which has a mural of Jesus who looks exactly like Max Von Sydow.
* {{Cameo}}: It was the fairly common practice at the time of casting a fresh new actor as the lead and then surrounding him with more familiar faces. Besides the major roles, the film has:
** Most famously, Creator/JohnWayne as the centurion at the Crucifixion
** Creator/SidneyPoitier as Simon of Cyrene
** Pat Boone as the angel at the empty tomb
** Shelley Winters as a woman healed by Jesus
** Creator/AngelaLansbury as Pilate's wife
** Roddy [=McDowall=] as Matthew
** A large number of other famous actors made brief appearances, some only for a few seconds. One reviewer quipped that "it made the Via Dolorosa look like the Hollywood Walk of Fame!"
* CarpetOfVirility: The extremely masculine Creator/CharltonHeston as John the Baptist.
* CompositeCharacter:
** Lazarus of Bethany is equated with the rich (young) man who asks Jesus about eternal life.
** Mary Magdalene is equated with rhe woman caught in adultery.
* GodInHumanForm: Jesus. Emphasized by Creator/MaxVonSydow's solemn portrayal; no JesusWasWayCool here, unlike other film versions.
* LooksLikeJesus: Averted with the long hair. Max Von Sydow has much shorter hair than other movie depictions.
* ReCut: Several versions of the film were officially released at one point or another, with the longest-known version running three hours and forty-five minutes and the shortest running a little over two hours. The most common version seen today runs three hours and fifteen minutes. There was reportedly a four-hour, twenty-minute version, but it is unknown whether or not that it ever was released at that length.
* {{Satan}}: Portrayed by Creator/DonaldPleasence, called "the Dark Hermit" [[NoNameGiven only in the credits.]] The temptation of Jesus in the desert is depicted as an encounter with a hermit on a mountain. He shows up later when things are going bad for Jesus: He helps stir up a crowd to proclaim Jesus king, forcing Jesus to escape; Judas passes by him on the street when he goes to betray Jesus; he makes Peter deny Jesus; finally he leads the crowd in calling for Jesus's death.
* ShownTheirWork: Simon of Cyrene is depicted as black since he's Sidney Poitier in a cameo, but there is indeed a theory that Simon of Cyrene is the same man as "Simeon Niger" (Simeon the Black) in the Literature/ActsOfTheApostles.
* StandardSnippet: Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.
* TitleDrop - In the opening narration.
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth - Jesus, obviously. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Mary, Lazarus' sister:
-->'''Mary:''' I'm frightened for him.
-->'''Lazarus:''' Why, Mary?
-->'''Mary:''' He is too good.
* WolverinePublicity: [[http://incinerama.com/gset.htm This early advertisement]] showcases Creator/JohnWayne as the Roman Centurion-- a {{cameo}} role in which he has exactly one line.