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Film: The Greatest Story Ever Told

The film so holy it turned Telly Savalas bald.

In 1965, director George Stevens' The Greatest Story Ever Told portrayed the life of Jesus and his miracles from Nativity to Resurrection. For a plot synopsis you might as well just read The Bible. While Story was not the first of its ilk, this broad epic scope is one of the notable features of this film and was something the creators wanted to play up. The then-unknown (in the U.S.) Max von Sydow was cast as Jesus, but the rest of the cast and crew was filled with big names, some coming in for short cameos. It had actors like Claude Rains, Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Sidney Poitier, Donald Pleasence, the oft-commentated-on John Wayne 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. David Lean (Mr. Epic Sweeping Landscapes) and Jean Negulesco even added exterior shooting in the great open spaces of the US to add a more epic feel than Real Life Israel could offer.

This work provides examples of:


HerculesSword And SandalThe Ten Commandments
SupermanEpic MovieThe Ten Commandments
The Great EscapeCreator/United ArtistsHackers
The Great RaceFilms of the 1960sThe Hallelujah Trail

alternative title(s): The Greatest Story Ever Told
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