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Eric wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Does the Catholic Church have an officially approved film about Jesus that it endorses?

Many people claim that the mini series from 1977 called "Jesus of Nazareth" is the best one available.

I wanted to see if it was considered accurate or given the seal of approval before I watched it!



  { Does the Catholic Church have an officially approved film about Jesus that it endorses? }

Mike replied:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the question.

To my knowledge neither the Church nor Vatican has an official list of approved mini series or movies but there are good Catholic organizations that are faithful to the Church that do provide some guidance.

  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has an archived web page on their old site that may be helpful:

  • In the Catholic Answers Forum I found this reply from a Senior member, patrick457:


Does anyone know where a list of Vatican approved films can be found at?

Well, the Vatican doesn't really judge or hand out approvals for particular films in the first place, as far as I know. There is a list of 45 films which the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications released in 1995 as an important reference point to Catholics interested in assessing the cinema's "many worthwhile productions during the first hundred years of its existence," but the list is meant neither as a set of definitive or magisterial “top fifteen” lists [there are three categories] nor to establish these particular films as definitely more worthwhile than any film that was not included.

I have not seen the mini series "Jesus of Nazareth" so I've sent your question to some of my colleagues who may have seen this.

Under the Wikipedia article for this specific mini series, I found this:


Before its initial broadcast, Jesus of Nazareth came under ideological fire from some American Protestant fundamentalists, led by Bob Jones III, president of Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Zeffirelli had told an interviewer from Modern Screen that the film would portray Jesus as "an ordinary man—gentle, fragile, simple". Jones leapt to the conclusion that the portrayal would deny Christ's divine nature. Having never seen the film, Jones denounced it as "blasphemy." Others picked up the cry and 18,000 letters were sent to General Motors, which had provided $3 million of the film's cost. Sacrificing its investment, GM backed out of its sponsorship.[12]

Jesus is a venerable prophet in Islam, and the portrayal of religious icons can be seen as prohibited by the Qur'an. A cut version of the mini-series was withdrawn from Egyptian cinemas after 6 days, due to fear of possible agitations in the wake of blasphemy. As a consequence, a decree was added to Egyptian General Censorship Law prohibiting the screening of dramatic personifications of all of 'the prophets',[13] although The Passion of the Christ has since been screened.

I admire that you are conscientious about what you watch.

I hope this helps,


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