AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Greatest Story Ever Told
Director: George Stevens (Dir)
Release Date:   1965
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 15 Feb 1965
Duration (in mins):   221
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Cast:   Max von Sydow (Jesus)  
    Dorothy McGuire (Mary)  
    Robert Loggia (Joseph)  
    Charlton Heston (John the Baptist)  
    Michael Anderson, Jr. (James the Younger)  
    Robert Blake (Simon the Zealot)  
    Burt Brinckerhoff (Andrew)  
    John Considine (John)  
    Jamie Farr (Thaddaeus)  
    David Hedison (Philip)  
    Peter Mann (Nathanael)  
    David McCallum (Judas Iscariot)  
    Roddy McDowall (Matthew)  
    Gary Raymond (Peter)  
    Tom Reese (Thomas)  
    David Sheiner (James the Elder)  
    Ina Balin (Martha of Bethany)  
    Janet Margolin (Mary of Bethany)  
    Michael Tolan (Lazarus)  
    Sidney Poitier (Simon of Cyrene)  
    Joanna Dunham (Mary Magdalene)  
    Carroll Baker (Veronica)  
    Pat Boone (Young man at the tomb)  
    Van Heflin (Bar Amand)  
    Sal Mineo (Uriah)  
    Shelley Winters (Woman of no name [see note])  
    Ed Wynn (Old Aram)  
    John Wayne (Centurion)  
    Telly Savalas (Pontius Pilate)  
    Angela Lansbury (Claudia)  
    Johnny Seven (Pilate's aide)  
    Paul Stewart (Questor)  
    Harold J. Stone (General Varus)  
    Martin Landau (Caiaphas)  
    Nehemiah Persoff (Shemiah)  
    Joseph Schildkraut (Nicodemus)  
    Victor Buono (Sorak)  
    Robert Busch (Emissary)  
    John Crawford (Alexander)  
    Russell Johnson (Scribe)  
    John Lupton (Speaker of Capernaum)  
    Abraham Sofaer (Joseph of Arimathaea)  
    Chet Stratton (Theophilus)  
    Ron Whelan (Annas)  
    José Ferrer (Herod Antipas)  
    Claude Rains (Herod the Great)  
    John Abbott (Aben)  
    Rodolfo Acosta (Captain of lancers)  
    Michael Ansara (Herod's commander)  
    Philip Coolidge (Chuza)  
    Dal Jenkins (Philip)  
    Joseph Perry (Archelaus)  
    Marian Seldes (Herodias)  
    Donald Pleasence (The Devil)  
    Richard Conte (Barabbas)  
    Frank De Kova (Tormentor)  
    Joseph Sirola (Dumah)  
    Cyril Delevanti (Melchior)  
    Mark Lenard (Balthazar)  
    Frank Silvera (Caspar)  
    The Inbal Dance Theatre of Israel    

Summary: The life of Jesus Christ is depicted; highlights include: His birth in Bethlehem, Herod's decree ordering the slaughter of all male children in Bethlehem; the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist, the selection of the Twelve Apostles, the execution of John the Baptist, the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, the expulsion of the moneylenders from the temple in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and subsequent betrayal by Judas, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. 

Production Company: George Stevens Productions  
Distribution Company: United Artists  
Director: George Stevens (Dir)
  Richard Talmadge (2nd unit dir)
  William Hale (2nd unit dir)
  Ridgeway Callow (Asst dir)
  John Veitch (Asst dir)
Producer: George Stevens (Prod)
  Carl Sandburg (Prod in creative assoc with)
  Frank I. Davis (Exec prod)
  George Stevens, Jr. (Assoc prod)
  Antonio Vellani (Assoc prod)
Writer: James Lee Barrett (Scr)
  George Stevens (Scr)
Photography: William C. Mellor (Dir of photog)
  Loyal Griggs (Dir of photog)
  Eliot Elisofon (Col cons)
Art Direction: Richard Day (Art dir)
  William Creber (Art dir)
Film Editor: Harold F. Kress (Film ed)
  Argyle Nelson, Jr. (Film ed)
  Frank O'Neill (Film ed)
Set Decoration: David Hall (Sets created by)
  Ray Moyer (Set dec)
  Fred MacLean (Set dec)
  Norman Rockett (Set dec)
Costumes: Vittorio Nino Novarese (Cost des)
  Marjorie Best (Asst cost des)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus comp & cond)
  Ken Darby (Choral supv)
Sound: Charles Wallace (Sd)
  Franklin Milton (Rec supv)
  William Steinkamp (Rec supv)
Special Effects: J. McMillan Johnson (Spec visual eff)
  Clarence Slifer (Spec visual eff)
  A. Arnold Gillespie (Spec visual eff)
  Robert R. Hoag (Spec visual eff)
Make Up: Del Armstrong (Makeup creator)
  Carmen Dirigo (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: Nathan R. Barragar (Prod mgr)
  Eric Stacey (Prod mgr)
  John Dutton (Scr supv)
  Tony Van Renterghem (Res supv)
  Sam Gordon (Prop master)
  Jack Tait (Constr supv)
  Lynn Stalmaster (Casting)
  Tom Andre (Prod staff)
  Ray Gosnell (Prod staff)
  Lee Lukather (Prod staff)
  Saul Wurtzel (Prod staff)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the book The Greatest Story Ever Told by Fulton Oursler and Henry Denker (New York, 1949).
Authors: Henry Denker
  Fulton Oursler

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
George Stevens Productions 15/2/1965 dd/mm/yyyy LP32294

Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd:
  gauge: 70 & 35
  Widescreen/ratio: Ultra Panavision 70, see note

 
Genre: Epic
Sub-Genre: Biblical
 
Subjects (Major): Apostles
  Barabbas (Biblical character)
  Bethlehem (Israel)
  Calvary
  Christianity
  Crucifixion
  Egypt
  Galilee (Israel)
  Herod Antipas
  Herod I, King of Judea, 73-74 B.C.
  Infanticide
  Jerusalem (Israel)
  Jesus Christ
  John, the Baptist, Saint
  Joseph, Saint
  Judas Iscariot
  Lazarus (Biblical character)
  Mary Magdalene, Saint
  Miracles
  Pontius Pilate
  Rome--Ancient history
  The Devil
  The Resurrection
  Mary, Blessed Virgin, Saint

Note: Location scenes filmed in Glen Canyon, Utah. Presented in Cinerama for roadshow engagements. For the final release version the roles of Shelley Winters and John Wayne, among others, were reduced or eliminated. 

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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