Only one of these five favorite Easter movies features Jesus as the central on-screen characters. Maybe I find the more compelling Easter stories show how the message of the carpenter from Nazareth affected others. Jeffrey Hunter was a Hollywood handsome Jesus in King of Kings in 1961, one of the more entertaining portrayals on film, IMO. The same year Anthony Quinn, not Hollywood handsome, starred as the criminal who was released by Pilate in exchange for Jesus. Although nobody knows what happened to the man after he was released, in Hollywood Barrabas, himself, would end up on the cross.
In 1959, Charlton Heston was still riding the wave for starring as Moses in The Ten Commandments three years before when he was cast as Judah Ben-Hur, in the film that included, according to some, a veiled gay subtext in the relationship between Ben-Hur and his boyhood friend, Messala, played by Stephen Boyd.
In 1953, Richard Burton played the ambitious Roman tribune who was ordered to oversee the Crucifixion and was haunted either by guilt or Jesus until his martyrdom, with Jean Simmons, in the last reel. I'm still not sure why she gets into heaven for just loving her man but ...
And one year after The Robe, Victor Mature reprised his role as the tribune's Christian slave in Demetrius and the Gladiators, in which Demetrius, who has inherited the robe from his martyred master, becomes a champion in the arena but falls away from the faith before realizing his error and returning to the fold as a choir of angels sings.