10 Easter movies best enjoyed with a side of chocolate eggs

Alexandra Plesa 29 March 2018 NEWS

Once the sugar buzz wears off, it’s time to relax with a flick that perfectly captures the spirit of the holiday.

Easter is one of the best holidays to spend with the entire family. Egg hunts, picnics, memorable feasts – what’s not to love? Maybe you’re planning an outfit for church on Easter Sunday or intending to spend the entire day in your sweatpants, gorging on chocolate. Whichever the case, make time to take a break in front of the TV to watch an Easter-themed movie marathon. Religious and non-religious, here are the best Easter movies to binge this holiday season.

The Passion of the Christ

Moving and powerful, The Passion of the Christ portrays the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, opening with his betrayal by Judas while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and following with his arrest and trial, the brutal whipping and his crucifixion, ending with a brief scene of his resurrection.

The film has been controversial and received largely polarised reviews, mainly due to its violent nature. One thing is for sure, it will make every viewer feel Christ's pain. As such, The Passion of the Christ isn’t for the faint of heart. Jim Caviezel gives an amazing performance in the title role and the cinematography is wonderful, but the sheer brutality of the flick makes it hard to sit through. However, if you plan to give it a go, watching it around Easter is ideal.

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Rise of the Guardians

Unlike The Passion of the Christ, which is only recommended for mature audiences, Rise of the Guardians can be enjoyed by the entire family. This enchanting movie follows four Guardians: Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman. They band together and enlist the help of Jack Frost to protect the world from an upcoming disaster. An adventure for the ages.

Fast-paced and beautifully animated, Rise of the Guardians is inventive and original, with brilliant characters and a fantastic story. The voice acting is inspired, the humour is contagious, and its feel-good nature will resonate with viewers of all ages. In other words, an epic fable that might just become your new favourite animated flick.

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In this classic saga, Charlton Heston plays a Jewish prince who is battling the Roman Empire at the time of Christ. His actions send him and his family into slavery, but an inspirational encounter with Jesus changes everything. Released in 1959, Ben-Hur had the largest budget of any film produced at the time and took home 11 Academy Awards.

As far as biblical epics go, this is undoubtedly one of the best. It ranks among Hollywood's finest examples of pure entertainment, ensuring viewers are completely engulfed in Judah Ben-Hur’s story every step of the way. That’s no easy feat for a movie that’s almost four hours long. Moreover, despite the fact that this is a spectacle film, the main story is deeply human and moving, as we follow a man who takes on the tyranny of the Romans with devastating consequences. It’s one of those classics you have to see at least once in your lifetime, and there’s no time like the present to check it off your movie bucket list.

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The Greatest Story Ever Told

Released in 1965, The Greatest Story Ever Told is a large-scale epic film that chronicles the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. From his birth in Bethlehem to his death and eventual resurrection, most of the major aspects of Christ’s life are touched upon. The list includes the execution of all the newborn males in Egypt, Christ's baptism and the betrayal by Judas after the Last Supper.

The movie is long and drags here and there, but it remains a moving effort that portrays a huge event in the history of mankind with grace and consideration. The cast is also impressive, featuring Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, and Charlton Heston, along with multiple cameos from huge stars. It’s the kind of movie that makes you mumble about how Hollywood doesn’t make them like this anymore.

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Pieces of Easter

The plot of this movie is fairly basic. On her way home for Easter with her estranged family, an arrogant young executive becomes stranded and is forced to rely on the help of a reclusive farmer to get there in time. But let’s face it: there aren’t many Easter movies out there to choose from. In fact, Hollywood tends to ignore the holiday altogether, so we’ll take what we can get. And when that comes in the form of a romantic comedy loosely inspired by the biblical story of the prodigal son, we’re not complaining.

Pieces of Easter is a feel-good flick that will make you laugh and appreciate your loved ones. Despite its straightforward plot, the movie doesn’t rely on stereotypes to tell the story. Instead, it proves to be surprisingly insightful. The film’s message about human connection goes well with the holiday, and the fact that the two leads give great performances doesn’t hurt either. All in all, an unexpected delight.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has nothing to do with Easter, but the fact that one of the main characters is a bunny qualifies it for our list. Moreover, this is one of the most inventive flicks to ever come out of Hollywood, so a re-watch is always welcome. The movie is set during the late 1940s, in a world where animated characters and people co-exist. We follow Eddie Valiant, a private detective who reluctantly agrees to exonerate Roger Rabbit, a toon accused of murder.

Funny, smart and touching, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? still holds up today, almost 30 years after its release. Technically impressive and loony enough to appeal to a large plethora of viewers, the movie doesn’t rely solely on gimmicks to make you chuckle but also delivers strong characters and plots. Pure movie magic.

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Easter Parade

In the mood for a musical? Look no further than Easter Parade. This charming 1949 movie stars Fred Astaire as a nightclub performer who hires a new dance partner, portrayed by Judy Garland. All to make his former partner jealous and prove that he has the skills to make anyone a star. The musical features well-known songs like Easter Parade, Steppin' Out with My Baby, and We're a Couple of Swells.

A fantastic movie with a great score, Easter Parade offers standout dance numbers, a touching plot, and a perfect cast. It’s whimsical and entertaining, while also incorporating a love story that will make you swoon. Too good to only watch around Easter.

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For the past 4,000 years, the Easter Bunny has brought joy and chocolate to kids all across the globe. Now the time has come for a new bunny to take over the tradition. But while the Easter Bunny's teenage son, EB, is the next in line to receive the official title, he couldn't care less about his duties, preferring to chase fame and fortune instead. He escapes to Hollywood, where he makes a new friend and goes through exciting adventures.

Hop is far from perfect but it’s fun for the most part. Kids will love the humour and fast-paced action, while adults might giggle at the occasional joke for them. The story is interesting and the animation great, so Hop offers an enjoyable time for the entire family. Just don’t expect too much.

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The Dog Who Saved Easter

This silly family comedy centers on the Bannister family, who are leaving on a cruise for Easter and sending Zeus, their dog, to a doggie daycare. Everything is going according to plan until the daycare owner's rival hires a trio of crooks to sabotage the new business. As expected, Zeus must leap into action and use all the tricks up his furry sleeve to save the day.

The Dog Who Saved Easter is fairly predictable but enjoyable and very cute. It features adorable pets, a touch of romance, and enough ridiculousness to make even the most cynical viewer chuckle. Zeus is voiced by Mario Lopez, who does a great job at expressing the dog’s hilarious thoughts. The cast also includes Elisa Donovan, Beverley Mitchell, Patrick Muldoon and Dean Cain.

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Life of Brian

Hilarious and clever, Monty Python’s Life of Brian is one of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s. It follows Brian, an average young Jewish man who was born in the stable next door to Jesus and gains a mistaken reputation as the Messiah. When he's not dodging his followers or being scolded by his shrill mother, the hapless Brian has to contend with the pompous Pontius Pilate and the acronym-obsessed members of a separatist movement.

Life of Brian is sharp and sleek, poking fun at religion, death, politics and ancient history. It’s a controversial movie, sure, but it’s also hysterical. Wacky and imaginative, it’s a must-see for fans of the witty Monty Python gang. Or for anyone who appreciates good comedy and doesn’t get offended at the drop of a hat.

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