Easter is a holy time for the follower of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It’s a time of remembrance, reflection, and rejuvenation. It’s a time of hope and humility. It’s a time to come together as the body of Christ and celebrate the core traditions of our faith.
But Easter can also be a heavy time when the burdens of the world weigh deeply on the shoulders of a believer. Even though life can feel dark and sorrowful, the brightness of Easter Sunday sheds light on the grace of repentance, the beauty of forgiveness and the joy of redemption.
As you prepare your heart to receive the Resurrection, may you also enjoy some fellowship and family time this Easter season.
Easter-themed movies your whole family can experience together
For those with younger kids…
Who doesn’t love VeggieTales? VeggieTales offers two cute and original movies centered around the importance of Easter and the foundation of Christian faith.
- VeggieTales: An Easter Carol (2004): Inspired by Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, Bob and Larry set out on a mission to save Easter! They’ll need strength, courage, and hope as they seek to discover the true meaning of Easter and the reason why Christians around the globe celebrate Easter’s past, present and future.
- VeggieTales: ‘Twas the Night Before Easter (2011): It’s Easter time in Crisper County and a young reporter feeling unsatisfied in her job seeks a way to help her local community while making a difference in the lives of its citizens. When she hears the town’s theater is in danger of shutting down, she comes up with an idea to create a musical that can bring everyone together while celebrating the joy of Easter.
For the older children…
If your children desire a more “grown-up” movie that has a strong biblical message, consider these correlating musical films produced by DreamWorks Animation.
- Joseph King of Dreams (2000): This animated biblical musical drama tells the beloved story of Joseph (beginning in Genesis 37), the most favored of Jacob’s twelve sons. This children’s adaption is an amusing portrayal that incorporates the Genesis narrative along with harmonious songs. This movie is well-done, but I will advise that it’s a bit heavy and even “scary” in some parts. Because of that, I’d suggest it for kids who are Kindergarten-age or older.
- The Prince of Egypt (1998): Also from DreamWorks Animation, this movie picks up where Joseph King of Dreams left off. Following the life of Moses (beginning in Exodus 2), The Prince of Egypt is a musical adaption similar to Joseph King of Dreams. Additionally, this movie is voiced by an all-star cast of Hollywood A-Listers and is home to the original song, “When You Believe,” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Due to some violence, I’d recommend this movie for children in Kindergarten or older.
For the whole family (parental discretion advised)
Perhaps, you’re considering a heartfelt movie that takes place in the modern day. Or, maybe you are looking for a more raw and gritty portrayal of Jesus’ life and resurrection. I totally get that and depending on our mood my family gravitates towards both.
The following movies are ones my husband and I have personally watched with our older children (at the time they were 11 and 7 years old) and would recommend to other families as well.
- Heaven is for Real (2014): This movie is based on the book of the same title that is written by Pastor Todd Burpo and Kynn Vincent. It tells the real story of Burpo’s four-year-old son, Colton, who claims to have experienced Heaven during an emergency surgery. Colton recounts seeing his parents while he was laying on the operating table as well as seeing a relative who had long died before Colton was born, encountering a sibling who had passed away by miscarriage, and even meeting Jesus. This movie will give you the best kind of chills – it will nip your faith with the freshness of hopeful anticipation for the life that is to come.
- Miracles from Heaven (2016): This movie is also based on the book of the same name that is written by Christy Beam. Another true story, this movie follows the journey of a young girl who is diagnosed with an incurable disease and her mother’s quest for answers, hope and healing. In the midst of this health battle, the daughter has a near-death experience that is unrelated to her disease and yet, ends up being an incident that miraculously cures her. This movie will tug at your heartstrings, especially if you are a parent! It is a tale of tenacious faith and perseverance regardless of adversity. (Kleenexes advised )
- The Case for Christ (2017): I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for any story that depicts an atheist coming to Christ and this movie fits the bill! Based on the true story that inspired the book of the same title, The Case for Christ documents Lee Strobel, a professing atheist and journalist for the Chicago Tribune, as he seeks to gather information and evidence to disprove Christ as God incarnate. It’s a familiar tale of experiencing doubt and the willpower needed to take a leap of faith. If this movie is intriguing to you, I also recommend Lee Strobel’s subsequent books that include, The Case for Faith, The Case for Grace, The Case for Miracle, The Case for Hope, The Case for the Creator as well as his children’s apologetics series.
- The Son of God (2014): This powerful and inspirational movie is the condensed version of The Bible Miniseriesthat aired on the History channel in 2013. Told from the perspective of John, the last living disciple of Jesus, The Son of God covers the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I think this movie is a beautiful portrayal of Jesus’ ministry and highly recommend watching The Bible Miniseries for a full representation of God’s promise of a Messiah.
- Risen (2016): After hearing rumors about a risen Jewish Messiah, a Roman soldier begins an intensive search for Jesus’ body. Along the way, he encounters several eye-witnesses, including Jesus’ followers, and each individual appears to give the same testimony – that Jesus has risen and his spirit is alive! I appreciated this movie focusing on the perspective of someone who was an enemy of Jesus while also addressing common questions poised against Christianity. But be warned – given the history of the Roman Empire, this movie is quite violent.
- The Passion of the Christ (2004): What’s Easter without watching The Passion of the Christ? In my opinion, this is the ultimate movie to be watched in preparation for Easter Sunday. Yes, it is graphic, raw, gritty, and extremely violent but it is also very authentic and paints a realistic image of the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. This movie is not for the faint of heart and be sure to put on your readers because the entire film has subtitles due to the dialogue spoken in Hebrew, Latin and Aramaic. However, I believe The Passion will ignite (or reignite) a passion within you – a passion to pursue Jesus and the good purposes assigned to you! (Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 2:10)
*I originally wrote and published this article for iBelieve.com in Spring 2021.