Unlike Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day, there isn’t exactly a handy list of fitting Easter movies to look up to for a home viewing or theater visit. But like with New Year’s, if you search deep enough, you might discover a film or two to fulfill your Sunday holiday craving. No, not any kiddy schlock like Will Gluck’s recent Peter Rabbit flicks (2018-2021). Though Peter’s less obnoxious counterpart, Paddington Bear, might be appropriate spring viewing for families with Paul King’s popular Paddington releases (2014-2017).
But now, back to Easter. Let us dive into some of the more seasonal movies fans can watch late March through early April.
To many old Hollywood aficionados, Charles Walters’ Easter Parade (1948) is for the spring holiday what Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is for the winter season. Walters’ MGM movie musical is full of fun, romantic whimsy starring Fred Astaire as a hit nightclub performer who has to settle on a local chorus girl (Judy Garland) when his more famous partner (Ann Miller) suddenly ditches him. For those who enjoy classic film or trying to find something suitable for all ages, Easter Parade is a good pick. Though Mark Sandrich’s Holiday Inn (1942), from the same era is more famous for its Christmas sequence, the movie is set throughout a whole year. Meaning you can be sure to find an Easter segment as well if you want some more of Fred.
If you’re the spiritual kind, you’re probably already well familiar with Norman Jewison’s screen adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera is a staple for some during the Lenten period. If you want a more straightforward retelling of the Crucifixion, Italian filmmakers Franco Zeffirelli and Pier Paolo Pasolini give two of the most acclaimed interpretations of all time. Zeffirelli’s epic two-part mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977) features an all-star cast including Anne Bancroft, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quinn, James Earl Jones, Olivia Hussey and Robert Powell as the man himself. Pasolini’s feature length drama, The Gospel According to Matthew (1964) is a bit more modest, opting for B&W film and a cast of complete unknowns for the biblical characters.
And if any of these still don’t tickle your fancy, there are the cult films, Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (1995) and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers (2012), both of which take place during spring break. While I personally have never seen the appeal of either of these movies for a second viewing, Smith and Korine do each have their longstanding, dedicated fan bases to prove I’m in a minority. If goofy, raunchy comedies centered on young adults are your thing, Mallrats might interest you. Or you instead prefer artsy, indie movies with slow pacing, plot twists and experimental direction, Spring Breakers could be up your alley.
So if you’re looking for something to watch before or after time with family and other loved ones this Easter weekend, here are a few that may work depending on your taste and preference.
Do you have any favorite Easter movies? Is it any of these? Tell us in the comments!
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