Friday, August 12, 2022


100 BIBLE FILMS by Matthew Page

This informative book lists and reviews 100 well known and not so well known movies based on the bible. This book points out the interesting aspect of the PEPLUM genre and why the term PEPLUM is important  as an umbrella term. As I've mentioned for over a decade here at the blog, many people categorize films set in the past as the same. Epic movies. Historical dramas. Sword & Sandal. Biblical, etc. HERCULES (1958) is not a biblical movie like the THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) and yet a big chunk of the population out there actually don't see a difference between the two. The stories of both films are set in the past. People were togas or similar looking costumes. There are chariots in HERCULES and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. The list goes on. So once one sorts out the movies based on the bible, like this book does, an entirely different picture is created. 

There are still super-productions like COMMANDMENTS or BEN-HUR (1959) but there's no CLEOPATRA (1963) or SPARTACUS (1960) or THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964). With so many big titles from Hollywood missing or Italian productions, one can see how many movies based on the bible were actually made. Of course, the list is incomplete. The author, Matthew Page, had to pick and choose the most prominent ones or the most interesting ones. Page writes on his selection at the beginning of the book.

This means many Italian titles like THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1958) starring Yvonne de Carlo or PONTIUS PILATE (1962) starring Jean Marais, or the numerous movies with Christians being persecuted, like THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) or REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960), are not listed.

Even with this fault, I recommend this book. It's one of the best books on the PEPLUM genre or the biblical movies. With so many books on the PEPLUM genre that hates the genre itself, it's refreshing to read a book that doesn't denigrate it. I don't necessarily agree with some of his reviews, which is fine. There are interesting tidbits on the making of these movies, like the production issues behind KING OF KINGS (1961). There are tons of photos and the format and layout make the book easy to read or simply peruse. As I'm thinking of publishing my own book or books on PEPLUM movies one day, the format I'm thinking of closely resembles this one though with different layout. 

I bough the paperback version which goes for around $35 in Canada and $26 in the US. The book was creased during the delivery so thanks Amazon. :(

If you want to know more on Matthew Page, he has a great blog called BIBLE FILMS. He goes over every bible movies, including those he didn't list in the book. Make sure to check it out.

Posted at the permanent PEPLUM Books page.


Steven Lester said...

A well-written review, I thought. I only know of a few, myself. BEN HER, SAMSON AND DELILAH, THE SILVER CHALICH, AND THE KING OF KINGS. Also, of course, TEN COMMANDMENTS, Jesus got around, didn't He?

PEPLUM TV said...

Thanks, Steven. Yes, Jesus got around. lol!

Anonymous said...

There is another new book called Hollywood and the Bible which I thought was a very good read.