Son of God



Bland retelling of Jesus' ministry can be very violent.
  • Review Date: February 28, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 138 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Encourages belief in God and specifically the Christian vision of Jesus as the Son of God.

Positive role models

Unlike The Bible, which surveys major Judeo-Christian stories, Son of God concentrates on Jesus. Even those who do not believe in Jesus' divinity will find him a fascinating revolutionary who challenges the establishment, ministers to outcasts and sinners, and wants to change the world. His promise to people is simple: believe and you shall be saved. His disciples are all flawed, but they remain faithful. Even Judas, who betrays Jesus, repents for his part in Jesus' arrest.


The movie, which is taken from parts of The Bible miniseries, is quite violent. Jesus is flogged with the 40 lashes, forced to carry his cross, fixed with crown of thorns, and crucified. There are close-ups of his bloody body and bruised face. Pontius Pilate's guards push over a merchant's cart, and it falls and crushes his son, who is shown dead in his mother's arms. Crowds are stabbed and slaughtered. During temple scenes, there are animals being sacrificed, and people are pushed. Jesus is told his friend John the Baptist was beheaded. Judas hangs himself.

Not applicable

Jesus is taunted as "King of the Jesus" and "peasant" and "false prophet."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Jesus and his disciples drink wine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Son of God is re-purposed material from the History Channel's The Bible miniseries concentrating on the story of Jesus' ministry years, death, and resurrection. Although it's not quite as bloody and violent as The Passion of the Christ, the movie still features the violence of the crucifixion, like Jesus' flogging, the crown of thorns, and the nailing to the cross. There are close-ups of a bloody and beaten Jesus, as well as the two thieves crucified beside him. There are also scenes of dead Israelites killed by Roman guards, a child who is crushed and killed by a cart, and Judas hanging himself. Families must decide whether their kids are ready to see some of the more disturbing and bloody aspects of Jesus' story.

What's the story?

To release SON OF GOD, husband-and-wife film producers and devout Catholics Mark Burnett and actress Roma Downey have repackaged the Jesus-centered portions of their wildly successful The Bible miniseries, which aired on the History Channel in 2013. Son of God isn't exactly like the four episodes in the miniseries that chronicle Jesus' life -- instead the film skips over Jesus' childhood and baptism and goes from birth to his finding his disciples. Narrated by the disciple John the Evangelist (Sebastian Knapp), the movie chronicles how Jesus (Diogo Morgado) performed miracles, preached about forgiveness and love, was persecuted by the high priests and Pontius Pilate, was crucified, and then was resurrected.

Is it any good?


Christian viewers looking for a traditional retelling of the story of Jesus' ministry years will find this a fine, if incomplete, tale. The production values are good, some of the actors are better than good, particularly English actors Darwin Shaw as the intense and hotheaded disciple Peter, Greg Hicks as the most famous Roman prefect in history, Pontius Pilate, and Knapp as the dearest disciple John. Jesus is played by the distractingly attractive Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, whose indeterminate accent and occasionally off line readings make him less effective than Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ.

Overall, the movie is a rather bland adaptation of Jesus' ministry, with somewhat bizarre and inexplicably extreme close-ups and disappointing computer-generated depictions of ancient landscapes. One of the best parts of the movie is Hans Zimmer's swelling score, but ultimately this doesn't feel like a complete or particularly memorable picture. Except as a ministry tool for church youth groups, Son of God is not the most stirring depiction of Jesus' life. Jesus Christ Superstar and VeggieTales DVDs are far more memorable, and those familiar with Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical may find themselves singing it in their head as they watch along.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this movie compares to other interpretations of the life of Jesus. Do you think movies with religious themes appeal to general audiences or just believers?

  • The filmmakers removed the last temptation of Christ that proved controversial in the miniseries. Do you think that was a good idea, or was it strange to see a movie about Jesus that omits this part of his life?

  • Was it smart for the filmmakers to hire lesser-known actors play Jesus and the disciples? Would it have been odd to see a better-known actor play Jesus?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 28, 2014
DVD release date:June 3, 2014
Cast:Roma Downey, Diogo Morgado, Sebastian Knapp
Director:Christopher Spencer
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Topics:Great boy role models, History
Run time:138 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old March 3, 2014

Son of God

1st Review This is a REALLY great movie that explains what Jesus did in his life and ministry as god's son. This movie has a great message of what Jesus did to save us from our sins. I recommend it for christian family's. The only problem is the gore. For example: When Jesus gets crucified, there's blood all over him. And the roman's struck nails into his hands and you can see it. It looks VERY painful. Overall, I think 11 and up, mostly because of the blood in the movie, and when the roman's tortured Jesus. Thanks for reading.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent Written byDr. Lou March 15, 2014

Overwhelming violence

My friend and I took our sons, aged 11 and 12, to see the movie Son of God. We went to the movie in part because our sons had requested to see it and we wanted to honor their interest in spiritual matters. We all found the movie very upsetting. It had as much violence in it as many R-rated movies I have seen. It was not simply the brutality of the crucifixion that was horrifying. It was also the 20 or so minutes spent in the final hours of Christ’s life where the movie plodded through each mean, cruel, greedy, violent thing that happened to him. It was even more traumatizing because we witnessed all of it on a huge screen, with a Dolby sound system amplifying every agonizing sound. Although we finally found our way to the Resurrection, the trauma of witnessing those violent events overwhelmed any joy we might have experienced. We did not leave the movie drawn closer to Christ. Instead we all felt repelled by the story, which my son summed up by saying, “Well, THAT was a mistake.” I would not recommend this movie for children under 14. Although they may have seen violence of similar sorts in movies like Hunger Games, the violence portrayed in this movie is sustained over a longer period, portrays forms of violence that really were used to punish people, and happens to a real person.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educator and Parent Written byTeenBoyzDad March 8, 2014

A guy's perspective

My wife and all the other ladies in the theater were crying. The males weren't. I think it's because the actor who plays Jesus is gorgeous (and that's from a married man!) but also, Roma Downey's portrayal of Jesus' mother strikes a chord in the hearts of the moms in the audience. To see the way Jesus was treated is hard for anyone to watch, for a mom to watch another mom watching her son be given 40 lashes, etc. really helps bring the message home. Still, worth watching for anyone. Highly recommended.


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