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The Passion Play (1903)

La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ (original title)
The story of Jesus Christ from the proclamation of his Nativity to his crucifixion. Impressive scenes and dynamism of the actors prelude to the Italian colossal movies of the silent period.


Lucien Nonguet (co-director), Ferdinand Zecca (co-director)




Cast overview:
Madame Moreau Madame Moreau ... Virgin Mary
Monsieur Moreau Monsieur Moreau ... Joseph


1. THE ANNUNCIATION. The Angel of the Lord appears to Mary, announcing the birth of a child, which shall be called the "Son of God." 2. THE STRANGE STAR. Led by the light of the strange new star, the three wise men of the East journey to Bethlehem in search of the holy child, whose birth has been foretold to them. They are followed by a large retinue of servants and a train of camels, donkeys, sheep, etc., forming in all an impressive caravan. 3. THE ADORATION OF THE WISE MEN. The wise men and the shepherds enter the lowly stable and kneel at the feet of Mary, who holds in her arms the new-born babe. Joseph stands near and watches the touching scene. 4. FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. Through the lonely Egyptian desert Mary and Joseph flee to a place of safety to preserve the life of the infant Jesus. Arriving at the famous Sphinx, Mary finds shelter for the night, while Joseph collects wood for the fire. 5. JESUS AND THE DOCTORS. The doctors and sages are engaged in a learned discussion, when ... Written by Kleine Catalog

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Biography | Drama


Did You Know?


With the Passion Play released by Siegmund Lubin in 1903, the first dramatic feature-length movies, although some film historians disqualify them because each was released in multiple parts. See more »


Edited into Tingen, Edderkoppen 2: Bivirkninger (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Two films on Christ
8 March 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Life and Passion of Christ, The (1903)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Decent telling of the story of Jesus from his birth up to the resurrection. This early French feature is full of wonderful imagination and the use of color is a real added bonus. The visual are all very nice and the set decoration is among the best I've seen in any silent film of its era. The biggest problem is that the feature runs just over 40-minutes and it seems like a bunch of short films edited together. There's really no consistent storytelling but instead just various segments from the Bible.

From the Manger to the Cross (1912)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Early Warner Bros. film is the typical telling of Jesus, as the title says, from the manger to the cross. This is a really boring, dull and pointless telling of the story but I guess the studio wanted to make a feature and stretched everything to the limit. The film uses quotes from the New Testament but this gets tiresome very quickly as well. The film was shot on location all around the world and from a historic standpoint, this here is interesting but the rest of the film isn't.

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None | French

Release Date:

26 March 1904 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Life of Our Savior See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pathé Frères See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (tinted and stencil colored)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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