The Jesus Film is a 1979 motion picture which depicts the life of Jesus Christ according primarily to the Gospel of Luke in the Bible.
The film’s origins date back to 1945 when a young businessman named Bill Bright wanted to privately finance a film about the life of Jesus Christ that was informative, biblically accurate, and which could be translated into non-English languages. Rather than making a film at that time, Bright went on to found a Christian ministry to reach college students called Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951.
In 1976, with Campus Crusade’s influence spreading beyond college campuses to sports, the marketplace and other aspects of society, Bright turned his attention once again to filmmaking. Hollywood’s German-born British producer John Heyman approached Bright to fund a project to put the entire Bible on film. The project would eventually be scaled back to just one book of the Bible, the Gospel of Luke, and be financed primarily by Campus Crusade supporters Bunker and Caroline Hunt for a sum of $6 million.
A team of 500 scholars and leaders from secular and Christian organizations began to research historical elements for a film about Jesus. Filming took place over the course of several months throughout the Middle East 1976. After each day’s filming was completed, the footage was sent to a panel of biblical scholars for review.