Here Are the Best Movies to Watch on Easter Sunday
Add some of these religious and not-so-religious Easter movies to your list.
Easter Sunday is a day for heading to church in your finest outfit and spending time with family feasting on ham and deviled eggs while watching the little ones hunt for perfectly dyed Easter eggs—and then collapsing on the couch in exhaustion.
When the sugar buzz wears off, the Easter finery has been swapped out for sweatpants, and the last Easter egg has been (hopefully) found, kick back with a well-deserved movie marathon.
Easter Parade (1948)
Judy Garland and Fred Astaire dance and sing their way across the silver screen in this classic Hollywood musical. This holiday standard doesn’t have an Easter egg hunt, but instead revolves around a Broadway star who falls in love with a chorus girl who looks fine in an Easter bonnet. Their love affair reaches its peak during the Easter Parade, of course.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Admittedly this is not technically an Easter movie, but there’s just so much chocolate and candy that it will fit right in with your Easter Sunday movie marathon. The classic version stars Gene Wilder as the mysterious chocolate maker who throws open the doors of his factory to a handful of lucky golden ticket holders. Inside is a magical, mysterious, chocolate-filled world that will change at least one little boy’s life forever.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Most viewers may not remember that this classic film opens with James Dean’s troubled teen, Jim Stark, drunk and stumbling down a suburban street wearing his church-going suit on the evening of Easter Sunday. The film, which tragically was Dean’s last movie, follows Stark as he tries to straighten up, but when he falls for a girl (Natalie Wood) who already has a boyfriend, things go from bad to worse. While this is not exactly an Easter film as it doesn’t have bunnies or an egg hunt, it makes for captivating viewing.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice injected a little rock n’ roll into the Easter story in their hit Broadway musical. The 1973 film adaptation was directed by Norman Jewison and starred Ted Neeley as Jesus himself. It’s a musical romp through the world of Jesus as told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot (Carl Anderson). A word of caution, though: the show tunes are so darn catchy that you may find yourself humming them in the Winn-Dixie weeks after watching the film.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
There’s never a bad time to catch up with the regulars of Truvy’s beauty spot. This Southern classic makes for perfect Easter Sunday viewing, though, because it’s not only a family favorite, but ends with a memorable Easter egg hunt—and an even more memorable image of an Easter bunny hitching a ride on a motorcycle. Grab the tissues and a box of marshmallow peeps before you watch.
Cookie’s Fortune (1999)
Robert Altman managed to create a heartwarming Easter comedy that doubles as a murder mystery. In the film, Camille Dixon (Glenn Close) is directing her church’s Easter production of Salome and no one in her small Southern town would ever suspect of her framing someone for murder. The story shows the interconnected lives of the citizens of the small town, and includes Julianne Moore, Charles S. Dutton, Ned Beatty, and many more in the cast.
The Ten Commandments (1956)
This epic comes straight out of the Good Book with Charlton Heston playing Moses who goes up against Yul Brynner’s Prince Ramses in the Biblical drama. While the action is based on the Old Testament, before Jesus was born, watching Moses bring the Ten Commandments down from the mountain is a good reminder of the reason for the season.
This Oscar-winning film stars Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P Dowd, an eccentric and affable middle-aged man whose imaginary friend happens to be a six-foot tall rabbit named Harvey. Dowd’s sister Veta (Josephine Hull) thinks he’s lost his marbles, of course, and tries to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital. That’s when the fun really starts. While Harvey isn’t exactly the Easter bunny, per se, families will love the story.
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
The Easter story is brought to life in vivid technicolor in this classic religious tale. The story is very familiar to anyone who spent time at Vacation Bible School with Jesus, here played by Max Von Sydow, spreading his Gospel across the land. He’s joined by an all-star cast with Charlton Heston as John the Baptist, Sidney Poitier as Simon of Cyrene, Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate, Martin Landau as Caiaphas, and many more. The film will require a few popcorn refills, though, as it clocks in at a solid 195 minutes (edited down from 260!)
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This cinematic confection is the perfect way to wrap up the holiday with kiddos. Russell Brand voices the son of the Easter Bunny who has no interest in ascending to his father’s throne. He has no interest in running the Easter candy factory tucked under (where else?) Easter Island and runs off to Los Angeles where he meets a slacker named Fred (James Marsden). His plans to kick back hit a snag when he hears about a possible coup in the chocolate factory.