This time of year means many things to many people. It’s about chocolate and jelly beans. It’s about colored eggs. It’s about bunnies and baby chicks. It’s about Passover and telling stories. It’s about re-birth and springtime.

Or it could be about watching movies about these and similar subjects. We’ve selected a dozen (like eggs!) great movies to stream for any kind of Easter, Passover, or Springtime mood. Enjoy!

Cool Hand Luke

★★★★☆

On Netflix

Cool Hand Luke Warner Bros.

Paul Newman bets that he can eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in Cool Hand Luke.

Stuart Rosenberg’s Cool Hand Luke (1967) isn’t an Easter movie on the surface, until you consider the famous scene in which Paul Newman’s unflappable title character bets he can eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in one hour. (Some critics have found Christ and rebirth themes in the sequence, which is good enough for our purposes.) In any case, this effortlessly entertaining American classic about men serving time in a rural prison and working on a road crew still holds up many decades later, thanks to a combination of strong talents.

Rapscallion Newman gives one of his most appealing performances, while George Kennedy won an Oscar, Strother Martin and Jo Van Fleet steal their scenes, and Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Hopper and Joe Don Baker fill things out. Conrad L. Hall’s magnificent widescreen cinematography feels scorched and heavy with sweat, and Frank Pierson and Donn Pearce’s screenplay is filled with quotable nuggets.

Easter Parade

★★★★☆

Rent from Vudu, iTunes, Google Play… $1.99 and up

Easter ParadeMGM

Dancing team Judy Garland and Fred Astaire make it to the Easter Parade.

This isn’t the greatest musical ever made, but, aside from Hop, it’s one of the few Easter-themed movies, and its general sunny pleasantness is hard to resist on an Eastertime spring day. Charles Walters’s Easter Parade (1948) is essentially a love quadrangle, starting with Fred Astaire, as Don, a Broadway star who loses his partner Nadine (Ann Miller), when she seeks a solo career, as well as the romantic company of Johnny (Peter Lawford). A dejected Don hits the bar and makes a bet that he can turn the next girl he sees into a star. That would be the resplendent Hannah (Judy Garland).

The rest of the movie concerns these two lunkheads realizing that they’re in love. Walters wasn’t big on visual flair—see Judy Garland’s movie with director Vincente Minnelli, The Pirate, released the same year, for that—but the Technicolor is nice, and Irving Berlin’s songs are irresistibly smile-inducing.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

★★★★☆

On Amazon Prime, Fandor, Hoopla, Tubi TV

The Gospel According to St. Matthew Image Entertainment

Christ (Enrique Irazoqui) wears a crown of thorns and carries his cross in The Gospel According to St. Matthew.

Many critics consider Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) to be the greatest movie about Jesus Christ ever made. Pasolini was an avowed atheist who decided to tell the story with as little fanfare or pageantry as possible. Thus, the final film is almost documentary-like, with unremarkable black-and-white cinematography and minimalist, almost amateurish performances. But the dialog, taken directly from the gospel, is still inordinately powerful (it’s amazing how many phrases from Matthew are still used regularly today). Better still, Pasolini manages to capture Christ’s fascinating inconsistencies, his words ranging from compassionate to demanding.

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The powerful score is by Luis Bacalov (Django, Il Postino). Amazon Prime, Hoopla, and TubiTV offer both a colorized, edited (91-minute), dubbed-into-English version of the film, as well as the full-length (135-minute), black-and-white, Italian-language version. Tubi TV’s full-length, black-and-white version is dubbed into English. Fandor offers the subtitled, uncut version, only.



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