Easter is here, time for flamboyant hats, decorative eggs, and chocolate rabbits. It’s also the time when Hollywood loves to resurrect the classic story of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is one of the most coveted roles in show business, but you have balance earthiness with a spiritual glow. Some Jesuses are even sexy, though not every Son of God is a thirst trap: Jim Caviezel is definitely an attractive man, but his Jesus in The Passion of the Christ is covered in wounds and sores for most of the film. (Plus, there’s the whole Mel Gibson thing.)
Below we pay tribute to seven actors who embodied that classic combination of piousness and grungy hotness.
Jeremy Sisto, “Jesus”Beta Films
Jesus was a 1999 four-hour NBC mini-series that featured Sisto in the title role and Debra Messing as the spunkiest Mary Magdalene in history. The lead actor stood out from other Jesus portrayals by bringing a hot edginess to the role.
Christian Bale, “Mary, Mother of Jesus”Getty Images/Handout
Mary, Mother of Jesus was a 1999 Hallmark presentation, and featured the unlikely casting of Oscar-winner Christian Bale as Mary’s put-upon son.
Diogo Morgado, “Son Of God”
Morgado starred in this adaption of The Bible, a 10-hour History Channel miniseries. The film flopped, but Morgado gets points for looking smokin’.
Victor Garber, “Godspell”Mario Geo/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Garber (above center) is our favorite singing holy act since Godsmack. His Jesus has a ’fro that induces heavenly visions—or as they were referred to in the early ’70s, “acid trips.”
Ted Neeley, “Jesus Christ, Superstar”Ron Wolfson/WireImage/Getty Images
Neeley is arguably the most famous on-screen Jesus in this 1973 adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera.
Robert Powell, “Jesus of Nazareth”NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Powell brought his piercing blue eyes and his Ileanna Douglas looks to this 1977 six-hour mini-series. He joined an international all-star cast that included Ernest Borgnine, Stacy Keach, Donald Pleasence, Michael York, and James Earl Jones.
Willem Dafoe, “The Last Temptation of Christ”Apic/Getty Images
Martin Scorsese pissed plenty of people off with this 1988 film, with the suggestion that Jesus may have been tempted by Barbara Hershey’s rack. And Dafoe (above center) was fearless in the role, revealing a Jesus that was sensitive and conflicted.