Easter films tend to take on two forms: the religious kind or the ones with bunnies. While never quite as prolific as the Christmas film, yet far more common than the elusive Labor Day Weekend Holiday specials, you can still hunt for these yummy eggs this Easter.
Here we’ve compiled a list of some favourite films that our readers voted for on Facebook and Twitter. Plus, there’s a few childhood favourites that we couldn’t help but include. Did we miss your favourite treat? Sound-off in the comments below.
Easter Parade (1948)
Winning a place at the head of this list, partly due to the title, Charles Walters’ film focuses on a nightclub performer (Fred Astaire) who hires a green chorus girl (Judy Garland) to make his former partner (Ann Miller) jealous. Its Easter credentials come in the former of a bunny in the opening scenes (pictured above), along with a string of Irving Berlin songs that include “Happy Easter” and the title track, which closes out the film at the titular parade.
“You know what? There is NO Easter Bunny! Over there, that’s just a guy in a suit!” While not strictly an Easter film, the Easter Bunny is at the heart of Kevin Smith’s second feature. The central comedy is around love, break-ups and reunions in a suburban mall, there’s an infamous scene in which Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith) beat up the Easter Bunny under the mistake belief that he attacked Brodie (Jason Lee). The looks on the faces of the children are priceless.
See also: Critters 2, in which church and secular celebrations collide to finish off the Easter Bunny.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
There has to be at least one film on the Christian Easter celebrations here, and it’s hard to pass up on Martin Scorsese. While it may not have been Scorsese’s most successful film either critically or commercially, it remains a legacy and one of the few intelligent discussions on the nature of Jesus in cinema. Scorsese doesn’t provide any easy answers. It poses questions, presenting ideas that are not designed to challenge or undermine faith, but reinforce it in those that have it, and provide a provocative alternative for those who do not. Read our full review >>
See also: The Robe, The Passion of the Christ, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew and Jesus Christ Superstar.
It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (1974)
No holiday is complete without a Peanuts special. There’s even one for Arbor Day. We couldn’t make that up if we tried. This TV movie was the 12th based on the Charles M. Schultz comic strips, and it was screened annually between 1974 and 2000 on CBS and various stations around the world. Just like Halloween, Linus tries to convince the Peanuts gang that the Easter Beagle will take care of their Easter needs, although his track record is a bit dodgy after The Great Pumpkin fiasco. Snoopy’s sequences are suitable trippy, such as the dancing sequence above.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)
Rankin/Bass Productions are also staples of the holiday season, and they are equal parts beloved seasonal stories and acid trips filtered through stop-motion animation. Casey Kasem voices the eponymous bunny, taken from the 1949 Easter song of the same name. It sees Peter set to become the successor to Colonel Wellington B. Bunny as the Easter Bunny, except Peter’s lying and cheating ways get him in trouble. It’s actually an all-season film as well, with Peter’s journey taking him through Valentine’s, Christmas, the Fourth of July and even St. Patrick’s Day!
See also: The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town (1977)
Despite treading familiar ground cautiously, and inevitably tainting the timeless quality of Easter specials with an unnecessarily modern approach, HOP represented a welcome and fun return to the holiday tradition of humans and animals working together to save capitalism. U.S.A! U.S.A!
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
It’s like Monty Python says: nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Did we just reference Sliding Doors? It’s a good thing this list is coming to a close. It’s probably one of the more balanced films on the meaning of the death and life of Jesus, even if its comedic tones give rise to accusations of blasphemy. Yet as John Cleese points out, “It’s not attacking the Church, necessarily. It’s about people who cannot agree with each other.” Now, we challenge you not to whistle that infamous song for the rest of the day.