Bible stories in Hollywood: Term paper topics

You can write your term paper on how broadcast TV and Hollywood movies have had a generally successful relationship with religious and Bible stories.

Learn more about stories of the Bible from Of Kings and Prophets. (Credit: Bob D'Amico, ABC)

Learn more about stories of the Bible from Of Kings and Prophets. (Credit: Bob D’Amico, ABC)

The most recent is ABC’s new series Of Kings and Prophets. Here are some interesting research paper topics for your broadcasting or entertainment classes on how stories in the Bible are produced for television and movies.

Biblical programs always popular

A good research paper topic is to discuss the popularity of biblical and religious programming. TV has seen Touched by an Angel, Of Kings and Prophets and Angel from Hell. On the big screen, we’ve seen huge productions like 2014’s Noah staring Russell Crowe, Son of God, Exodus: Gods & Kings, and 2016’s Miracles from Heaven. Believe it or not, one of the reasons Hollywood likes biblical epics is because it doesn’t have to pay copyright owners for the rights to the stories.

A factor supposedly against producing biblical stories is the reduced number of Americans who affiliate with any particular religion. But that doesn’t deter Hollywood. In “Hollywood Gets Back to Biblical” in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, posted November 2, 2012, Molly Driscoll reports that the Bible movie boom is simply following the popular trend of successful superhero and Lord of the Rings movie craze. Paul Schneider, chairman of the film and television department at Boston University, said that the Bible has “this great material with great characters,” such as bigger-than-life story lines with a lot of natural disasters thrown in to keep people on the edge of their seats.

Biblical Game of Thrones

An idea for a term paper is to write about how Hollywood, which always loves a good adventure story, adapts biblical stories for the screen. Of Kings and Prophets tells the story in 1000 BCE of Saul, an Israelite king whose reign is threatened by shepherd David, a resourceful young man who has just been anointed by the prophet Samuel and is destined to be the next king.

In its publicity campaign, ABC’s executive producer Chris Brancato called Of Kings and Prophets a biblical Game of Thrones. “It’s suspenseful. It’s extraordinarily violent. It’s sexual. And it’s a power struggle between two men. We don’t view this as a revisionist history nor do we view it as a literal translation. We’ve sought to make the show modern…This is a non-dragon version of Game of Thrones,” said Brancato in “ABC wants Bible series to be like Game of Thrones,” posted January 9, 2016, on Entertainment Weekly by James Hibberd.

The Bible: Good source material

A good term paper topic is to discuss the Bible as a good source material for entertainment. Because of blockbusters like 1956’s The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston as Moses, 1965’s The Greatest Story Ever Told about Jesus, and Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ, Hollywood eagerly turns to the Bible for source material. Erica Orden writes in “Hollywood’s New Bible Stories” posted in the Wall Street Journal September 27, 2012, “The studios are increasingly reliant on source material with a built-in audience, something the Bible—the best-selling book in history—certainly has. And like the comic-book superheroes that movie companies have relied on for the past decade, biblical stories are easily recognizable to both domestic and the all-important foreign audiences.”

In “Enough Moses already: 5 other Bible stories that deserve a Hollywood epic,” Ashley Fetters writes in Entertainment Weekly December 9, 2014, that there is far better fare in the Bible that could get a Lord of the Rings treatment from Hollywood, such as Samson, The Book of Esther, Joseph in Egypt, The Book of Ruth, and The Book of Revelation.

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Broadcasting and Television. 

Do you think there will always be an audience for biblical drama?

1 reply
  1. Larry (Lorenzo Bernardotto - It.) says:

    In my opinion … yes … Because the Bible represents the history of our Salvation. Here, the Bible itself is also called “History of the Salvation” by we Catholics. Some consider the Bible only a “historical book” … some think of it as a “spiritual book”. Movies about the Bible will always have an audience. Happy Easter to Questia staff. 🙂


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