FILM: Journey to Bethlehem: Antonio Banderas stars in a wondrous musical Nativity




There have been so many versions of the Nativity story told on film that we simply don’t have time to list them all here. Everyone – from William Wyler in Ben Hur, to Monty Python, to the BBC – have had a go at portraying it on screen. But there’s never been a version quite like this!

Writer and Director Adam Anders is no stranger to success. As a music producer and writer, he has sold more than 100 million in recent years. Working alongside some of the world’s biggest stars, he had a massive hit on his hands with TV series Glee, and his music can be heard on the soundtrack of Disney’s High School Musical.

Now Adam makes his directorial debut with Journey to Bethlehem, starring Fiona Palomo, Milo Manheim, and Antonio Banderas as King Herod. I had the privilege of interviewing Adam, and he told me that it’s a project that has been 17 years in the making. As a Christian, he wanted to be true to the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth but at the same time has done some ‘reading between the lines’. In so doing, Adam shows us the effect that the news of Mary’s pregnancy would have had on her family – and her betrothed, Joseph. The film also has an unusual take on the three wise men, who provide comic relief, and in addition, we get to meet Herod’s son, who is given the awful task of killing all male infants in Bethlehem.

All this action is accompanied by a succession of great new pop songs, combined with traditional Christmas music. The songs range from the funny to the sad, from uplifting praise to down-to-earth realism about the situation as it unfolds.

I have a feeling that for many of us this film – and its soundtrack – will become part of part of our Christmas tradition in the future in the same way that The Muppet Christmas Carol has, or Die Hard. A bright lively movie with great music and a reminder from the start that this is ‘The greatest story ever told’ – even if Adam admits to taking a few liberties! The film is out from November 17th – please go see it; let’s make it a hit.

Check venues and showtimes and book tickets at

Watch the trailer here:

Andy Godfrey

Andy Godfrey is a speaker with Outreach UK and has been in full-time Christian work for many years. He is a founding member of the Mark Kermode Appreciation Society and has a collection of nearly 3,000 movies. He’s also an ardent Bristol City fan.

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