'Son of God' Continues Jesus' Evolution on Film

VIDEO: Film About Jesus Has Followers Renting Out Entire Movie Theaters and Hollywood Watching

"Son of God" hits theaters nationwide today but had people talking long before.

"In just the last few weeks, about 500,000 tickets for "Son of God" have been purchased in advance – by churches, businesses and everyday citizens," co-producer Mark Burnett told Fox News.

A big reason for the movie's popularity is its star, Diogo Morgado, who has gotten a lot of attention on social media, especially for his appearance. In short, fans of the movie approve of the casting.

The handsome Portuguese actor, 34, is just the latest man to take on the daunting role of Jesus Christ. Film actors have portrayed the face of Christianity since the early 20th century.

Here's a look back at the portrayal of Jesus and the actors who have played him over time.

PHOTO: Max von Sydow is pictured in "The Greatest Story Ever Told," 1965.
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Max von Sydow - "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965)

"The Exorcist" star, now 84, took on the role in 1965 and his portrayal was pretty spot on for the time period. Von Sydow starred alongside Martin Landau and Angela Lansbury and this film is a good place to start as an illustration of how the story has evolved.

PHOTO: Willem Dafoe is pictured in "The Last Temptation of Christ," 1988.
Universal/The Kobal Collection
Willem Dafoe - "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988)

The "Spider-Man" actor, now 58, next took on the story of Jesus in 1988, directed by Martin Scorsese. True to the legendary director's style, Dafoe's depiction shows a gritty, bloody film that leaves nothing to the imagination.

PHOTO: Christian Bale is pictured in "Mary, Mother Of Jesus," 1999.
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Christian Bale - "Mary, Mother of Jesus" (1999)

Before he was Batman, he was Jesus of Nazareth!

"Mary, Mother of Jesus" came out one year before "American Psycho," and relied on star quality in the title role of Jesus.

PHOTO: Jim Caviezel is pictured in "The Passion of the Christ," 2004.
Phillipe Antonello/Marquis Films/The Kobal Collection
Jim Caviezel - "The Passion of the Christ" (2004)

Caviezel picked up where Bale left off, giving Jesus star-quality looks, as well as a powerful performance. The "Person of Interest" actor really helped to bring the religious story into the modern era.

PHOTO: Diogo Morgado is pictured in "Son of God," 2012.
Casey Crafford/20th Century Fox/AP Images
Diogo Morgado - "Son of God" (2014)

Morgado brings his former modeling experience to the role of Jesus. And his previous work on telenovelas could persuade a new audience to take an interest in the history of the Bible.

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