Numerous films have been based on the Gospels, but few have been based on the Book of Acts. Even when filmmakers make a point of depicting stories from across the Scriptures, the early church tends to get left out; a typical example is the otherwise excellent series of British-Russian animated films that began with Testament, a collection of nine half-hour episodes from the Old Testament, and ended with The Miracle Maker, a feature film about Jesus. As finales go, the death and resurrection of Jesus are pretty hard to beat.
Thankfully, some filmmakers do explore the work of the apostles once in a while. The best examples to date are probably the 1985 mini-series A.D., which does a marvelous job of depicting the joy that animated the Jerusalem church but gets increasingly sidetracked by secular history and fictitious love stories between soldiers, slaves and gladiators the further it moves into Gentile territory; and the 1981 TV movie Peter and Paul, starring Anthony Hopkins, which takes superb advantage of the autobiographical information in Paul's epistles.
The latest example is Paul the Apostle, a TV movie produced four years ago as part of The Bible Collection (a series of films made between 1994 and 2002 by the Italian company Lux Vide) and released to video this summer. Paul the Apostle is the last installment of this series to come out on video; earlier installments, including the Emmy-winning Joseph and the CBS mini-series Jesus, were released on the Warner and Trimark labels, while a subsequent film, The Apocalypse, was released by GoodTimes earlier this year.
Unfortunately, Paul the Apostle is one of the weakest entries in the series. Directed by Roger Young (who also directed Joseph and Jesus) from a script by Gareth ...1