St. John in Exile

Reviewed by: Glenn and Joy Buxton

Moral Rating: Excellent!
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teen to Adult
Genre: Filmed Stage Production
Length: 1 hr. 32 min.
Year of Release: 1989
USA Release:
Relevant Issues
St. John in Exile

More about John

Was Jesus Christ only a legend? Answer

If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer

Was Jesus Christ God, manifest in human form? Answer

Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer

If Jesus was the Son of God, why did He call Himself the Son of Man? Answer

Trinity—How can one God be three persons? Answer

Character—Is Christ’s character consistent with his high claims? Answer

Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer

Could Christ have sinned? Answer

Archaeology—Have any burial sites been found for the people involved in Christ’s life and death? Answer

Mary, mother of Jesus

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer

How can the Bible be infallible if it was written by fallible humans? Answer

“The Jesus Seminar”—Are their criticisms of the gospels valid? Answer

“The Jesus Seminar”—Who do they really speak for? Answer

Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death and Resurrection
Featuring Dean Jones — “God’s Story
Director Dan Curtis, Lory Basham Jones
Producer Loren Steadman
Distributor DJ Productions

Dean Jones’ one-man portrayal of John, the last living disciple of Jesus, in exile on the island of Patmos is phenomenal. Set during the persecution of thousands of Christians under Emperor Domitianus, John is dictating the Revelation when several Christians (the audience) are permitted to visit him. Though John is 86 years old and confined to live in a cave, he is portrayed as tenaciously spry, strong in spirit and full of humor.

During the course of his exile, John has continued his evangelizing the Roman guards by conspicuously leaving copies of the gospels to be confiscated. He has also found humor in adopting several cave rats as “pets” and appropriately naming them after the guards and rulers—Annas and Caiaphas, Herod and Pontius Pilate. He has also acquired a taste for locusts and honey as was highly recommended by John the Baptist.

The film parallels the Gospel of John through the personal narratives of John to his visitors from his meeting John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus and His crucifixion and resurrection. Jones provides a more personal and deeply emotional account of the thoughts and feelings of John as a friend of Jesus particularly during the crucifixion. The personal narratives provide details and insight. He vividly describes the disciples walking the streets of Kidron before Jesus’ crucifixion and how the streets were filled with the blood of Passover lambs.

The film also gives an idea about the fear that the disciples may have felt as Jesus was taken from them as John and Peter run and hide fearing their own capture.

I first saw “St. John in Exile” when it was presented live at Church on the Way (Van Nuys, California) and was deeply moved during the performance. I had only seen Dean Jones in his light-hearted comedic roles in many Disney movies (“Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit”, “That Darn Cat”, and “The Love Bug”) and was quite surprised by his very dramatic portrayal on the stage. Although it has been many years since that live performance, I still remember that performance and was anxious to see the video. “St. John in Exile” was filmed during a live presentation at Church on the Way.

I have considered doing a scene-by-scene review of this work, but because of my high regard for this piece of art, I leave it up to you to watch, enjoy, and marvel at this performance in its entirety. Dean Jones has given the Character of the Beloved Disciple form and function in a way that can only be fully appreciated by viewing each and every subtlety and nuance of the performance.

If I were to give a recommendation to a teacher or professor in regard to this video taped performance it would be this—Set enough time aside in class to view the entire performance, then and only then will your students fully appreciate it as art. Something that I think must also be said for the Gospel of John, that so many times the Gospel message of John is so unceremoniously dissected that the Christian message being taught is rendered meaningless. View “St. John in Exile” and read the Gospel of John as entire works of art inspired by the Holy Spirit, then, and only then, will you appreciate the message they contain.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This movie is the true. Very accurate with Scripture. I could watch it over and over.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
Sue Rigard, age 37
Positive—“Saint John In Exile,” is the BEST movie I’ve ever seen!!! I was almost scared away by it being a Play, but thank God I watched it!!! From start to finish, it was prefect, not to mention the fact that it was filmed in two parts, before a live audience and without a single mistake. I have owned “Saint John In Exile” twice, but both times I owned it, I couldn’t keep it to myself and had to give it to others. I’ve also bought it as a Christmas gift and given it to friends. I have probably seen it 20 times, and I need to watch it again, so here I am trying to order it for myself again. I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep it this time??…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Quinn, age 30 (USA)
Movie Critics
Magnificent! One is reminded of unforgettable roles played by Henry Fonda as Clarence Darrow and Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain.
Arizona Republic
A spiritually powerful and deeply poignant masterpiece of our time.
Jack Hayford
Fascinating. That rare chance for an actor to stretch his art fullout.
Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times
Absolutely breathtaking… A real masterpiece!
Charles Colson
don’t miss this film!
Billy Graham