Must-see movies and favorite TV series episodes for Easter and Passover

These holiday favorites are streaming year round
"The Prince of Egypt" (1998)
"The Prince of Egypt" (1998) Photo credit Dreamworks Pictures, Getty Images / Handout
By , Audacy

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Christmas can’t get all the glory for knockout holiday movies and TV shows. The Hallmark Channel is not dedicating a month to Easter movies, is all we're saying.

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Though they do have a collection of "Spring Fever" flicks, including something called "Easter Under Wraps." We're not recommending any of these, just acknowledging their existence.

So there may not be as much of a buildup to Easter — and even less for Passover — but both holidays cross paths this weekend, so we couldn’t help but reminisce on some of our favorite films and TV eps that live on year after year in our memories and on our screens.


The Prince of Egypt

This 1998 animated Dreamworks film gave Disney a run for its money. With a star-studded cast and music by Hans Zimmer (not to mention Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men), it’s not your run-of-the-mill cartoon.

“The Prince of Egypt” tells the Passover story from the Book of Exodus, which details Moses’ (voiced by Val Kilmer) life from infancy to adulthood, and his delivery of the Hebrews out of Egypt and ultimately receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

While this isn’t the only animated retelling of the Passover story on this list (looking at you, Rugrats) it’s beautifully rendered in both traditional cell animation and the early stages of CGI, making it a unique blend of the two media. And its feature length allows for a robust exploration of this classic story.

“The Prince of Egypt” is currently streaming on Peacock (with subscription) or Amazon Prime (for rent).

Steel Magnolias

Why is "Steel Magnolias" (1989) an Easter movie? Because it begins and ends with Easter. And with a plot dependent on conditions of fertility, birth, death and rebirth — and the resilience of the women in its lineup of main characters through every turn of the wheel — one might say it is the ultimate Easter movie.

The story encompasses about four years in the lives of its characters, but the plot is paced out like a single calendar year, told like a series of vignettes from holiday to holiday. As in real life, holidays are the times when families and friends come together and when the drama really happens.

Shelby (Julia Roberts) gets married right before Easter. She announces she is pregnant at Christmas time. Her boy, Jack, is born on or around the Fourth of July — we get a rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at his 1st birthday party. Shelby goes into the hospital around Halloween. And so on.

The cast is legendary — Sally Field as M’Lynn, Shelby’s overprotective mother; Dolly Parton as Truvy, the superficial hairdresser with hidden depth; Daryl Hannah as Annelle, Truvy’s shy assistant with a past; Shirley MacLaine as Ouiser, the cantankerous misanthrope who cares about people much more than she lets on; Olympia Dukakis as Clairee, the wealthy and witty widow of the former mayor.

Spoiler alert! Shelby, who is diabetic, has a baby against the wishes of her doctor and M’Lynn, at great risk to her personal health. The deterioration of her health drives the story forward, up to her hospitalization, death and funeral — at which Sally Field delivers a master class in overacting.

At the funeral, Annelle announces she is pregnant, and she’s going to name the baby Shelby, whether it’s a boy or a girl. The last scene of the movie is at an Easter egg hunt, the next year. Jack is around 3 years old, and Annelle is so pregnant she goes into labor, forcing her and her bunny-suited husband into the hospital to deliver baby Shelby into the world, fulfilling Easter’s promise of renewal and rebirth. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Every scene is meme-worthy. The one-liners are unforgettable and copious. And in 1989, had anyone seen another movie with six leading women and no leading men? (Never mind that they could have used a dialect coach. No two characters sound like they’re from the same place.)

For extra credit, watch the 2012 Lifetime remake with an all Black cast. In its own right, it is a good movie, excellently cast — Philly girl Jill Scott (Truvy), Queen Latifah (M'Lynn), Alfre Woodard (Ouiser), Phylicia Rashād (Clairee), Adepero Oduye (Annelle) and Condola Rashād (Shelby) — but it has a tough row to hoe if it is ever to capture the spotlight held by the original in the pantheon of great American melodramas.

"Steel Magnolias" (1989) is currently streaming on Hulu (premium subscription) and Starz. “Steel Magnolias” (2012) is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.


Bambi is more like an honorable mention among Easter movies — and only because of the memorable scene showing the advent of spring after a long, bleak, sad winter.

The music feels dated, but the art of this movie is just as rich and beautiful as it was 80 years ago.

As classic Disney movies go, they don’t get much more classic than 1942’s “Bambi.” The titular deer is born into overtly cute circumstances, but he soon learns that growing up sucks. Some dude shoots and kills his mother. His absentee father is a total dick. But at least he has his scamp rabbit pal, Thumper, and his gay skunk buddy, Flower — until they get all twitterpated and fall in love and forget all about him.

Bambi is currently streaming on Disney+ and Amazon Prime


A Rugrats Passover,” Rugrats

“A Rugrats Passover” is just as entertaining and informative as it was 25 years ago. While it’s technically a children’s TV show, the Passover episode breaks the story down in the simplest ways without sacrificing the meaning of the holiday itself. The Pickles share a seder plate with their interfaith family — a message, first of all, that can be appreciated by kids and adults alike. A few highlights: Boris and Minka being the most extra Jewish grandparents at the seder, Chuckie forgetting to put yeast in the bread and thus inventing matzo (of course), and Tommy as Moses declaring, “Let my babies go!”

“A Rugrats Passover” (“Rugrats” season 3, episode 26) is currently streaming on Hulu and Paramount+.

Easter in Bakersfield,” Baskets

“Easter in Bakersfield” is not only a Neil Diamond song, but it’s the title of the fourth-ever episode of the oddball FX comedy “Baskets.” (OK, that’s not a real song, but any show that writes a fake Diamond jam just for a brief joke is worth watching.)

Zach Galifianakis plays Chip Baskets, a 40-something French clown school dropout. He returns to his hometown of Bakersfield, California, where we meet his twin brother Dale (yes, also played by Galifianakis) and his mother Christine (the late Louie Anderson). While Chip’s life is hitting a wall, Christine insists on going to church and brunch for Easter — at the casino.

Galifianakis finds comedy in the smallest of plotlines; his dedication is side-splintering funny. In church, Chip does every impractical thing one shouldn’t do in public to alert Christine that her car is being towed. From the church parking lot. On Easter Sunday.

“Easter in Bakersfield” is a standout episode of the series, blending downright slapstick humor with the vulnerability of family relationships.

“Easter in Bakersfield” (“Baskets” season 1, episode 4) is currently streaming on Hulu.

Eggs for Days,” Bob’s Burgers

A family Easter egg hunt turns rancid for the Belchers. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) are planning their annual competition — the kids have to find all of the eggs around the house in the most obscure hiding places. The last egg found marked either “M” for mom or “D” for dad is declared the winner. Unfortunately, one egg goes rogue, stinking up the entire apartment and restaurant. It probably didn’t help that Bob and Linda blacked out on jellybean-flavored schnapps and forgot all of their hiding spots.

“Eggs for Days” (“Bob’s Burgers, season 7, episode 16) is currently streaming on Hulu.

The Seder,” Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David hosts a Passover seder with the usual gaggle of friends and neighbors, plus one special guest: the friendly and morally conscious sex offender who just moved into the neighborhood. Larry finds similar interests with him (Rob Corddry) — they’re both a part of the “bald community,” love golf and are big fans of “Seinfeld.”

It’s a Jewish thing, he tells his wife, Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) — if a Jew has nowhere to go for seder, the right thing to do is to invite them over to yours. Larry begs the question: What would Jesus do? Well, he certainly wouldn’t cheat to help his kids find the afikomen, that’s for sure.

“The Seder” (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” season 5, episode 7) is currently streaming on Hulu (premium subscription), HBO Max and Amazon Prime.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Dreamworks Pictures, Getty Images / Handout