If the concept of using credibility as a marker of quality is often true for the depiction of the past wherein even the slightest incongruity can be fatal, it is especially true for the biblical film. Alongside the development of special effects there have also arisen tropes and conventions which have become hallmarks of the epic and which are here used to support a biblical epic aesthetic. This chapter builds on ideas about effects in the epic film as an expression of verisimilitude, but here I propose instead to discuss effects not as guarantor of verisimilitude, but as ‘part of an overall process in which cinema displays itself and its powers’ (Neale 1980: 35) and how effects act as a function of spectacle, becoming part of an industrial selling point driving audiences to the cinema.

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium