The film version of pastor-evangelist Greg Laurie’s memoir is released on 23 June in the UK. Years ago Woman Alive’s deputy editor Jemimah Wright met some people who experienced the Jesus Movement in real time, so she asked them what they thought of the film.



Jesus Revolution, opens with a baptism scene at Pirates Cove, the exact location where the baptisms were recorded by TIME magazine over forty years ago:

On a cul-de-sac beach at Corona del Mar, Calif., the Rev. Chuck Smith recently held another of the mass baptisms that have made his Calvary Chapel at Santa Ana famous. Under a setting sun, several hundred converts waded into the cold Pacific, patiently waiting their turn for the rite. On the cliffs above, hundreds more watched… the baptized were young, tanned and casual in cut-off blue jeans, pullovers and even an occasional bikini. A freshly dunked teenager, water streaming from her tie-dyed shirt, threw her arms around a woman and cried, “Mother, I love you!” A teen-age drug user who had been suffering from recurring unscheduled trips suddenly screamed, “My flashbacks are gone!” As the baptisms ended, the crowd slowly climbed a narrow stairway up the cliff, singing a moving Lord’s Prayer in the twilight.

‘God is saving hippies, and it’s blowing everybody’s mind, because no one thought hippies could be saved’

Jesus Revolution TIME magazine

Source: TIME magazine

The so-called Jesus Revolution was TIME magazine’s cover story and the film with the same name is based on a 2018 memoir by now pastor-evangelist Greg Laurie, whose ministry began during the Jesus People movement. It follows the true story experienced by Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus in The Chosen), Rev Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer) and Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney). Also joining the cast in his first major film role is author and preacher DeVon Franklin


Jesus Revolution is a tale about love, and a story of a lost generation finding hope and faith in Jesus. From the words of Lonnie Frisbee in the film: ‘God is saving hippies, and it’s blowing everybody’s mind, because no one thought hippies could be saved…’



I know a couple who came to faith during the Jesus Movement, and were close friends of Lonnie Frisbee. Danny and Linda Lehmann led the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) base in Honolulu Hawaii, when I attended a Discipleship Training School in 1996.

After watching the film I got in contact with Linda, to ask her what she thought, and if the film was true to life. She said: ‘Lonnie was one of the most anointed people I have ever met. He couldn’t go to the corner store for milk without bringing back a few lost souls with him.

We were part of the Calvary Chapel movement so we knew Chuck too. An amazing father to a huge group of young confused people who had just met Jesus. We loved the film. We have showed it to many groups. It tells the story of how Danny and I got saved so well.’

[co-director] Jon Erwin marvelled that the final release date (February 2023 in the USA) was the exact same time as revival was breaking out in Asbury University in Kentucky 

Jesus Revolution is unashamedly a Christian film, but co-director Jon Erwin says in making films, his priority is always to entertain. Released by Lionsgate, the film earned more than $51 million in box office receipts. That puts it in the top ten of the highest-grossing faith-based films of all time.

The timing of Jesus Revolution feels significant. Filming was all set to begin when COVID happened and the whole thing was put on hold. It seems that there was some divine intervention in this, and Jon Erwin marvelled that the final release date (February 2023 in the USA) was the exact same time as revival was breaking out in Asbury University in Kentucky. Jon went to visit Asbury with his wife, Beth. When Greg Laurie called him to ask what it was like, he said, ‘It’s just like the film.’

God was at work while we were shooting them

JREV_Unit_220330_00171RC (1)


Jesus Revolution portrays a move of God, but it also sounds as though God was moving on the set as it was being filmed. On being interviewed on CBN with Cathe, his wife of almost 50 years, Greg Laurie remarked: ‘I think the reason why those baptism scenes worked so powerfully, is because God was at work while we were shooting them. On one occasion when we were shooting the scene with Greg and Lonnie, where Greg prays with Lonnie, extras were coming to Christ and wanting to be baptised for real.’

As I watched Jesus Revolution, I was reminded of Habakkuk 3:2-3 ‘Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.’ Jon Erwin said he was struck by how the late sixties was a similar time of cultural despair to today. May Jesus Revolution be a film to stir our hearts to pray, and remind us that there are no lost generations that Jesus cannot meet.

Jesus Revolution film poster


 Jesus Revolution is released in the UK on 23 June.