The Nativity is just what it says it is. This low-key retelling of the Biblical story of the birth of Christ stars Madeline Stowe as Mary and John V. Shea as Joseph. The network publicists assured the viewers that there would be as much emphasis on the "human love story" as the Birth itself. Also in the cast are Leo McKern as Herod, Jane Wyatt as Anna, Paul Stewart as Zacharias, Audrey Totter as Elizabeth, George Voskovec as Joachim and Julie Garfield (daughter of John Garfield) as Zipporah. The made-for-TV The Nativity premiered on December 17, 1978; one day later, Madeline Stowe showed up in a small role in another TV movie, The Deerslayer.