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The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

Il vangelo secondo Matteo (original title)
The life of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew. Pasolini shows Christ as a marxist avant-la-lettre and therefore uses half of the text of Matthew.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Enrique Irazoqui ...
Margherita Caruso ...
Susanna Pasolini ...
Marcello Morante ...
Mario Socrate ...
Settimio Di Porto ...
Alfonso Gatto ...
Luigi Barbini ...
Giacomo Morante ...
Giorgio Agamben ...
Guido Cerretani ...
Rosario Migale ...
Ferruccio Nuzzo ...
Marcello Galdini ...
Elio Spaziani ...


Along a rocky, barren coastline, Jesus begins teaching, primarily using parables. He attracts disciples; he's stern, brusque, and demanding. He comes to bring a sword, not peace, he says. He's in a hurry, moving from place to place near the Sea of Galilee, sometimes attracting a multitude, sometimes being driven away. His parables often take on the powers that be, so he and his teachings come to the attention of the Pharisees, the chief priests, and elders. They conspire to have him arrested, beaten, tried, and crucified, just as he prophesied to his followers. After he dies, he appears to his disciples and gives them final instructions. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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A Motion Picture which will be seen by the entire world - up to the end of the world!


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Release Date:

3 March 1965 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Gospel According to St. Matthew  »

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Technical Specs


| (edited)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


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Christ: Capharnaum, do you hope to be lifted to heaven? You shall fall low as hell.
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Version of Jesus (1999) See more »


Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground
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User Reviews

A Few Thoughts About This Different Kind Of Presentation Of Christ
8 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think I've seen most, if not all, of the movies dealing with the life of Jesus. (There haven't been that many.) This is without a doubt the most different presentation I've ever seen. It's oddly captivating because of the stark visual contrasts and the direct and different approach used by the director concerning the teachings of Christ. Instead of hearing Jesus' small sermons in context of where and when he said them, much of it is just a head shot of him and many of his comments are all lumped together. It's actually too much to take in at one time - many of Jesus famous statements and no time to digest any of them.

There are a few shots of Jesus performing miracles, intermingling with all kinds of people, must mainly it's a lot of His rhetoric with nothing in the background. It's as if they tried to cram as much as Christ's profound statements into the two-hour movie as they could, so they come rapid-fire. And, since the dialog is in Italian, you have to read all the subtitles to know what he's saying and they are printed in the King James English! That is difficult for most people today to understand, so it really is a must that you've already read the Gospels in modern translations to know what Jesus much of the time. That's because some of the King James words are not ones we are familiar with today, or they have the opposite meaning than they do today. Yet, saying all that, I still found this oddly fascinating and I am not complaining about how they presented it. However, I don't think it would win any converts because most secular viewers would be bored to death with this film. That, and all the King James English, make the sermons way too difficult to comprehend.

The film is slow moving in many spots and today's movie viewer would be challenged to stick with this for the full two-and-a-quarter hours. To be honest, this isn't what most people - believers and non-believers - would call great entertainment. If cinematography means something special to you, you'll like this film better than someone just watching for the story

I could also nitpick and make fun of how all the men's hairstyles looked in here, which was mainly 1960 Italian, not First Century Middle Eastern, but that's incidental. I thought Mary looked realistic and Jesus certainly was portrayed with an intense and captivating face. John The Baptist, by the way, immersed people in the Jordan River. He did not kneel on a boulder and pour a handful of water on their head, as pictured in this film.

Being that Pier Paolo Pasolini, the director and writer of this film, was a Marxist rebel, it's obvious he liked Jesus for His anti-establishment words. Jesus was the most radical man ever to step on this planet. Just read his words. He said things that really shook up people back then, and still do today. He was very tough on the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders of the day and you can tell the director loves that. I do wish, however, that Pasolini hadn't overemphasized that side of Jesus and neglected much of the Lord's warmth and compassion that is written about in all the gospels. In this film, Christ comes across as ultra-serious, a hard-nosed and often cold individual, and sometimes very judgmental...but read the gospels and you'll find him mostly the opposite.

The music in here was excellent. Playing the old Negro spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" by Odetta, a few times was a very nice touch, and a profound statement at the same time.

Overall, I'm glad I finally was able to see this film. It was worth the time, and some of it is as interesting (and still Scripturally accurate) presentation of Christ I have seen on film, but I don't know if I watch it again......probably.

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