The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
"Il vangelo secondo Matteo" (original title)

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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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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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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 <>

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Release Date:

2 October 1964 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Gospel According to St. Matthew  »

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| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shot in the style of Italian Neo-Realism. See more »


When they are taking Christ down from the cross, in the distance you can see a car driving around a corner. See more »


Christ: Capharnaum, do you hope to be lifted to heaven? You shall fall low as hell.
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Concerto for violin and oboe in d minor (BWV 1060)
nr 2: Adagio
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

There is no better film about Jesus Christ
7 September 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Well, maybe there is, but I've never caught a glimpse of it. Most movies about him are fundamentally wrong. In a religion which has totally turned its back on the line "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of Heaven" (in fact, I am surprised that some pope or other did not officially removed that line from the Bible; be sure that this film retains it and has it come right out of the mouth of Jesus Christ, who, I assume, was its speaker in the Bible), movies about Jesus are generally overproduced messes that do nothing but retell the story with much less effect than the Bible itself has. Even Martin Scorsese's version of the story, The Last Temptation of Christ, suffers from this. Although, despite its flaws, it has a lot more power than most films about these same events.

I do not understand why Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was a Marxist, a homosexual, and an atheist, made this film. But, despite his reason, it has turned out to be a great masterpiece. No one has ever attempted to set the story in its proper setting, at least not to my knowledge. The characters here are certainly semitic and Middle Eastern, unlike the entirely Anglo-Saxon casts of every other Jesus film or even any other religious film. Also, the cast, made up of unprofessional actors including Pasolini's own mother as the elder Mary, has not one beautiful face amongst it, except for maybe the actress who plays the younger Mary; she is quite beautiful. These faces and bodies are real: unattractive, harsh and worn. Teeth are not straight and white, but crooked and discolored as they certainly would have been before dentists were around. Clothing is not beautifully colored, but plain and tattered. Only the richest people could afford dye for clothing. Pasolini has also forsaken the traditional look of Jesus Christ. While the facial hair remains similar, although maybe lessened, the long hair is dropped in favor for shorter hair, which is the way that people wore it at the time. The image of the long-haired Jesus is a case of syncresis, that is, the mixing of religions; that image was adopted from the ancient Greek depictions of Bacchus, the god of wine.

What results is an account as straighforward as can possibly exist. With Pasolini's own personal convictions, the audience does not have to feel like they are being preached at. Christians, unless they are so foolish as to believe that Jesus WAS an Anglo-Saxon, should be moved to tears. Nonbelievers (anyway, those who appreciate film) will reel at the marvelous use of classical music (including, strangely enough, Prokofiev's music from Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky), the greatness of the actors, especially the man who plays Christ (I've heard that he was a Marxist truck driver), and the beautiful simplicity of Pasolini's direction, sort of a perfect mix between Italian Neorealism and French New Wave. I myself, a staunch atheist, found it very powerful. 10/10.

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