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Godspell (1973)
"Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew" (original title)

G  |   |  Musical  |  24 August 1973 (Denmark)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,371 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 15 critic

An adaption of the musical, in a modern-day song-and-dance recreation of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Godspell (1973)

Godspell (1973) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Katie Hanley ...
Katie
David Haskell ...
John / Judas
Merrell Jackson ...
Merrell
Joanne Jonas ...
Joanne
Robin Lamont ...
Robin
Gilmer McCormick ...
Gilmer
Jeffrey Mylett ...
Jeffrey
...
Jerry
...
Lynne
Edit

Storyline

A modern-day version of the gospels, opening with John the Baptist calling a disparate group of young New Yorkers from their workaday lives to follow and learn from Jesus. They form a roving acting troupe that enacts the parables through song and dance, comedy, and mime. Jesus' ministry ends with a last supper, his Crucifixion in a junkyard, and, the following morning, his body being carried aloft by his apostles back into the world of the living on the streets of New York. Written by Steven Dhuey <sdhuey@mail.soemadison.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All the excitement, the glamour, the tenderness, the music of the greatest entertainment of our time See more »

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

24 August 1973 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Godspell  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fountain that everyone (except Jesus) jumps into during the song "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" is "The Angel of the Waters" (also known as the Bethesda Fountain) in New York City's Central Park. The name "Bethesda" is a reference to description in the Gospel of John of a pool that is supposed to have healing properties. See also the trivia section for Angels in America. See more »

Goofs

When the troupe is carrying the deceased Jesus around the corner, and the streets of Manhattan are supposed to be vacant, a person walks on a sidewalk in the background. See more »

Quotes

Pharisee Monster: Now, we know you are an honest man. Give us your ruling on this: are we, or are we not permitted to pay taxes to the Roman emperor?
John: Why, you hypocrites, I...!
[Jesus and Merrell restrain him]
Jesus: [to Pharisee Monster] Show me the money in which the tax is paid.
[the Pharisee Monster spits coins at Jesus, who picks one up]
Jesus: Whose head is on here, whose description?
Pharisee Monster: Caesar's!
Jesus: Well, then, pay Caesar was is due Caesar, but pay God what is due God!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits include an infinity frames effect. A sixteen second film of a busy street is shown, and then the right and bottom of the frame is frozen in a sideways capital L. This then becomes the frame for the next iteration of the film, which in turn leaves its right and bottom edges as a frame for the next film. Over the frames and film are played thumbnails of the actors, then credit cards and finally a credit scroll. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Getaway: Episode #15.41 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

We Beseech Thee
Written by Stephen Schwartz
Performed on tack piano in Cherry Lane Theatre
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful music!
3 June 2004 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

The story of "Godspell" is not one of the Christ's Passion, it's not about the angst among his disciples or the sexual tension he had with Mary Magdalen. It's a positive story focusing on Jesus' teachings and parables, told in a lighthearted way, with some outstanding music and spectacular location photography (particularly in the song "It's All for the Best").

While the hippie-like costuming and the semi-clown makeup seem to outrage some folks, and are admittedly dated today, the movie should be looked at in the context in which it was created. Jesus, in the eyes of those in power during his life, was a radical extremist and a threat to the status quo. He taught lessons of love, empowerment, inclusion, justice--well, you get the idea. Hippie clowns were the logical vehicle to present those lessons at the time "Godspell" hit the big screen.

But when you get past the period set and costume design, and to the basic show, "Godspell" is a wonderful entertainment. First, and most often mentioned by everyone, is the amazing location photography. You have to see it to appreciate it. Next is the music. Although the most commercial song in the show is the repetitive "Day by Day," the one song that most people remember from "Godspell", there are many beautiful melodies. My favorite is "By My Side", the only one with the music NOT written by the composer, Stephen Schwartz. It has beautiful harmonies, and Katie Hanley does a great job on lead vocal. The rest of the songs are nearly as good, and all are quite singable.

About the cast: Victor Garber (Jesus) is the most recognizable today, although for years, until her untimely death, Lynne Thigpen would probably have been recognized by more people. Garber has had quite a successful theatrical career, and has appeared in supporting roles in many movies and TV shows. Ms. Thigpen, who was mostly known for her PBS shows, had an award-winning stage career, as well as being very successful on the small screen.

Sadly, David Haskell (John the Baptist/Judas) and Jeffrey Mylett are no longer with us. I won't list the entire cast, since you can find that easily enough (if you're reading this, you probably already have!), but I will say that they ALL sang very well and displayed personalities that made you want to get to know them. The passing of musicals as a staple of the movie studio probably prevented these talented singer/actors from reaching a broader audience. I hope that they've all found success on stage.

At the very least, I hope that they all know how their lively, engaging performances and beautiful singing have brightened our lives. It's been over thirty years since I first saw "Godspell" in the theater, and as I watched it yesterday on cable TV, I was reminded how much that movie meant to me.

And by the way, I'm not a Christian. But if I were, I'd like to be one as portrayed in "Godspell".


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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