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Jesus Christ Superstar
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Jesus Christ Superstar More at IMDbPro »

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88 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

Carl is the real KING.

9/10
Author: IAN BAKER from Hertfordshire, England.
5 September 2004

I saw this film for the first time in the mid 70's at a cinema on a school organised outing, I remember being peeved as it was being shown on TV for the first time the same evening. I was aware of one or two of the songs but I had never heard the original concept album before hand so I really had no idea what to expect. I was transfixed from the Overture to the End Titles and probably have not had a more moving experience watching a film since. I have been a devoted fan of this film now for over 25 years and still find the occasional viewing moving. The film was unique, the first Rock Opera given the Big Screen treatment and this is still in my opinion the best of its genre. Of course the Music and Lyrics are the fulcrum of the film and the numerous album recordings are still popular now because the songs are so unforgettable but the performances of all the principle characters in this original film version give this interpretation a dynamic edge. All the cast probably give their definitive performances but without any doubt Carl Anderson as Judas is the real KING. Rest In Peace. For all you long term fans like me get the new Region 1 DVD special edition with improved sound and picture quality and extras especially the commentary with Norman and Ted- you'll cry your heart out. Thanks Carl, I will never forget the impact your performance has made on my life. Thank you ALW, Tim Rice and Norman Jewison for an unforgettable Spiritual experience.

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97 out of 112 people found the following review useful:

Superstar Rocks!

10/10
Author: Seanerz from Ireland
21 November 2004

Speaking for the younger generation, I've never seen anything like it. This movie hit theaters 6 years before I was born and I only just saw it now in Nov. 2004. and I was so moved that I had to comment. Visually it was psychedelic, and the editing matches the music masterfully.

The music rocks! Carl Anderson is beyond amazing as Judas, and ALL of the performances are really magnetic. I love singing along with Annas, Jesus, and Kiafass. I mostly listen to KoRn and Rap, so I never expected to remember (rock opera) lyrics and run around performing them. The feeling I got when 1st "experiencing" the movie was trippy. Similar to a live concert. The movie is outstanding and in my opinion will last for generations and generations. It speaks to a part of my soul and spirit.It says "right on" "rock on"

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82 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

My two cents...

Author: powasp from Orlando
12 July 2001

I've heard much criticism of this film over many years, and the most annoying criticism is that it didn't have the vitality of the stage productions back "in the day". There isn't much many of us can do about that, though I did see a road production of it about 7 or 8 years ago.

The most interesting thing about this film is that it was set in "modern" times, rather than in biblical times. Roman soldiers wearing shiny helmets, and carrying machine guns is a real attention grabber. The ruins used in the film added another fascinating aspect to the production. In short, the anachronistic approach in the visuals, the lyrics, and the music itself make this a genuinely unique, and clever film.

I thought all the acting, singing, and dancing was great, and still appears to be rather fresh and modern. The lyrics were the most memorable of any movie I've ever seen. There were many of us that could quickly memorize the entire opera from listening to the soundtrack (no videos back then), and have much fun "play acting" ourselves.

The use of Judas as a primary character was probably the single most important aspect of the film. One has to wonder how Judas became one of the inner circle of disciples if he was such an evil crud to begin with. In church he is simply mentioned as being a traitor. The film/musical asks us to think more on this individual, and speculate as to his true nature as a human being. The only other person I know of that attempted to do this was Taylor Caldwell in her novel "I Judas". The point that the crucifixion/resurrection hinged on the betrayal of Judas, should make any Christian wonder if God actually worked through him, and that he wasn't actually "damned for all time."

People seem to be offended by the light-hearted (and hysterically funny!) "King Herod's Song." What does the Bible say about this meeting? Certainly it doesn't say that this was an amicable meeting, and indeed, I seem to remember Jesus being beaten on the palace grounds. The look on Neely's face throughout the Herod song-and-dance is one of seriousness that belies the true nature of what was going on in this scene. This served to remind the viewer that this wasn't sheer levity, and held the scene together in its proper context until it ran full circle with Herod "spazzing" and showing rabid, rather than merely sarcastic hatred for Christ at the end. This was sheer genius and master film craft in my book. I don't think Jesus' expression would come out as well in the stage version. The reservations Pilate had about authorizing the crucifixion seem to come out in the Bible as well. So-called Christians hold Pilate responsible, though there was probably many political things going on that are only vaguely alluded to in the Bible. Non-biblical tradition says that he and his wife, Claudia Procula, eventually converted to Christianity themselves. Who knows?

My least-favorite parts: "I Don't Know How to Love Him" reminds me a lot of "As Long as He Needs Me" in Oliver!. Both songs are plodding, and brings each film to a screeching halt. I believe that this was actually intended to be a pop song, but was thrown in when Webber and Rice were composing the opera. Still, Judas singing this through his tears towards the end of the film was very chilling. "Hosanna, Hosanna" I also find to be rather trite...still...the last stanza never fails to give me goose bumps when the crowd asks if Christ will die for them. Simon Zealot's prolonged screaming (and off key/beat) never fails to annoy me...then again, he was a rebellious zealot after all. The "falling down push up" move in this dance sequence bugs me, too. Another part that bothers me is that suddenly it was Pilate's dream, rather than his wife's as stated in the bible. I guess they did this to narrow the canvas (simplify the number of key characters). But, what a beautiful song! And, I thought the fact that nobody in the cast looked to be much over 25 was kind of weird.

My favorite parts: Caiphas' baritone and Annas' falsetto counterpoint. "Too Much Heaven on Their Minds." The guy with the froggy voice heckling Christ as he's shuffled between Herod and Pilate. The gorgeous girl in the purple shirt (dancer in the Zealot scene)...WHO IS SHE????? Any scene with Judas in it. The montage of crucifixion scenes. The great guitar (all the instrumentation for that matter), and something I wish they had MUCH more of in the movie, that incredible electric piano. I would buy just the instrumental track if it was available.

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68 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Yes...a good Musical

Author: Kyle McNeill (troypmc)
7 December 2004

Jesus Christ Superstar was an excellent movie and an excellent play. I first heard the soundtrack and then saw the movie, and the movie definitely fills in all of the blanks. I was confused in the beginning, when they all rode up in a bus, but I later caught on. Other than that the movie was great, the voices were great, (especially Judas, he really added anger and sorrow to his part) and the setting was perfect. I found it humorous when there were the anachronisms such as grenades and guns at the market. This was a great movie and I will watch it again and again. I am normally skeptical of musicals but I will always hold this close to my heart. This movie should be seen by anyone, and everyone. Peace!

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57 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

A Masterpiece of Joy

Author: caspian1978 from Boston, MA
7 July 2004

Carl Anderson's hope of being immortal rested on the shoulders of his perfect performance as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Even though the Academy Awards forgot to list him as one of the lost actors of 2003, Carl Anderson will forever be alive and remembered as long as this movie is around. More than 30 years have pasted and it is still breath taking in more ways than one. No matter what you believe, the images, music, and the passion of this movie are powerful. Anderson was content knowing that he lived long enough to see Jesus Christ Superstar become a masterpiece in the eyes of the world. What he didn't know was it was a masterpiece the day it premiered back in 1973.

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44 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Andrew Lloyd Webber's signature piece!

10/10
Author: Will_Scarlet from Washington, D.C.
22 January 2004

This film represents all that Andrew Lloyd Webber is capable of: taking an old and complex subject and using a stellar rock score to look at it from a modern perspective. How strange it is that the most powerful epic of Christ's life should turn out to be this rock opera. This is probably because the main characters are expressed in modern terms of thinking. The best aspect of this film may be its portrayal of Judas Iscariot. Many films have tried to find a reason why Judas betrayed his master and mentor for thirty pieces of silver. However, all of them have been pretty much making up their own stories: Judas wanted to get Jesus

to use his powers against the Romans, Judas wanted to save his family. All

these have been just very big guesses. However, this film is probably the

closest to the truth about Judas. His reason is a more psychological one. He is simply worried that Jesus' teachings will get him arrested by the Romans, and that they will be turned into propaganda, like they are today. He is also just doubtful that Jesus is the Messiah (wouldn't you be if someone told you?) Jesus himself is portrayed as a dedicated spiritual leader, and his followers are looked at largely from his and Judas' perspective. The scene with Simon Zealotes, with followers throwing themselves at Jesus' feet in the dust is meant to make them look almost pathetically worshipping this man. To Jesus, his own Apostles are like children, pestering him about what his plans are for the future. Then, of course, there is the film's portrayal of Mary Magdalene as Jesus' lover. As she rubs ointment on Jesus' feet, you can sense the deep passion moving between

them. Jesus is human, and must, therefore, love. The priests and pharisees are shown as worried about Jesus' influence, fearing it will turn into a revolution, and Pontius Pilate is shown as a faithful politician, trying to do what is right, but pulled away from it by the people demanding Jesus' death. Just the title of this movie is enough to put some people away from it. But the title makes Jesus more modern, because, probably to people at the time, Jesus

seemed like just a passing fad. Maybe this was what Jesus thought too. In this respect, Jesus may have had doubts about whether he could really make any

difference, and if he would be remembered, or if his followers were really just hungry for the next big thing. The film's setting in the Israeli ruins gives the film an almost surreal look, which is furthered by the design of the film, a stark mixture of ancient and modern, which is so well done it is sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. This serves to point out the similarities between then and now. The film's greatest point moves through the score and the cast. Carl Anderson makes Judas almost unplayable by anyone else. Ted Neeley, while his voice

may not be perfect, has an amazing delivery, and brings new depth to Jesus

with his rendition of "Gethsemane." Yvonne Elliman is remarkably soulful as

Mary Magdalene, and Bob Bingham's low, gravelly bass voice cuts chillingly

through the more serious scenes, helped along by Kurt Yahjigan's falsetto as

Annas. Barry Dennen is a remarkable Pilate, and Josh Mostel makes King

Herod, the Jewish puppet ruler, look remarkably petty and foolish, yet funny in his ragtime burlesque style song. The film also contains Andrew Lloyd Webber's richest score, especially at the end, bringing out the suffering of Jesus. The sound distorts the soldiers laughter, mixing with the vultures crying, and the cross creaking, the hammer pounding in the nails, and the rattle of dice as they gamble for Jesus' clothes, and the sobbing of Mary Magdalene. Jesus voice

remains normal, and his death ends the film, making this, in my opinion, the

most powerful and moving and maybe most accurate version of the Passion.

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49 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Change your perception....

10/10
Author: zazoo-2 from wisconsin
23 April 2000

I was brought up Catholic and was taught that Jesus was first and foremost..... "GOD". Little was ever mentioned about his human nature. He was a God so far above me that as a child, I only knew to fear him, the omnipotent One. This movie's greatest accomplishment is to show the "human" side of Christ. It creates an atmosphere that allows you, if you try, to suspend what you think you know to be true now, and imagine yourself living with Christ "the man" BEFORE he became known as God's "only begotten Son".

Jesus was a man. He had friends/followers, he had women companions, he got tired feet, got hungry and had to go to sleep at night, he was angered and he was doubtful, If you deny any of this you are denying the true human nature of Jesus. Understanding this is not sacrilegious.

The questions that are asked in the film such as "Jesus did you expect it to go this far?" "Jesus, do you believe you are who they say you are?" are questions that seem foolish to believers today, but for the people who knew him personally he WAS "just a man". He never claimed to be GOD. It was only after his death that the gospel writers deified him.

The garden of Gethsemane scene is one of the most powerful scenes ever put to film. It is here that we see the true "humanness" of Jesus. His words of doubt (an idea taken from the Gospel of John) clearly substantiate Christ's humanness and his doubts about what was to befall him. In the movie Jesus asks God to tell him "Why?" he must die. It is very moving when seen through the eyes of Jesus the man. For me that was a life changing moment and it brought me to greater understanding of the historical Jesus. I was able to conceive of, for the first time, Jesus the man. I also realized for the first time that Jesus DID know what it is like to be human. I felt closer to him at that moment than ever before. The lyrics also raise some interesting questions.like "Do we get too wrapped up in the man and not the message?" This would seem true about all the founders of the world's great religions. (They can't all be right) "Will there always be poor and suffering people?" "How DO we love such a man?"

I think all of the performances were outstanding. I think it has the most powerful musical lyrics ever written and a musical score that fits the drama to a tee. For those people who criticize the performances, remember this was never meant to be a movie in the "MOVIE" sense of the word. It was a rock opera stage production, put on film with expanded scenery (and what a perfect setting it was) in order to bring the historical perception of Jesus into even clearer view. Some people think that calling Jesus Christ a Superstar is sacrilegious. Well, I can't think of anyone who is more of a superstar in the role of a religious leader than Jesus. The people who think it is sacrilegious to put the bible to rock music, well, it was the music for the time. Any method that awakens an interest in Jesus Christ, as a historical person or as God, cannot be bad.

Jesus Christ Superstar reclaimed the love for Jesus from many teens that were my age at the time, and had fallen away from religion. I think the movie still carries that power if watched from the correct perspective. Anyone who thinks this movie is campy.....Just isn't getting it!

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26 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

what a group of voices!

9/10
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
17 August 2003

The Lloyd-Webber and Rice musical comes to the screen, and is nothing like the stage show at all. The deserts are real, although the back story is that this is a theatre company, putting on a production in real locations.

The cast are largely session singers and unknowns - Ted Neeley, delicate and high-voiced as Jesus (particularly superb in `Gethsemane'); Carl Anderson, black and doe-eyed as Judas with hot soul vocals, Barry Dennen as Pilate, and Yvonne Elliman as Magdelene with her big number `I Don't Know How To Love Him'.

One loss for those who know the stage version is being removed from the crucifixion preamble, when the ghost of Judas sings `Superstar' - this was all video camera projection in the theatre, while in the movie we are detached observers. But at other times we get uncomfortably close. And the songs survive the transportation to a more realistic setting (except the added `Could We Start Again, Please?' which sounds rather too much like the Coca-Cola theme for comfort).

Best scenes? The one in the temple; Hosanna; and the Pharisees tapping on their scaffolding perches like crows.

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27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Very good, if not quite a superstar, movie musical

8/10
Author: wainot from United States
27 May 2004

Although I have been aware of this musical, seemingly forever, I just very recently saw the whole movie on dvd. Unfortunately, while I was acquainted with many of the songs before, I had never really seen it in its entirety before, and I'm not sure why. Also, I've never seen it as a live stage show, be it on Broadway, in London or down the street at the local high school ...

So, then, I can only rate it as a singular movie experience, not comparing it with the Broadway or London stagings. Also, being Jewish and never really studying the life and crucifixion of Jesus, I don't have any strong or pre-conceived spiritual ties to the story.

For me, then, this is a cleverly written and very well-performed musical, that mixes irreverence, time juxtapositions and genuine emotions of sadness and wistfulness. I'm not sure that the movie enhances the great musical; in other words, now that I've seen the movie, I regularly listen to the cd of the musical, and enjoy both about equally. For me, Carl Anderson, as Judas, is the standout, but Ted Neeley does bring an angelic quality to the title character. all of the other supporting roles, including Yvonne Elliman, are done well.

I rate it 8/10 for its excellent music, good staging and for what seems like a faithful film-ization of the original..worth watching for sure!

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

The Book of Judas

10/10
Author: John Novarina (jnovarina@email.msn.com) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
31 July 1998

The only disciple without a book in the bible, Judas gets his say in this Norman Jewison adaptaption of the Andrew Lloyd Weber play. Superstar sets Christianity on edge by turning supposed villians into the heroes of Christ 's crucifixion. Judas is seen as the noblest and most knowledgeable of all Christ's disciples who is used by God to accomplish His master plan. The movie makes clear that the legacy of Jesus would not have been possible without the involvement of Judas. Pontius Pilate too is shown in a more positive light than modern Christianity would like. Pilatae is shown as a troubled man who has premonitions of the "Jewish King" and his own role in his death. In recounting his dream, Pilate says that he "saw thousands of millions, crying for this man" and then he "heard them mentioning my name, and leaving me the blame". As controversial as Superstar is and as wonderful > as the score is it can stand alone on just the merits of its movie making. > > The cinematography is tops and the visual effects are magnificent.

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