The carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth, tormented by the temptations of demons, the guilt of making crosses for the Romans, pity for men and the world, and the constant call of God, sets out to find what God wills for Him. But as His mission nears fulfillment, He must face the greatest temptation; the normal life of a good man. Based, not on the Gospels, but on Nikos Kazantzakis' novel of the same name. Written by
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Martin Scorsese's friend and New Yorker's magazine critic Jay Cocks worked uncredited to revise the screenplay by Paul Schrader. Cocks' contribution could not be credited due to contractual obligations as well as WGA regulations, which Schrader himself admits that it was unfair. See more »
The film opens with a printed text, translated from the writings of Nikos Kazantzakis. It contains the line "My principle anguish and source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh." The word "principle" is used incorrectly, the correct context is "principal." This mistake has not been corrected in any home video release despite being widely noted ever since the movie first came out. See more »
You see, you don't know how much people need God. You don't know how happy He can make them. He can make them happy to do anything. Make them happy to die, and they'll die, all for the sake of Christ. Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth. The Son of God. The Messiah. Not you. Not for your sake. You know, I'm glad I met you. Because now I can forget all about you. My Jesus is much more important and much more powerful.
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"This film is not based upon the Gospels but on this fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict." See more »
This adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's novel, directed by Martin Scorsese, caused quite a stir on its initial release, accused of blasphemy and of causing offence to the Christian religion.
However, in its depiction of Jesus Christ as a human being rather than a man divine, it gets to the core of his story. This is a man who makes the choice of self-sacrifice for the good of his fellow men, despite the temptations of an alternative life - shown in this film by a life with Mary Magdelene rather than dying at the Crucifixion.
Played by Willem Dafoe with great sensitivity, this Christ performs miracles and discusses the intricacies of life and death with his disciples. Harvey Keitel is Judas, a rough man who fails to understand the significance of being the chosen Son of God; while Barbara Hershey is an effective Magdelene. David Bowie makes a short appearance as Pontius Pilate and is surprisingly good.
'The Last Temptation of Christ' is not one of Scorsese's best films but it certainly sparks questions and leaves food for thought. Some of the imagery is superb and the script is coherent and of a high standard.
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