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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 33,764 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 292 user | 107 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Greco ...
Zealot
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Centurian (as Steven Shill)
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Barry Miller ...
Jeroboam
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...
Zebedee
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Michael Been ...
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Nathaniel, Apostle
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Storyline

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 Nick Lopez <ntlopez@fas.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 1988 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Passion  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$8,373,585 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Martin Scorsese first read Nikos Kazantzakis's novel "The Last Temptation of Christ" after being given a copy by actress Barbara Hershey while he was directing her in Boxcar Bertha (1972), his second feature film, in 1972. When she read in a trade paper many years later that Scorsese was finally getting the opportunity to direct a film adaptation, she begged him to let her play the role of Mary Magdalene. To make sure she didn't feel that he was giving her the part as a favor for having recommended the book, he made her audition. See more »

Goofs

The film's prologue (the crawl text that appears on the screen before the opening credits) contains a misspelling. The text was taken word-for-word from the prologue to Kazantzakis' novel, which reads partly: "My principal 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 film's prologue misspells "principal" as "principle." See more »

Quotes

Jesus: [stares at the heavens] Father, will you listen to me? Are you still there? Will you listen to a selfish, unfaithful son? I fought you when you called, I resisted! I thought of no more. I didn't want to be your son! Can you forgive me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"This film is not based upon the Gospels but on this fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chasing Amy (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Offensive - no. Fantastic film-making - yes!
14 April 2005 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Has there ever been a more misunderstood film than Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation Of Christ? Released amid great controversy and accused of being an offensive and unholy film, the truth of the matter is that it is a deeply reverent work which has the courage to ask challenging questions about the pressures and doubts Jesus must have experienced as the appointed Messiah. It also shows the violence of the times in graphic detail. If viewers consider it blasphemous to explore on film the immense burden of duty that Jesus bore through his life, then they are narrow-minded and ignorant. If people feel that to show the brutality and harshness of life in Roman times is tasteless and inappropriate, then they are guilty of glorifying difficult but factual truths. There is NOTHING offensive about this film. There is, however, much that is challenging.

Jesus (Willem Dafoe), an honest carpenter, saves Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey) from a stoning. Already dimly aware that he is destined to lead an extraordinary life, he soon finds himself being drawn into the role of a religious figurehead. But Jesus finds it hard to accept that he is a Messiah, and as his reputation and following grows he constantly questions if he is a strong enough man to handle the burden of being God's son. After isolating himself in the desert, where he experiences several hallucinations in which he is confronted by visual manifestations of good and evil, Jesus finally concludes that he IS the true son of God and whole-heartedly sets about imparting his love and wisdom to all who'll listen. Later betrayed to the disgruntled Romans by his friend Judas Iscariot (Harvey Keitel), Jesus is crucified. While on the cross, he imagines what his life would have turned out like if he had shied away from his duty as the Messiah and lived life like a mere mortal.

It is this final section of the film that has provoked the most vociferous outrage. The sequence shows Jesus as he slowly dies on the cross, dreaming of an alternative life in which he sins and copulates and hates like all normal people. Many people have criticised the film on the grounds that these scenes are blasphemous. Such claims are nonsense - the film is not saying that Jesus was a sinner, nor that he gave in to temptation of the flesh, nor still that he was a man filled with hate. The film is merely saying that, in such great pain and so close to death while still just a young man, he might - just maybe - have wondered if it was all worth it. At the end of the film, we see Jesus accept his role knowing that his death is the ultimate act of unselfish love, so the film actually is totally in agreement with what all Christians believe. If the film had come to the conclusion that Jesus's whole life was a waste, his death too, then maybe the detractors would've had cause to complain. But how can they possibly be offended by the film as it stands? For goodness sake, it's a film about absolute faith!!! In truth, The Last Temptation Of Christ is an excellent movie. Compellingly acted, beautifully shot on Moroccan locations, and full of telling ideas, it is a work of real depth and power. The accents are sometimes distracting and some of the dialogue occasionally betrays ill-suited modernisms, but apart from these minor drawbacks it is one of the most important and thought-provoking films ever made.


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