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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 1988 (Netherlands)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 37,413 users   Metascore: 80/100
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The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross.



(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 overview, first billed only:
Paul Greco ...
Centurian (as Steven Shill)
Michael Been ...
Nathaniel, Apostle


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 September 1988 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Passion  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)


$8,373,585 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


The state of Mary Magdalene's robe when confronted by Jesus at the beginning. See more »


Rabbi: That is blasphemy.
Jesus: Didn't they tell you? I am the saint of blasphemy. Don't make any mistakes, I didn't come here to bring peace, I came to bring a sword!
Rabbi: Talking like that will get you killed.
Jesus: Me, killed? Listen to me. This temple will be torn down in three days, torn down to the ground!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, Peter Gabriel, composer for the film, credits all the people that used instruments for the music. See more »


Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

an alternative reality for Christ
13 March 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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.

33 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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