A crucified body dated back to the 1st century A.D is uncovered at an ancient cave in Jerusalem. Trouble ensues as word spreads.



(novel) (as Richard Ben Sapir), (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Father Matt Gutierrez
Sharon Golban
Moshe Cohen
Father Lavelle
Father Walter Winstead
Lillian Lux ...
Nasir Hamid (as Makram J. Khoury)
Dr. Sproul
Abu Yusef (as Muhamed Bakri)
Yoav Dekelbaum ...
Avi (as Yoav Deckelbaum)
Sami Samir ...
Jordan Licht ...
Limor Goldstein ...


An ancient skeleton has been discovered in Jerusalem in a rich man's tomb. Colouration of the wrist and leg bones indicates the cause of death was crucifiction. other signs, include a gold coin bearing the marks of Pontius Pilate and faint markings around the skull, lead authorities to suspect that these could be the bones of Christ. Politicians, clerics, religious extremists and those using terror as a means to an end, find their beliefs and identities test while risking their lives to unearth the truth Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If this is His tomb... If this is the truth... It would change history and destroy the belief of millions See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent sequences and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

13 December 2001 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El cuerpo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$19,988 (USA) (20 April 2001)


$33,565 (USA) (27 April 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film had been in development for 15 years, with Universal going to distribute and Liam Neeson set to star. In the end, the project was dropped after Universal became nervous about the film's religious themes. See more »


When Matt Guttierez comes and sees Father Lavelle in the convent where he has found refuge, the building has two levels but Matt run more than two floors up. Nevertheless, this is the same building in both of the scenes. See more »


Dr. Sproul: This is unusual. Minor indentations from the coronal suture along the frontal. The skin was pierced with something right to the skull, pointed objects of some kind, but not metal. You see? There's no oxidation. All the way along the supra orbital notch. Ah. Our fellow was obviously... male, yes... and certainly crucified. I'm not sure about this date, 500 BC. It appears roman.
Sharon Golban: Why?
Dr. Sproul: Well, if you see this mark here on the ribs, looks like they finished up with a round spear. Build up of right ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Religion and Politics
9 May 2003 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Well, an Israeli widow, Olivia Williams, uncovers a hidden tomb in Jerusalem, and there is some suggestion that it might be that of Christ. This causes a considerable stir in the Vatican because, after all, Christ's body shouldn't be there unless he was an ordinary man. So they send Father Antonio Banderas down there to investigate, telling him ahead of time, so that he doesn't misunderstand his mission, that "the body is not that of Christ."

Banderas and Williams form at first a kind of mismatched cop/buddy team, he instense and inhibited, she breezily outgoing and scientific. But they soon run into trouble that pulls them together in their goals. I admit I didn't understand all of the reasons why so many groups wanted to interfere with the investigation or to exploit the find for political purposes. The first trouble they run into is an orthodox Jewish sect whose members bombard them with rocks and steal an important artifact. Then there is the leader of a Palestinian group, the PLO, I mean the FLP, or rather the PDQ. He wants his henchmen to get their hands on the bones. I forget why but I'm sure the purpose is nefarious. You can tell because he's got a face on him like the assassin in Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much." And you can identify his thugs when you see them because they're all swarthier than everybody else. The head Israeli honcho in this business, Shrapnel, informs the Vatican that as soon as Jerusalem is recognized as the sole capital of a united country, the bones will be released. (I understood that.) This all leads to a final semi-violent confrontation between the PDQ leader and the priest, in which the latter is wounded and the former is blown to smithereens. Oh, that reminds me, there is some comic relief from a sloppy young Irish priest who is a computer hacker. The question of whose body it is, is resolved at the end, but nobody in the movie finds out about it, only the viewer. Father Banderas resigns his commission and decides to follow God in his own way. He writes a very nice letter to Williams, but the movie stops short of having them fall into each other's arms. Let's not disturb anybody by raising REAL problems. (Are we going to observe Shabbat? How are we going to raise the kids?)

The photography is okay, and it's an interesting exploration of modern Israel and the political and ethnic maelstrom that it is, while at the same time much less didactic than "Exodus," which might have been called "Zionism for Dummies." The acting is better than one might expect. Antonio Banderas has a sympatico appearance. He exudes sincerity in this part. And he's not a bad actor, the kind of ordinary man who engages us without being particularly glamorous, the way some European actors like Jean-Louis Trintignant or Jean Moreau do. Olivia Williams isn't quite as convincing but she is very sexy and appealing, and looks the part of a 30-ish practical-minded Israeli woman, worn but warm. She almost, but not quite, gives Banderas some chicken soup one night. The musical score sounds like it's from a stock library somewhere, from a file labeled "Suspense music." Shrapnel looks the part of the Israeli honcho too. He sounds uncannily like Paul Stewart.

This isn't a puzzle that I find particularly interesting, although I don't know why. Religious belief leads so regularly to violence and intrigue. But I don't really think that if a body were positively identified as Christ's it would change things very much. Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that, if anything, it would strengthen our beliefs in some way. (Cf., "When Prophecy Fails.") The problem would at least be papered over somehow. I'm happy that I watched it, I suppose, if only because of Olivia Williams and Antonio Banderas, both of whom are worth watching, for somewhat different reasons, but in fact I did spend two hours following this complicated story and may just be reducing post-decision dissonance.

17 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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