7.4/10
25,576
228 user 46 critic

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

Film version of the musical stage play, presenting the last few weeks of Christ's life told in an anachronistic manner.

Director:

Norman Jewison

Writers:

Melvyn Bragg (screenplay: based upon the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" by), Norman Jewison (screenplay: based upon the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
617 ( 184)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ted Neeley ... Jesus Christ
Carl Anderson ... Judas Iscariot
Yvonne Elliman ... Mary Magdalene
Barry Dennen ... Pontius Pilate
Bob Bingham Bob Bingham ... Caiaphas
Larry Marshall ... Simon Zealotes (as Larry T. Marshall)
Josh Mostel ... King Herod (as Joshua Mostel)
Kurt Yaghjian Kurt Yaghjian ... Annas
Paul Thomas ... Peter (as Philip Toubus)
Pi Douglass Pi Douglass ... Apostle
Robert LuPone ... Apostle James
Jonathan Wynne Jonathan Wynne ... Apostle
Thommie Walsh Thommie Walsh ... Apostle Thaddeus
Richard Molinare Richard Molinare ... Apostle Andrew
David Devir David Devir ... Apostle
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Storyline

Based on a concept album project written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and the subsequent long-running Broadway performance, this film tells the story of the final 6 days in the life of Jesus Christ through the troubled eyes of Judas Iscariot. Too often mis-labeled a musical, this film is a "rock opera." There are no spoken lines, everything is sung. Written by Ralf Southard <rps8@psu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

And now, the movie...... See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tim Rice had been turning over the idea in his own head for awhile in the late 60s about the story of Christ from Judas' perspective. When he finally approached his writing partner, Andrew Lloyd Webber about it, Webber said it was the "stupidest idea he had ever heard in his life." But Rice persisted, and he and Lloyd Webber finally finished the piece in 1970. They started by doing a production in the UK; which was a gigantic bomb, and was quickly closed down. Then it was turned into a concept album, which was a smash. Then it was turned into a Broadway show, starring Broadway superstar Ben Vereen as Judas, a drag queen playing Herrod. Lloyd Webber despised the Broadway show, called it "vulgar", a misrepresentation of his work, and said opening night of the Broadway show was the "worst day of his life." But that too turned into a legendary smash, and eventually led to this Norman Jewison film, which was also a smash. Lloyd Webber hated the film version as well, but he did love the Jesus Christ Live reboot in 2018, which won an Emmy Award. He said this version finally captured the respectful and robust spirit that he wanted when he originally penned the show in the first place. See more »

Goofs

After Jesus finds his apostles asleep, the camera cranes up next to the leaves of a tree. At one point (about 1:00:48 on the DVD) a twigs swings back and forth wildly, indicating that the camera has brushed against it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Judas: [singing] My mind is clearer now - at last all too well, I can see where we all soon will be, If you strip away the myth from the man, You will see where we all soon will be...
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Connections

Referenced in Black Books: Manny Come Home (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

John 19:41
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Performed by Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
what a group of voices!
17 August 2003 | by didi-5See all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 August 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jesus Christ Superstar See more »

Filming Locations:

Avdat, Israel See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,531
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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