7.4/10
25,019
226 user 45 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 »
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 film... See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the 1980 book The Golden Turkey Awards by film critics Michael Medved and Harry Medved, Ted Neeley was given the award for "The Worst Performance by an Actor as Jesus Christ". See more »

Goofs

When Jesus is arrested in the garden and says, "Put away your sword," a distorted reflection of the camera man is on the side of the Roman soldier's silver helmet. 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 Showbiz Today: Episode dated 29 October 1996 (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Simon Zealotes
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Performed by Larry Marshall (as Larry T. Marshall) and Crowd
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User Reviews

 
Change your perception....
23 April 2000 | by zazoo-2See all my reviews

I was brought up Catholic and was taught that Jesus was first and foremost..... "GOD". Little was ever mentioned about his human nature. He was a God so far above me that as a child, I only knew to fear him, the omnipotent One. This movie's greatest accomplishment is to show the "human" side of Christ. It creates an atmosphere that allows you, if you try, to suspend what you think you know to be true now, and imagine yourself living with Christ "the man" BEFORE he became known as God's "only begotten Son".

Jesus was a man. He had friends/followers, he had women companions, he got tired feet, got hungry and had to go to sleep at night, he was angered and he was doubtful, If you deny any of this you are denying the true human nature of Jesus. Understanding this is not sacrilegious.

The questions that are asked in the film such as "Jesus did you expect it to go this far?" "Jesus, do you believe you are who they say you are?" are questions that seem foolish to believers today, but for the people who knew him personally he WAS "just a man". He never claimed to be GOD. It was only after his death that the gospel writers deified him.

The garden of Gethsemane scene is one of the most powerful scenes ever put to film. It is here that we see the true "humanness" of Jesus. His words of doubt (an idea taken from the Gospel of John) clearly substantiate Christ's humanness and his doubts about what was to befall him. In the movie Jesus asks God to tell him "Why?" he must die. It is very moving when seen through the eyes of Jesus the man. For me that was a life changing moment and it brought me to greater understanding of the historical Jesus. I was able to conceive of, for the first time, Jesus the man. I also realized for the first time that Jesus DID know what it is like to be human. I felt closer to him at that moment than ever before. The lyrics also raise some interesting questions.like "Do we get too wrapped up in the man and not the message?" This would seem true about all the founders of the world's great religions. (They can't all be right) "Will there always be poor and suffering people?" "How DO we love such a man?"

I think all of the performances were outstanding. I think it has the most powerful musical lyrics ever written and a musical score that fits the drama to a tee. For those people who criticize the performances, remember this was never meant to be a movie in the "MOVIE" sense of the word. It was a rock opera stage production, put on film with expanded scenery (and what a perfect setting it was) in order to bring the historical perception of Jesus into even clearer view. Some people think that calling Jesus Christ a Superstar is sacrilegious. Well, I can't think of anyone who is more of a superstar in the role of a religious leader than Jesus. The people who think it is sacrilegious to put the bible to rock music, well, it was the music for the time. Any method that awakens an interest in Jesus Christ, as a historical person or as God, cannot be bad.

Jesus Christ Superstar reclaimed the love for Jesus from many teens that were my age at the time, and had fallen away from religion. I think the movie still carries that power if watched from the correct perspective. Anyone who thinks this movie is campy.....Just isn't getting it!


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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:

$105,659
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
See full technical specs »

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