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He Who Must Die (1957)

Celui qui doit mourir (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 4 May 1957 (France)
After WW1,ordinary citizens of a small Greek village plays the Passion Play in order to rebel against Turkish rulers during Turkish-Greek relations in 1920's.


Jules Dassin
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Servais ... Priest Fotis
Carl Möhner ... Lukas
Grégoire Aslan ... Agha
Gert Fröbe ... Patriarcheas (as Gert Froebe)
Teddy Bilis Teddy Bilis ... Hadjinikolis
René Lefèvre ... Yannakos
Lucien Raimbourg Lucien Raimbourg ... Kostandis
Melina Mercouri ... Katerina / Mary Magdalene
Roger Hanin ... Panagiotaros
Pierre Vaneck Pierre Vaneck ... Manolios / Jesus Christ
Dimos Starenios ... Ladas
Nicole Berger ... Mariori
Maurice Ronet ... Michelis
Fernand Ledoux ... Priest Grigoris
Anna Armaou Anna Armaou


Greece, in the 1920's, is occupied by the Turks. The country is in turmoil with entire villages uprooted. The site of the movie is a Greek village that conducts a passion play each year. The leading citizens of the town, under the auspices of the Patriarch, choose those that will play the parts in the Passion. A stuttering shepherd is chosen to play Jesus. The town butcher (who wanted to be Jesus) is chosen as Judas. The town prostitute is chosen as Mary Magdalene. The rest of the disciples are also chosen. As the movie unfolds, the Passion Play becomes a reality. A group of villagers, uprooted by the war and impoverished, arrive at the village led by their priest. The wealthier citizens of the town want nothing with these people and manipulate a massacre. In the context of the 1920's each of the characters plays out their biblical role in actuality. Written by Sarvananda Bluestone <sarv@mhv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An uncommon drama




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film was based on the novel Christ Recrucified by Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis, also known for another book including the Christ (The Last Temptation of the Christ) and for Zorba the Greek (both adapted into films). Kazantzakis was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times. See more »


Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.23 (1961) See more »

User Reviews

The best film I've ever seen relating to the Passion of Jesus Christ
3 April 2004 | by elitakSee all my reviews

I saw HE WHO MUST DIE in Edinburgh, Scotland (1957). No film relating to Jesus Christ, before or since, has had such an emotional/spiritual impact on me. Its imaginative plot (preparations made in a small Greek village for a Passion Play during the Turkish occupation of Greece) has some affinity to biblical events leading to Jesus' crucifixion. Powerful in presentation, it never gets excessively sentimental or superficial as do typical "Hollywood" religious productions, nor as sadistically brutal as Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. I've not seen a film about Jesus, or related to Jesus, that I like, not one ... except HE WHO MUST DIE. Brilliantly conceived and executed, it is one of the finest films ever made! I wish I could find it on VHS.

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France | Italy



Release Date:

4 May 1957 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

He Who Must Die See more »

Filming Locations:

Crete, Greece


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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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