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Pontius Pilate (1962)

Ponzio Pilato (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama | 1967 (USA)
The events that culminated with the Passion of Christ seen from the perspective of Pontius Pilate, the Procurator of Judea who unwillingly condemned Christ to death. Based on the biblical Gospel of John.


Gian Paolo Callegari (as G.P. Callegari), Irving Rapper


Oreste Biancoli, Gian Paolo Callegari (as G.P. Callegari) | 5 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Marais ... Ponzio Pilato
Jeanne Crain ... Claudia Procula
Basil Rathbone ... Caiaphas
Letícia Román ... Sarah
Massimo Serato ... Nicodemus
Riccardo Garrone ... Galba
Livio Lorenzon Livio Lorenzon ... Barabbas
Gianni Garko ... Jonathan
John Drew Barrymore ... Judas / Jesus
Roger Tréville Roger Tréville ... Aaron El Mesin
Carlo Giustini Carlo Giustini ... Decio
Dante DiPaolo Dante DiPaolo ... Simone
Paul Muller ... Mehlik
Alfredo Varelli Alfredo Varelli ... Giuseppe d'Arimatea
Manuela Ballard Manuela Ballard ... Ester (as Manoela Ballard)


The events that culminated with the Passion of Christ seen from the perspective of Pontius Pilate, the Procurator of Judea who unwillingly condemned Christ to death. Based on the biblical Gospel of John.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Spectacular Drama of Raging Passions...Bitter Conflicts and Bloody Intrigues! See more »




PG-13 | See all certifications »



Italy | France



Release Date:

1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pontius Pilate See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Electric)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Basil Rathbone, who plays Caiaphas in this, took a turn as Pontius Pilate in the 1935 production from RKO, The Last Days of Pompeii. See more »


Edited into Caligula et Messaline (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Lots of aged beefcake and stale cheesecake on display in this Passion Play
14 April 2014 | by melvelvit-1See all my reviews

There's plenty of aged beefcake and stale cheesecake on display in Hollywood "woman's director" Irving Rapper's peplum-style Passion Play (co-directed by someone named Caligari) which attempts to cash in on a popular run of big budget biblical epics that began with SOLOMON & SHEBA.

Jean Cocteau's muse Jean Marais, no spring chicken, struts about as the titular magistrate and cuts a fine if flabby figure in his red cape, breastplate, sandals, and tiny gladiator skirt (he's topless, too, at one point) but apparently the only acting he can do is with his profile. Another old profile, Basil Rathbone, is also on hand as an ancient rabbi and a still-attractive Jeanne Crain unintentionally nails "patrician indifference" as Pilate's wife. Pilate's a womanizing martinet not without heart and the gang's all here from a ruthless, cut-throat Barabbas to a bony John Drew Barrymore in a dual role as both Jesus & Judas. The latter has a wild-eyed mad scene that would give JD's dad John a coronary and, like most movies of this sort, the Lord's visage is never shown, just his eyes. The money lenders get thrown out of the temple, too. I never knew the saying "I wash my hands of it" came from Pilate (or if I did, I forgot) and it's illustrated nicely here when he washes his hands after condemning Jesus and the basin water turns red with the Nazarine's eyes reflected in it.

There's much ado about an aqueduct and enough political intrigue between the Jews and the Romans in the first half of the film to put any viewer to sleep before the final crucifixion, which was unlike any I'd seen before on film. There's an eclipse and "spectacular cataclysm" as Jesus dies on the cross but unfortunately, for every plus there's a minus here and although it's no doubt unintentional, the movie does suggest the Jews killed Jesus since sending down an earthquake to destroy Jerusalem during the Crucifixion implies punishment, no? The U.S. release version cut out a wrap-around of Pilate's trial before Caligula but it's been restored (albeit with English subs) and although Rapper had an eye for spectacular widescreen tableaux (there really is a cast of thousands), it's pretty much a bore (albeit a strangely compelling one) and the low IMDb rating is about right for once.

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