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Godspell (1973)

Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (original title)
G | | Musical | 31 May 1973 (UK)
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3:24 | Clip

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An adaption of the musical, in a modern-day song-and-dance recreation of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Director:

David Greene

Writers:

David Greene (screenplay), John-Michael Tebelak (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Victor Garber ... Jesus
Katie Hanley Katie Hanley ... Katie
David Haskell David Haskell ... John / Judas
Merrell Jackson Merrell Jackson ... Merrell
Joanne Jonas Joanne Jonas ... Joanne
Robin Lamont Robin Lamont ... Robin
Gilmer McCormick Gilmer McCormick ... Gilmer
Jeffrey Mylett Jeffrey Mylett ... Jeffrey
Jerry Sroka ... Jerry
Lynne Thigpen ... Lynne
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Storyline

A modern-day version of the gospels, opening with John the Baptist calling a disparate group of young New Yorkers from their workaday lives to follow and learn from Jesus. They form a roving acting troupe that enacts the parables through song and dance, comedy, and mime. Jesus' ministry ends with a last supper, his Crucifixion in a junkyard, and, the following morning, his body being carried aloft by his apostles back into the world of the living on the streets of New York. Written by Steven Dhuey <sdhuey@mail.soemadison.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All the excitement, the glamour, the tenderness, the music of the greatest entertainment of our time See more »

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Spanish

Release Date:

31 May 1973 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Godspell See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Victor Garber's movie debut. See more »

Goofs

When the troupe is carrying the deceased Jesus around the corner, and the streets of Manhattan are supposed to be vacant, a person walks on a sidewalk in the background. See more »

Quotes

Jesus: What if your brother sues you? You better settle with him quickly,
[Joanne tries to shake hands with Merrill, who spins oher over to Gilmer]
Jesus: otherwise he'll hand you over to the judge.
Gilmer: Guilty!
[She spins Joanne over to Jerry]
Jesus: And the judge to the constable.
Jesus: [Jerry bops her on the head]
Jesus: And you'll land in jail!
[Joanne is twirled into "jail"]
Joanne: [squeaks] Let me out of here!
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits include an infinity frames effect. A sixteen second film of a busy street is shown, and then the right and bottom of the frame is frozen in a sideways capital L. This then becomes the frame for the next iteration of the film, which in turn leaves its right and bottom edges as a frame for the next film. Over the frames and film are played thumbnails of the actors, then credit cards and finally a credit scroll. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Vicar of Dibley: The Easter Bunny (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Day By Day
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Schwartz
Lyrics by St. Richard of Chichester (uncredited)
Performed by Robin Lamont and Company
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rejoice in the beautiful city.
26 January 2004 | by florafairySee all my reviews

Although I have had the soundtrack to this movie since I was a little girl (and LOVED it), I only just rented it and I was pleasantly surprised at how relevant this supposedly "dated" film still seems. In using real NYC locations, this film wisely eschewed a hokey fantasy-carnival setting that the "vaudeville troupe" feel of the stage play might have suggested (and "The Fantasticks" later went with). I was particularly moved by the use of Bethsaida Fountain (recently used in "Angels in America"), and the visual reference to the Statue of Liberty during the line "you are the light of the world." As a "New York movie," this has got to rank right up there with "Annie Hall" or "Moonstruck." While I don't believe that the historical Jesus skipped and bounced when he was preaching, Victor Garber's Christ continues the tradition that Jesus was both human and divine, the incarnation of Love. It's a very thoughtful, nuanced performance. For me, as a twentysomething, it's very moving to see a representation of Jesus around my age (because, of course, in the Bible Jesus disappears between the ages of 12 and 30). And, for the record, the typing of Jesus as a clown dates to the Medieval mystery plays.

I was most struck by David Haskell's performance as John/Judas. This character both loves Jesus best and questions him the most, and in that, I think, represents the polarities of belief that everyone goes through, no matter their faith. Haskell is the strongest singer in the cast and has a sort of smoldering intensity that would not be expected of a young stage actor. The rest of the ensemble makes up in enthusiasm and vocal verve what they may lack in camera experience. They present the parables of Jesus in a way that is easy to understand but not blasphemous... Jesus says "Rejoice" but he makes no bones about the punishment for sin, either. In sum, "Godspell" is campy and dated, yes, but it's altogether a pleasant piece... in times like these, I daresay we need a smiling Jesus more than we need Mel Gibson's bloody, tortured Christ.


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