7.4/10
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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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Musical

Jesus Christ Superstar is a musical spectacular, containing the story of the last few days of Jesus. In this version of the film, the director has decided to put a twist and make everything modern and high-tec.

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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 ... 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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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

"I Don't Know How to Love Him" had originally been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, the original title being "Kansas Morning". The melody's main theme has come under some scrutiny for being non-original, being compared to a theme from Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Violin Concerto in E Minor. In December 1969 and January 1970, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice completed Jesus Christ Superstar, Rice wrote new lyrics to the tune of "Kansas Morning" to provide the solo number for the character of Mary Magdalene (Rice and Webber's agent David Land would purchase the rights to "Kansas Morning" back from Southern Music for £50). Now entitled "I Don't Know How to Love Him", the song was recorded by Yvonne Elliman and completed between March and July 1970. When first presented with "I Don't Know How to Love Him", Elliman had been puzzled by the romantic nature of the lyrics, as she had been under the impression that the Mary she'd been recruited to portray was Jesus's mother, who is a very important presence in the Gospel story but surprisingly absent from the musical. 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

Jesus: Why waste your breath moaning at the crowd? Nothing can be done to stop the shouting! If every tongue were stilled, the noise would still continue! The rocks and stones themselves would start to sing!
See more »

Connections

Remade as Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

What's the Buzz
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Performed by Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman, and The Apostles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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