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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

R | | Drama | 9 September 1988 (UK)
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The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

Nikos Kazantzakis (novel), Paul Schrader (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,917 ( 478)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Willem Dafoe ... Jesus
Harvey Keitel ... Judas
Paul Greco ... Zealot
Steve Shill ... Centurian (as Steven Shill)
Verna Bloom ... Mary, Mother of Jesus
Barbara Hershey ... Mary Magdalene
Roberts Blossom ... Aged Master
Barry Miller ... Jeroboam
Gary Basaraba ... Andrew, Apostle
Irvin Kershner ... Zebedee
Victor Argo ... Peter, Apostle
Michael Been Michael Been ... John, Apostle
Paul Herman ... Phillip, Apostle
John Lurie ... James, Apostle
Leo Burmester ... Nathaniel, Apostle
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Storyline

The carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth, tormented by the temptations of demons, the guilt of making crosses for the Romans, pity for men and the world, and the constant call of God, sets out to find what God wills for Him. But as His mission nears fulfillment, He must face the greatest temptation; the normal life of a good man. Based, not on the Gospels, but on Nikos Kazantzakis' novel of the same name. Written by Nick Lopez <ntlopez@fas.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1988 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Passion See more »

Filming Locations:

Ait Benhaddou, Morocco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$401,211, 14 August 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,630,564
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Martin Scorsese was planning the movie circa 1983 1984, Aidan Quinn was cast as Jesus, Sting was cast as Pontius Pilate, Vanity was cast as Mary Magdalene, and Ray Davies was cast as Judas Iscariot. See more »

Goofs

The film opens with a printed text, translated from the writings of Nikos Kazantzakis. It contains the line "My principle anguish and source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh." The word "principle" is used incorrectly, the correct context is "principal." This mistake has not been corrected in any home video release despite being widely noted ever since the movie first came out. See more »

Quotes

Rabbi: That is blasphemy.
Jesus: Didn't they tell you? I am the saint of blasphemy. Don't make any mistakes, I didn't come here to bring peace, I came to bring a sword!
Rabbi: Talking like that will get you killed.
Jesus: Me, killed? Listen to me. This temple will be torn down in three days, torn down to the ground!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just before the credits, there is a flash of colors which leads to the credits "paged up" behind a yellow background. See more »

Alternate Versions

Most DVD and streaming versions are missing Judas's line, "It's Magdalene; she deserves it," right before the attempted stoning scene. The line can be heard on the Criterion Blu-ray. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sopranos: College (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Most Loving Portrayal of Jesus I Could Imagine
22 July 2005 | by CSM126-1See all my reviews

Condemned by Fundamentalists upon release, delayed by outcries from hypocrites and liars, and boycotted in any city where it played "The Last Temptation of Christ" is one of the most controversial movies ever made. Instead of showing Christ as a fearless and perfect person, "The Last Temptation" depicts Him as a person who fought his destiny and wished to be just another mortal human being. Religious groups who couldn't (and still can't) accept the fact that Jesus was human were shocked by such ideas and refused to see the film or read the landmark novel on which it was based. They'll never know that they attacked one of the most honest and loving depictions of Christ.

The Christ we see in the film is not based on the teachings of the Gospels, or any scripture for that matter. Instead we get a portrait of Christ the man, not Christ the Savior. We get to see his faults, his fears and anxieties. Then, we get to see him overcome those and find the strength to fulfill his destiny. The Last Temptation of Christ is not afraid to say that Jesus was weak before he became the Savior, and that makes the film all the more satisfying. This is a tale of redemption, courage, and love like no other.

There is no reason to miss this film. Not everyone will like it, but at the very least it will let you see another perspective of the story. And even if you can't accept the story, you won't be able to deny the greatness of Scorsese's direction. From the epic crowd scenes, to the intimate one-on-one conversations, to the stunning final shot (which was actually caused by an overexposed section of film, but is beautiful nonetheless), you will be awed by Scorsese's work here.

Also stunning is the work of the two leads. Willem Dafoe inhabits the role of Christ perfectly, bringing perfectly controlled emotion to each and every scene. Harvey Keitel as Judas has been the subject of debate because of his NYC accent. That was on purpose (Scorsese used accents to denote the descent of characters. American accent = Israelite; British accent = Roman), but it doesn't even matter. Keitel is brilliant no matter what his accent is.

Honest, human, loving, and unafraid, "The Last Temptation of Christ" is one of the great cinematic achievements of all time. Martin Scorsese crafted with this film his most personal masterpiece, and perhaps his greatest masterpiece ever.


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