7.6/10
45,881
318 user 120 critic

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

R | | Drama | 9 September 1988 (UK)
Trailer
1:18 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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)
Reviews
Popularity
3,917 ( 478)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

After Hours (1985)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An ordinary word processor has the worst night of his life after he agrees to visit a girl in Soho who he met that evening at a coffee shop.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Haunted by the patients he failed to save, an extremely burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic fights to maintain his sanity over three fraught and turbulent nights.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A tale of nineteenth-century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman's cousin.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder
Kundun (1997)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, Gyurme Tethong, Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An egotistical saxophonist and a young singer meet on V-J Day and embark upon a strained and rocky romance, even as their careers begin a long, up-hill climb.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Rupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Mean Streets (1973)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-time hood aspires to work his way up the ranks of a local mob.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A recently widowed woman is on the road with her precocious young son, determined to make a new life for herself as a singer.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Mia Bendixsen
Cape Fear (1991)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of three religious-themed films directed by Martin Scorsese, followed by Kundun (1997) and Silence (2016). See more »

Goofs

When the first man is being crucified, as he yells when the soldier nails his hand, we can see a lot of metal fillings in his upper teeth. See more »

Quotes

Jesus: Why has it changed so much?
Girl Angel/Satan: It hasn't changed. You have. Now you can see its real beauty.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, Peter Gabriel, composer for the film, credits all the people that used instruments for the music. 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 Terminal City: Episode #1.2 (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

An overlong but thought provoking and interesting piece of spiritual fiction
27 March 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Jesus is plagued by voices in his head and a pain he has that is so intense as to have him in spasms. He has tried fasting and self-harm but neither have worked for very long. He works as a carpenter; one of the few who will make crosses for the Romans – much to the annoyance of his acquaintance Judas, a Jewish rebel. Following an appearance by a spirit, Jesus heads into the desert where he experiences temptations and, ultimately, learns the path he must follow. Returning to the real world he starts to speak and gains a following of loyal disciples who believe he is the Messiah. However for every follower, he gets 10 enemies – mainly among the religious elite who see him as a heretic and lawbreaker.

When it was released in cinemas and first screened on television in the UK, this film broke all records for complaints and also had the moral majority (?) up in arms over the controversy and the portrayal of Christ. Although I don't want to get drawn into that, the reason I think they are wrong to complain is the same reason I think the film is worth seeing. From the get-go, this film flies its fictional roots and never claims to be the gospel truth (pardon the pun). However what it does is to think around the gospel, to wonder, to suppose, to ask questions – something that millions of Christians do every day when they read the bible and contemplate on it. I'm not blind to the offence that this thought process could have but it still provides food for thought and, like the author's quote says, really puts some interesting ideas on the table in regards the dualities of Jesus as both a man and God.

Although this makes it worth seeing in my book and held my interest and engaged my brain throughout this isn't to say it is brilliant, because it isn't. It is overlong and rather plodding at times and could (and should) have lost at least 30 minutes from the running time to be a better film. The dialogue doesn't help that much at times but the delivery is good from a handful of great performances. Although most "Christians" are in love with Gibson's portrayal of Christ recently, Dafoe goes deeper and more complex with a performance where he seems to totally understand the complex motivations that could have run through Christ – he is convincing as man and God and his though process is clear and engaging. He is helped by some great support. Specifically Keitel is great and helps bring out a Judas that is the opposite of the greedy failure we are told he is – instead he takes the second hardest job; he makes it work really well and dominates his scenes. Support is also strong from Hershey, Argo, Been and Bowie (yes, even Bowie) who all come over with smaller but impressive performances. Scorsese directs with deliberate movements at times but he matches the mood of the period that is well set by sets, costumes and the cool ethnic score.

Overall this is not a great film and if you have no belief or interest in Jesus then I cannot see why you'd bother to get through such a long film that lacks pace. However as spiritual food for thought it is wonderful and really engaged my brain – even if you (rightly) dismiss the film as fiction, it is still useful as spiritual debate and providing a view of things that you can study out and draw from. Compared to the thoughtless, cold and spiritually empty film by Mel Gibson 15 years later, this is vastly better and worth seeing if you saw that.


9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 318 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed