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Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie ... see more see more... , Verna Bloom , Andre Gregory , Juliette Caton , Roberts Blossom , Irvin Kershner , Gary Basaraba , Victor Argo , Michael Been , Paul Herman , John Lurie , Leo Burmeister , Alan Rosenberg , Tomas Arana , Nehemiah Persoff , Barry Miller , Mahamed Ait Fdil Ahmed , Peter Berling , Penny Brown , Russell Case , Randy Danson , Illeana Douglas , Peggy Gormley , Paul Greco , Donald Hodson , Mohamed Mabsout , Donna Marie Dawson , Leo Marks , Ahmed Nacir , Del Russell , Mokhtar Salouf , Mary Sellers , Steven Shill , Robert Spafford , Doris Von Thury , Dale Wyatt , Domenico Fiore

Willem Dafoe plays Jesus Christ in this extraordinarily controversial adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's novel. The film depicts a sometimes reluctant, self-doubting Jesus, gradually coming to accept H... read more read divinity and the inexorability of His ultimate fate. The much-maligned sex scene with Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey) occurs as an hallucination experienced by Jesus as he suffers on the cross. This particular sequence was what infuriated the film's most rabid critics, but in fact it is just one of many iconoclastic musings to be found in the film and its source novel. Equally volatile are the intimations that, as a carpenter, Jesus indifferently shaped the crucifixes for other condemned prisoners long before his own fate was sealed, and that Judas (Harvey Keitel) was literally manipulated into betrayal by a Christ whose preoccuption with his own destiny compelled him to "use" others. None of these departures from the normal interpretation of the scriptures are offered as any more than theory; as such, it was accepted as food for thought by the more open-minded clerics and Biblical scholars who recommended the film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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84% liked it

35,086 ratings


84% liked it

50 critics

DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000

Stats: 2,041 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (2,041)

  • July 27, 2013
    Review coming to on 8/9
  • September 19, 2012
    With the Arab world murderously aflame over the depiction of their prophet in some cheesy internet vid I thought it a good time to revisit a work (far more legitimate!) that had Christians similarly upset. Scorcese's main crime here (apart from not putting his lips near any papa... read morel rings) appears to not kowtow to any previously tried formula. Men are men, women are women. Somehow though his Christ, full of doubt, fails to elicit real empathy ...
  • September 18, 2012
    A retelling of the Gospels focusing on Jesus' internal struggle between flesh and spirit, humanity and divinity, with a twist at the end. An excellent adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' novel of theological speculation. It's amazing (and frightening) to contemplate that some Christ... read moreians protested this deeply pious movie when it came out.
  • fb100000257973100
    March 5, 2012
    I feel like that, before I write my opinion, that I should clarify something. From the day I was born till I moved from Memphis, I was raised in a Christian home. When I moved I went my own way and became agnostic. As such, I do have a background knowledge on Christianity and goi... read moreng into this film I knew that I would be watching something that is not only made by one of the masters of cinema, but also one of the most controversial films of all time. Plus totally fake as the disclaimer said at the start. I sat in complete silence during the entire two hours and forty four minutes of film and I was left stunned, speechless, and a lost of thought. I had no idea what the hell I saw. I don't know if this is a good film, a bad film, or what.
    AS a film, this film is both disturbing and yet beautiful to watch. Mainly this has to deal with how Scorsese deals with the subject matter at hand. Anyone could have turned this film into another Passion Play, but Scorsese shows his true power as a film maker by having us see a version of Jesus that is both much wanted by cinema lovers and disturbing: A human Jesus.
    In the Bible, we are taught that Jesus is the son of God and as such is the only true perfect human. This film, however, presents us with a Jesus that has flaws, gives into temptation, and treats him being the son of God as a burden, not as a gift. When I hear of Jesus, and think of the truth of man, THIS is what I saw. But while I adore this presentation of Jesus, I was also disturbed by what I saw. I am use to seeing Jesus as the way we are taught. Then I see this Jesus that questions his purposes, nearly gives into Satan's temptation, and completely life like. Scorsese is a well known Catholic and this film shows his love for the faith as he presents this version of Jesus.
    As a film, this film also shocked me with how disturbing the music is. I am a big fan of experimental orchestrations that are known for disturbing it's audience (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). With this film, the score is... shocking. Scorsese is known for pairing music and image together in a beautiful way, and it is with this film that he has perfected it. Not only does the music compliment what is being shown, but it also enhances it. The score is what kept me wanting to see this film end out and without it, the magic of this movie would be lost.
    Harvey Keitel is one of those actors I adore. I liked him in Reservoir Dogs, adored him in Bad Lieutenant, and I love him in this film as Judas. The main reason why is because he portrays Judas as someone that is equally important to Jesus. In history, Judas is the man who betrayed Jesus for money and would later kill himself and burn forever in Hell. Here he is shown as someone that originally wanted to kill Jesus, but then followed him while betraying Jesus at Jesus's request. With this view point, Judas has been the subject to numerous criticism only because he was obeying orders. I know this film is fictitious, but it is a thought that I always wondered.
    Willem Dafoe. My God. He steals this movie as he portrays the best image of Jesus I have ever seen. Like with how Scorsese shoots this film, Dafoe makes Jesus someone who is flawed, questioning, with a hint of madness to kick in. This is how I imagined Jesus, and Dafoe does a damned good job. Normally I would lecture on about how great Dafoe was, but his performance is one that only seeing can make you love how this works.
    Like with my reaction to this film when I first saw it, I have no idea of how to feel about this film. I know I praise it, but that is through how good the film is. On a personal level, this is not a film or a movie and whoever tells you it is is completely lying. The Last Temptation of Christ is an experience that is unlike any other experience I have sat through. No matter about your religious background, you will be effected by this film. In the end, I am still agnostic but my ideas of religion are changed.
  • fb1664868775
    October 28, 2011
    An extremely challenging film which features a seminal performance by Dafoe and a great score from Peter Gabriel.
  • fb619846742
    July 2, 2011
    A daring, gutsy film concerning the life of Jesus Christ (Willem Dafoe) and his final temptation of living a normal life with a loving wife, kids, and the prospect of growing old on this earth. While definitely a controversial film that could easily be labeled "blasphemy" by many... read more Christians, this is still a remarkable picture. Dafoe's performance is the driving force behind it, while Scorsese's firm direction and feel for melodrama help make this film utterly hypnotizing for most of its running length. Sure, there's some corny dialogue and the last half hour or so loses focus a tad, but this is still a film worth a view.
  • February 1, 2011
    An unconventional flesh and blood version of Jesus Christ, from Scorsese.

    Not for the week minded.
  • August 2, 2010
    WOH WOH WOH WOH!!!! When was David Bowie in this movie!!!??? I completely missed him! I watched the whole thing!? wtf!!!!
  • August 1, 2010
    Has there ever been a more misunderstood film than Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation Of Christ? Released amid great controversy and accused of being an offensive and unholy film, the truth of the matter is that it is a deeply reverent work which has the courage to ask challen... read moreging questions about the pressures and doubts Jesus must have experienced as the appointed Messiah. It also shows the violence of the times in graphic detail. If viewers consider it blasphemous to explore on film the immense burden of duty that Jesus bore through his life, then they are narrow-minded and ignorant. If people feel that to show the brutality and harshness of life in Roman times is tasteless and inappropriate, then they are guilty of glorifying difficult but factual truths. There is NOTHING offensive about this film. There is, however, much that is challenging.

    Jesus (Willem Dafoe), an honest carpenter, saves Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey) from a stoning. Already dimly aware that he is destined to lead an extraordinary life, he soon finds himself being drawn into the role of a religious figurehead. But Jesus finds it hard to accept that he is a Messiah, and as his reputation and following grows he constantly questions if he is a strong enough man to handle the burden of being God's son. After isolating himself in the desert, where he experiences several hallucinations in which he is confronted by visual manifestations of good and evil, Jesus finally concludes that he IS the true son of God and whole-heartedly sets about imparting his love and wisdom to all who'll listen. Later betrayed to the disgruntled Romans by his friend Judas Iscariot (Harvey Keitel), Jesus is crucified. While on the cross, he imagines what his life would have turned out like if he had shied away from his duty as the Messiah and lived life like a mere mortal.

    It is this final section of the film that has provoked the most vociferous outrage. The sequence shows Jesus as he slowly dies on the cross, dreaming of an alternative life in which he sins and copulates and hates like all normal people. Many people have criticised the film on the grounds that these scenes are blasphemous. Such claims are nonsense - the film is not saying that Jesus was a sinner, nor that he gave in to temptation of the flesh, nor still that he was a man filled with hate. The film is merely saying that, in such great pain and so close to death while still just a young man, he might - just maybe - have wondered if it was all worth it. At the end of the film, we see Jesus accept his role knowing that his death is the ultimate act of unselfish love, so the film actually is totally in agreement with what all Christians believe. If the film had come to the conclusion that Jesus's whole life was a waste, his death too, then maybe the detractors would've had cause to complain. But how can they possibly be offended by the film as it stands? For goodness sake, it's a film about absolute faith!!! In truth, The Last Temptation Of Christ is an excellent movie. Compellingly acted, beautifully shot on Moroccan locations, and full of telling ideas, it is a work of real depth and power. The accents are sometimes distracting and some of the dialogue occasionally betrays ill-suited modernisms, but apart from these minor drawbacks it is one of the most important and thought-provoking films ever made.
  • July 15, 2010
    phewwwwww... finally watched the whole movie. It's so slow that it took me months to watch it entirely. Every time I tried to watch it, it bored me so much after a few that I'd to put it off. But for some strange reason, I kept returning every couple of months from where I'd left... read more off. The last hour or so was fairly bearable as compared to the former (almost unbearable) part. It (the last hour, give or take a few minutes) redeemed to a certain extent the terrible agony I'd to go through the rest of the movie. Hence 3/5 instead of 1.5/5.

Critic Reviews

March 19, 2008
TIME Magazine

In an age of post-Christian facetiousness, Martin Scorsese's work daringly attempts to restore passion and melodrama to the Gospel story. Full Review

Variety Staff
March 19, 2008
Variety Staff, Variety

A film of challenging ideas, and not salacious provocations. Full Review

Jonathan Rosenbaum
March 19, 2008
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Concentrating on the humanity and fallibility of Jesus in continual conflict with his divinity, the film falters as a contemporary statement mainly in its primitive view of women. Full Review

Geoff Andrew
February 9, 2006
Geoff Andrew, Time Out

A sincere, typically ambitious and imaginative work from America's most provocatively intelligent film-maker. Full Review

Janet Maslin
May 20, 2003
Janet Maslin, New York Times

What emerges most memorably is its sense of absolute conviction, never more palpable than in the final fantasy sequence that removes Jesus from the cross and creates for him the life of an ordinary man. Full Review

Roger Ebert
January 1, 2000
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Among those who do not already have rigid views on the subject, this film is likely to inspire more serious thought on the nature of Jesus than any other ever made. Full Review

Hal Hinson
January 1, 2000
Hal Hinson, Washington Post

In spite of all [Scorsese] accomplishes, he is unable to bring Jesus close to us, to realize his stated goal of creating a universal figure who symbolizes the spiritual anguish of all men. Full Review

Desson Thomson
January 1, 2000
Desson Thomson, Washington Post

There are too many epic moments and impassioned performances to dismiss Scorsese's work. Full Review

Renee Schonfeld
September 16, 2014
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media

Controversial epic with brutality, sex. Mature teens only. Full Review

Christopher Runyon
April 12, 2014
Christopher Runyon, Movie Mezzanine

Dares us to reconcile our spiritual and physical selves. Full Review

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    • Judas Iscariot: Traitor!
    • Jesus Christ: I want God to hate me.
    • Saul: What was it like? Which is better, death or life?
    • Lazarus: I was very surprised, there was not that much of a difference.
    • Pontius Pilate: It doesn't matter how you want to change things, we don't want them changed.

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The Last Temptation of Christ Trivia

  • Who played Judas in The Last Temptation of Christ?  Answer »
  • What character does Harvey Keitel play in The Last Temptation Of Christ?  Answer »
  • who plays jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ  Answer »
  • Which actor appears in the following three films: Labyrinth, The Prestige, and The Last Temptation of Christ?  Answer »

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