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Last Temptation of Christ [VHS]
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Product Description

It isn't difficult to imagine why this 1988 retelling of the Crucifixion story was picketed vociferously upon release--this Jesus bears little resemblance to the classical Christ, who was not, upon careful review of the Gospels, ever reported to have had sex with Barbara Hershey. Heavily informed by Gnostic reinterpretations of the Passion, The Last Temptation of Christ (based rather strictly on Nikos Kazantzakis's novel of the same name) is surely worth seeing for the controversy and blasphemous content alone, but it's difficult to find in skittish chain video stores. But the "last temptation" of the title is nothing overtly naughty--rather, it's the seduction of the commonplace; the desire to forgo following a "calling" in exchange for domestic security. Willem Dafoe interprets Jesus as spacy, indecisive, and none too charismatic (though maybe that's just Dafoe himself), but his Sermon on the Mount is radiant with visionary fire; a bit less successful is method actor Harvey Keitel, who gives the internally conflicted Judas a noticeable Brooklyn accent, and doesn't bring much imagination to a role that demands a revisionist's approach. Despite director Martin Scorsese's penchant for stupid camera tricks, much of the desert footage is simply breathtaking, even on small screen. Ultimately, Last Temptation is not much more historically illuminating than Monty Python's Life of Brian, but hey, if it's authenticity you're after, try Gibbon's. --Miles Bethany

Customer Reviews:

  • STYLIZED WITH FLAWS AND A LOT OF BLASPHEMY
    Martin Scorsese is no conservative and generally stays away from political, but it is worth mentioning that he is obsessed with Christianity. He is a Catholic, or a lapsed Catholic, and his New York youth apparently put the zap on his head in a big way. He went to church and believed in God, asked for his sins to be washed away in confession, but like the characters in "Mean Streets" (1973), he lived in Little Italy, where murder, extortion and immorality were a way of life.
    Scorsese came up with some funky ideas, and laid it all out for the world to see in "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988). It is actually based on a book by Nikos Kazantzakis, but like all of Scorsese's work the screen version must be attributed to him. It is hard to say what he is trying to accomplish. I call the film "Bronx Jesus" because he populates it with New York actors (Harvey Keitel as Judas, Willem Dafoe as Jesus), except for evil, which Hollywood always says has an upper crust English accent (a very telling psycho-trait regarding class envy perhaps). On the one hand, Scorsese loves his Jesus. He is obviously very personal to him. He has a vision for who Jesus was, and it is a human vision. This is the crux of the story, because if Jesus is "human," then His suffering and trials are not just for show. In order for Jesus to die for our sins, He has to feel our pain and be tempted just as any mortal would be.
    The finale is confusing and I have only seen it once, so forgive me, but as best I can recall Christ accepts a "deal" from Satan. A dream sequence follows, in which Christ is apparently fooled by Satan, disguised as a little girl. Apparently, he did not die for our sins, and Scorsese's message is muddled, possibly leading us to believe that the screwed-up world we live in is because of this. The Catholics and other Christian groups were outraged. It is not quite the "risen Christ on Easter Sunday" message of hope that we have all been counting on. Personally, I do not see Scorsese as anti-Christian for making it, although I do come away from such expenditures of theology believing there are just things we will never know until we die, and we had best live good lives until then!...more info
  • you won't like this review
    this movie is historical fiction as the bible is historical ficiton. neither the movie nor the bible know what really happened or if jesus really existed. so, as a piece of fiction, The Last Temptation of Christ presents a more human element to the story than the bible ever does....more info
  • NO GOOD
    I didn't know my son bought this movie....I would NEVER have gotten this movie. I believe this movie is all wrong! NEVER would have spent the money on it. ...more info
  • Boring
    First of, let me state that I am not religious in any way, shape or form. I never have been, so I watched this DVD solely out of curiousity, and am rating it purely on its entertainment value. As such, I found it boring and poorly made. First of, none of the actors or actresses looked Middle Eastern, considering this movie and all of its characters are Middle Eastern. Second, some of the accents were horrible; case in point is Harvey Keitel's Judas, who has a Brooklyn accent. Third, the casting of William Dafeo is entirely inappropriate. This movie focuses on Jesus in the time just prior to his crucifixion, so Jesus is in his late 20's. William Dafoe looks 35 - 40 in this movie. Fourth, the soundtrack was poor. Neither dramatic nor engaging, it leant no help to the storyline. Last, the way the movie shows Jesus rising to various occasions was quite disappointing. Consider the scene when Jesus stops the stoning of the prostitute. He comes across as timid, half-hearted, and highly unlikely to carry the force needed to stop a mob. All in all, I consider this the worst movie by Martin Scorsese, and do not recommend anyone to watch it....more info
  • I Hate This Movie!
    The only thing positive I can say about this movie is Barbara Hershey looks good naked. But who goes to a biblical movie to check out naked babes?

    In this movie, "Jesus" puts his carpentry skills to work building crosses for the Romans. He whines to Harvey Keitel's Judas that he (Jesus) never tells the truth, is afraid of everything, needs forgiveness for his own sins--in other words, he fits the the description of half the actors in Hollywood. Before the movie was halfway over, I wanted to crucify this phony "Jesus" myself!

    I rate this piece of garbage a negative 10....more info
  • A flawed but loving depiction
    Willem Dafoe playing Jesus Christ? Harvey Keitel playing Judas? Jesus and Judas conspiring to have Jesus crucified? Jesus getting a free pass from the Cross, marrying and having a family? Preposterous as these casting and plot elements sound, director Martin Scorcese comes very close to making them work.

    Scorcese more or less faithfully adapts Nikos Kazantzakis's controversial novel to the big screen. Jesus is a tortured young man, best by nightmares and obsessed with the idea of crucifixion. He helps Romans crucify fellow Jews, to the dismay and opprobrium of his townsfolk. Sensing himself full of sin, he repairs to an Essene-like desert monastery. Finally, he comes to accept his destiny as Savior, with its gruesome end, and is on his way as (more or less) the Jesus of the Gospels. Yet Satan has a final snare for Jesus. While Jesus suffers on the Cross, Satan (in the guise of an angelic child) shows him scenes of how pleasant life could be if he turned down death on the Cross - a normal life with wife Mary Magdalene, children and easy old age with no agony or pain.

    Conservatives dislike the film. One local video store actually had it on a back shelf like some piece of smut. But I see much heart in it -- sometimes literally. One scene (wrenched out of Scorcese's Roman Catholic childhood) shows Jesus pulling his still beating heart out of his body - an allusion to the Sacred Heart devotion. Childhood allusions aside, "Last Temptation," though a work of deep feeling and faith, fails the good doctrine test. A nightmare-tormented Jesus is one thing; a Jesus who confesses to being "full of sin:" is quite another. I guess I still find the official Church teaching of Christ's sinlessness as compelling. Still, Scorcese's attempt to depict Christ's humanity is impressive.

    Scorcese predates Mel Gibson (and with more success, IMHO) by trying to bring some historical verisimilitude to the Crucifixion scene. In 1968, the bones of a crucifixion victim were unearthed near Jerusalem, with a nail being pounded into the sides of the ankles, not into the top of the feet as usually depicted. Scholarly conjecture was that the victim's legs were twisted sideways, allowing the ankles to be nailed to the front of the cross,. This forced the victim's body into a weird, almost seated posture. Scorcese uses this posture in his crucifixion scene, though, oddly, only for Jesus. (More recent studies suggest that ankle-nailed feet would have been pounded into the sides (not the front) of the cross.

    In any event,. You can't blame Scorcese for trying.

    "Last Temptation" has weaknesses. Keitel's Brooklyn accent and wild red wig are distractions. The weirdness of a half-resurrected Lazarus - a walking gospel-era zombie -- is true to the book, but bizarre when brought to the screen.

    The controversial scene, in which Christ and Mary Magdalene consummate their marriage is disturbing. I squirmed inwardly while watching Christ "getting it on" with Mary Magdalene. Yet the scene is meant as a satanic fantasy engineered to lure Christ from his mission. So, I don't understand the fuss. It's not as if (as per "The Da Vinci Code") that Scorcese or Kazantzakis were claiming that Christ and Mary Magdalene were really married.

    Though I wouldn't pick the film to show to the average Sunday school class, the film adds important components to a composite of Christ gleaned from the many movies about his life. It shows his compassion, his manliness, and proposes possible solutions to his hidden life and psychology. Three cheers for Scorcese's devotion to Jesus and for wrestling with important questions about his humanity....more info
  • Saw it 15 times-will see it again, and again.
    I sat and watched this movie 3 times in a row, over a period of 3 days. I know that sounds ridiculous-but there is so much going on in this film it is the only way to capture everything.

    Devout christians will probably consider this film blasphemous.
    The acting could have been better, but I love Scorcese and that made up for it. Scorcese captures the simplicity of the life of Jesus, and of him being more of a man than a God.
    There is nothing but symbolism throughout the film. The soundtrack written by Peter Gabriel, is the most amazing soundtrack of any film I have ever seen.
    The film is actually better than the book.
    ...more info
  • Passover
    It's well-intentioned, I'm sure, and it's certainly more interesting than the glut of Jesus-Lite movies on television every Easter, but beyond that...?
    I've watched it several times since its theatrical release (usually in the company of someone who hasn't seen it), and always come away thinking it could have been so much better had someone done more than skim through the book and touch on the obvious points. As such, the cast has little new to work with (J.C. getting it on with Mary Magdalene, sheesh) and acts accordingly. David Bowie as Pontius Pilate was a pleasant surprise, though, bringing Empire sensibilities to the interview with Jesus. The weariness in his voice -- you can almost hear him thinking, "Oh, God...another messiah") -- is worth whatever they paid him.
    But that's about as good as it gets. No epiphanies here, kid, unless you're desperate.
    Read the book and listen to Peter Gabriel's soundtrack instead. You'll save a few bucks and you'll go back to both more times than you will the movie....more info
  • A Jesus No One Would Follow
    It should come as no suprise that the man who has made so many films that glamourize gangsters would make a movie about a weak, unattractive, devious Jesus....
    The Son of God making crosses for the Romans to crucify his fellow Jews?
    GIVE ME A BREAK...and who is the great spiritual influence in the life of Jesus...The greatest villian in the Bible...Judas...
    Jesus had to be a strong man..he was a carpenter..he was so strong that after being beaten up he could carry his cross up a hill...Probably could have played linebacker for Lombardi's Packers...He was not the wimp, Defoe portrays him to be..
    Jesus has a great sense of humor..Children gathered around him..Children avoid people who don't laugh...While we may laugh AT Defoe, we would never laugh WITH him...
    Jesus had to be a great public speaker...not a mumbling fugitive from Actor's studio....
    A great movie to show your atheist friends...they will love it!
    To see a Bibical Jesus..Get the Gospel According To John .......more info
  • Good grief!
    The idea of the film I have to say is a remarkable one. An examination of Christ as a man, a human being who struggles to come to terms with being granted prophet hood. A man who while rejecting this and all that comes with it is compelled to act in accordance with a mission he has been sent with.

    Interesting idea and one that would be well worth watching problem is 1. The choice of actors for the film 2. The roles they are given.

    With such a film you need a cast who are strong enough to carry it out in its correct historical context this film sadly does not have it. What comes off is not a historical reading of the life of Jesus examining an otherwise overlooked aspect of his life but rather "Jesus goes gangster"

    Take the scene where Jesus visits Mary Magdalene in a brothel. After Jesus sits for a while amongst her clients (most of whom seem to be black (as well as the local slaves) more of Scorsese's odd obsession with black people but that's another issue) after they all depart they debate on how he has his calling to dwell in the desert, Mary feels abandoned and they argue. The argument (both language and context) would be more suited to a 40s Al Capone flick or better still the episode of the Simpson's where he thinks back to his days raising the kids in "Little Italy" The body language, the terminology used everything was just so out of place.

    Take the scene where Jesus speaks with one of his disciples, the disciple says to him "I will follow you but if you stray this far from the path..... (As he holds his hand up in trademark Gangster fashion)I'll kill you" Or the scene where he first speaks to the people after saving Mary "He told me stand up and here I am" With arrogant head back, eyes half closed, arms stretched out looked more like 'King of New York' than 'Jesus the Messiah'

    The disciples come together more like 'wise guys' joining a 'crew' than followers of a prophet. There is even a bit of slow motion Reservoir Dogs style strut to the camera with music played over!

    Why on earth has Scorsese done this? Did he think it would bring Jesus closer to the moder audience? Did he think the protests would be too busy....well protesting to even bother watching the film and examining weather it was actually a good film or not to criticise its quality rather than its context? Who knows.

    The idea behind the film though is excellent. Its almost ironic that someone who is religious would probably get a lot of benefit from the film. The meditation and temptation of Jesus both from within and beyond him. This part of the film is remarkable I only wish the so called 'critics' could have watched this part as it really shows what separated the prophets from the normal man, the need of God and religion and the simplicity of faith.

    For the idea of the film I would give it 5 stars if only Scorsese had not destroyed it with this monster of a film!...more info
  • Worship this movie
    This movie is a direct portrayal of what happened in the bible. word for word, spoken by god himself. he mostly talked to the author of the book and then talked to scorcese just to help him out to make this movie as authentic as possible. since this is god's word, all of you must hail to this historical piece and light candles with the image of the virgin mary imprinted upon them.

    thou shall watch temptation of christ should be the 11th commandment. watch it or go to hell!

    ...more info
  • The other side of the Messiah
    With the upcoming release of THE DAVINCI CODE and the recent discovery of the Gospel according to Judas, perhaps now more than ever are we coming to terms with the humanity of Jesus. Nobody will ever convince that he survived the crucifixion (Medical authorities have said that had Jesus been alive when he was speared on the cross, that wound, coupled with the torture already inflicted upon him, would cause the blood to flow into the chest cavity, causing an internal hemorrage which would result in death almost immediately; If he were already dead, the water that flows out with the blood is actually pericardial fluid, which a victim of a ruptured heart has 500 cc's of upon death, and when alive, has 20 cc's, making it clearly distinguishable from the blood; IN YOUR FACE, MICHAEL BAIGENT!!!!!!!!!!) However, it's definitely important to remeber that Jesus was a man, and like any of us, had the same fears, temptations, and desires.

    Just as controversial (just for different reasons) as THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Martin Scorsese's LAST TEMPTATION covers the same ground that everyone already knows about Jesus (played here by the one and only Willem Dafoe), but giving him the same human characteristics as Jesus posesses in Nikos Kazantzakasi's novel on which it is based. Ideed, this is the most human, most vunerable, most identifiable Jesus ever to be on film. It's such a shame that right wing fundamentalists in this country have been able to have such an influence on people who have never even seen the film (Right-wingers are notorius for this; they did it with FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and are planning to do it with THE DAVINCI CODE.)

    While I have no problem with Jesus being married and had children (can't wait for THE DAVINCI CODE to get into theaters), he is not in LAST TEMPTATION. The controversy surrounding the film stems from the fact that while Jesus is on the cross in this film, that IS his LAST TEMPTATION, along with just a normal life, and the promise of not having to die the most horrible death imaginable.

    The divinity of Christ in LAST TEMPTATION comes from the fact that virtually any other man would have gladly allowed himself to be removed from the cross by his guardian angel and life a normal life. Jesus makes the same choice, and many years later, realizes the cost of his choice, and begs God to send him back to the cross, to allow him to be the Messiah. He then realizes it's all taken place in his mind, and he has truly achieved divinty and become the Messiah in the final moments before his death.

    That's what the divinty of Christ means to me and that's what LAST TEMPTATION presents it as: offered the choice of all the joys and sorrows of simple humanity, Jesus instead took up his cross and died so that all mankind would see salvation. He succeded where anyone else would have failed.

    That's what it really means to be the divine Son of God. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST exists to get this message across, and those who have truly heard and understood the teachings of Jesus will see this and recognize LAST TEMPTATION as the fanstatic work of cinematic and religious art that it is....more info
  • Moving, unique, and thought provoking telling of the story of the Christ...
    This is easily the most controversial film ever made about Jesus (even more so that Gibson's The Passion of the Christ), and also, unlike Gibson's film, rarely seen. It kicked off an enormous amount of controversy that has faded to some degree, but the film was almost impossible to see upon its release in 1988, and when it came to home video. I had to drive 20 miles to an obscure video store (which has closed down) to find it on video. I did, and I adore this film. It isn't perfect (some dialogue is actually quite bad, especially Jesus's voiceover dialogue, and some of the supporting players aren't very good), but overall, it's a visually impressive, passionate, and articulate telling of the Christ story. It's amusing that people picketed this film, as Martin Scorsese (who should have won an Oscar for this film) is Roman Catholic, Paul Schrader, the screenwriter, is a Calvinist, and the original author, Nikos Kazantzakis, was in the Greek Orthodox Church. These men are very, very familiar with the Christ story, and they handle the material with passion, intelligence, and grace. It's quite a moving film, especially in the lengthy final hallucination scene, which is amazing powerful. The title is very accurate for the final scene, the last temptation. Willem Dafoe is very good at Jesus, Barbara Hershey is excellent as Mary Magadelene, and Harvey Keitel is a great Judas. The film differs from the Gospels (which it mentions in the opening credits), but it's still a profound retelling of the greatest story ever told. It is also one of Martin Scorsese's best films, much better than his recent Oscar winner, The Departed. The story of the Christ is one that can be retold over and over again, so there's really no such thing as a "remake/reimagining" about it. I rank this with the great films about Christ, like George Stevens's The Greatest Story Ever Told, Cecil B. DeMille's King of Kings, Franco Zefferelli's Jesus of Narazeth, and Pasolini's The Gospel According to Matthew. All five of them are moving and passionate, yet different at the same time. They are all unique retellings of this story, and this film is one of the most unique. ...more info
  • Neither Moving or Upsetting
    I just don't get the ruckus about this movie, or Harvey Keitel's Biblical Brooklyn accent either. This movie is really neither blasphemous or uplifting. The religious fanatics that were protesting this should really get a life. I've read the Bible numerous times and went to church for years, despite adding events to Christ's life it doesn't demean him, so go watch the Passion again a film that is demeaning to life itself. The film is also over long and over indulgent. Scorsese does this at times, Gangs of New York was another one that ended up kind of sloppy. I often wonder what possesses his choice of casting as well, some of the people in this are just way off base, Willem Dafoe communicates pain and agony well but he is about as uplifting as a trip to the dentist. Harvey Keitel sounds like he's ready to bust a cap in somebody's a##.David Bowie as Pilate, I love David Bowie but he just seemed like he wasn't even sure where he was. Barbara Hershey walks away from this the most unscathed. Just not really sure what people get out of this one to be honest but hey whatever floats your boat....more info
  • jesus reconsidered
    Most Christians dismissed this film as heresy (which it was), but I liked it because it made Jesus very human to me and reminded me that "we do not have a high priest who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15)....more info
  • subtle point - not a full review *CONTAINS SPOILERS*
    I both read the book and saw the movie years ago when it was first released. My recollection is that while Jesus does "marry and/or consummate" with Mary Magdeline as many of the reviewers before me have mentioned, she immediately dies, and he then marries Mary the sister of Lazarus, with whom he raises a family.

    Regardless, I found the duality of man/God as presented in both the book and the movie to be incredibly moving. In fact the "temptation" placed before Jesus in this story seems far more powerful to me than even those placed before him in the books of the New Testament.

    All in all, I loved the book and the soundtrack, and liked the movie....more info
  • After watching it, I was tempted to crucify everyone involved
    What is this crap? It's not believable, it's not Jesus, and it sure isn't art. It's just a waste of time that leaves you feeling strangely unsettled after watching it. The only thought on my mind was "Man, that reeked! That's two and half hours of my life I'll never get back!" And what's with all these know-nothing schmucks claiming it's so BRILLIANT and INSIGHTFUL?! What are you talking about?! As a Christian, I didn't find it so much offensive, as I did seditious. As you're watching it, you can clearly see the messages that the film is trying to convey. Someone out there seems like they are purposely trying to pervert Christian doctrine and spread lies. I can see where this type of misinformation could stick easily to the minds of those not well versed in theology, grasping it as some form of "Christianity they'd like to believe in instead of the more mainstream types". To anyone out there who isn't all that familiar with Christianity, I just want to say that what's in this film is not the way it is. The whole concept of Jesus being a coward and an indecisive lunatic is nonsense. What's even more ridiculous is the idea that He had sins. How can the Son of God (God Himself) have sins? How can the crucifixion of the Son of God mean anything at all, unless the Son of God was without sin? For the crucifixion to have any importance at all, Jesus has to be sinless; He has to pay for the sins He did not commit --those of the world. That's what makes it all worthwhile, not this overly-humanistic and directionless theatrical pity-fest!!! I'll close by saying one more thing: The Last Temptation of Christ is a lot like The Passion of the Christ, only The Passion was good....more info
  • Wouldn't It Be Nice If People Would Actually See The Movies They Hate?
    The Last Temptation of Christ has been one of my favorite films ever since I first watched it on VHS years ago. When I saw it, I had no idea it was the controversial, much-hated work that it apparently is, primarily to those who regard Jesus as too sacred a personage to place within a work of fiction that (they've heard) conflicts with their reverent notions of this most famous individual. I've seen this impressive film many times and have had my share of conversations about it, and one universal theme seems to be present: those who have seen this motion picture speak well of it, and those who haven't scorn it. Such is the world, huh?

    The Last Temptation of Christ brings Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis' finely-woven novel about the life and works of Jesus to the big screen in this vast, gritty, panoramic tale courtesy of master filmmaker Martin Scorsese. The movie depicts a human world still raw in its youth, and a society seething with resistance to oppression, divided from within, conquered from without, as the Jewish people struggle to maintain their identity in the face of a foreign presence that threatens to stifle them as no invader ever quite has.

    In this world lives a simple country man, Jesus of Nazareth, a soul deeply tormented by the conflicting desires that dwell within him. Mirroring his nation, Jesus is one in whom peace is not to be found. Endowed with a sense of purpose, but purpose which mystifies him, the visionary Jesus seeks answers first in an Essene community in the wilderness, later among the outer world, where he preaches and tells parables. Jesus quests to come to know himself and his mission, and in this is aided by his friend and most loyal disciple, the zealot Judas Iscariot, who seeks above all the independence of Judea.

    Does Jesus exist, as Judas hopes, to topple the Roman invaders with violence, or is it Jesus' path to serve his destiny through example and holy works? Above all Jesus feels drawn to step away and live his days in the simplicity of normal life, a husband and father whose back is turned on the world and its evils, and it is via this that Satan tempts Christ, even on the cross. Showing Jesus that which he claims might be his should he merely consent to accept it, the Devil offers a last temptation of a wife and family, and lets Jesus behold the future as it could be.

    The Last Temptation of Christ is probably the greatest and certainly most cerebral film about Jesus ever shot, and has much to offer anyone who sees it with an open mind.
    ...more info
  • Please enter a title for your review
    I watched the first 15 minutes, watched the next 30 minutes on fast forward, then turned it off. I couldn't see what relevence one scene had to the next or even what relevence one characters' line had to the other character's line he was responding to. The guy playing Jesus acted the role with the childlike innocence of an 18 year old and the score sounds like it was recorded on some overused analog tape in a really cheap studio, reminiscent of the b-grade horror films of the time. I guess it's the kind of movie you keep screaming at to convey something coherent but if you manage to make it to the end the few pieces that fit together will seem all the more important for the way in which they were presented. Defintely not a film for someone with a short attention span or anyone who has a need to understand what they're watching as if unfolds. Or maybe you just need to have read the bible to be able to follow it. ...more info
  • Great Movie!
    I am A Conservative Republican, and I Enjoyed this Film! I'd Recommend this movie to anyone(Christians to Non-Christians) That is if you can find this movie. It is a hard movie to find, and it is Expensive too.(I got mine off of E-bay for under $10.00) This movie is worth every penny! The central thesis of the movie is that Jesus, while free from sin, was still subject to every form of temptation that humans face, including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, and lust. By facing and conquering all of man's weaknesses, Christ became the perfect model for our lives; he sacrificed not only on the cross, but throughout his life. He struggled to do God's will, without ever giving in to the temptations of the flesh....more info
  • NOTHING SHORT OF A MASTERWORK!
    For me, this is one of the very few utterly realistic depictions of the life of Christ ever made. Terrific acting, that great Peter Gabriel soundtrack, Scorsese (need say more?), and every other production value you could name, make this one of the all time greats.
    Why in the world did the Psycho Branch of so-called Christians have such a tantrum about this film? I have never seen anything more REVERANT and respectful of the life of Jesus Christ than this brilliant film. Firstly, the story is not purported to be Gospel (a point that the ignorance of Fun!dementedists cannot grasp.); secondly, in the story, Jesus DEFEATS Satan utterly during the last temptation [to become a normal man and live a normal life], and willingly makes the last sacrifice for the sake of all mankind. This is blasphemy??? Only to an ignorant fool.
    Also, this film is brutally realistic in its scathing interpretation of a subject people in the ancient desert. It's dirty, smelly, and even Jesus has bad teeth. This is probably how it may have been in those times.
    The Avatar Jesus Christ has never before been portrayed with such love and respect. Equal consideration has been given to the Christ's role as the Avatar of Miracles, which He was and is.
    So grab this film while you are still allowed to do so. It changed my life for the better, and I am not even a Christian as I believe in Avataristic Succession....more info
  • More than a movie
    This review is response to the bad criticism.

    First of all I will acknowledge that some criticism perhaps is true to some 'artistic' choices, when we speak of cinematic terms: Yes, Harvey Keitel modern accent perhaps was not the best choice; I believe also that some scenes are set like a theater piece, like a play, in the interaction between actors, that may give the impresion to some viewers of 'pedestrian' dialogue; W Daefoe Jesus character may be unsympathetic sometimes, with all his doubts and youthful wit, it does not represent at all the mighty and godly Jesus Christ of every other film about this subject. For all that, Yes, Scorsese is 'guilty'.

    But then, any of above really matters? This movie is like a message and the master of it is that is not controversial at all, only the most jealeous religious fundamentalists cry of hate for this movie, but with time, even some Christians groups now admit that Last Temptation of Christ is a credible and somehow 'correct' account of the Jesus figure. The duality of Man and God, that is what Christ represents, The Son of God. Are'nt we all Sons of God? Are'nt all we made to His image? If Jesus is God and He is human also, why is it bad that He cries, that He suffers, that He is doubtful? Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a poor carpenter, did'nt he have the right to feel fear of the mission God set upon him?? This movie is like a message because it represents what Christianity is all about, and not only that, how it might have formed at the beginning, you just have to look a little deeper, you have to trascend this movie as just a movie; and as a movie, there are plenty of moments:

    - When Jesus saves Magdalene from being stoned to death: that's Jesus!
    - When the Baptist recognizes Jesus and baptized him, is a very powerful scene.
    - Jesus convincing Judas that is Love, not war the answer: that's Jesus! (nothing like 'I am the son of God teaching you poor humans', just two persons and friends talking and having an argument, like anyone of us)
    - Jesus resurrecting Lazarus, is eerie, filled with the scent of death, and then the greatest miracle..
    - Peter Gabriel soundtrack is marvelous, his original music and how he fusion it with Eastern typical sounds: Peter Gabriel is a genius!
    - The filming was done on location in Morocco, that gives it a very realistic setting: Martin Scorsese is a genius!

    Through the whole film the divinity of Jesus is not questioned. Perhaps there is a scene that some faithful believers will not dig at all, and in my opinion is very important in the film: when in his temptation (an hallucination) Jesus is confronted by Paul, where in a rationalistic manner Paul tells him that Jesus message is more important than Jesus himself, and gives the skeptics a very good argument, in practical terms, of how Christianity became the one of the greatest religions.
    The fictional account of Jesus making crosses might dislike some, but remember that the producers disclaim that the movie is NOT based in the gospels and that it is "fictional". Yet, you can find some of the most important events that the Gospels describe, the rage at the market: "God is an inmortal spirit that belongs to all of us!...you think you are special? God is not an israelite!"; but in the sermon scene, when Jesus preaches Love and the people ran yelling 'kill them!', you can see pretty the same what has happened with the greatest misunderstanding of the Jesus figure: the millions killed in his name. "I did'nt say Death, I said Love!": that's Jesus!

    In the pure sense, Jesus Christ did not want to begin a religion, he did'nt want churches and power, he was one the greatest human beings of all mankind (if not the greatest). I am not a religious person, I don't go to Church, I do not read the Bible, but if I dug the message of this movie I could say that we are all the Son of God, with all our all doubts and fears, that I am revolutionary (in the good sense of the word) and also a man of love: a Christian.

    So if you are a Christian and you haven't seen this movie because you think it might offend your beliefs, my suggestion is that you do not have to worry about it, just free your mind of any conceptualism and you will see the greatest story ever, shown in a movie with an alternative approach done by very talented people.

    P.S. To the people who read the book, please do not compare it to the movie, I haven't read the book, I'm sure is very good (and like most cases, if not all, 'better' than the movie) but this movie stands on its own....more info
  • This isn't what you expect. Be prepared!
    This was a movie not a story. I really didn't get the main character, he wasn't a good Jesus in many ways. His acting was excellent, but the character he played fell short. Also, Harvey Keitel as Judas was not a good fit.

    Since they were the main characters and fell short I was prepared to watch a movie, not a story. Then as I watched I enjoyed it, although it strayed so much from Biblical beliefs that it was just okay for me.

    This movie gave you "what ifs" to think about, so in a sense I was okay with it. What I did not like again was the cast of characters, they did not meet expectations for the role they played.

    If you watch this don't expect a biblical version, its ok to enjoy a couple hours being entertained. Thats all it is, nothing else. This movie did not wow me nor did it truly disappoint me.

    It follows Jesus as a man, with conflicts like the rest of man. It portrays Jesus as someone like the rest of us with struggles and conflicts. Be prepared.

    Its not a must see....more info
  • The Gospel according to Kazantzakis
    Magnificent! This is a wonderful production that brings alive Kazantzakis' conception of Joshua the man destined to become the Christ for later ages. Jesus is portrayed here as a normal man who must come to terms with the mortifying fate that he knows awaits him. The book/movie is about Jesus's grapple with his true nature and the journey from being a reluctant messiah to embracing his place on the crucifix. The Jesus of the "The Last Temptation" is not a sectarian one (viz the "God is not an Israelite" exclamation at the Temple) nor even the familiar Christian deity of today.

    I am aware that this work is considered a blasphemy by a section of the society for ostensibly including some intimate scenes of Jesus and straying from the agglomerated Gospel accounts. The real reason I suspect is that they are unable to come to terms with the idea of a mortal Jesus, a human Jesus, a Jesus who harbors doubt and conflict and delusion, a Jesus who is susceptible to temptation, and yet triumphs in the end over both doubt and temptation and embraces his destiny. But it is this very real flesh and blood portrayal that makes the viewer empathize with the Nazarene and feel the enormous burden that he carries in his heart. The real blasphemy I say is the inability to see beyond the superficial into the soul of Kazantzakis' tale. This work is straight from the heart and vibrates with spiritual energy.

    Martin Scorsese has captured this energy well through great shoot locations, wonderful haunting music by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (a great Sufi singer) and Peter Gabriel, and great performances by Wilhelm Defoe and Harvey Keital. The choice of using the actors' natural accents works very well as it brings out the authenticity in their dialogues.

    One last thing - the dream sequence in the end bears somewhat uncanny resemblance to the post crucifixion accounts of Jesus in the Islamic tradition and even as per the accounts of the Russian explorer Nikolai Notovitch (who discovered an account of Jesus in India within the Hemis monastery in Ladakh India)or even in the Bhavishya Purana (the Hindu book of prophecy). It would be interesting to discover if Kazantzakis was aware of these traditions and incorporated them into the more traditional account of the Gospels as a dream/hallucination sequence.

    Do watch this movie with an open mind!!...more info
  • What's wrong with the pious?
    THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST is a beautifully made and thoughtful film. It explores the life of Christ by looking at the fully human aspect of his nature as well as at his divinity. By doing so it allows everyone to see that the choice to make the right, just and spiritual decision is full of struggle and internal opposition, but that it is possible. The movie explores forgiveness, perhaps the most difficult of spiritual choices, and it shows the rocky road to getting to forgiveness. The dual aspect of Christ's nature is at the heart of Christianity and it is sad that the pious couldn't see that in this heartfelt and serious film. From a cinematic and artistic point of view, Scorsese captures the fevered hallucinogenic quality of the Kazantzakis' book brilliantly. This is an important film. It is a loss to the narrow-minded that they could not and would not see the film....more info
  • Why is this offensive???
    I do not understand the controversy that surrounded this movie. The director assumes the divinity of Jesus but tries to show us how it may have been to assume the role as son of god, how hard that may have been. This movie truly accepts jesus as god! Jesus can heal people and even raise them from the dead. Why is this controversial? I've read the bible--a few times, actually--and was raised in a conservative christian home. I do not see anything blasphemous about this movie. I wouldn't care if the movie was heretical--I am an atheist and don't give a crap about insulting a god that doesn't exist. However, I understand people have strong feelings for their religion, and the fact is, they have totally misinterpreted this movie because it does not violate ANY christian views or principals. Come on people, get out your DVD player, your bible, your brain, and sit down to an amazing look at what Jesus's life may have been like. It is a fantastic experience! Enjoy!...more info
  • needs to be seen
    i've been wanting to see this for so long because of it's controversial content and the fact that christian fundamentalists thought it so horrid to try and ban it from ever being seen.finally it is available and i am glad that i've been able to see it.the story is faithful to the life of jesus and asks the question,what if jesus had given in to temptation during his most desperate hour.willem dafoe plays the lead better than i've ever seen jesus portrayed.barbra hershey plays magdalene,harvey keitel plays judas,harry dean stanton,abe farrara and david bowie also star in this film directed exquisitely by martin scorsese.this should be seen and not hated for it's contoversial content.the temptation is not what you might think and everything is done in good taste.beautifully photographed,great soundtrack,story and acting are all good.i can't stress enough the fact on how great this film really is.it definitely belongs in the top 100 of all-time.remember it is just a movie,that makes you think.so open up your mind and take a chance,it is well worth the wait....more info