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The Last Temptation of Christ


Jesus (Willem Dafoe), a humble Judean carpenter beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into revolutionary action against the Roman occupiers by Judas (Harvey Keitel) -- despite his protestations that love, not violence, is the path to salvation. The burden of being the savior of mankind torments Jesus throughout his life, leading him to doubt. As he is put to death on the cross, Jesus is tempted by visions of an ordinary life married to Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey).

Actors: Steve Shill , Gary Basaraba , Barry Miller , Roberts Blossom , Verna Bloom , Paul Greco , Harry Dean Stanton , David Bowie , Barbara Hershey , Harvey Keitel , Willem Dafoe
Directors: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA , CANADA
Release: 1988-09-22
More Info:
  • Staff (Not Credited)

    Powerful, haunting, and at times very moving, The Last Temptation of Christ presents its account of the events and conflicts of Christ's life with a depth of dramatized feeling and motivation that renders them freshly compelling.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    The crucifixion is the strongest such scene of all time. [26 Aug 1988]

    USA Today Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Here is a film that engaged me on the subject of Christ's dual nature, that caused me to think about the mystery of a being who could be both God and man. I cannot think of another film on a religious subject that has challenged me more fully. The film has offended those whose ideas about God and man it does not reflect. But then, so did Jesus.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    The power to provoke may not always have a smoke-to-fire relationship with greatness but with Scorsese's film, a testament of faith that leaves in the question marks, it undeniably does.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Staff (Not Credited)

    A film of challenging ideas, and not salacious provocations, The Last Temptation of Christ is a powerful and very modern reinterpretation of Jesus as a man wracked with anguish and doubt concerning his appointed role in life.

    Variety Full Review
  • Staff (Not Credited)

    In an age of post-Christian facetiousness, Martin Scorsese's work daringly attempts to restore passion and melodrama to the Gospel story. Protests notwithstanding, the film is an affirmation of faith in the power of both the Gospel and the movies.

    Time Full Review
  • Kim Newman

    This was controversial at the time and that put alot of people off, believing that the film was probably all hype, but this is a respectful and complex work of fiction around the concepts of the biblical character and his life.

    Empire Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    It's a lovely, measured and deeply earnest work. It balances a realistic view of first century Palestine against a sincere consideration of how an ordinary man might learn he is divine. Full Review
  • Janet Maslin

    despite such maladroit moments, The Last Temptation of Christ finally exerts enormous power. 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.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Desson Howe

    Temptation is visually and aurally stupendous. But the most obvious strength in this commendably bold project is Willem Dafoe's performance as Jesus.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Hal Hinson

    The Last Temptation of Christ, Martin Scorsese's provocative, punishing, weirdly brilliant adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' novel, has a feverish intensity. And undeniably, there's a prodigious greatness on display here. But just as undeniably, it is failed work.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    The efforts to plant this story in a contemporary vernacular are not always successful but the performances are uniformly fine in their adherence to the material, and consistently avoid any vulgarity or showboating.

    Chicago Reader Full Review