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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 35,067

My Rating

Movie Info

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 His 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



Apr 25, 2000

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (8) | DVD (20)

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

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
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A film of challenging ideas, and not salacious provocations.

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
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A sincere, typically ambitious and imaginative work from America's most provocatively intelligent film-maker.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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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.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Dares us to reconcile our spiritual and physical selves.

April 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Martin Scorsese's long-ripening adaptation ... provides a much-needed corrective, focusing its attention on a man who is constantly plagued by doubts.

May 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

All the characters in the film speak as people in today's modern society speak, and I would argue that's one of the things that make The Last Temptation of Christ so approachable.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source:

Quietly radical and deeply inspiring . . . thanks to a fervid commitment by Willem Dafoe as Jesus, a swirling, cross-cultural score from Peter Gabriel and some thrilling interpretations of the Bible. The ending is a rare moment of transcendence on film.

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

This is a respectful and complex work of fiction around the concepts of the biblical character and his life.

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Go on, give in to temptation.

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Despite moments of power and beauty, Scorsese's controversial film is flawed largely due to its casting, anachronistic dialogue, and blend of acting styles; yet it's a typical Scorsese film, dealing with sin, guilt, and redemption

August 27, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comments (3)

A bold and imaginative portrait of the life of Jesus of Nazareth and his struggles.

May 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Scorsese's film is a work of passion and faith, and admirable for the way it fearlessly explores its themes, disregarding canonical dogma in search of human truth.

March 31, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

One of the more daring, intense and hypnotic Bible films ever made.

February 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Stunning and heartfelt; Scorsese at the height of his power and artistry

March 11, 2005
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Overrated and dull

October 29, 2004 | Comments (5)
Lawrence Journal-World

El hecho es, que de no haber tocado un tema tan ampuloso y tan hiriente la cinta tenía madera para ser un clásico cinematográfico.

July 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinenganos

É justamente a fragilidade do lado humano de Jesus e seu esforço para contorná-la que o tornam tão fascinante.

March 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

[A] Jesus flick I can get behind, even as an atheist....

March 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher | Comments (3)
Flick Filosopher

There is a God in the film, and it pursues Jesus throughout.

September 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Last Temptation of Christ

Review coming to on 8/9
July 27, 2013

Super Reviewer

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 papal 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 19, 2012

Super Reviewer

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 Christians protested this deeply pious movie when it came out.
September 18, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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 going 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.
March 5, 2012
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

Movies Like The Last Temptation of Christ

    1. Judas Iscariot: Traitor!
    – Submitted by Jamie K (2 years ago)
    1. Jesus Christ: I want God to hate me.
    – Submitted by Jamie K (2 years ago)
    1. Saul: What was it like? Which is better, death or life?
    2. Lazarus: I was very surprised, there was not that much of a difference.
    – Submitted by Jamie K (2 years ago)
    1. Pontius Pilate: It doesn't matter how you want to change things, we don't want them changed.
    – Submitted by Jamie K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die letzte Versuchung Christi (DE)
  • La Dernière tentation du Christ (FR)
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