Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Norman Jewison's film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice stage success examines the last weeks in the life of Jesus (Ted Neeley). The concept of the film is of a group of contemporary players who perform production numbers in a barren desert (the film was shot in Israel).
Rating:
G
Genre:
Drama , Musical & Performing Arts , Faith & Spirituality
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Universal Studios

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Cast

Ted Neeley
as Jesus Christ
Carl Anderson (II)
as Judas Iscariot
Yvonne Elliman
as Mary Magdalene
Meir Israel
as Priest
Josh Mostel
as King Herod
Barry Dennen
as Pontius Pilate
Larry Marshall
as Simon Zealotes
Robert LuPone
as Apostle
Bob Bingham
as Caiaphas
Pi Douglas
as Apostles
Jeffrey Hyslop
as Apostle
Thommie Walsh
as Apostle
Jonathan Wynne
as Apostle
Baayork Lee
as Woman
Noam Cohen
as Temple Guard
Pi Douglass
as Apostle
Larry T. Marshall
as Simon Zealotes
David Devir
as Apostle
Richard Orbach
as Apostle
Shooki Wagner
as Apostle
Sally Neal
as Woman
Judith Daby
as Woman
Adaya Pilo
as Woman
Riki Oren
as Woman
Lea Kestin
as Woman
Zvulun Cohen
as Priest
David Rfjwan
as Priest
Amity Razi
as Priest
Avi Ben-Haim
as Priest
Haim Bashi
as Priest
David Duack
as Priest
Steve Boockvor
as Roman Soldier
Peter Luria
as Roman Soldier
David Barkan
as Roman Soldier
Danny Basevitch
as Roman Soldier
Cliff Michaelevski
as Roman Soldier
Tom Guest
as Roman Soldier
Stephen Denenberg
as Roman Soldier
Didi Liekov
as Roman Soldier
Doron Gaash
as Temple Guard
Zvi Lehat
as Temple Guard
Moshe Uziel
as Temple Guard
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Critic Reviews for Jesus Christ Superstar

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (3)

The music quickly becomes monotonous, and the operatic dialogue is silly right from the start.

Full Review… | March 19, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Despite the 'impressive' desert locations and an array of tanks (to represent the ills of modern militarism), it's still staged like a student revue.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Jewison, a director of large talent, has taken a piece of commercial shlock and turned it into a Biblical movie with dignity.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Dated, unconventional rock opera has some violence.

Full Review… | April 1, 2015
Common Sense Media

Yvonne Elliman is electrifying as Mary Magdalene, and Carl Anderson couldn't have been better as Judas; but Ted Neeley as Jesus is more whiny than heroic.

Full Review… | March 19, 2008
TV Guide

If it weren't for Lost Horizon, this would have gone down in history as the Worst Musical of 1973.

Full Review… | March 19, 2008
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Jesus Christ Superstar

½

A super tacky rock opera that looks awfully outdated and has only a few good songs amid many horrible ones (of course, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice), but even worse is how it soon becomes a tedious, inconsequential series of Biblical events after a promising beginning.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

This film is about the week before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Romans, and the relationship between Jesus and Judas. Also, if the title doesn't tip you off to the epic power of this film, it is also a musical. A rock opera at that, written and scored by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. There isn't a great need for historical accuracy, or Biblical accuracy at that, and many points in the film have come up for dispute in the Christian community. The film actually took pains to sanitize itself in comparison to the original musical so not to offend them, though most of the time there is little difference between both. Though it may not be useful as an educational tool for the dogma of the Christian religion, it does teach about the relationship between the messiah and one of his apostles, and the way Jesus struggled through the end of his life, ending up very human and yet above it all with his sacrifice for the sins of everyone. He is damned, he does go before Pontius Pilate, and he does end his story with his crucifixion. The musical itself is a blatant anachronism of the seventies and the times of Jesus, fusing the savior's concepts of salvation with the free love and ambivalence of the sixties. The music in the first twenty minutes is the best of the entire musical and features the amazing pipes of Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, and Yvonne Elliman. The rest of the music (which is the only way the plot moves since there isn't any dialogue) is fairly rock opera-esque, but it's not until the final song that the music starts becoming huge and rock once more. The rest is slow and bleak as it tells the story of Jesus and how he must take the punishment of the Romans and his sacrifice. His and Judas' relationship in the film is really quite interesting and Carl Anderson's performance as Judas is both complex and understated. Ted Neeley is a bit of a shifty eyed pessimistic throughout, and I do believe his performance does not deserve the accolades it brought, or the forty year career he's had playing the character on Broadway. The film did do something different with the traditional musical when it came to sets, characters, in-jokes, and costumes, and that anachronism and tie to contemporary music made the story more accessible for an entirely new generation. Though the film drags in places it is definitely enjoyable and interesting when it came to the original story of frenemies.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

½

A surreal portrait of Jesus with a mix of 70's and music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Jesus Christ Superstar it's also a tense, unique and sometimes boring, but the soundtrack and the oddity made this controversial cult classic charming musical a likable movie.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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