The Last Temptation of Christ

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Movie Info & Cast


Willem Dafoe plays Jesus Christ in this extraordinarily controversial adaptation of Nikos Kazantzaki'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 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, All Movie Guide


  • Willem Dafoe
  • Harvey Keitel
  • Paul Greco
  • Steve Shill
  • Verna Bloom
  • Barbara Hershey
  • Roberts Blossom
  • Barry Miller
  • Gary Basaraba
  • Irvin Kershner

Did You Know?


  • Willem Dafoe filmed the scene where the cobras crawl into Jesus' hut with an extremely high fever.
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  • When the first man is being crucified, as he yells when the soldier nails his hand, we can see a lot of metal fillings in his upper teeth.
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    • Judas: I struggle, you collaborate.
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Atom User Reviews

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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.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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

Metacritic review by Mike Clark
Mike Clark
USA Today