The birth, life, teachings and death on the cross of Jesus Christ presented almost as a cinema-verite documentary. Applying Neo-Realist methods, writer/director Pier Paolo Pasolini takes Christ out of the opulent church and presents him as an outcast Italian peasant in this expressive interpretation of the greatest story ever told.
Review by David Bruce

Il Vangelo secondo Matteo

This page was created on February 3, 2002
This page was last updated on May 21, 2005

Part 1
Part 2

The life of Jesus Christ
according to the Gospel of Matthew.
Part 2

The Sermon on the Mount
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Matthew 5-7
The Blessings
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down. Blessings Jesus? disciples gathered around him, and he taught them: God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven! God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort! God blesses those people who are humble. The earth will belong to them! God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want! God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy! God blesses those people whose hearts are pure. They will see him! God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children! God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the kingdom of heaven. God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.

Salt and Light
You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on. You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

Don?t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.

Judging Others
Don?t condemn others, and God won?t condemn you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. You can see the speck in your friend?s eye, but you don?t notice the log in your own eye. How can you say, ?My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,? when you don?t see the log in your own eye? You?re nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend?s eye. Don?t give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don?t throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them.

You know that you have been taught, ?An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.? But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek. If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well. If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them. Love You have heard people say, ?Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.? But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what?s so great about that? Don?t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.

When you pray, don?t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. When you pray, don?t talk on and on as people do who don?t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don?t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. You should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don?t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I tell you not to worry about your life. Don?t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn?t life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don?t plant or harvest. They don?t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren?t you worth more than birds? Can worry make you live longer? Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don?t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn?t as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? Don?t worry and ask yourselves, ?Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?? Only people who don?t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God?s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. Don?t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.

The Narrow Gate
Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.

Jesus Heals a Crippled Man
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Matthew 9:1-8
Jesus got into a boat and crossed back over to the town where he lived. Some people soon brought to him a crippled man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, ?My friend, don?t worry! Your sins are forgiven.? Some teachers of the Law of Moses said to themselves, ?Jesus must think he is God!? But Jesus knew what was in their minds, and he said, ?Why are you thinking such evil things? Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? But I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.? So Jesus said to the man, ?Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home.? The man got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were afraid and praised God for giving such authority to people.
The Death of John the Baptist

Matthew 14:1-12
About this time Herod the ruler heard the news about Jesus and told his officials, ?This is John the Baptist! He has come back from death, and that?s why he has the power to work these miracles.?

Herod had earlier arrested John and had him chained and put in prison. He did this because John had told him, ?It isn?t right for you to take Herodias, the wife of your brother Philip.?

Herod wanted to kill John. But the people thought John was a prophet, and Herod was afraid of what they might do. When Herod?s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests. She pleased Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she wanted. But the girl?s mother told her to say, ?Here on a platter I want the head of John the Baptist!?

The king was sorry for what he had said. But he did not want to break the promise he had made in front of his guests. So he ordered a guard to go to the prison and cut off John?s head. It was taken on a platter to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. John?s followers took his body and buried it. Then they told Jesus what had happened.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
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Matthew 14:13-22
(Jesus) crossed Lake Galilee to go to some place where he could be alone. But the crowds found out and followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd. He felt sorry for them and healed everyone who was sick. That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, ?This place is like a desert, and it is already late. Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the villages and buy some food.?

Jesus replied, ?They don?t have to leave. Why don?t you give them something to eat??

But they said, ?We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish.?

Jesus asked his disciples to bring the food to him, and he told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples, and they gave it to the people. After everyone had eaten all they wanted, Jesus? disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftovers. There were about five thousand men who ate, not counting the women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Water
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Matthew 14:22-32
Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into a boat and start back across the lake. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. Then he went up on a mountain where he could be alone and pray. Later that evening, he was still there.

By this time the boat was a long way from the shore. It was going against the wind and was being tossed around by the waves. A little while before morning, Jesus came walking on the water toward his disciples. When they saw him, they thought he was a ghost. They were terrified and started screaming.

At once, Jesus said to them, ?Don?t worry! I am Jesus. Don?t be afraid.?

Peter replied, ?Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.?

?Come on!? Jesus said.

Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward him. But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking.

?Save me, Lord!? he shouted.

Right away, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, ?You surely don?t have much faith. Why do you doubt??

When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down. The men in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, ?You really are the Son of God!?

The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus
Matthew 19:53-58
When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left and went to his hometown. He taught in their meeting place, and the people were so amazed that they asked, ?Where does he get all this wisdom and the power to work these miracles? Isn?t he the son of the carpenter? Isn?t Mary his mother, and aren?t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? Don?t his sisters still live here in our town? How can he do all this?? So the people were very unhappy because of what he was doing. But Jesus said, ?Prophets are honored by everyone, except the people of their hometown and their own family.? And because the people did not have any faith, Jesus did not work many miracles there.
Jesus and the Rich Young Man

Matthew 19:16-29
A man came to Jesus and asked, ?Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life??

Jesus said to him, ?Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments.?

?Which ones?? the man asked. Jesus answered, ?Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself.?

The young man said, ?I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do??

Jesus replied, ?If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.?

When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich. Jesus said to his disciples, ?It?s terribly hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven! In fact, it?s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God?s kingdom.? When the disciples heard this, they were greatly surprised and asked, ?How can anyone ever be saved?? Jesus looked straight at them and said, ?There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.?

Jesus Enters Jerusalem
Clearing The Temple
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Matthew 21:1-11
When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead.

He told them, ?Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, ?The Lord needs them.? Right away he will let you have the donkeys.?

So God?s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, ?Announce to the people of Jerusalem: ?Your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey. He comes on the colt of a donkey.? ?

The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on. Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches which they had cut from trees. Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting, ?Hooray for the Son of David! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hooray for God in heaven above!?

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, ?Who can this be??

The crowd answered, ?This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.?

Jesus in the Temple
Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. He told them, ?The Scriptures say, ?My house should be called a place of worship.? But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.?

Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. The men said to Jesus, ?Don?t you hear what those children are saying??

?Yes, I do!? Jesus answered.

?Don?t you know that the Scriptures say, ?Children and infants will sing praises???

Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.

The Anointing
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Matthew 26:6-13
Jesus was in the town of Bethany, eating at the home of Simon, who had leprosy. A woman came in with a bottle of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus? head. But when his disciples saw this, they became angry and complained, ?Why such a waste? We could have sold this perfume for a lot of money and given it to the poor.?

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said: Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You will always have the poor with you, but you won?t always have me. She has poured perfume on my body to prepare it for burial. You may be sure that wherever the good news is told all over the world, people will remember what she has done. And they will tell others.

The Last Supper

Judas and the Chief Priests
Matthew 26:14-16

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples. He went to the chief priests 15 and asked, ?How much will you give me if I help you arrest Jesus??

They paid Judas thirty silver coins, and from then on he started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus.

Jesus Eats the Passover Meal with His Disciples
Matthew 26:17-25

On the first day of the Festival of Thin Bread, Jesus? disciples came to him and asked, ?Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal??

Jesus told them to go to a certain man in the city and tell him, ?Our teacher says, ?My time has come! I want to eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your home.? ?

They did as Jesus told them and prepared the meal. When Jesus was eating with his twelve disciples that evening, he said, ?One of you will surely hand me over to my enemies.?

The disciples were very sad, and each one said to Jesus, ?Lord, you can?t mean me!?

He answered, ?One of you men who has eaten with me from this dish will betray me. The Son of Man will die, as the Scriptures say. But it?s going to be terrible for the one who betrays me! That man would be better off if he had never been born.?

Judas said, ?Teacher, you surely don?t mean me!? ?That?s what you say!?

Jesus replied. But later, Judas did betray him.

Judas Hangs Himself
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Matthew 27:3-10
Judas had betrayed Jesus, but when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death, he was sorry for what he had done. He returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and leaders 4 and said, ?I have sinned by betraying a man who has never done anything wrong.?

?So what? That?s your problem,? they replied. Judas threw the money into the temple and then went out and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the money and said, ?This money was paid to have a man killed. We can?t put it in the temple treasury.? Then they had a meeting and decided to buy a field that belonged to someone who made clay pots. They wanted to use it as a graveyard for foreigners. That?s why people still call that place ?Field of Blood.?

So the words of the prophet Jeremiah came true, ?They took the thirty silver coins, the price of a person among the people of Israel. They paid it for a potter?s field, as the Lord had commanded me.?

Peter's Denial of Jesus
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Peter Says He Doesn?t Know Jesus
Matthew 26:69-75

While Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, a servant girl came up to him and said, ?You were with Jesus from Galilee.? But in front of everyone Peter said, ?That isn?t so! I don?t know what you are talking about!?

When Peter had gone out to the gate, another servant girl saw him and said to some people there, ?This man was with Jesus from Nazareth.?

Again Peter denied it, and this time he swore, ?I don?t even know that man!?

A little while later some people standing there walked over to Peter and said, ?We know that you are one of them. We can tell it because you talk like someone from Galilee.?

Peter began to curse and swear, ?I don?t know that man!?

Right then a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that Jesus had said, ?Before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don?t know me.?

Then Peter went out and cried hard.

The Crucifixion of Jesus
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Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
Matthew 27:27-30

The governor?s soldiers led Jesus into the fortress and brought together the rest of the troops. They stripped off Jesus? clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. They made a crown out of thorn branches and placed it on his head, and they put a stick in his right hand. The soldiers knelt down and pretended to worship him. They made fun of him and shouted, ?Hey, you king of the Jews!? Then they spit on him. They took the stick from him and beat him on the head with it.

Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
Matthew 27:31-44

When the soldiers had finished making fun of Jesus, they took off the robe. They put his own clothes back on him and led him off to be nailed to a cross. On the way they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and they forced him to carry Jesus? cross.

They came to a place named Golgotha, which means ?Place of a Skull.? There they gave Jesus some wine mixed with a drug to ease the pain. But when Jesus tasted what it was, he refused to drink it.

The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross and gambled to see who would get his clothes. Then they sat down to guard him. Above his head they put a sign that told why he was nailed there. It read, ?This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.?

The soldiers also nailed two criminals on crosses, one to the right of Jesus and the other to his left.

People who passed by said terrible things about Jesus. They shook their heads and shouted, ?So you?re the one who claimed you could tear down the temple and build it again in three days! If you are God?s Son, save yourself and come down from the cross!?

The chief priests, the leaders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses also made fun of Jesus. They said, ?He saved others, but he can?t save himself. If he is the king of Israel, he should come down from the cross! Then we will believe him. He trusted God, so let God save him, if he wants to. He even said he was God?s Son.?

The two criminals also said cruel things to Jesus.

The Death of Jesus
Matthew 27:45-56

At noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until three o?clock. Then about that time Jesus shouted, ?Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?? which means, ?My God, my God, why have you deserted me??

Some of the people standing there heard Jesus and said, ?He?s calling for Elijah.? One of them at once ran and grabbed a sponge. He soaked it in wine, then put it on a stick and held it up to Jesus. Others said, ?Wait! Let?s see if Elijah will come and save him.?

Once again Jesus shouted, and then he died. At once the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and rocks split apart. Graves opened, and many of God?s people were raised to life. They left their graves, and after Jesus had risen to life, they went into the holy city, where they were seen by many people. The officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus felt the earthquake and saw everything else that happened. They were frightened and said, ?This man really was God?s Son!?

Many women had come with Jesus from Galilee to be of help to him, and they were there, looking on at a distance. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were some of these women.

Jesus Is Buried
Matthew 27: 57-66

That evening a rich disciple named Joseph from the town of Arimathea went and asked for Jesus? body. Pilate gave orders for it to be given to Joseph, who took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Then Joseph put the body in his own tomb that had been cut into solid rock and had never been used. He rolled a big stone against the entrance to the tomb and went away. All this time Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb. On the next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees went together to Pilate.

They said, ?Sir, we remember what that liar said while he was still alive. He claimed that in three days he would come back from death. So please order the tomb to be carefully guarded for three days. If you don?t, his disciples may come and steal his body. They will tell the people that he has been raised to life, and this last lie will be worse than the first one.?

Pilate said to them, ?All right, take some of your soldiers and guard the tomb as well as you know how.?

So they sealed it tight and placed soldiers there to guard it.

The Resurrection of Jesus

Matthew 28:1-20
The Sabbath was over, and it was almost daybreak on Sunday when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord?s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it.

The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead.

The angel said to the women, ?Don?t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. He isn?t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying. Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. That is what I came to tell you.?

The women were frightened and yet very happy, as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and greeted them. They went near him, held on to his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said, ?Don?t be afraid! Tell my followers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.?

What Jesus? Followers Must Do

Matthew 28:16-20
Jesus? eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet him. They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted. Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.

Part 1

Subject: Gospel_According_to_St_Matthew
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2002
From: Jason

I just watched this again this last Good Friday, and it is the best movie on the life of Christ I have viewed. Last year I showed the crucifixion scene while playing "Adagio for Strings" (Barber) for a Good Friday service and it was powerful. The cinematography and acting is so beautiful, the actors don't need many words to speak volumes. Thanks for adding a review for this must see movie.

Jason Johnston

Subject: Gospel_According_to_St_Matthew
Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002
From: Darrel Manson

I watched this again for the first time in about 30 years. I slept through most of it when we were suppose to be watching in in college. It is at times hard to keep going with the pacing and the poor subtitles.

 However, it is probably the best Jesus movie ever made. It is interesting that it took a Marxist to make a film that is true to the Gospel. Perhaps because he didn't bring all the church's baggage along with him.

Darrel Manson ><>Artesia Christian Church
ICQ 5624184 ><>Artesia, CA

Age is too high a price to pay for maturity.
-Kudzu by Doug Marlett

The Gospel According to St. Matthew ? 1964 Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The Contemporary English, electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by the American Bible Society.