After hearing so much uproar about the movie and how it should be  banned, I figured I'd take a look at it for myself to see what all the talk was about. I bought the movie in 1998 and watched it.

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Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000
From: "Mary K."
This wonderful film by Martin Scorcese should not be shunned. I loved how Jesus was a real "man" in this movie. He had fears, doubts and feelings like all of us who struggle with dilemmas and temptations in our daily life.(Willem Dafoe was excellent in this role!) It was so fresh and wonderful to see a movie depicting Jesus this way unlike some previous portrayals where Jesus is all-knowing much too quickly.
One aspect of this film that I really enjoyed was the relationship between Jesus and Judas. Never before have I seen such love and a sense of brotherhood between these two characters. Every movie before this one made Judas out to be a terrible sneaky weasel. Yes, he was a traitor but by the end of this film you felt sorry for poor Judas! This Judas (Harvey Kietel was great too!) was a tell it like it is kind of man. It was touching to see the pain and sorrow in Judas's face and voice when Jesus tells Judas about his dream.
You were right when you wrote that this is a "What If" movie. If people could only see this. If only people were as open-minded and weren't afraid. The story of the video store owner (Tipton) is incredible! I can't believe that some Christians (supposed to be good and kind-hearted?) would carry on like this--making death threats! These people need to re-evaluate their values and ask themselves "Is this what a Christian does?" Fear of the unknown leaves you stagnant! See this movie--open your mind!
PS. The score (soundtrack) for this movie was created by Peter Gabriel. Excellent music!

My response: I do not believe I have heard from a non-believer who claims this movie enhanced their disbelief. I have heard from Christians who blast the film, however. Personally, I do not believe this film has hurt the cause of Christ.

Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000
From: Jeff

i've seen the movie and have read the book. both are beautiful and (i feel) as close to the true account as one can get. christains, please your your shiney clean image of jesus behind you when viewing this movie. to think it blasphemous is to expose your closed minds. last temptation is a story that comes from a man of incredible faith. you should check him out and see how his credits compare to yours.

PS peter gabriel offrers incredible and authentic music.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000
From: Uriah

I've just completed my first screening of the film. Its emotional power is momentous. The important service that it renders is the conveyance of an impression of THE SON OF MAN in terms of the every day human nature and psychology that most of us know from direct experience. The film's premise, as I understand it, is that, at bottom, JESUS AS HUMAN BEING is very much like the rest of us. One of the signal features of this premise is that, on the earthly level, there is no script. Jesus has to live every moment of his life as a unique experience wherein his actions are whatever he choses them to be. This is a fundamental change from previous cinematic portrayals wherein Jesus is a semi-ethereal presence who placidly recites received wisdom as if reading from a script. The impact of a spontaneous, sometimes uncertain Jesus is to deepen the mystery and to deepen the miracle. The gossamer veil that distinguishes THE SON OF MAN from (WO)MAN is perhaps thinner than what we wish for. Faced with the same spontaneous experience of life that faces us all, Jesus was asked to make choices that are even more stupendously difficult that what is commonly understood. Being faced with an urge to claim to be the world's savior with a human brain no less suceptible to self-doubt and a fear of madness than yours or mine must have entailed staggering emotional challenges.

The portrait of Satan has a subtlty that is profound and disturbing. I'm inclinded to generalize and say that the root of all evil is deception. Curiously, the fragility of this Jesus has the effect of deeping the mysteries that surround him. Even Satan's deceptions have a startling, awesome awfulness. Perhaps I've been watching too much Star Trek, but when the demon-as-angel appears at the crucifixtion and coaxes Jesus down and into a peaceful life as a man who marries, fathers children and grows old, I feel that this is much more than an hallucination in the mind of Jesus on the cross. I feel that the entire sequence actually occurs as an alternate reality. In the eleventh hour of this alternate reality, Jesus is awakened by his diciples. By making earnest, direct appeal to the heavenly Father, Jesus is transported back to the first reality upon the cross where he finally fulfills our destiny.


Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999
From:"Ken Greenwell"

It was almost exactly 100 years before that Richard Wagner composed Parsifal. In 1882 Wagner completed the composition of the opera Parsifal and the first performance was at Bayreuth. Robert Gutman, a critic, remarked concerning this opera, "In Parsifal with the help of church bells, snippets of the mass and the vocabulary and paraphernalia of the Passion, he set forth a religion of racism under the cover of Christian legend. Parsifal is an enactment of the Aryans' fight, a struggle, and hope for redemption?the temple scenes are, in a sense, black masses perverting the symbols of the Eucharist and dedicating them to a sinister God". In Parsifal, Wagner attempts to promote an Aryan, Teutonic hero into the Son of God. A woman anoints the feet of the hero with rare perfume and dries them with her hair. In the third act the pure blood of the Aryan Jesus glows with desire to rejoin the blood in the sacred cup. Amfortas who had allowed his blood to mingle with that of the racially inferior Kundry is redeemed while Kundry is reduced to menial grovelling. A parody of the Last Supper is an initiation rite for German knights who make a blood oath to destroy their enemies. Their bread is for strength and power, the wine is to change blood to burning, and they are brothers to fight with holy courage. One author points out that the way to view Parsifal is merely as a sickly, homoerotic fantasy. It was advertised as pious Christian work but as the American critic Robert Gutman points out, Wagner detested Christianity which he saw as "Judiac error perpetuated". It can be more rightly categorized as a "brooding nightmare of Aryan anxiety" and a celebration of high-minded homosexuality. Gutman traces Parsifal's monastic homosexuality to "the not dissimilar fellowship of Ernst Rohm's troops". A study of the opera's libretto in relation to Wagner's writings makes it clear that the point was to Aryanize Christianity by divorcing it from its Jewish beginnings. In his essay 'Heroism and Christianity' written in 1881 as a polemical appendage to Parsifal he explains how the Aryans, the Teutonic leaders of mankind, sprang from the gods, only the lesser races being descended from the apes (a more direct statement than "nature"). Hitler was to carry Wagner's Aryanization of Jesus to the next step by delaring him to have been the son of a Greek soldier in the Roman army of occupation. In another essay 'Religion and Art' Wagner reiterates his doubts as to the Jewishness of Jesus and also takes God to task for being Jewish and anti-vegetarian. . Perhaps there will be some sort similarly malevolent outcome as a result of this movie.
Ken Greenwell

Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999
From: Ken Tipton

You might find this of interest in regards to the film "The Last Temptation
of Christ".
Ken Tipton
Heart of The Beholder" - Background Information

My response: I hope everyone who reads this will take a moment and click to the "Heart of the Beholder" and read your story. Here is a sample:

"In 1988, Martin Scorsese's controversial film - "The Last Temptation of Christ", was released on video. Ken was the cofounder and current Vice-President of the St. Louis chapter of the VSDA (Video Software Dealers Association), and also the only video store owner in St. Louis to carry "Last Temptation". When the Tipton's refused to remove "Last Temptation", the National Federation of Decency (NFD) put pressure on the Prosecuting Attorney to file charges for promoting obscenity... While waiting for trial, the NFD declared war with pickets and boycotts of the Video Library stores. They harassed employees, vandalized stores, and called in bomb scares. Death threats against the couple's children were used on March 22, 1988, when the caller demanded the removal of films he found obscene, or he would see that the couple's children would be "... sent back to God to be reborn unto Christian parents."

Subject: A sinless Christ?
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999
From: Chazz

Yes, Christ was without sin although tempted of all sin! Had He sinned He would be no better than us. Study to show yourselves approved! Before we decide what spirit this is from, we must be ground in the Word of God! This movie does not stand up to Scripture and is blasphemous at the very least!
How about a movie where Truth is the Spoken Word in the movie and not mixed with half-truths! Once again mankind has shown a clear misunderstanding of scriptures. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. I don't see this movie bringing anyone to Salvation!
Ths is only my beliefs.

My response: Hi Chazz. You are good at quoting scripture about the Bible and it's value. But, some how your comments don't connect real well with the film. Perhaps you could explain why you think it is "full of half truths" and "blasphemous."

November 22, 1999.
My reaction was "why all the furor" Can't we dare to think of Christ as experiencing the full depth of human feeling? When we take Jesus Christ out of the Hollywood tabloids, away from being a plaster saint who is above our mean human level, what does this say about the viability of his mission? How meaningless it would be to consider him to be God in human disguise. Wouldn't it be better to say that if God were to come down and walk around on Earth, Jesus Christ gives us a good idea of what God would be like. If his suffering on the cross were just a theological exercise, wherein lies the salvation? It is in Christ's very obedience to the will of God, despite tremendous difficulties and temptations, that salvation lies, the Son of God, the prototype and the first of many sons. Christ is divine to the extent that he reveals the divine in each of us. Willem Dafoe had an extremely difficult role to play, as any actor would in this role, and I am sure Mr. Dafoe did some deep soul searching within himself to perform such a role. I think (and this is a personal opinion) his method was to depict how any of us would react in a similar circumstance. How would we react to being called to save the world?

November 23, 1999.
Last Temptation of Christ is a walk into the side of Jesus many would not dar to face, the human side. The review is exactly on target. So much cinema is filled with a "divine" Jesus and prayerful, confused disciples, this film is full of questions, confusion, and the garce of facing some hard questions. Some of the special effects overdo the point (I understand the theology of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I'm not sure it needed to be that graphic). The three main highlights of the film for me are:
1) Pilate's questioning of Jesus, played very subtly by David Bowie, this is the no-nonsense Pilate that is probably closer to the historical one than a Pilate who doesn't really want to kill Jesus.
2)The last Temptation itself, with its dreamy overtones, remind us that the gift of Christ was so much for us---the reviewer is absoultely right--
3)the Final words of the film----but I don't want to spoil it for anyone---- See the film. I believe that if we can approach this work as I approached the novel in college, as part of the Mission and Message of Jesus course, that to share the dark and the light of who Jesus can be for us calls us to him in even more depth, that is the goal of communicating the gospel.

September 13, 1999. Hello again: I don't know if you have ever reviewed or have an opinion about "The Last  Temptation of Christ." If so, what  did you think of the film?
     When it was first out, I know a lot of video stores refused to carry it. I
am curious. I have viewed your sight this past month. It is excellent! Many of your reviews are better than other columnists (newspaper/magazines).
My best to you & your family,
My response: I plan to have a review up in time for Easter on this film. I believe it is an important film. And, thank you for the kind words.

September 17, 1999.  The traditional definition for the person of Christ is "fully human, fully divine." Most of the popular "Jesus" movies are heretical in that they portray a Jesus who is human only in body, not "fully human." Yet those films will never get protested, despite their heresy, because Christians prefer a Christ who is more divine than human. But when a movie comes along which errs on the side of Jesus' humanity it is "attempting to destroy Christianity." Heaven forbid we present the public with a Jesus they can actually relate to! There were some obvious theological flaws in the movie. According to orthodoxy, Jesus' divinity and humanity were not in conflict, whereas the Jesus of Last Temptation is torn in two. Yet, the movie presents a Jesus which many people who have been pushed out of the Church can relate to. If this image of Christ can succeed in bringing people into relationship with Christ in ways where the Church has failed, then who is really the one destroying Christianity?

July 9, 1999. My favorite film. Watched it at least a dozen times. Cried my eyes out on a few occasions. If I was a Christian I'd be proud.

June 7, 1999. Being a devout Catholic and a big fan of Martin Scorsese, I thought I would have to pick my love of art over my love of God if I very wanted to like the film. but I was mistaken, sure there were things I disagreed with, but than again it was a work of fiction. I loved the way the apostles talked to each other, they talked like real people! Not these holy figures on a pedestal, and finally when Christ overcame his temptation he said "it is accomplished" in a small smile. It brought me closer to Jesus not farther away. Though I don't think it's the written proof its a beautiful film. Praise God! --Elliot G.

April 15, 1999. This is one of the great films of our time. As an Art Instructor at a community college, I give an assignment for debate on controversial art of the twentieth century. This film is included on the list and it is picked more often than any other subject title on the list that I provide. Each time it is presented in class for debate, it creates a lot of dialog on both sides of the issue-- whether it should have been made-- is it sacrilege-- or is it a very good film that provokes thought and communication. I've seen it dozens of times and each time I view it I learn more about it, about my faith, about the interpretations of the film as well as The Bible. I recommend that whoever sees this film sees it twice or three times to get it all! --DS

April 2, 1999. This is not the film that Christians made it out to be. It was a wonderful exploration into the faith of a spiritually searching man, and all we could do was complain about it says how Hollywood is trying to destroy the Christian faith! The boycotts and the protests have done irreversable damage to the Christian faith in Hollywood. And for what? A film that has made Jesus a real person for a new generation. I know of people who became Christians because of this film. I also know of Hollywood executives who will probably never consider the claims of Christ because of Christendom's reaction to this film.

April 2 1999 Just finished this movie shortly after midnight, Easter morning, and I was transported! This is an astonishing movie: brilliant, reverent, utterly beautiful. I agree completely with A.P. Weaver and especially love the use of WHAT IF - (that is the exact phrase that came to me) - it's the perfect "what if...!" And it IS the most human portrayal of Christ I have ever seen, as well. I was bowled over by Defoe. His performance was exquisite. What any thinking Christian could object to is beyond me. Yes, it was "imaginative" but wonderfully so. The end result of the entire film points irrevokably to the triumph and glory of God through His Son, our Saviour. When he cries from the cross "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani!", Christ feels the agony of separation from God - this is Biblical- and this is where the biggest "what if" kicks in. And we get to feel the horror -what if He DID get down?! Maybe we need to imagine that to truly know the elation we, I, experienced, when Defoe, as Christ, radiantly declares "IT IS ACCOMPLISHED!"  This film did nothing but make me love my Savior all the more and greet this Easter morning with renewed joy and conviction. See this movie!!! It is a vibrant blessing!! (Mr. Weaver -THANK YOU for your truly fine review. And Feb.19th - "plain stupid" is a possiblity...) --Val

March 16, 1999. This movie forces us to see Christ in a different light. It is good because we can identify with someone from God who is truly a brother not a magical sinless robot.--Helen Gabelli,

Feb 19 1999, This is the greatest movie ever made and who ever says differant is plain stupid. With the great talent of scorscase to the great acting of Willen Dafoe And Hivey, you cant go wrong with this movie


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