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The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) (1988)

Willem Dafoe , Harvey Keitel , Martin Scorsese  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (361 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Paul Greco, Steve Shill, Verna Bloom
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 164 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (361 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559409037
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,143 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New widescreen digital transfer, approved by the filmmakers
  • New Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack by original supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay
  • An extensive collection of research materials, production stills and costume designs
  • Location production footage shot by Scorsese himself
  • Video interview with composer Peter Gabriel, plus! a stills gallery of the instruments used in the films

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

Criterion's release of Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ effectively presents both the film's beauty and controversy. Produced on an extremely tight budget, The Last Temptation of Christ has a very epic feel that is wonderfully captured on this DVD. Though a few specks and scratches are apparent throughout the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, the overall visual quality is quite sharp and vibrant. The newly mastered Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a phenomenal improvement, noticeably enhancing ambient sounds, dialogue, and Peter Gabriel's moving soundtrack. There are various added extras that really put the f'lm’s content into perspective. The stellar commentary track includes director Martin Scorsese, star Willem Dafoe, screenwriter Paul Schrader, and film critic Jay Cocks candidly discussing various aspects of the production, including the initial obstacles, extensive research, and notorious controversial elements. This is a great DVD for fans and an informative one for those who wish to see past its notoriety. --Rob Bracco

Product Description

At last, Martin Scorsese's most personal masterpiece can be seen outside of the controversy it engendered, and be seen for what it is: a l5-year labor of love. Nikos Kazantzakis' landmark novel comes to breathtaking life in this moving and spiritual film. The all-star cast includes Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie, and Willem Dafoe as Jesus. Criterion is proud to present this cinematic treasure in an exclusive Director Approved special edition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
164 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen to the commentary - much revealed May 28, 2004
First of all, this area is SUPPOSED to be for reviews of this movie, not dire warnings of damnation if one watches it. It is JUST a movie....something tells me Jesus and his believers can survive it. Please don't turn this forum into a religious debate.
I think anyone who purchases this DVD edition of the film should definitely go back and listen to the director/actor/screenwriter commentary included with the film. In it, Marty and the screenwriter explain why they used the actors they did, and why they used today's vernacular. They had the characters speak this way so that the viewer is more aware that the players in the New Testament WERE human, just like us. Marty believed that the stilted English of the King James Court, with its "thou's" and "ye's" (and having absolutely NO relation to the way people spoke at the time) serves to distance modern viewers from the pain and doubt that both Jesus has his followers underwent.
Marty also was desperate to counter the prevalent depiction of Jesus in film that has him 100% "divine", with a golden light shining behind his head, with the divine little smile and the gentle words. He wanted to use the idea in the Bible that Jesus was also fully human, subject to both physical AND mental anguish. The latter is the point that Gibson missed in his film. Anyone who has ever lost a child or had to make an agonizing decision knows that mental anguish can be as painful as any physical torment. This movie is about the true temptation Jesus underwent, to deny God and run away from his destiny. All of us can identify with that.
I find this Jesus far more compelling than the Jesus I grew up with in Sunday school. This Jesus is not perfect. He hurts and has soubts and depressions like I do. And yet he gives his body and mind to God in the end.
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163 of 197 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars most misunderstood of all modern movies February 24, 2004
By S B
While the film is not as authentic as the upcoming "The Passion of the Christ" (where Aramaic is used), it was much more realistic and gritty than previous film portrayals. What really adds to the drama of the film is the soundtrack by Peter Gabriel.
Having received 12 years of Catholic school education, culminating when this film was released, I was amused to read the incredible outpouring of emotions by narrow-minded Christians against this film, both at the time is was released and in the reviews. To me, a sure-fire sign of narrow-mindedness is their utter inability to appreciate art for what it is and the fact (evident from their reviews) that they have not even seen the movie. My faith was not so weak as to refuse to entertain artistic explorations and alternative viewpoints.
Although not wholly based on the scriptures, the theme of this film IS based more upon the very nature of Jesus Christ himself. That is, the film and the book both attempt to dramatically explore the contradictions associated with the dual identity of Jesus as both God and man - a schitzophrenic combination indeed.
In this film, Jesus as man resists God's call, at age 30, to take up his role as spiritual savior. Jesus-as-man IS tempted by his own thoughts and doubts (manifested by Satan), the last temptation occuring in a stupor as he hangs dying on the cross - the opportunity of becoming all man. This post-death illusion sequence, where Jesus goes on to marry Mary Magdeline and see the dire consequences of such a course of action, covers the last 3rd or so of the film.
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137 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie entered my soul...and stayed. March 23, 1999
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
The deep spiritual feelings that this movie makes me harbor have changed the way I see the world forever. I can almost feel the pains that Jesus must have went through on the cross physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Even though this account of Jesus' life is fictional, the viewer can see and feel the true sacrifice that Jesus made by giving His life on the cross and the struggle it took to get there. Although this movie is condemned by many (most of whom didn't even see it), my personal relationship with God was strengthened by it, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Willem DaFoe was strong, passionate, and yet vulnerable as the Son of God, and Harvey Keitel was masterful in his portrayal of a very believable Judas who helped Jesus in ways many never realized possible (fictional of course). The soundtrack by Peter Gabriel is haunting and moving, and is just one more reason that makes this Scorsese film a true work of art. Though it is not the greatest movie ever made, it is a great movie just by the way it makes you think and feel. I love to watch this movie around Christmas and especially Easter because it always brings me closer to God through Christ. All I have to do is think about this movie and it makes my heart warm, and all the cares of the world are made that much lighter. The role of Satan in this movie really hits home with how tricky he can be, and I think it gives me just another weapon in my own struggle between good and evil - spirit and flesh. You must remember that this is not the true story of Jesus Christ... this story is symbolic of our own personal struggles to become more Christ-like. Christ never faultered in His destiny... but we have, and we will.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars New spin, old story
It's hard to separate a story I've heard more than a couple of times from the movie. Did pretty good until the Guardian Angel/just a Jewish carpenter with a few kids part.
Published 24 days ago by publica domain
4.0 out of 5 stars Christ the man
Realism. Showed Christ as a man and yet portrayed his divinity in his ability to love even in the face of insult.
Published 27 days ago by margarita reynes
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning take on the sacrifice and what it means to man
Thank YOU Lord Jesus Christ for giving your life for us, for finally putting up and shutting up and sacrificing your own begotten flesh so that we may have a personal relationship... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Lorin Stoll
4.0 out of 5 stars A very human movie...about a very human Savior
The Last Temptation of Christ isn't a perfect film by any means. Not necessarily for its blasphemous content, but as a film itself. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars A Misunderstood Classic
With The Last Temptation of Christ, Scorsese creates a jaw-dropping character study that is every bit as polarizing and radical as its central figure. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MoVwatcher20
1.0 out of 5 stars The Last Tempation Of Christ Was Terrible
I have only seen part of this evil film that was so ridiculous, and an obvious attack against the true character of our Lord and savior. Read more
Published 1 month ago by William Mills
3.0 out of 5 stars Uninteresting and Too Slow.
Viewed: 2/14
Rate: 5

2/14: If I told you that Martin Scorsese directed The Last Temptation of Christ, you will probably find it hard to believe. But he did. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Austin Somlo
1.0 out of 5 stars Somebody should have read the Bible
Suggesting that Jesus tried to get out of what he was called to do by making crosses for the Romans? Please! They did not get the actual temptations right. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alicia Simpson
1.0 out of 5 stars Satanic Garbage!
Jesus Christ is fully God and in His carnation He was fully human. To disparage either nature is heresy. This is the Jesus that stoned atheist wish existed. Read more
Published 3 months ago by William Spencer
5.0 out of 5 stars Christs Temptation
I've seen this film a ton of times and loved it. This Criterion Collection version is so clear and HD. I enjoyed it even more as if I was seeing it in the theatre. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jesus Galindo
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