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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 (375 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Paul Greco, Steve Shill
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Writers: Nikos Kazantzakis, Paul Schrader
  • Producers: Barbara De Fina, Harry J. Ufland
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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 (375 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559409037
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,998 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

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
178 of 196 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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168 of 203 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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141 of 172 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
4.0 out of 5 stars ... portrayed on this film and what he would be like if he lived
Can't really blame it this had made some critics angry on how Jesus is portrayed on this film and what he would be like if he lived, became a normal person just like anyone, and... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Leo C Nadura
4.0 out of 5 stars One (or two) clever films
Last Temptation is really two films. The first two hours is a clever (not great, but clever) re-spin of the Gospels that almost (But not quite) matches the broad outlines of the... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Dan tdaxp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie
Published 15 days ago by Ronald W. Ankney
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Another way of looking at things.
Published 17 days ago by Readeratlarge
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting perspective
Published 29 days ago by mwl2306
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Temptation of Christ
The last Temptation of Christ is an excellent film..even after thirty plus years, this film holds up and looks great..Scorsese has defiantly made a masterpiece here.. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ~Ouija Board~
1.0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs down
My husband remembered watching this movie in a college class years and years ago and talked about how terrific it was. Read more
Published 1 month ago by B. Bell
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute crap. Love the soundtrack
Absolute crap. Love the soundtrack, but Scorcese should be embarrassed by this drivel.
Published 2 months ago by Lee T. Riley
5.0 out of 5 stars Explores Christ as Divine AND Human
The closest anything in recent memory has come to restoring my faith in Christ. You won't find the one-dimensional "super hero Jesus" here.
Published 2 months ago by Anyong
5.0 out of 5 stars love the music score
delivered timely, no blemish on disc , and case , and art work. very enlightening music score, always been a big fan of peter gabriel collection of works. Read more
Published 2 months ago by keda zhang
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