Berlinale: Programme


The Last Temptation of Christ

Die letzte Versuchung Christi

Jesus, a Jewish carpenter from Bethlehem, who makes the crosses that the Roman occupiers use for executions, hears the voice of God. He gathers disciples around him and travels the land performing miracles. Judas, tasked with winning him over to the political resistance, also joins the group. In Jerusalem, Jesus brings down the ire of the religious and secular authorities upon himself. But it is not until Judas betrays him that he is captured and nailed to a cross. Whereupon a guardian angel appears to him … In Martin Scorsese’s extremely controversial film adaptation of the eponymous novel, the redeemer is confronted with a range of worldly temptations, giving Dafoe a platform for one of his most powerful onscreen performances. The actor, who was just 33 when the film premiered, proved to be the perfect casting for a “son of man” haunted by doubts. On the one hand, he gave credible expression to the religious fervour of a protagonist who became increasingly convinced of his mission. On the other hand, his powerful physical presence made for a vivid incarnation of the Bible’s “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

USA / Canada 1988


163 min · Colour · 2K DCP

Rating R16


Willem Dafoe
Harvey Keitel
Paul Greco
Steven Shill
Verna Bloom
Barbara Hershey
Irvin Kershner
Harry Dean Stanton
Peter Berling
David Bowie


Martin Scorsese
Paul Schrader, based on the novel “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1960) by Nikos Kazantzakis
Director of Photography
Michael Ballhaus
Thelma Schoonmaker
Peter Gabriel
Skip Lievsay
Production Design
John Beard
Art Director
Andrew Sanders
Jean-Pierre Delifer
Manlio Rocchetti
Barbara De Fina

Produced by

Testament Productions für/for Universal Pictures Corp.


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