Jesus Christ Superstar (1973): Jewish Movie Musical

In this popular musical, young students in israel do their own version of the last week in Jesus’life.

Directed by Canadian Norman Jewison, and handsomely shot by Oscar winner Douglas Slocombe, the movie is a play-within a play.  It is inspired by the stage musical, which itself was based on the concept album by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice.

The charmin cast includes Ted Neeley as Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas, Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene, and Josh Mostel (son of Zero) as King Herod.


Oscar Nominations: 1

Scoring (Original): Andre Previn, Herbert Spencer, Andrew Lloyd Webber

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Scoring Oscar was Marvin Hamlisch for The Sting

Jesus and Hollywood

As early as the silent movies of pioneer Thomas Edison, The Passion was a theme addressed by the most ambitious and gifted filmmakers.

In 1927, Cecil B. DeMille directed one of the first epics about Jesus life and death in the silent film, The King of Kings.

In 1953, Twentieth Century Fox launched the new CinemaScope technology with The Robe, starring Richard Burton as a Roman tribune who seeks redemption after the crucifixion.

In the 1960s, Biblical epics had become a whole genre unto themselves, with George Stevens creating the monumental The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), featuring lavish sets and an all-star cast of thousands.

In 1965, Pier Paolo Pasolini approached the subject in an entirely fresh way with The Gospel According to St. Matthew, which featured a non-professional cast, a naturalistic (black-and-white) style, and language taken directly from the Bible.

In 1973, The Passion was treated in two counter-cultural musicals: Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.

In 1988, director Martin Scorsese examined Jesus Christs final days in The Last Temptation of Christ, a controversial film based on Nikos Kazantzakis best-selling novel.