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The Passion of the Christ
Directed by Mel Gibson
Produced by Bruce Davey
Mel Gibson
Stephen McEveety
Enzo Sisti
Written by Benedict Fitzgerald
Mel Gibson
Starring James Caviezel
Maia Morgenstern
Monica Bellucci
Hristo Naumov Shopov
Mattia Sbragia
Rosalinda Celentano
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Editing by John Wright
Studio Icon Productions
Distributed by Newmarket Films
Release date(s) February 25, 2004 (2004-02-25)February
Running time 'Theatrical Cut':
125 minutes
'Unrated Director's Cut':
Director's Cut:
Country United States
Language Aramaic
Budget $30 million
Gross revenue $611,899,420[1]

The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 film directed, co-written and co-produced by Mel Gibson. It is based on the New Testament accounts of the arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, events commonly known as The Passion. The film’s dialogue is in Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew, with subtitles. It is the highest grossing non-English language and R-rated film ever.[2]



The film opens in Gethsemane in medias res as Jesus prays and is tempted by Satan, while his apostles, Peter, James, and John sleep. After receiving thirty pieces of silver, one of Jesus' other apostles, Judas Iscariot, approaches with the temple guards and betrays Jesus with a kiss. As the guards move in to arrest Jesus, Peter cuts off the ear of Malchus, but Jesus heals the ear. The temple guards arrest Jesus and the apostles flee. John tells Mary and Mary Magdalene of the arrest, and Peter follows Jesus at a distance. Caiaphas holds a trial of Jesus over the objection of some of the other priests, who are expelled from the court. When questioned by Caiaphas whether he is the son of God, Jesus replies "I AM." Caiaphas is horrified and tears his robes, and Jesus is condemned to death for blasphemy. Three times Peter denies knowing Jesus, but then runs away sobbing. Meanwhile, the remorseful Judas attempts to return the money to have Jesus freed, but is refused by the priests. Tormented by demons, he flees the city and hangs himself with a rope from a dead donkey.

Caiaphas brings Jesus before Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death, but after questioning Jesus, Pilate sends him instead to the court of Herod Antipas, as Jesus is from Herod's ruling town of Nazareth. After Jesus is returned, Pilate offers the crowd that he will chastise Jesus and then will set him free. Pilate attempts to have Jesus freed by giving the people an option of freeing Jesus or the violent criminal Barabbas. To Pilate's dismay, the crowd demands to have Barabbas freed and Jesus killed. In an attempt to appease the crowd, Pilate has Jesus brutally scourged and mocked with a crown of thorns, yet the crowd continues to demand that Jesus be crucified. Pilate is left with no choice but to reluctantly order Jesus' crucifixion.

As Jesus carries the cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, Veronica wipes Jesus's face with her veil. Simon of Cyrene is unwillingly pressed into carrying the cross for Jesus. Jesus is then crucified. As he hangs from the cross, Jesus prays forgiveness for those who did this to him, and redeems a criminal crucified next to him. After Jesus gives up his spirit and dies, a single drop of rain falls from the sky, triggering an earthquake which destroys the Temple and rips the cloth covering the Holy of Holies in two, to the horror of Caiaphas and the other priests. Satan is then shown screaming in defeat in Hell. Jesus is lowered from the cross by one of the priest, roman soldiers, John and Mary Magdalene to his mother Mary, who looks directly at the audience in this Pietà. The movie ends with Jesus's resurrection and exit from his tomb, with the holes in his hands from the nails visible as he walks, having triumphed over Satan's temptation and Death.


In The Passion: Photography from the Movie "The Passion of the Christ," Gibson says "This is a movie about love, hope, faith, and forgiveness. He [Jesus] died for all mankind, suffered for all of us. It's time to get back to that basic message. The world has gone nuts. We could all use a little more love, faith, hope, and forgiveness."

He also explains one of his appearances in the film, the close-up of his hands nailing Jesus to the cross: "It was me that put Him on the cross. It was my sins [that put Jesus there]."

Source material

New Testament

According to director Mel Gibson, the primary source material for The Passion of the Christ is the four Gospel narratives of Christ's passion. The film also draws from other parts of the New Testament. The line spoken by Jesus, "Behold Mother, I make all things new," is taken from the Book of Revelation.[3]

Old Testament

The Passion of the Christ also references the Old Testament. The film begins with an epigraph from the Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant from Isaiah.[4] In the opening scene set in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus crushes a serpent's head in direct visual allusion to Genesis 3:15.[5] Throughout the film, Jesus quotes from the Psalms, beyond the instances recorded in the New Testament.

Traditional iconography and stories

Many of the depictions in The Passion of the Christ deliberately mirror traditional representations of the Passion in art. For example, the fourteen Stations of the Cross are central to the depiction of the Via Dolorosa in The Passion of the Christ. All of the stations are portrayed except for the eighth station (Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, a deleted scene on the DVD) and the fourteenth station (Jesus is laid in the tomb). Gibson was also visually inspired by the representation of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin.[6]

At the suggestion of actress Maia Morgenstern, the Passover Seder is quoted early in the film. Mary asks "Why is this night different than other nights?", and Mary Magdalene replies with the traditional response: "Because once we were slaves and we are slaves no longer".[7]

The conflation of Mary Magdalene with the adulteress saved from stoning by Jesus has some precedent in tradition but according to the director was done for dramatic reasons. The names of some of the characters in the film are traditional and extra-Scriptural, such as the thieves crucified alongside the Christ, Dismas and Gesmas (also Gestas).

Catholic devotional writings

Screenwriters Mel Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald said that they read many accounts of Christ's passion for inspiration, including the devotional writings of Catholic mystics. A principal source is The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ[8] the meditations of the stigmatic German nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), as told to the poet Clemens Brentano. Among the many elements taken from the Dolorous Passion are scenes such as the suspension of Jesus from a bridge after his arrest by the Temple guards, the torment of Judas by demons after he had handed over Jesus the Jews, the wiping up of the blood of Jesus after his scourging, and the dislocation of Jesus’ shoulder so that his palm would reach the hole for the nail.[8] A second source mentioned was The Mystical City of God by Maria de Agreda (1602–1665), a 17th century Spanish nun.

Differences from traditional Passion story

Certain elements of The Passion of the Christ do not have precedent in earlier depictions of the Passion. In the Garden of Gethsemane scene at the beginning of the movie, Satan appears and attempts to distract Jesus while he is praying. Jesus then crushes a serpent beneath his heel (this is a reference to the protoevangelium, Genesis 3:15 - a prophecy of Messiah); this does not occur in any of the gospels. In another example, Judas Iscariot is tormented by demons who appear as children to him. The film gives focus to the fragile relationship of Tiberius Caesar with Pontius Pilate through Pilate's discussion with his wife about imperial orders to avert further Judean revolts. The movie clearly identifies Simon of Cyrene as Jewish, although the Synoptic Gospels provide only his name and place of origin. In the film, a Roman soldier derides Simon (who helps Jesus bear the cross) by derisively calling him Jew. In contrast, Simon is described as a pagan in The Dolorious Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.[8]

Other scenes unique to The Passion of the Christ include when the crucified thief who taunted Jesus has his eye pecked out by a crow. The flashback of the carpenter Jesus building an elevated, four-legged table for a Roman is also particular to this film. The scene of Satan carrying a demonic baby during Christ’s flogging has been construed as an imitation of traditional depictions of the Madonna and Child. Mel Gibson described this scene as follows:

"'s evil distorting what’s good. What is more tender and beautiful than a mother and a child? So the Devil takes that and distorts it just a little bit. Instead of a normal mother and child you have an androgynous figure holding a 40-year-old ‘baby’ with hair on his back. It is weird, it is shocking, it's almost too much – just like turning Jesus over to continue scourging him on his chest is shocking and almost too much, which is the exact moment when this appearance of the Devil and the baby takes place."[9]


Script and language

Gibson originally announced that he would use two old languages without subtitles and rely on "filmic storytelling." Because the story of the Passion is so well-known, Gibson felt the need to avoid vernacular languages in order to surprise audiences: "I think it's almost counterproductive to say some of these things in a modern language. It makes you want to stand up and shout out the next line, like when you hear 'To be or not to be' and you instinctively say to yourself, 'That is the question.'"[10] The script was written in English by Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald, then translated by William Fulco, S.J. into Latin, reconstructed Aramaic, and Hebrew. Gibson chose to use Latin instead of Greek, which was the "lingua franca" of that particular part of the Roman Empire at the time, so that the audience could easily distinguish between the sound of Italianate Latin and Semitic Aramaic.[11] Fulco sometimes incorporated deliberate errors in pronunciations and word endings when the characters were speaking a language unfamiliar to them, and some of the crude language used by the Roman soldiers was not translated in the subtitles.[12] The pronunciation of Latin in the film is closer to ecclesiastical Latin than to more historically accurate classical Latin. (Clear instances of this can be heard when Pontius Pilate says "veritas" and "ecce".)


The movie was filmed in Italy, specifically in Matera and Craco (Basilicata) and Cinecittà Studios, Rome. Gibson consulted several theological advisors during filming, including Fr. Jonathan Morris, who would later go on to become a news analyst and contributor. During filming, assistant director Jan Michelini was struck twice by lightning. The second time this happened, the lightning bolt also hit James Caviezel.[13]


Title change

Although Gibson wanted to call his film The Passion, on October 16, 2003 his spokesman announced that the title used in the United States would be The Passion of Christ because Miramax had already registered the title The Passion with the MPAA for the 1987 novel by Jeanette Winterson.[14] Later, the title was changed again to The Passion of the Christ for all markets.

Distribution and marketing

Gibson began production on his film without securing outside funding or distribution. In 2002 he explained why he could not get backing from the Hollywood studios: "This is a film about something that nobody wants to touch, shot in two dead languages. In Los Angeles they think I am insane, and maybe I am."[15] Gibson and his Icon Productions company provided the film's sole backing, spending about $30 million on production costs and an estimated $15 million on marketing.[16] After early accusations of anti-Semitism, it became difficult for Gibson to find an American distribution company. 20th Century Fox had a first-look deal with Icon and passed on the film in response to public protests.[17] In order to avoid the spectacle of other studios turning down the film and to avoid subjecting the distributor to the same intense public criticism he had received, Gibson decided to distribute the movie in the United States himself, with Newmarket Films.[18]

Gibson departed from the usual film marketing formula. He employed a small-scale television advertising campaign, and added faith guru Rick Hendrix with no press junkets.[19] Yet The Passion of the Christ was heavily promoted by many church groups, both within their organizations and to the general public, often giving away free tickets.[20]

Theatrical release

Domestic release

The movie opened in the United States on February 25, 2004 (Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent). It earned $83,848,082 in its opening weekend, ranking it 4th overall in domestic opening weekend earnings for 2004. It went on to earn $370,782,930 overall in the United States, ranking it 12th in all-time domestic earnings.[21]

International release

Government censorship

The movie was banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.[22] In Malaysia, government censors initially banned it completely, but after Christian leaders protested, the restriction was lifted, but only for Christian audiences, allowing them to view the film in specially-designated theatres.[23] In Israel the film was not banned. However, it never received theatrical distribution because no Israeli distributor sought to market the movie.[24]

International box office

Despite the various controversies and refusals of certain governments to allow the film to be viewed in wide release, The Passion of the Christ earned $611,899,420 worldwide, ranking it #41 for all-time worldwide grosses[21], and #2 for an R rated movie, behind The Matrix Reloaded (a film it eclipsed by some $80 million domestically). The movie was also a relative success in certain countries with large Muslim populations,[22] such as in Egypt, where it ranked 20th overall in its box office numbers for 2004.[25]

Theatrical re-release

An edited version titled The Passion Recut was released on March 11, 2005, with five minutes of the most explicit violence deleted to broaden the audience for the film. Gibson explained his reasoning for the new version of the film:

After the initial run in movie theaters, I received numerous letters from people all across the country. Many told me they wanted to share the experience with loved ones but were concerned that the harsher images of the film would be too intense for them to bear. In light of this I decided to re-edit The Passion of the Christ.[26]

Despite the attempt to tone down the content, the Motion Picture Association of America deemed the film too violent to rate PG-13, so Gibson released it as unrated.[26] The re-release did not end up being a commercial success, only showing for three weeks before its poor box office results caused it to be pulled from theaters.[27]

Home video

On August 31, 2004, the film was released on DVD, VHS, and later D-VHS in North America. As with the original theatrical release, the film's release on home video formats proved to be very popular. Early reports indicated that over 2.4 million copies of the film were sold by the middle of the day. The film was available on DVD with English and Spanish subtitles, and on VHS tape with English subtitles. On February 17, 2009, the film was released on Blu-ray in North America as a two-disc Definitive Edition set.

Although the original DVD release of The Passion of The Christ sold well, it contained no extra materials other than soundtrack language selections. The no-frills edition provoked speculation about when a special edition would be released. On January 30, 2007, a two-disc Definitive Edition of The Passion of The Christ was released in the American markets, and March 26 elsewhere. It contains several documentaries, soundtrack commentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes, the 2005 re-edited version, and the original 2004 theatrical version.[28]

Critical reviews

The film received generally mixed reviews from critics. Critics have praised the performance of Jim Caviezel as Jesus. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 50 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 260 reviews total; with the consensus that "the graphic details of Jesus' torture make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey."[29] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 47 out of 100, based on 43 reviews.[30]

Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars.[31] New York Press film critic Armond White praised Gibson's work, comparing him to Dreyer, for transforming Art into spirituality.[32] However, Slate reviewer David Edelstein called it "a two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movie,"[33] while Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News called it "the most virulently anti-Semitic movie made since the German propaganda films of World War II."[34]

The June 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly named The Passion of the Christ the most controversial film of all time, followed by Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange.[35]

Controversies surrounding the film

Questions of historical accuracy

Despite criticisms that Gibson deliberately and severely departed from historical accounts of first century Judea and Biblical accounts of Christ's crucifixion, historians tend to defend Gibson.[citation needed] Biblical scholar Mark Goodacre protested that he could not find one documented example of Gibson explicitly claiming the film to be historically accurate.[36][37] In fact, Gibson had been quoted as saying, "I think that my first duty is to be as faithful as possible in telling the story so that it doesn't contradict the Scriptures. Now, so long as it didn't do that, I felt that I had a pretty wide berth for artistic interpretation, and to fill in some of the spaces with logic, with imagination, with various other readings."[38]

Promotional screenings

Gibson was criticized for holding private screenings for prominent, politically and socially conservative Christian and Jewish religious leaders yet seemingly refusing to include those who had already criticized the film, such as Abraham Foxman.[39]

Disputed papal endorsement

In early December 2003, Passion of the Christ co-producer Stephen McEveety provided the film to Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pope's secretary. Archbishop Dziwisz returned the film to McEveety and said he had watched it with John Paul II. On December 16, Daily Variety reported that the pope had seen the film, and on Dec. 17, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan reported that John Paul II had said: "It is as it was," sourcing McEveety, who said he heard it from Dziwisz.[40] National Catholic Reporter journalist John Allen published a similar account on the same day, quoting an unnamed senior Vatican official.[41] The following day, Reuters and the Associated Press each independently confirmed the story, citing Vatican sources.[42][43] On December 24, an anonymous Vatican official told Catholic News Service, "There was no declaration, no judgment from the pope." On January 9, John Allen defended his earlier reporting, saying that his official source was adamant about the veracity of the original story.[44] In a January 18 column, Frank Rich interviewed the Italian translator who quoted Dziwisz as saying that the pope called the film "incredible" and said "it is as it was." Rich attacked the marketing of the film and suggested the Dziwisz wielded too much influence over the pope. The next day Archbishop Dziwisz told CNS, "The Holy Father told no one his opinion of this film."[45] This denial resulted in a round of commentators who accused the film producers of fabricating a papal quote to market their movie.

However, the Icon Productions spokesman stood by the story, and a source close to the situation said McEveety had asked for and received Vatican officials' permission to repeat the "It is as it was" statement before speaking to Noonan.[46] Journalist Rod Dreher reported that McEveety had received an email from papal spokesman Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls on December 28, backing the Noonan account and ending: "I would try to make the words 'It is as it was' the leit motive [sic] in any discusion [sic] on the film. Repeat the words again and again and again."[47]

Peggy Noonan had also received email confirmation of the quote from Navarro-Valls before writing her December 17 column. Complicating the situation, Navarro-Valls told Dreher that the email sent to McEveety was not genuine, suggesting it was fabricated. However Noonan verified that all of the Navarro-Valls emails came from the same Vatican IP address.[42] The Los Angeles Times reported that they had previously confirmed the accuracy of the quote from Navarro-Valls when the story first broke. On CNN, John Allen reported Vatican sources who claim to have heard Dziwisz on other occasions affirm the accuracy of the quotation.[48]

On January 22, Navarro-Valls released the following official statement:

"The film is a cinematographic transposition of the historical event of the Passion of Jesus Christ according to the accounts of the Gospel. It is a common practice of the Holy Father not to express public opinions on artistic works, opinions that are always open to different evaluations of aesthetic character."[49]

Afterward, Gibson expressed ambivalence about the endorsement.[6][50]

Allegations of anti-Semitism

Before the film was even released, there were allegations of anti-Semitic content in the movie. 20th Century Fox told New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind they had passed on distributing the film in response to a protest outside the News Corp. building. Hikind warned other movie companies that "they should not distribute this film. This is unhealthy for Jews all over the world."[17]

A joint committee of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Department of Inter-religious Affairs of the Anti-Defamation League obtained a version of the script before it was released in theaters. They released a statement, calling it

one of the most troublesome texts, relative to anti-Semitic potential, that any of us had seen in twenty-five years. It must be emphasized that the main storyline presented Jesus as having been relentlessly pursued by an evil cabal of Jews, headed by the high priest Caiaphas, who finally blackmailed a weak-kneed Pilate into putting Jesus to death. This is precisely the storyline that fueled centuries of anti-Semitism within Christian societies. This is also a storyline rejected by the Roman Catholic Church at Vatican II in its document Nostra Aetate, and by nearly all mainline Protestant churches in parallel documents . . . . Unless this basic storyline has been altered by Mr. Gibson, a fringe Catholic who is building his own church in the Los Angeles area and who apparently accepts neither the teachings of Vatican II nor modern biblical scholarship, The Passion of the Christ retains a real potential for undermining the repudiation of classical Christian anti-Semitism by the churches in the last forty years.[51]

The ADL itself also released a statement about the yet to be released movie:

For filmmakers to do justice to the biblical accounts of the passion, they must complement their artistic vision with sound scholarship, which includes knowledge of how the passion accounts have been used historically to disparage and attack Jews and Judaism. Absent such scholarly and theological understanding, productions such as The Passion could likely falsify history and fuel the animus of those who hate Jews.[52]

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the South African-born head of the Toward Tradition organisation, criticized this statement, and said of Foxman, the head of the ADL, "what he is saying is that the only way to escape the wrath of Foxman is to repudiate your faith."[53]

In The Nation, reviewer Katha Pollitt said, "Gibson has violated just about every precept of the (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) conference's own 1988 "Criteria" for the portrayal of Jews in dramatizations of the Passion (no bloodthirsty Jews, no rabble, no use of Scripture that reinforces negative stereotypes of Jews, etc.) ... The priests have big noses and gnarly faces, lumpish bodies, yellow teeth; Herod Antipas and his court are a bizarre collection of oily-haired, epicene perverts. The "good Jews" look like Italian movie stars (Italian sex symbol Monica Bellucci is Mary Magdalene); Mary, who would have been around 50 and appeared 70, could pass for a ripe 35."[54] Jesuit priest Fr. William Fulco, S.J., of Loyola Marymount University — and the film's Aramaic dialogue translator — specifically disagreed with that assessment, and disagreed with concerns that the film accused the Jewish community of deicide.[55]

One specific scene in the movie perceived as an example of anti-Semitism was in the dialogue of Caiaphas, when he states "His blood [is] on us and on our children!", a quote historically interpreted by some as a curse taken upon by the Jewish people. Certain Jewish groups asked this be removed from the film. However, only the subtitles were removed; the original dialogue remains in Aramaic soundtrack.[56]

When asked about this scene, Gibson said, "I wanted it in. My brother said I was wimping out if I didn't include it. But, man, if I included that in there, they'd be coming after me at my house. They'd come to kill me."[57] In another interview when asked about the scene, he said, "It's one little passage, and I believe it, but I don't and never have believed it refers to Jews, and implicates them in any sort of curse. It's directed at all of us, all men who were there, and all that came after. His blood is on us, and that's what Jesus wanted. But I finally had to admit that one of the reasons I felt strongly about keeping it, aside from the fact it's true, is that I didn't want to let someone else dictate what could or couldn't be said."[58]

In the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier said: "In its representation of its Jewish characters, The Passion of the Christ is without any doubt an anti-Semitic movie, and anybody who says otherwise knows nothing, or chooses to know nothing, about the visual history of anti-Semitism, in art and in film. What is so shocking about Gibson's Jews is how unreconstructed they are in their stereotypical appearances and actions. These are not merely anti-Semitic images; these are classically anti-Semitic images."[59]

Asked by Bill O'Reilly if his movie would "upset Jews," Gibson responded, "It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible."[60] In a Globe and Mail newspaper interview, he added, "If anyone has distorted Gospel passages to rationalize cruelty towards Jews or anyone, it's in defiance of repeated Papal condemnation. The Papacy has condemned racism in any form... Jesus died for the sins of all times, and I'll be the first on the line for culpability".[61]

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas also tried to dispel the allegations of anti-Semitism, saying "To those in the Jewish community who worry that the film, which is scheduled for release next Easter season, might contain anti-Semitic elements, or encourage people to persecute Jews, fear not. The film does not indict Jews for the death of Jesus."[62] Two Orthodox Jews, Rabbi Daniel Lapin and conservative talk-show host and author Michael Medved also vocally rejected claims that the film is anti-Semitic. They have noted the film's many sympathetic portrayals of Jews: Simon of Cyrene (who helps Jesus carry the cross), Mary Magdalene, the Virgin Mary, St. Peter, St. John, Veronica (who wipes Jesus' face and offers him water), and several Jewish priests who protest Jesus' arrest during Caiaphis's trial of Jesus.

Moreover, Senior Vatican officer Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, who has seen the film, addressed the matter so:

Anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, distorts the truth in order to put a whole race of people in a bad light. This film does nothing of the sort. It draws out from the historical objectivity of the Gospel narratives sentiments of forgiveness, mercy, and reconciliation. It captures the subtleties and the horror of sin, as well as the gentle power of love and forgiveness, without making or insinuating blanket condemnations against one group. This film expressed the exact opposite, that learning from the example of Christ, there should never be any more violence against any other human being.[63]

Criticism of excessive violence

Certain critics were troubled by the film's explicitly-detailed violence, and especially cautioned parents to avoid taking their children to the cinema. Although only one sentence in three of the Gospels mentions Jesus's flogging, and it is unmentioned in the fourth, The Passion of the Christ devotes ten minutes to the portrayal of the flogging. Film critic Roger Ebert, who rated the movie four-out-of-four stars, said in his review:

The movie is 126 minutes long, and I would guess that at least 100 of those minutes, maybe more, are concerned specifically and graphically with the details of the torture and death of Jesus. This is the most violent film I have ever seen.


However, many do think that the film accurately represents Jesus' flogging and crucifixion as Biblical. The movie can be compared with many Biblical quotes including:

Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.[Psalm 22:16-17] Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—[Isaiah 52:14] I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.[Isaiah 50:6]

Ebert also mentioned that the R-rated film merits the MPAA NC-17 rating in a "Movie Answer Man" response, adding that no level-minded parent should ever allow children to see it.[65]

A.O. Scott, in The New York Times, said, "'The Passion of the Christ' is so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath, and to succeed more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it."[66]

David Edelstein, Slate's film critic, dubbed the film "a two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movieThe Jesus Chainsaw Massacre — that thinks it's an act of faith", and further criticised Gibson for focusing on the brutality of Jesus' execution, instead of his religious teachings.[67]

During Diane Sawyer's interview of him, Gibson said:

I wanted it to be shocking; and I wanted it to be extreme ... So that they see the enormity — the enormity of that sacrifice; to see that someone could endure that and still come back with love and forgiveness, even through extreme pain and suffering and ridicule. The actual crucifixion was more violent than what was shown on the film, but I thought no one would get anything out of it.

Response from Evangelicals

The Passion of the Christ received support and endorsement from most nationally known evangelical leaders and representatives of conservative church organizations: Billy Graham, James Dobson, Mission America Coalition, Salvation Army, Promise Keepers, National Association of Evangelicals, Campus Crusade for Christ, Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Rick Warren, Southern Baptist Convention, Jerry Falwell, Max Lucado, Young Life, Tim LaHaye, Chuck Colson, Lee Strobel, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS).[68]

Some Fundamentalist Protestant Christians criticised small sections of the film for their Catholic and ecumenical overtones, especially the addition of noncanonical scenes of Jesus with his mother (which they say encourages Mariolatry).[69]





Actor/Actress Role
Jim Caviezel Jesus
Maia Morgenstern Mary
Rosalinda Celentano Satan
Monica Belucci Magdalen
Hristo Shopov Pontius Pilate
Mattia Sbragia Caiphas
Hristo Jivkov John
Francesco DeVito Peter
Luca Lionello Judas Iscariot
Claudia Gerini Claudia Procles
Pietro "Pedro" Sarubbi Barabbas
Sergio Rubini Dismas
Francesco Cabras Gesmas
Toni Bertorelli Annas ben Seth
Roberto Bestazoni Malchus
Giovanni Capalbo Cassius
Emilio De Marchi Scornful Roman
Roberto Visconti Scornful Roman
Lello Giulivo Brutish Roman
Abel Jafry 2nd Temple Officer
Jarreth Merz Simon of Cyrene
Matt Patresi Janus
Fabio Sartor Abenader
Luca De Dominicis Herod Ántipas
Sabrina Impacciatore Seraphia


Three CDs were released with Mel Gibson's co-operation: (i) the film soundtrack of John Debney's original orchestral score conducted by Nick Ingman; (ii) The Passion of the Christ: Songs, by producers Mark Joseph and Tim Cook, with original compositions by various artists, and (iii) The Passion of the Christ: Songs Inspired By. The first two albums each received a 2005 Dove award, and the soundtrack received an Academy Award nomination of Best Music Score.

A preliminary score was composed and recorded by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Cassidy, but was incomplete at film's release. Jack Lenz was the primary musical researcher and one of the composers;[70] several clips of his compositions have been posted online.[71]

See also


  1. ^ "The Passion of the Christ (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  2. ^ "Domestic Grosses by MPAA Rating: R". 
  3. ^ The Holy Bible, Book of Revelation 21:5.;&version=31. 
  4. ^ The Holy Bible, Book of Isaiah 53:5.;&version=31. 
  5. ^ The Holy Bible, Book of Genesis 3:15.;&version=31. 
  6. ^ a b Cooney Carrillo, Jenny (2004-02-26). "The Passion of Mel". Urbancinefile. 
  7. ^ Abramowitz, Rachel (2004-03-07). "Along came Mary; Mel Gibson was sold on Maia Morgenstern for 'Passion' at first sight". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ a b c Clement Brentano. The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  9. ^ Moring, Mark (2004-03-01). "What's Up With the Ugly Baby?". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  10. ^ "Mel Gibson’s Great Passion". Zenit. 2003-03-06. 
  11. ^ Mark Goodacre (November 26, 2004). "SBL Passion of the Christ interview — Fulco and Fitzgerald.". NT Gateway Weblog. 
  12. ^ "TRANSLATING THE PASSION.". Language Hat. March 8, 2004. 
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External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 film is a depiction of the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Directed by Mel Gibson. Written by Mel Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald .

By his wounds... we were healed (taglines)
One man changed the world... forever. (taglines)


  • I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep. No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. This command is from my Father.
  • Peter, you could not watch even one hour with me?
  • Take this and drink. This is my blood, spilled for you and for many. Do this in memory of me.
  • Judas, you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?
  • My heart is ready, Father, my heart is ready.
  • Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do.
  • It is accomplished!


Satan: Do you really believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin?
Jesus: Shelter me, O Lord, I trust in you. In you I take my refuge.
Satan: No one man can carry this burden, I tell you. It is far too heavy. Saving their souls is too costly. No one. Ever. No. Never.
Jesus: Father, you can do all things. If it is possible, let this chalice pass from me... But let your will be done, not mine.
Satan: Who is your father? Who are you?

Caiphas: They say you're a king. Where is this kingdom of yours? What line of kings do you descend from? Speak up! You're just the son of some obscure carpenter, no? Some say you're Elijah, but he was carried off to Heaven in a chariot! Why don't you say something? You've been brought here as a blasphemer! What do you say to that? Defend yourself.
Jesus: I have spoken openly to everyone. I've taught in the temple where we all gathered. Ask those who have heard what I have to say.
Temple Guard: Is that how you address the high Priest? With arrogance? [strikes Jesus]
Jesus: If I have spoken evil, tell me what evil I have said. But if not, why do you hit me?

Annas: Yes, we'll listen to those that have heard your blashpemies. Good! Let's hear them!
Accuser: He cures the sick by magic! With the help of devils! I've seen it. He casts out devils, with the help of devils.
Accuser: He calls himself the king of the Jews!
Accuser: No, he calls himself the Son of God! He said he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days!
Accuser: Worse! He claims he's the Bread of Life! And if we don't eat his flesh or drink his blood, we won't inherit eternal life.
Caiphas: Silence! You're all under this man's spell. Either offer proof of his wrongdoing or be quiet!
Nicodemus: This entire proceeding is an outrage. All I've heard from these "witnesses" is mindless contradiction!

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The Passion of the Christ
Directed by Mel Gibson
Produced by Bruce Davey
Mel Gibson
Stephen McEveety
Written by Benedict Fitzgerald
Mel Gibson
Starring James Caviezel
Maia Morgenstern
Monica Bellucci
Hristo Naumov Shopov
Mattia Sbragia
Rosalinda Celentano
Music by John Debney
Gingger Shankar
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Editing by Steve Mirkovich
John Wright
Distributed by Theatrical:

Icon Entertainment

Newmarket Films

Equinox Films

20th Century Fox

MGM Home Entertainment

Warner Home Video

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release date(s) February 25, 2004
Running time 127 minutes
Language Aramaic
Budget $30 million USD
Gross revenue Domestic: $370,782,930
Worldwide: $611,899,420
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

The Passion of the Christ is the title of a movie that was produced and directed by Mel Gibson based on sister Catherine Emmerich's visions. It was released in 2004. The movie shows the last 24 hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth (called by his followers Jesus Christ) as told in the Gospel accounts contained in the New Testament that Christians regard as a part of the Holy Bible.

The Passion of the Christ was unusual and controversial for many reasons. All of the speech was in three languages that were spoken at the time of Jesus: Latin, Greek and Hebrew. The movie spent a lot of time showing details of the suffering and death of Jesus, with lots of violent scenes. Mel Gibson said that this was a realistic showing of what happened, though others thought it showed too much violence.

Jewish groups objected to the movie because it showed the Jewish leaders arranging to have Jesus killed. They said that this would cause people to think that modern-day Jews were guilty because of this and increase antisemitism, however this did not happen. The movie makers said that this was not their intention, but this did not stop the objections.

Mel Gibson was unable to get support from movie studios for this movie, and so supplied the money for it (around $25 million) mostly himself. The movie made much more money than expected -around $370 million.

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