August 12, 1988: The Last Temptation of Christ released in US cinemas

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

The Last Temptation of Christ is an American epic drama film, which is an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial 1955 novel of the same name. The film was shot entirely in Morocco.

Like the novel, the film depicts the life of Jesus Christ and his struggle with various forms of temptation including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust. This results in the book and film depicting Christ being tempted by imagining himself engaged in sexual activities, a notion that has caused outrage from some Christians. The film includes a disclaimer stating “This film is not based on the Gospels, but upon the fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict.”

The film received polarised reviews from critics on its release but director Martin Scorsese received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Barbara Hershey‘s performance as Mary Magdalene earned her a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Peter Gabriel‘s music score also received acclaim, including a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Notable cast & crew

  • Willem Dafoe, Jesus
  • Harvey Keitel, Judas Iscariot
  • Barbary Hershey, Mary Magdalene
  • Harry Dean Stanton, Saul/Paul of Tarsus
  • David Bowie, Pontius Pilate
  • Irvin Kershner, Zebedee
  • Martin Scorsese, director
  • Peter Gabriel, music


The film’s musical soundtrack, composed by Peter Gabriel, received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score – Motion Picture in 1988 and was released on CD with the title Passion, which won a Grammy in 1990 for Best New Age Album. The film’s score itself helped to popularise world music.

Find out more*

Source of information, pictures etc is Wikipedia* unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & are not responsible for external links

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