FBMR - Jesus Christ Superstar
Film-Buff Movie Reviews


This is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical account of the story of Jesus. Unlike most film adaptations of Jesus' life, this one begins right before the march into Jerusalem. We are denied many of the works and teachings of Jesus as a result.

Musically this film is very good. I was surprised to learn that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the music. It's very different than most of his other works. The music is rock & funk ... very 70s. That's what I liked the most about it, with the exception of Pontius Pilate's songs. They were a bit weak. King Herod's big "show-tune" number was odd too, but it was funny and an interesting contrast. Vocally, Ted Neeley who played Jesus and Carl Anderson as Judas Iscariot were incredible. They both have very powerful and emotional voices well suited for their roles.

Co-director Norman Jewison used quite a bit of artistic license when shooting this film. Most of the costumes were contemporary 70s clothes, the sets looked to be ancient Roman ruins, which added an new, yet authentic touch. The Roman soldiers had both spears and guns, but it all seemed to work.

Judas is portrayed in a very interesting light. He and Jesus often refer to him as Jesus favourite or most faithful apostle. He also gets angry because he doesn't want people to remember him as a villain. In this account, he and Jesus simply have different opinions on Jesus' actions. I've always felt sorry for Judas. People forget that if he hadn't betrayed Jesus, the crucifixion might never have happened.

One disappointment lies in the actual crucifixion. They seemed to breeze right over it, and the whole thing was over in less than five minutes. Many of the Way of the Cross and crucifixion stories were omitted. Jesus' suffering and death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection are arguably the most important events in His life. There should have been more emphasis on them.

IMDb - Jesus Christ Superstar