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4.7 out of 5 stars
188
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 August 2005
I must have watched this film dozens of times - it's one of my all-time top ten!! It's a very moving story, for a start. Every time I watch it I discover something new, another subtle little nuance I haven't noticed before... The casting is fantastic - each actor is just so right for their role, and the acting is superb. The backdrops/photography are truly wonderful - it is an amazing landscape. I love the way that the film's costumes and sets very cleverly combine period and modern styles so seamlesslessly - the secene where HE chases everyone from the temple is a good example. My own favourite scene is in the garden of Gethsemane, where he has his dark night of the soul - the passion in his singing at God is awesome. I loved the film as a video and was thrilled when it came out as a DVD - I bought it immediately. It was extremely interesting to see the film with the comments/chit chat by Ted Neeley (Jesus) and the Director - I learned so much about the film and now know why the performances were so wonderful. The music is divine. Even though it's very 70s, it still is a wonderful, inspiring film - please get it and watch it!!!!! (And no,I'm not religious at all...)
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on 26 September 2004
This has it all
... A classic soundtrack, Listen to the powerful Overture, the pain in Judas before he commits suicide, and the confusion in Mary's voice in the classic "I don't know how to love him"
... Inspired direction (All set in the desert, filmed in seven days, numerous clever touches and symbolism), and most of all ENERGY. Judas is the strongest character, and steals the show, but Jesus and Pontius Pilate for me are just behind, with Mary just behind again (Sorry but I have heard Mary's songs too many times !!).
For me the most compelling thing about this production is it's coherence. It is clearly produced in a certain period, but for all that it is ageless. Some of the singing is off, but beyond that everything just clicks wonderfully, and the dancing is exciting and impressive.
I looked around for a long time to get this, and even got hold of a multi-region player to watch it.
Early work by any composer always tends to have the raw edge and energy to inspire the audience, and this is certainly one for me.
BUY THIS!! Don't bother with the later production, I will be diplomatic, and say that I cannot watch it, because it is so bad, and this is so good.
This set a benchmark, and I don't expect another musical based on the life of Jesus to beat it any time soon.
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on 24 March 2005
Still as enjoyable to watch and listen to today as it was when I first saw it as a child. Even better watching it on DVD with a pristine picture & sound quality. If you have never seen this live, then watch this movie version first and what could be better than in the privacy of your own living room. It's just as enjoyable if not more so than watching it live at a theatre. I have experienced both and the movie version still wins hands down quite simply, because the singing and acting performances are better than any I have witnessed at any theatre I have seen it in.
Don't get me wrong though, I would still go to see it again at the theatre because it's a fantastic and enjoyable night out for all the family.
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on 3 January 2007
My 9 year old daughter happened to be playing nearby the TV during the video, and she was completely entranced. There is so much mystery to her about Jesus' crucifixion since all her learning is from a kids religion book, and this movie brought the story to life. The movie is INTENSE, and I sat with her and explained the scenes and was able to answer her questions. The music is fantastic, the symbolism a little tough to figure since it's pretty deep, and Ted Neely is mesmerizing as Jesus. His voice is so good that we are getting tickets to his JCS tour in the spring.
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on 2 February 2006
Two things can be said about this edition of "Jesus Christ Superstar": It poses an important religious question and it is a complete and time-typical rendering of the musical.
First the religious: Judas is the main character in the musical, asking rightly (when seen from his political / human perspective) whether Jesus has strayed from the path. For Judas, this is a political quest, not a religious search. When it finally dawns on Judas that it has nothing at all to do with ordinary politics - that Jesus indeed is (believing himself to be) a savior, he has hanged himself and can only comment post mortem (in the title song). Judas was indeed murdered in the couse of the plot - the question is, was it necessary?
A reviewer found the apperance of the Israeli tanks (and perhaps also the jets) laughtable, but failed to see the significance: This is a demonstration of (Roman!) power and one should notice that it was only shown in connection with the lone and frustrated Judas-figure. A reflection on his thoughts.
The second observation for specifically this edition of JCS is that it is a true representation of the musical when it was first shown, in the happy-hippie days. The actors are carrying flower-power outfits (espc. Herod) and the dancing is "wild" or "free". Although the quality of the singing and dancing can be argued I personally will give this edition high marks for nerve. After all, this is an old production.
A very good thing now is that this DVD-version now is region-0. It took a long time before it came to Europe, and that was a crying shame! It should also be noticed that the extra materials - although not much, let it be said! - is more directed to the European audience. Better, now!
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on 22 November 2003
Once you accept the bare chested, medallioned rabbi's you'll have no problem at all accepting Ted Neeley as JC himself. Top track for me: Why must I die? have played that track over and over and it still brings goose bumps!
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on 4 December 2005
I have just finished watching this for the first time and was blown away by the sheer power of this film. I felt that the casting was good but its the music and vocal performances that I thought made this in a league of its own. I read a review on Empire magazine's website and they gave it 1 star. I'm sorry, buut I felt that they must have just not got it. Even as an aethiest, I was moved by the power and glory of this.
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on 2 August 2015
Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the greatest films ever made. I’ll try and explain why without any spoilers!

Firstly, this film is a musical. If you hate musicals you may not enjoy this film - that said, it is not a musical like ‘The Sound of Music’. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ was initially produced in 1970 and is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s earliest ‘rock operas’, the music reflecting the ‘rocky’ influence of that period. The riffs and tunes are brilliant. I say that as a huge rock fan and hater of most musicals.

Secondly, if you are looking for a historically accurate reflection of Jesus of Nazareth’s final days, look elsewhere. Not just because this film is a musical, but because is very anachronistic. The film is set in 4th century Israel but includes assault weapons, contemporary currency, tanks and military aircraft. Curious how that might work? Then watch! And work it does. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ wasn’t nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award upon its release for nothing… 

[It should have won.]

I’ve seen ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ live in theatres a couple of time in the UK (I’m Scottish) but was distracted by the distinctive plummy English accents of the cast. Happily I can’t really discern any accents in the film, save for Pontious Pilate’s, however in his case the plummy English accent kinda works due to the horrible legacy of British imperialism etc.

The performances are fantastic. Ted Neely plays the titular character in a European Renaissance interpretation of Christ, all blond hair and high cheekbones (plus very impressive range). I personally don’t object because a) the interpretion is a musical and therefore a complete fantasy, and b) lord he’s sexy. Oh the guilt I felt in my teenage years fancying Jesus…

If you are striving for realism, this film ain’t it.

As great as Neely is, however, the film belongs to Carl Anderson and his performance of Judas Iscariot. I cannot understand why he was not rewarded with an Oscar. Carl Anderson, you own this film. I love you :-) x

I’ve seen ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in theatres a couple of time in the UK (I’m Scottish) but was distracted by the distinctive plummy English accents of the cast. Happily I can’t really discern any accents in the film, save for Pontious Pilate’s, but in his case the plummy English accent kinda works due to the legacy of British imperialism etc. Also, he is just brilliant.



So in summary … yes, it’s a somewhat trite musical, but the lyrics and performances give us an insight into how the people concerned may have felt. I was moved throughout, particularly by Christ’s ‘agony’ in the garden of Gethsemane when he is filled with doubt about his impending death.

I can’t recommend this film enough. To newcomers, I hope you can get past the 70s’ styling and enjoy it as much as I do.




I would hazard that this film is appropriate for pretty much all age groups. My devoutly Catholic parents played it often when I was growing up and we all really enjoyed it.



Peace x
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on 19 January 2004
Two things can be said about this edition of "Jesus Christ Superstar": It poses an important religious question and it is a complete and time-typical rendering of the musical.
First the religious: Judas is the main character in the musical, asking rightly (when seen from his political / human perspective) whether Jesus has strayed from the path. For Judas, this is a political quest, not a religious search. When it finally dawns on Judas that it has nothing at all to do with ordinary politics - that Jesus indeed is (believing himself to be) a savior, he has hanged himself and can only comment post mortem (in the title song). Judas was indeed murdered in the couse of the plot - the question is, was it necessary?
A reviewer found the apperance of the Israeli tanks (and perhaps also the jets) laughtable, but failed to see the significance: This is a demonstration of (Roman!) power and one should notice that it was only shown in connection with the lone and frustrated Judas-figure. A reflection on his thoughts.
The second observation for specifically this edition of JCS is that it is a true representation of the musical when it was first shown, in the happy-hippie days. The actors are carrying flower-power outfits (espc. Herod) and the dancing is "wild" or "free". Although the quality of the singing and dancing can be argued I personally will give this edition high marks for nerve. After all, this is an old production.
Only problem is that the encoding on the DVD-version is a strict region-1. Why could this edition not be found in region-2?!
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on 24 April 2007
I much prefer this version to the more recent production staged by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I remember the original production appearing in London all those years ago and the sensation it was. This DVD is a fine reminder. To me the recent, gritty and more realistic production lacked punch. Also I much prefer the singers in this old version, for Jesus, Judas, Herod and Pilate and I think the sarcasm of the original works far better than the "realistic" version.

But I heard ALW always wanted it in the style he recently produced but originally didn't have the control over the show - so it's good to have both versions so we can compare.
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