This is the 1988 film by Creator/MartinScorsese, based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis ({{Gesundheit}}). Starring Creator/WillemDafoe as {{Jesus}}, what follows is a fairly loose reinterpretation of the [[Literature/TheBible Biblical]] story of Jesus' life and Crucifixion (sorry, the film's long enough without him coming back).

As stated earlier, the film/novel depart substantially from Literature/{{the Bible}}'s account of Jesus' life. First to come to mind is that Jesus, while still capable of miracle working, is a [[GodIsFlawed deeply flawed]] human being, with the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities as everyone else. Secondly, [[VillainDecay Judas isn't that bad of a guy.]] Instead of outright betraying Jesus, he's practically forced into it by the man himself.

This caused nothing but consternation from the religious groups, as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Temptation_of_Christ_%28film%29#Controversial_content this]] nicely describes. The really weird thing is that the Bible mentions Jesus was "tested in every way." While the text does not explicitly mention sexual temptations, he must have endured them, or else he would not have been tested in every way. The implication that Jesus built crosses for the Romans to crucify people on and a few theologically wonky lines (like Jesus wanting God to stop loving him and later calling fear his god) might have also caused a few to protest as well.

The film won Scorsese a nomination for best director, but he'd have to wait about 20 years before ''TheDeparted'' would finally give it to him.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AffablyEvil[=/=]PunchClockVillain: The way Pontius Pilate is depicted.
* AllJustADream, DaydreamSurprise, LotusEaterMachine, TheFinalTemptation: Take your pick, it's all there.
** Also {{Trope Namer|s}} for TheFinalTemptation, natch.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: The [[{{In-Universe}} story]] provides one to the Bible, in tandem with {{ExternalRetCon}}s.
* AntiHero: Jesus being this in the movie is basically what's so controversial about it, in a nutshell.
* BeatStillMyHeart: Yeah, it's kinda crazy.
* BiblicalTimes
* BigBad: {{Satan}}, represented here first as a snake, then a lion, later [[spoiler:as the angelic little girl and finally a pillar of {{Hellfire}}]]
* BreakThemByTalking: Mature, un-crucified Jesus confronts [[Creator/HarryDeanStanton Paul]] over his preaching, and is shut down right quick:
-->'''Paul:''' You see, you don't know how much people need God. You don't know how happy He can make them. He can make them happy to do anything. Make them happy to die, and they'll die, all for the sake of Christ. Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth. The Son of God. The Messiah. ''Not you.'' Not for your sake. ''[beat]'' You know, I'm glad I met you. Because now I can forget all about you. ''My'' Jesus is much more important and much more powerful.
** Then again, [[spoiler:that speech occurs during the titular Last Temptation.]]
* CameBackWrong: Lazarus, if to a less severe extent than usual for this trope.
* CelibateHero: Subverted. [[spoiler:Then double subverted.]]
* TheChosenOne
* CreepyChild: Don't worry, it's only [[spoiler:{{Satan}}]].
* {{Deconstruction}}: A highly intellectually driven look at not only the life of Jesus but the way's he's depicted in art and movies. And averting ChristianityIsCatholic with its source novel written by a Greek Orthodox and co-screenwriter Paul Schrader being a Dutch Calvinist(with a PhD in theology), joining Scorsese as the Catholic.
** One thing which Scorsese pointed out in interviews and the book ''Scorsese On Scorsese'' is that the Crucifixion has been EntertaininglyWrong all through history, with the nails driven through the palms which in fact would not have [[BodyHorror hinged]] the body on the cross. Scorsese cited the latest archaeological research as grounds to put the nails through Christ's wrists, just as the Romans did it.
** The musical score by Peter Gabriel, a GenreBusting effort that was an attempt to create music similar to what could have been played in Israel of that time, with some AnachronismStew thrown in for good measure, generally taking Jesus from the European High Culture trappings of Classical religious music which developed centuries later and in a land and continent and culture far removed from First Century Israel.
** Scorsese also deconstructs JesusWasWayCool, pointing out that if Jesus was so charismatic then [[FridgeLogic there wouldn't have been such hatred]] or controversy provoked by him in the first place.[[note]] According to the Bible, the reasons for the enmity towards Him included people disagreeing with Him saying He was the Messiah and He made enemies of those who were corrupt among the Pharisees and Chief Priests when He called them out on their corruption, hypocrisy, abuses of power and not doing their job.[[/note]] He shows Jesus as a KingOfTheHomeless attracting lepers, prostitutes and other outcasts who the establishment would regard as weirdos with Willem Dafoe's Jesus getting AdaptationalAngstUpgrade rather than a MessianicArchetype we see. The movie also deconstructs Christian attitudes to sexuality, by foregrounding the conflict between "Fully Human and Fully Divine". Also ''The Last Temptation'' is the first work in Western Art to depict women with Jesus at The Last Supper.
** The movie in general takes the opposite stand to the Hollywood EpicMovie giving Jesus a FilmNoir narration, using a variety of American accents (because as pointed out in the quote below, they were no less realistic than the BBC or the old English of the King James Bible used in earlier adaptations) and in showing Jerusalem and the Bible Lands as the dirty, oppressed WretchedHive that it was under Roman occupation and also suggested in the Bible itself, and showing the poor who gravitated to Jesus with as [[SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty little glamour or affect as possible]].
** Biblical scholar Robert M. Price made the argument that the film deconstructs the apologetic argument known as the [[CSLewis Lewis trilemma]] according to which Jesus was either a [[ConMan cynical con man]], [[JesusWasCrazy a complete madman]] or [[MessianicArchetype the messiah]].
*** ''The Last Temptation is certainly the most orthodox christian movie about Jesus ever made. [...] The [[CSLewis Liar, Lord, or Lunatic]] argument that [christian apologists] use is, I think, deeply flawed because it implies Jesus wasn't a genuine human being because the idea that he was God - whether he was or not - would have driven him insane. Right ? And that's exactly what happens in the the Last Temptation ; no other movie ever took that seriously.''
* DeconReconSwitch: Ultimately, as unusual as the film is as a dramatization of Jesus, the film is still highly respectful and as one reviewer noted, "the work of a believer". Scorsese said that the reason he made all these changes was because he wanted to take Jesus away from the pious and safe traditional iconography and make it relevant to a modern audience, since Jesus' ideas and messages are still radical and important to the world, and he wanted to place it in a more alien and unfamiliar context so that people would understand it fresh without the preconceptions and pomp and piety.
* DevilInDisguise: [[spoiler:The "angel" who appears to Jesus upon the cross.]]
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Mary Magdalene usually wears decorated barefoot sandals.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler:Jesus rejects Satan's illusion, is immediately brought back to the cross, where he cries out "It is accomplished!" in ''utter triumph,'' having fulfilled his Father's plan.]]
* TheFilmOfTheBook: [[Literature/TheBible No, not that book.]] It's actually an adaptation of a book by the same name.
* ForegoneConclusion: Duh.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The first scene in the movie is Jesus making a cross, carrying it, then watching someone get crucified.
* GodIsFlawed: {{Played with}}. The point of the novel is to examine Christ as both entirely God and entirely Human. He is shown as being subjected to many of fears and temptations that humans have. Satan tempts him with Power, Authority and Rule which Jesus rejects, but the final temptation, and the hardest to resist, [[spoiler:is Jesus being a normal man, married to the woman he loves and having children and a family. He ultimately rejects even this and becomes the Christ of Literature/TheBible, gladly accepting his Father's plan.]]
* GoOutWithASmile
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Jesus' greatest desire and [[spoiler:the last temptation]].
* ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne: It really does. The woman you love and would have married becomes a prostitute and finally, God's plan doesn't involve you becoming the IconOfRebellion to topple the Roman occupation. No, God's plan is for you to sacrifice yourself so that you can become an InspirationalMartyr that ensures your cause becomes truly immortal.
* InnerMonologue: Jesus does this quite a bit.
* JesusWasCrazy: The film begins with Jesus portrayed as a paranoid schizophrenic who starts preaching because he hears voices in his head. Jesus is first shown working as a carpenter building crosses for the Romans and rambling on about how he wants to crucify all the messiahs. The story goes through many plot-twists, and the psychiatric perspective grows obsolete after a while - but Jesus being crazy ''in one way or another'' remains the only constant throughout the movie. [[spoiler:And trying to live a decent life turns out to be the craziest thing of them all.]]
* LargeHam: Paul. Just listen to his rantings and try not to laugh.
* TheLastTitle: The title.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: All of the actors, but Harvey Keitel got the most crap for it. This was a deliberate artistic decision by Scorsese who wanted to subvert the usual cliches of the EpicMovie.
--> ''"I mean, basically, they say, okay, this is a defense, in a way. We don't have to get too emotionally involved because this happened a long time ago and people spoke funny. We said no, this man talks like you, talks like me, some guy has a Brooklyn accent, another guy has a Canadian accent... where does it say that everybody in ancient Judea spoke by listening to the BBC?"''
** Scorsese stated that at one point he even considered doing the film in Aramaic much like [[Film/ThePassionOfTheChrist Mel Gibson did later]] but that he ultimately refused because he wanted his film to be seen by a general audience rather than academics and intellectuals. The other reason was that Aramaic was a dead language with all pronunciations lost to time and it wouldn't help the actors one bit.
* OhCrap: JESUS has one, when he resurrects Lazarus. Not even HE thought he'd be able to do it, and when he does, his quiet little "God Help Me" shows just how overwhelmed he is by his own power.
* TheQueensLatin: Subverted, except for David Bowie as Pontius Pilate, but then he is Roman.
* RefusalOfTheCall
* StylisticSuck: The stilted and rambling preaching of Paul of Tarsus. According to historical accounts, Saul/Paul was very bad at public speaking, which is why he's most remembered for his letters. According to Paul Schrader, Harry Dean Stanton was modelling his performance on televangelists.
* TemporalParadox: {{Averted}}. The alternate future Jesus is shown still depicts [[spoiler:Paul preaching the resurrection of Jesus and thus ensuring the proliferation of Christianity with or without Jesus' help]].
* TruthInTelevision: For all the controversy surrounding the movie, one definite accurate aspect is that Dafoe's physical appearance as Jesus is actually far closer than the more traditional Western depiction. [[note]]Jesus is often depicted as being physically meek, with long hair, but considering he was ''carpenter'' for majority of his life before starting his ministry, it would make more sense for him to be physically fit like in this movie.[[/note]] Though Scorsese notes that its still traditional in that Jesus is a still a blond white male when he was in fact a Middle Eastern Jew.
* VoiceOfTheLegion: Naturally, by Legion's boss, who gets to speak in quite a few voices throughout the film in addition to having this special effect.
* WindmillCrusader: Jesus is portrayed as the insane kind of WindmillCrusader. This is played straight for most of the movie; he even gets cured of his messiah complex and gets to live a normal life.
** [[spoiler:In the TwistEnding, however, Judas accuses Jesus of betraying him by not going through with dying on the cross as they had previously agreed. Jesus’ guardian angel is then revealed to be the devil, who had tricked him into believing that he’s not the messiah. Thus, it turns out that it was NoMereWindmill after all.]]
** In the same movie, Saul is briefly portrayed as the misguided kind of WindmillCrusader. However, he is quickly shown as a StrawHypocrite who simply doesn’t care if the [[WindmillPolitical gospel he preaches]] is true or not. Of course, this Saul is part of the vision shown by the Devil as part of the titular temptation, so YMMV.
* WindmillPolitical: Saul, see WindmillCrusader above.