The Passion of the Christ
On February 25th (Ash Wednesday) 2004, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ film was released. The film is based on Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution according to the four Gospels. Most of the film is historically accurate, although there are some fictional events too. The film became the highest grossing non-English language film of all time and it was named the most controversial film of all time. Critics claimed the film was historically inaccurate due to the way the film portrayed Pontius Pilate, along with the use of excessive violence, anti-Semitic content, and the use of additional material.
One of the most important historical inaccuracies is the way the film portrays the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. According to author B.A. Robinson, “Pontius Pilate is consistently portrayed as a weak-willed governor, frightened of the power of the Jewish priests, and lacking in confidence.” After viewing the film, one would feel that Pilate was essentially morally neutral in the events of Jesus’ execution after stating Jesus is innocent of any crime but due to the pressure of the mob demanding execution, Pilate yields to it (Oxtoby & Amore 172). According to authors Oxtoby and Amore, the crime Jesus was being accused of perverting the people and claiming to be the king of the Jews (168). “In reality, Pilate was harsh and vicious in his treatment of Jews and had thousands of them crucified (Robinson).”
Several critics were troubled by the film’s explicitly detailed violence and further criticized the film for focusing on the brutality of Jesus’ execution, instead of his religious teachings. A number of the scenes which do not appear in the Bible but which seem to be fictional creations added to “flesh” out the movie and extend the film to a feature length include: the scene when Jesus is repeatedly beaten by the Temple guard after his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane for no apparent reason, when Judas is emotionally...
Cited: "Is 'The Passion of the Christ ' by Mel Gibson Historically Accurate?" Facing the Challenge. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www.facingthechallenge.org/passion_historical.php>.
Oxtoby, Willard G., and Amir Hussain. World Religions: Western Traditions. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
Robinson, B. A. ""The Passion of the Christ” is the Movie Anti-Semitic?" Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 21 May 2004. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/chrgibson10.htm>.
Sanburn, Josh. "Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies." Time Entertainment | What’s Good, Bad and Happening, from Pop Culture to High Culture. 3 Sept. 2010. Web. 03 Dec. 2011. <http://entertainment.time.com/2010/09/03/top-10-ridiculously-violent-movies/#the-passion-of-the-christ>.
Scott, A. O. "The Passion of the Christ - FILM REVIEW; Good and Evil Locked In Violent Showdown - NYTimes.com." The New York Times. 25 Feb. 2004. Web. 03 Dec. 2011. <http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A07EFD6143CF936A15751C0A9629C8B63>.
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