Jesus Christ Superstar

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Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It has appeared as an album, Broadway show, and in movie format twice (once in 1973, and again in 2000).


The story follows the Passion of Christ, focusing on the relationship between Judas and Jesus, and Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Jesus is portrayed as a very human figure, filled at times with doubt and the desire to just be "normal", but knowing that no matter what he feels at any given moment, it is his duty, his destiny to fulfill God's wish of him.

Mary, portrayed here as the prostitute, feels a normal love for Jesus... the love of a woman for a man, yet knows he does not and cannot reciprocate because of who and what he is. She learns to accept this, as she learns to accept his role as Son of God.

Judas is perhaps the most compelling of the characters, portrayed here not as a villain out to kill Jesus, but as someone convinced that Jesus is misguided and might bring further harm to the Jewish people and therefore should be stopped. Judas' death here is not due to madness, nor the destruction by evil forces as the Bible suggests, but instead he hangs himself out of guilt for what he has done to his friend.

Touring Company

Jesus Christ Superstar almost continuously tours around the world, usually with Ted Neeley playing Jesus. He played this role in the 1973 movie.

1973 movie

The purpose of the 1973 movie was presenting Jesus's last days from the point of view of Judas Iscariot.[1] Despite this unusual point of view, the movie is quite faithful to the Scripture, with a few exceptions that can be attributed to simplification (for example, Pilate's wife's dream is attributed to Pontius Pilate) and Judas's inability to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

There are a few musics, with different lyrics that apply to them. Some musics are even played with opposing lyrics, showing the turnover of Jerusalem's population from the devotion to King Jesus to the disappointment when he didn't wage war on the Romans.

Since we see Jesus through Judas's eyes, he does not perform any miracles, and, before his arrest, the main character of the movie is Judas.

The movie changes dramatically in tone during Jesus's arrest. This is the only part where the blindness of Judas's point of view is lifted, and we see God answering Jesus's question (why should I die?), by showing Jesus the iconography of Jesus's crucifixion through the centuries that would come.

The film mixes ancient and modern images. The Romans are shown wearing German-like helmets and machine guns - again, from the point of view of Judas, they correspond to a "universal oppressor". The temple of Jerusalem looks like a tourist spot, with street vendors selling souvenirs to tourists. Herod's court looks like a 1970s gay party.


  1. Director's comments, in the movie's DVD