Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Passion of the Christ

MPAA Rating: R for sequences of graphic violence

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
STAFF WRITER

Index


GOOD
but contains graphic violence
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Mature Teens and Adults
Genre:
Historical drama
Length:
2 hr. 6 mins.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
February 25, 2004
Featuring: James Caviezel—playing Jesus Christ (“Angel Eyes”, “Frequency”, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “High Crimes”, “Pay It Forward”)
Monica Bellucci “The Matrix Reloaded”
Rosalinda Celentano
Sergio Rubini (“The Talented Mr. Ripley”)
Maia Morgenstern
Director: Mel Gibson (“Braveheart”, “The Man Without a Face”)
Producer: Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Stephen McEveety
Distributor: Newmarket Film Group

Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
Copyright, Newmarket Film Group
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Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “This film tells the story of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus (Caviezel), on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. This film’s script is based upon several sources, including the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) as collected in the book, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Mystical City of God by St. Mary of Agreda, and the New Testament books of John, Luke, Mark and Matthew.”

Both the Mel Gibson (the director) and James Caviezel (the actor who plays Jesus) are devout Roman Catholics. The film is subtitled, as it was largely shot in the languages of the period, Aramaic and Latin.

Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” is considered by SOME to be an offensive movie. Why?

Review

For many months, and even more strongly for the past few weeks, we’ve all been subjected to a propaganda campaign in the media and on the Internet, attacking “The Passion” with a variety of “concerns” ranging from the possibly-valid to the irrelevant and outrageous. Now that the release date has finally arrived, each of us can decide for ourselves whether to see the film. And if we do see it, decide also whether the objections were justified.

Many of the negative reviews of this film are written by people who don’t believe that the Bible is given by the inspiration of God, a problem that severely colors their approach. Sometime late in a review, the writer will subtly peck away at the reader’s faith, implying (for example) that Pilate carried more blame for Jesus’ death than the film shows. But doesn’t the film follow the Biblical record on Pilate’s role? Yes, but they imply that the Biblical record ITSELF is tainted, because when the Gospels were written it was important for Christians not to antagonize the Romans, so they blamed the Jews for Jesus’ death INSTEAD, etc. etc.

I believe that any reviewer of this film should state his view of the Scriptures up front, so the reader knows the worldview from which the review is written. For my part, I believe that all of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and they teach absolute truth. I further believe that not only were the original manuscripts inerrant, but God has also PRESERVED the Scriptures by superintending the process of canonization AND by seeing to it that a false reading of a passage (whether a transcription error or a deliberate alteration) in some copy of the Scriptures can be detected and refuted, not by a philosophical or “critical” process, but by the “majority text principle” of letting the countless copies which are undamaged in any given verse out-vote the damaged copies. The bottom line is that the Scriptures were reliable when first given, and they’re still reliable today.

Relevant Questions-and-Answers: How do we know the Bible is true? Answer / When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer / How can the Bible be infallible if it is written by fallible humans? Answer

My view of Passion films in general: When I was a kid in the 1950s, growing up in a formal church, we had Wednesday night midweek services during Lent only. One year, a Passion film was shown during those services, a 15 minute slice each week. [“Passion,” in this context, means “Suffering.”] When the Crucifixion was shown, I distinctly remember an awesome sense of personal responsibility that gripped me as the nails were being driven into Jesus’ hands (off-camera of course, but with sound-effects). More than any sermon I ever heard in that church, that film sequence convicted me of sin, and of the fact that by my sin I had shared in causing those nails to be driven.

However, classic-style Passion films probably wouldn’t have the same effect on today’s audiences that they did on those of 50 years ago, because techniques of extreme graphic violence have been used in films of all types, from war movies with a message of self-sacrifice to ridiculous horror and horror-comedy flicks. Moviegoing audiences are desensitized, are bored by the old-style “less is more” approach, and demand “realism.”

So, an actor/director from Hollywood’s “A-list,” who happens to believe that the message of Jesus is true, has chosen to spend somewhere between 25 and 35 million dollars of his own money to make an R-rated Passion film befitting the trend of the times. Mel Gibson’s primary target audience is not extreme conservative Christians who’ve never seen any of his other films. He’s reaching to the same people who’ve followed his previous work, but he’s telling him something more important than he’s ever told them before. It’s as simple as that.

Content Summary

After a quote from Isaiah 53, “The Passion” opens with Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while Peter, James and John have drifted off to sleep. After waking His disciples (who have never seen Him in such torment) and speaking with them, He returns to His place of prayer, and it appears that His face is peppered with sweat like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). The interchange between Jesus and the Disciples is a mixture of Biblically accurate dialogue and creative license. [The film’s dialogue is Aramaic or Latin, with subtitles.]

Rosalinda Celentano as Satan

As Jesus continues to pray, Satan (a hooded, pale-skinned, shaved-eyebrow, somewhat gender-neutral figure) appears at Jesus’ side and tells Him that He cannot take on the sins of the whole world, that saving mankind’s souls is too great a task. Lest we miss the point that it’s a supernatural character we’re seeing, a maggot dangles out of one of Satan’s nostrils, and a “pet” snake is at his feet. The snake slithers over and onto Jesus as He prays in agony. Jesus steels Himself against temptation, rises, and crushes the snake underfoot (a symbolic reference to Genesis 3:15, which actually means that Jesus would crush Satan himself by His death).

Luca Lionello as Judas

Meanwhile, Judas has agreed to reveal Jesus’ whereabouts to the Jewish chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. The priests pay him the money, and he leads the Temple Guard to the garden.

Most of the arrest scene is Biblically accurate. It seemed strange and redundant to me that Judas’ kiss of betrayal came AFTER Jesus had already identified Himself to the Guard; but since Jesus identifying Himself is found only in John and the kiss of betrayal is NOT recorded in John, it’s possible that the two events happened in that order rather than the other way around.

The scene includes the struggle between the Disciples and the guard; Peter cutting off the right ear of the Guardsman, Malchus; Jesus re-attaching and healing the ear, and telling Peter to put up his sword because all who take the sword shall perish by the sword; and the Disciples finally forsaking Jesus and fleeing.

The rest of the film follows the same pattern. About three-quarters of the content is faithful to the Biblical record. And most of the “extra” material is neutral and not misleading in any way.

Biblical details include, but are not limited to:

  1. Peter’s denial of Jesus (I said there was no profanity in the film, but in one denial Peter says “damn you,” which faithfully reflects the account in Matthew 26:74).

  2. The Sanhedrin (the council of Jewish chief priests and elders) being called into an illegal session in order to condemn Jesus (but we see that some members were not invited; and some who WERE invited object to the proceedings, and then leave in protest or are kicked out).

  3. The false witnesses who misunderstood Jesus’ prophecy of His own death (John 2:19-22), and THOUGHT He’d said that He would destroy the Temple and build it again in three days.

  4. Caiaphas (the High Priest) tearing his garments, and the Sanhedrin condemning Jesus for blasphemy, because He admitted that He was the Messiah (the “anointed one,” the prophesied King who would inherit the Throne of David). [“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah.”] This claim WOULD be blasphemy if it were not true. But in Jesus’ case, it WAS true.

  5. The priests taking Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor (because as a subjugated people, the Jews had no authority to carry out death sentences), and slyly translating “blasphemy” into something the governor would care about, namely “sedition,” by claiming that since Jesus was perceived as a King, He was a threat to Roman rule.

  6. Judas repenting when it’s too late, claiming that he’s betrayed innocent blood, throwing the money back at the priests, and hanging himself. [There’s a lot of extra-Biblical creative license in the Judas sequences; for instance, Judas is confronted and tormented by children who turn out to be demons.]

  7. Pilate being warned by his wife not to get involved in condemning Jesus, because she in turn was warned in a dream. Pilate repeatedly acquitting Jesus, then passing Him off to Herod Antipas because Jesus was a Galilean and belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction. Herod (who is shown as a degenerate sicko) passing Him back to Pilate. [By the way, although the Herod family were rulers of the Jews, they themselves were Idumeans (Edomites).] Pilate attempting to satisfy the bloodthirsty crowd by just “chastising” Jesus.

  8. The Roman scourging (including the use of a cat-of-nine-tails, which is not a Biblical certainty but a good educated guess). The Crown of Thorns, the mocking, the spitting. The crowd choosing the murderer Barabbas rather than Jesus in the Passover prisoner-release. Pilate finally giving up, literally “washing his hands” of the matter, and assenting to the crowd’s chant of “crucify him.” Pilate says that he’s innocent of the blood of this man (he isn’t, of course). [In an early cut of the film, Caiaphas responds with “His blood be on us, and on our children,” which is taken from Matthew 27:25. The inclusion of those “blood curse” words drew strong objections from some Jewish leaders, and the nature of the final cut was in doubt. In the theatrical version, an unidentified person (not shown on screen) responds to Pilate, but the dialogue isn’t subtitled, so only someone who knows the language can tell us whether the response was the “blood curse” or not.]

  9. Simon of Cyrene being forced to help Jesus carry the cross. The nailing. The two thieves crucified along with Jesus, one angry and defiant, and the other expressing faith. Several of Jesus’ words on the Cross. The darkening of the sky. The earthquake, and the veil (curtain) in the Temple being torn in two (Matthew 27:51). [The veil in the Temple separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, where at one time the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The symbolism of the veil, and of many other things in Temple worship, was the separation between God and sinful man.

    Hebrews 10:1-22 makes the point that Jesus’ flesh was ALSO a veil between God and man (paralleling it with the Temple veil), and that when Jesus’ flesh was torn (which occurred at the same time the Temple veil was torn), the blood sacrifice of Jesus opened up a way for man to have direct fellowship with God. The animal sacrifices of the Law of Moses, which were inadequate to solve the problem of sin, foreshadowed and were replaced by the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, which forever takes care of the sin problem in anyone to whom it’s appropriated by faith.]

  10. Jesus’ teachings (most seen in flashback), including those about forgiveness and loving your enemies, and about how no one takes His life from Him, but He’s voluntarily laying it down, how He has power not only to lay it down but to take it up again.

  11. The Resurrection. It’s EXTREMELY brief, but it’s there. And it even includes the detail of Jesus having “dematerilized” out of the constricting graveclothes and then “rematerialized,” which seems to be the point of the description of the graveclothes in John 20:3-8.

What we have here is a film taking the position that Jesus WAS exactly Who He said He was. Before considering any negatives, we need to step back a moment and appreciate how rare that is!

Okay, now for the possible negative

The violence is extreme. The special effects of Jesus being beaten with rods, scourged, and nailed to the Cross leave nothing to the imagination. Not only that, but both the Jewish Temple Guard and the Roman Soldiers take pleasure in pummeling Jesus CONSTANTLY. From the time of His arrest on, whenever they’re walking Him anywhere, they can’t take two steps without whacking Him one. This content is there from the beginning, broken only by flashback scenes to somewhat happier times. In the second hour of the film, beginning with the Scourging, it becomes overwhelming.

Ordinarily, even in a worthwhile film like “Saving Private Ryan,” where a constant drum of violence is somewhat inherent to the plot, the violence itself is a minus. But this isn’t ordinarily. One of the complaints of negative reviews is that not enough time is spent on Jesus’ teachings. But that’s not the film’s purpose nor focus. In John 3, Nicodemus (a ruler of the Jews) came to Jesus by night and admitted that they (he and the other rulers) knew Jesus was a Teacher come from God. In what seemed like a major change of subject, Jesus said that Nicodemus needed to be born again. The point is that Jesus’ ESSENTIAL role was not that of a Teacher, but of a Savior. OUR essential NEED is not to understand more and more doctrine, but to be born again. And without the blood sacrifice of Jesus, it would not be POSSIBLE for us to be born again.

Gibson is giving us a look at what that blood sacrifice actually was. In Romans 5:6-10 we’re taught that it’s a rare thing for one man to die for another, even if the other man is “righteous” and deserving of the sacrifice. But in the case of the Cross, Jesus died for us while we were His ENEMIES, in order to make a way for us to become His friends and to be converted from unrighteousness to righteousness. Of all the violent acts that have occurred in the history of the world, the Cross was by far the most important.

If any event deserves the full Hollywood treatment, this one does. Therefore, I do not consider the graphic nature of this presentation to be a negative. Of course, it’s not appropriate for young children.

Not surprisingly, certain scenes in the film (such as Mary cradling Jesus’ body as it’s taken down from the Cross) have a distinctly Roman Catholic flavor. But not so distinctive that they’re an impediment to anyone else’s faith. I commend Gibson for giving the film a broad general appeal among Bible believers of all stripes.

Some content is either based on the writings of those two Nuns that we’ve heard so much about, or is Gibson’s own creative license. To someone who’s familiar only with the Biblical record, those snippets of content come out of nowhere, without warning, and then go away again.

Certain details which we know could have been improved over other Passion dramas, such as putting the nails through the wrists rather than through the palms of the hands, or having Jesus carry only the crossbar instead of the entire Cross, were NOT fixed. Reportedly, this was to preserve familiarity with the story as most people visualize it. Other details, such as not emphasizing asphyxiation, or omitting a Greek version of the title “King of the Jews” fastened to the Cross, are incorrect, but tolerable. The essence of this story is Jesus’ sacrifice—the BLOOD that so many of our songs sing about.

Note: For facts about Christ’s death, read: How did Jesus die? / What do the letters “INRI” on the crucifix mean? Answer

What about the objections of anti-Semitism? Groundless. If anything, Gibson shows even-handedness and restraint in that matter. It’s clear that the Sanhedrin was not unanimous in condemning Jesus. And while the Temple Guard engages in some gratuitous violence, all the really bloody torture of Jesus is done by the Romans.

The liberals say Pilate must actually have been the primary mover in killing Jesus. They say this, because they want it to be so. Was Pilate sometimes a bloodthirsty murderer? It sure sounds like it, from Luke 13:1. But the factual historical record (found in the Scriptures) is that Jesus was really no threat to Rome, the Jewish leaders were the ones who conspired to put Jesus to death, and they forced Pilate into carrying out their wishes. See John 11:46-53. In this amazing passage, Caiaphas says that one man (Jesus) should die for the people, so that the whole nation doesn’t perish.

Caiaphas was a murderer who THOUGHT he simply meant that he was going to have Jesus bumped off for political reasons, to avoid trouble with Rome. But because he was the High Priest, God was at the same time speaking through him and giving a second sphere of meaning to his words. Jesus’ death was to be a Substitutionary Atonement for sin, so that other people wouldn’t have to die in their own sins.

Some Scripture passages, such as I Thessalonians 2:14-16, name “the Jews” as the killers of Jesus. But other passages spread the blame more generally. In Acts 4:24-28, the Apostles quote Psalm 2, and interpret it to mean that pretty much EVERYONE — Herod (an Idumean, remember), Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel—were gathered TOGETHER against Jesus, TO DO WHAT GOD’S COUNSEL HAD FOREORDAINED TO BE DONE.

The most important point, as Gibson has said, is that WE’RE ALL GUILTY. And that no one took Jesus’ life from Him, but He laid it down of Himself. Anyone who tries to use the Biblical record, or a dramatization of the Biblical record, as a justification to persecute someone, just doesn’t get it. God will be the judge of all unbelief. Until Jesus returns, our message centers on God’s offer of mercy and forgiveness.

If the essential message of this film is true, and if everyone needs to believe on Jesus, then regardless of the objections that are voiced, the number one ACTUAL objection against this film by any unbeliever is that it’s showing a truth that he does not acknowledge. The person may not KNOW that that’s his primary objection—it may be lodged in his spirit rather than in his brain—but yet it is.

So many of the voiced objections betray a double standard. This film is being judged by a different set of rules than any other. And the people who always proclaim that movies are just entertainment and don’t really change behavior or beliefs—where are those people now? I don’t hear them. The silence is deafening.

I’m sure that I’ll acquire a copy of this film for my own video or DVD library. And at some point, when she’s a teenager, I’d like my daughter to see it. Of course, some people couldn’t handle this content. The Gospel has done just fine for 2000 years, without the Holy Ghost needing help from this film or from any other dramatization. “The Passion” is NOT an indispensible addition to anyone’s witnessing tool kit. But there ARE ways in which it could be used effectively.

I HIGHLY recommend this film for anyone of appropriate age, maturity and stamina.

Violence: Extreme | Profanity: None | Sex/Nudity: None

Answering a question from a Christian visitor:

“What would you say to a Jewish person about ‘The Passion…’?”

If the person seems honestly fearful that the film will produce an outbreak of anti-Semitism in America, I would share what an American Orthodox Jewish Rabbi reminded us of. America is probably the world’s safest haven for Jews. America’s Bible Belt is Israel’s “safety belt.” The Christian Gospels are not a threat to Jews. “The Passion…” which tells part of their story is not a threat. The few misguided Jewish leaders that have made charges of anti-Semitism against Mel Gibson and other cast members are simply wrong. The leading source of these charges even admitted this recently on television.

Speaking of “The Passion of the Christ,” Michael Medved (movie critic, observant Jew and longtime president of an Orthodox congregation) has said: “The film seemed to me so obviously free of anti-Semitic intent that I urged Gibson to show the rough cut to some of his Jewish critics as a means of reassuring them… Contrary to the fears and expectations of some Jewish leaders, an agnostic, left-leaning college professor at an Ivy League university is much more likely than a Southern Baptist preacher to harbor anti-Jewish attitudes.” (“The Passion and Prejudice,” Christianity Today, March 2004)

In an interview, Medved went on to say, “…I don’t think there is going to be any anti-Semitic backlash based upon the film… there has been an increasingly strong coalition between committed Jews and committed Christians, to defend the United States, to defend the values that we care about, to defend the traditional family, and to defend Israel. And there are people in this country, particularly on the Left, who don’t like that, who are very suspicious of it. And so this has been used, it seems to me in a very political way, by certain people on the Left to try to drive Jews and Christians apart. And it is our job, particularly those of us in the Jewish community, to not allow that to happen. This movie is an affirmation of Christian faith, and I am one of those Jews who believes that the more Christian America there is, the better it is for America, and the better it is for America’s Jews, and for Jews around the world.” (part of a televised interview on the CBN network, The 700 Club)

Rabbi Daniel Lapin (President of Toward Tradition) said, “…it isn’t the film that threatens the sense of community [between Jews and Christians]; it is the arrogant and intemperate response of [certain] Jewish organizations that does so… Many Christians who, with good reason, have considered themselves to be Jews’ best (and perhaps, only) friends also feel bitter at Jews believing that Passion is revealing startling new information about the Crucifixion. They are incredulous at Jews thinking that exposure to the Gospels in visual form will instantly transform the most philo-Semitic gentiles of history into snarling, Jew-hating predators.”

If you are trying to help a Jewish friend realize that Jesus Christ is their Messiah, see this page for help… http://ChristianAnswers.Net/evangelism/beliefs/judaism.html in our Effective Evangelism section.

Viewer Comments

Comments from Ray Comfort, Living Waters, a Team Member of ChristianAnswers.Net:

Nowadays, most Christians are rejoicing that amidst the filth of Hollywood, suddenly another movie has been produced that flies in the face of everything for which Hollywood stands. That movie is “The Passion of the Christ.” But some are deeply concerned that it was also directed and produced by a Roman Catholic. It also contains artistic license. It has scenes that are from Catholic mysticism rather than from Scripture (the appearance of a raven at the cross, Judas being tormented by children, etc.).

Another concern that some people have is that an onscreen depiction of Jesus is a form of “graven image,” and therefore a transgression of the Second Commandment. Those who think that making an image of Jesus on film is breaking the Commandment should read it in full. We are not to make graven images of “any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” That means that we shouldn’t make film images (movie or still photos) of any person, animal, fish, flower, bird, mountain, etc. That doesn’t make any sense… until we read the whole Commandment: “You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4-5). The Commandment forbids the creation of any image for the purpose of worship.

While we could argue about these issues, I would rather ask you an important question. If someone says, “I’m not a Christian, but I did see the film. Wow! What was all that brutality about?” are you going to reply, “I didn’t go to the movie because it was directed and produced by a Roman Catholic. It’s idolatrous and it contains things that cannot be corroborated by Scripture, and I therefore think it was evil”? I hope not. I should hope that you instead use the movie as a springboard to explain the way of salvation.

Think of Paul’s attitude in Philippians chapter one. Some folks weren’t just adding their own mystical thoughts to the message of the cross. They were downright vicious. They were hypocrites who preached Christ out of pretence, envy, strife and “contention.” They were devious people who were so full of venom that they wanted to see Paul further suffer—hoping to “add affliction the [his] bonds.” Yet what was Paul’s attitude to such wickedness? He rejoiced that they preached Christ, despite the horrible baggage that came with the message. He said, “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (verse 18).

Do you remember what happened in Mark 9:39-40, when the disciples told Jesus that they had found a man who was casting out demons in His name. This man had a “ministry,” but he wasn’t with their group, so they took it upon themselves to rebuke him. But Jesus told them to leave him alone. This is because God doesn’t need bouncers to help Him carry out His purposes.

If I had had a hand in the making of “The Passion of the Christ,” I would have dropped all mysticism, and based it purely on Scripture. Also, (as in the epic movie “Ben Hur”—a wonderful movie) I wouldn’t have shown the face of the Savior. But I didn’t write, produce or direct it. So I tell myself that this isn’t a movie about Jesus being a homosexual. It isn’t about him having sexual relations with Mary Magdalene. It doesn’t depict Him as merely a man—as did “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Instead “The Passion of the Christ” is based on Scripture, with some artistic license. It begins with a powerful Scripture. The whole movie is full of Scripture… and it even ends with the resurrection. Christ is preached, and we should therefore rejoice and be thankful that millions have been graphically reminded of the cross of Calvary in a way they will never forget. That means we can either take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to use it to speak further with them about their salvation, or we can whine. I choose the former, and I hope you do also.


Comments from Mark Looy, Answers in Genesis (a Bible-upholding, evangelical ministry), a Team Member of ChristianAnswers.Net:

…The movie is absolutely gripping. It has the added benefit that it is apparently true to Scripture, although some poetic license was used (for example, there is a scene where Christ is flung off a bridge, which cannot be found in the Gospels--that account may have its origin in a book written by a nineteenth-century mystic).

The second half of the movie, though, is, in a word, “torture.” Not only does the movie graphically depict the torture of Christ, from His scourging to the Crucifixion, I found it to be also torturous to watch. The “R” rating in the US (meaning “Restricted—young people under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to enter the theater”) is merited because of how vividly it reconstructs Christ’s brutal, bloody torture. Some have argued that, in a culture that is so desensitized to screen violence, “The Passion” had to be so graphic to make its point about His immense suffering. I will not, however, be taking my 11 and 13-year-old sons to see it.

Others have commented that these incredibly horrific ordeals shown in the second hour of the movie could have been done in 15-20 minutes and still convey something of the immense suffering that our Savior must have experienced. (And, of course, no movie could ever depict the internal/spiritual suffering of our Lord as He bore the sins of the world while on the Cross.) Such shortening could, in turn, have left more time at the movie’s end to present the glory of His Resurrection three days later (which the film presents very briefly). After all, the validity of the Christian faith is based on the Resurrection, the most important event in history: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). In the film preview shown to the media, the depiction of the Resurrection was maybe a minute in length. This parallels the emphasis that some non-Protestant religions (that generally accept the Bible) place: i.e., a focus on Christ still on the Cross as opposed to Christ off the Cross—as a risen Savior. After such a remarkable build-up, I believe the film lost an opportunity to proclaim something quite glorious when it glossed over the Resurrection. It was like listening to Handel’s magnificent Messiah and then hearing only one bar of the “Hallelujah chorus” at the end

But this drawback is not why the movie is so controversial…It’s clear that the filmmakers were not trying to blame any one person or an entire group. At the same time, however, we should add what the film does not really mention: God the Father is the One responsible for planning and allowing the Crucifixion of His Son, Jesus. This was prophesied all the way back in Genesis 3:15 and also Isaiah 53—and many other places in the Old Testament.

Will the movie lead people to Christ? Within certain evangelical circles, that question is being bandied about with some fervor. How effective will this movie be in conveying biblical truths to non-Christians? First, we need to recognize that today’s generation is biblically illiterate. They don’t know what the Bible says about the origin of sin (in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:1-8), God’s judgment for sin (the Curse in Genesis 3:9-24) and His promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15). While many people growing up in Western nations during the first half of the 20th century were familiar with these teachings, they will be lost on newer generations. Some people don’t even know how Christ Himself fits into world history—or even what that true history is. In the common understanding, Christ must have evolved from pond scum over millions of years, along with the rest of us. How could an evolved, mortal animal have the ability to rise from the dead?


As an example, most viewers will probably miss the main point in the highly moving scene where a snake (representing Satan) slithers through the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ crushes it under His heel. Most viewers will not see its connection to Genesis 3:15 and the gospel message presented there.

…we have to define what sin is (Genesis 3 is a great place to begin) as well as share how the Cross is related to our sin. The Apostle Paul used this approach when he preached to the Greeks in Athens almost 2,000 years ago. Unlike Peter, who preached the gospel to Jews who already had the background from Genesis and responded in large numbers, Paul was preaching to Greeks who didn’t have a basic understanding of Genesis and the origin of sin. Paul had to start with the “big picture,” based on the Book of Beginnings, to present an effective gospel message to a secular society.
—Mark Looy, Answers in Genesis, a Team Member of ChristianAnswers.Net
[Editor’s note: We agree that “The Passion…” does not provide a clear presentation of the Gospel, and, of course, it was not meant to. To learn the rest of the story of Jesus—or to share it with your friends—read the Bible and view the excellent Mars Hill video production, The HOPE. This high-quality, new motion picture superbly explains the rest of the story about Christ, and puts everything into context and perspective—beginning with the original creation of Paradise, mankind’s fall to sin, and God’s story of redemption which began thousands of years ago continues through Christ’s death and resurrection, and beyond. Share the Web address with your friends: TheHopeVideo.com (free).
Video also available for purchase.

Also see: Why start with Creation and then proceed chronologically when teaching the Gospel?]

 

Learn and share the rest of the story about Jesus Christ with Christian Spotlight’s recommended Christian videos…


Positive comments received
Positive—…a movie that anyone professing a faith in Jesus Christ should watch! Why? Because it will change your life and make you again realize what it took for God to forgive you! …it also opened my eyes to the urgency of reaching the lost. If Jesus Christ, the king of heaven, was willing to go through this to save us then we owe it to our lost brothers and sisters to share our faith with them. As Christians we need fuel, Holy Spirit fuel, and this fuel is TNT!!! This is the best film I have ever seen. From the opening in the Garden of Gethsemane to the Glorious Resurrection I sat motionless, my eyes never leaving the screen, and I can’t even recall if I took a breath the entire time. I explained it this way to my wife and friends… it felt as if I had been transported through time to the actual crucifixion. I watched as my Lord and Saviour was scourged, beaten, spat upon, and crucified for me. Tears rolled down my cheeks in rivers. This film has the power to heal the wounded sin filled heart and destroy any notion that this was an easy things for Jesus to have done… Mel Gibson can be considered a hero of the faith, and I hope that he will be remembered as such, because at least for me I am closer to Jesus now after witnessing his sacrifice for me in it’s full horror and brutality. My hope is that somehow this film will be taken as a witnessing tool around the world, like the Jesus film, because I believe in this film there is the power to bring millions to Christ…
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Chris St John, age 32
Positive—My main point for people who have not seen this movie is to realize that the producers did not title this movie “The Life of Jesus,” “The Story of Jesus,” or “The Resurrection of Jesus.” This movie takes the premise that the viewer is at least aware of the story of Jesus, and focuses solely on the chastising and crucifying of Jesus in a way that is as realistic as one could possibly imagine.

Many are saying that the violence is not needed, but I disagree. It reinforces what Jesus was willing to endure for the people he loved so much. We can ask ourselves, “if we were just told that the Holocaust was an unfortunate by-product of the second world war where some innocent people were killed, would it justify the reality of the terror that actually happened?” No. We need to be exposed to some horrors to make an educated opinion of the subject.

It might not be pleasant to watch, but it gives added insight to what we already know of the Gospels. Bible films of the past were bound by much stricter filming laws on graphic situations, and were probably correct in their mild portrayals for the era, but in todays time of desensitization, especially in our children, a portrayal like this is greatly needed. I do strongly agree that young children need not see this film, but should be exposed when they are able to handle the message of the film. Do not go to see this movie to be entertained, but go to be enlightened.

Many were weeping in the theatre I was at, and that re-assures me that they understood the gravity of what actually happened during the crucifixion of Jesus. To critique this movie on medical inconsistencies is, in my opinion, not appropriate. This is a portrayal, not a documentary.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—William Brown, age 35
Positive—I can honestly say that after viewing this movie, I will never be the same. Even after studying the Bible and hearing my Pastor throughout the years teach on Christ and His crucifixion, I have to say that it means even more when you see it acted out. NO, none of us were there, but we have a good idea of the turmoil and the anguish that He suffered. I felt as if I was among the crowd. I found this movie to be very scriptural. There may have been a few petty things that may not have been, but all in all, it was straight to the Bible. I have heard and read a lot of negative things about the movie and that Mel Gibson (and viewers) were blaming the Jews for Jesus’ death. But I do have to ask this question… do these people (that bash this movie) understand that it doesn’t matter “who” was responsible for Jesus’ death? what they fail to realize is that no matter “who” is responsible, it was God’s plan to come to earth, to humble himself, and to die on the cross for our sins, that if we believe in our hearts, and repent from our sins, we will have eternal life. It was His plan, His intentions. Stop arguing over “who” is responsible, and stop and realize that Jesus could have came down from that cross. The nails didn’t keep him back. He could have called ten-thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free. It was His love for you and I that kept him on that cross. No greater love than this.

Yes, I will agree that there was a lot of blood, bloody images, but to stress the physical torment that He endured, you have to show this. I strongly agree that one should read the whole synopsis of this movie on this Web site before viewing it. I knew exactly what to expect when I went to see this movie, but that was because I read the comments on this Web site. I find this Web site to be awesome! I believe the Lord is using Mel Gibson to reach out to lost souls or bring those who are out of fellowship back to the Lord. Mel, if by any chance you are reading this, I commend you for a job well done. May I also remind you of the Bible verse Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” God bless all my brothers and sisters in Christ. And to those of you who do not personally know Christ as your Savior, I pray that He will open your eyes, and your heart, so that you will receive Him.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Michelle Wade, age 30
Positive—Christian, if you don’t see this movie, you are missing out. This movie will impact the way you worship, pray, take communion… and share your faith. If you are a non-Christian, click on the link (on this Web site) http://christiananswers.net/gospel/passionofchrist.html to help you understand why this torture and death had to take place.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Michael Angelovic, age 35
Positive—Powerful is the first and best word I can use to describe the experience of seeing this film. Gibson left little behind in producing the “Passion.” The real story of Easter is brought to the viewer in a form that will change forever our perspective on how “it” really happened. What I came away with most is the humanity of Jesus. The purpose of taking human form becomes so obvious as we experience his suffering. He felt every bit the pain and torment any of us would if brought to the same level of agony. This is truly a transforming story and the Passion presents it in transforming fashion.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Paul Mackin, age 46
Positive—In “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson has produced the Christian “Guernica”-one of the most haunting and revolutionary visuals in the last four hundred years. The film begins with Christ’s temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane. This scene sets the spiritual context of a film that is a struggle not between Romans and Jews, nor between Jews and Christians, but between Jesus and Satan. The proof of this is in one of the two truly great shots (both of which occur near the end of the movie) in which we see Satan looking up toward heaven. The camera zooms away as Satan crouches in the midst of his miserable collection of bones, howling in a pit of despair and hatred. Dwelling with Satan in his pit for even those few moments leaves the viewer with a chilling conception of what it is like to be separated from God forever, in such company.

…The film has drawn criticism on two accounts: that it is anti-Semitic and that it is too violent. Of the first charge I will refer readers to this article by Rabbi Daniel Lapin (http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/lappin200309260936.asp) and merely say that a number of anti-Christian organizations are anxious to diminish this film because they recognize its greatness. “The Passion” will energize the Christian community and it has set a standard by which all future Christian films will be judged. Singlehandedly, Mel Gibson has created a Christian genre that will inspire more films and will provide Christians of the future with a visual gospel for the future. Anti-Christians are nervous because they fear not just this film, but the films which will follow in its path.

…by contemporary standards, the film is not so much violent as it is bloody. Jesus’s blood is everywhere: in pools in the courtyard, on the faces of the sadistic Roman guards, on the cloth of Veronica, on Simon of Cyrene and, most poignantly, on his mother. Christian emphasis on the redeeming power of Jesus’ actual blood is both a powerful and puzzling symbol. To non-Christians and non-Jews it may seem almost ghoulish. But it is the power of the blood that saves, and to save so many for all time, much blood has to be shed.

The most moving depiction of the power of the blood occurs when the Roman soldier who pierces his side is showered with Jesus’ blood and water. At first, he responds with a mixture of revulsion and horror to this ghastly baptism. But soon, his expression changes to one of wonder. He looks up at Jesus, falls to his knees, he bows his head, and relaxes his body in at attitude of grace. At that point we see a changed man, a man transformed by the unspeakable eloquence of his saviour’s blood. The voluminous amounts of blood is what true Christians will be most broken by and what non-Christians are offended by when they say the film is too violent. Jesus bleeds and bleeds throughout this film, and no one of us can escape getting his blood on ourselves.

Although the violence lasts for nearly an hour, it is broken up by flashbacks and skillful editing that advances the story forward in narrative space as well as backward in biographical time. The flashback is one of the most overused filmic techniques, one that amateurs rely on. But Gibson never ceases to surprise with his genuine artistry. “The Passion…” is a great film and he is on the verge of becoming a great filmmaker, one capable of turning out films with regularity.

Indeed, to what else can you compare a Christian’s experience of seeing this film? Excepting Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, what in even the 17th or 18th or 19th centuries astonishes like this film? Not since the Renaissance have Christians had so many powerful images from a single artist to meditate upon and it is remarkable that they should occur in a ingle film. Gibson has provided us with an iconography that rivals Giotto, Masaccio, and Michelangelo for power and scope. It is the most overpowering work of Christian art since Handel’s Messiah


Maia Morgenstern as Mary the mother of Jesus
…Peter in the Garden is another conception that will expand Christians’ imagination. The Gospels are necessarily terse else, as John says, “even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25 NIV). Until now, we have not had a full imagining of Peter’s actions, but Gibson’s Peter is a powerful fisherman, a whirlwind driven by the incompatible presence of rage and love dwelling simultaneously in his heart.

One of the tests of any film is whether the characters convince us of their trials. Without mincing words, James Caviezel gives us the most nuanced portrait of Christ ever seen on film. Caviezel does this by depicting Jesus with amazing credibility in scenes varying from levity with his mother to unspeakable agony on the cross. There were surreal instances when I felt I was there and thought: “This is Jesus.” Everything Caviezel does, he does with authority and conviction.

The second great portrayal in the film is that of Mary. Maia Morgenstern, a Rumanian Jew and daughter of a Holocaust survivor, will make even men cry with the unbearable combination of pain and love that she endures and expresses. For us Protestants who seldom dwell on Mary and her own passion, this will be a revelatory portrait but one that is incomplete without an understanding of her role in the stations of the Cross.

The third great portrayal is that of Satan (Rosalinda Celentano) as a hunched over, androgynous entity in a black cloak. Slithering in the background, through the crowds, looking sideways, he is a malevolent, brooding presence who insinuates evil wherever he appears. Never again will we think of Satan in the childish terms of a red demon with horn, spiked tail, and cloven hooves. As Othello said of that other devil, Iago, “I look down towards his feet; but that’s a fable.” This Satan is the real thing: he is a troubling, original conception because he looks like one of us.

Claudia Gerini as Claudia Procles
The fourth great characterization is that of Pilate (Hristo Shopov) and, to a lesser extent, his wife Claudia (Claudia Gerini). They clearly love one another and are intelligent, cultured people, so much like an upper class couple on assignment in a foreign city. Pilate is a professional administrator caught between the two historic forces of Caesar and Jesus Christ. Pilate (ironically played by an actor named “Hristo”), gives a convincing performance of a man capable of both brutality and philosophy. His troubled query in the presence of Jesus, “What is truth?” is the archetypal question for non-believers in every time and place. It is a question that both begs and resists belief because man’s prideful reason struggles to assume the place of precedence over man’s heart.

As a Christian who was raised Greek Orthodox, married a Catholic, and later was attracted to a fundamentalist evangelical church for its revelatory focus on the written Word, it is nonetheless clear to me that no Christian faith tradition besides the Catholic could have produced such a luminous act of worship. The Orthodox Church has a rich ecclesiastical art history, but one that doesn’t transcend its own tradition enough to compel other Christians to it. The Protestants have a great literary tradition, best represented by Milton’s wonderful 17th century epic poem, “Paradise Lost”, but our visual worship has been stunted by a post-Reformation anxiety that has stripped Protestant churches bare of every visual representation of Christ except for the occasional stark image of an empty cross. There is not a single visual artist in the Protestant tradition that I can think of whose body of work inspires me to worship as does this one movie. That is a melancholy fact.

However, even the Catholic church cannot take credit for this great representation of Jesus because the film has its origins in the post-Vatican II controversy that drove Gibson’s family away from mainstream Catholicism to a conservative offshoot in the early 1960’s. No, the credit for this film is entirely Gibson’s. He invested twenty-five million dollars of his own money, spent thousands of hours consulting theologians, pastors and priests; he co-wrote the script, organized the shoot, edited and produced the film and, most importantly, witnessed his faith in the face of a withering persecution unlike any we have seen in recent times. He has been ridiculed, slandered, demonized, and investigated by all the major media outlets, to say nothing of the fringe groups who hate the very idea of a biblical Christianity that distinguishes between good and evil, between saved and unsaved.

Who would have thought that Mel Gibson, the studly Mel of “Mad Max,” the conflicted Mel of “Hamlet,” the foolish Mel of “Lethal Weapon,” would become the artist of “Braveheart” and “The Passion of the Christ”? Like other martyrs before him, Gibson saw the opportunity to witness and he had the vision, the courage, and the faith to become a fool for Christ instead of for money. He is now, officially, a martyr and a prophet for our troubled time.

My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
Michael Karounos, age 49
Positive—…The theater was completely full. I am a definite movie buff, but I’ve never experienced anything like I experienced today. When the movie ended and people began leaving, no one talked. Talking would have been irreverent after such a biblical presentation of truth. As I think back over the film, tears still well in my eyes. My heart aches. I am in awe, but not of any Hollywood person or production. I am in awe at what my Lord did for me, for each one of us.

Smaller children most likely would have a hard time with “The Passion,” because it is extremely violent, just as Roman flogging, scourging, and crucifixion were extremely violent. It isn’t a “nice” experience, but it is a heart-breaking, life-changing experience.

If memory serves me correctly, these words appeared on the opening screen:
“But because of our sins he was wounded,
beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the punishment he suffered,
made whole by the blows he received” (Isaiah 53:5 GNB).
If you want a “feel good” film, stay at home. If you want to gain a much better understanding of just how much Jesus suffered for our sins, see the movie.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Dr. David R. Bess, age 43
I have read Christian concerns over the movie “The Passion.” The criticism is primarily based in the fact that the movie lacks in the message of salvation. However, we need to consider that the intended purpose of the movie is to show the reality of Christ’s love for us not to do our work and convert souls. We as Christians need to utilize this movie as a tool to open up the conversation of salvation. That is exactly why churches are buying out theaters and having alter calls after the movie. I am impressed that Mel Gibson put his career on the line to offer this movie to all of us which is much closer to my viewing preference than “50 First Dates,” etc. I certainly would not want to criticize him for not making the movie Christian enough.
—Cathy Warner, age 37
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Positive—Recently I was watching “Bruce Almighty” with a fairly conservative friend who afterwards stated that they were uncomfortable with the film because it lowered God to the level of man. That sense of uncomfortablity seems to be exactly why Mel Gibson made this exquisite work of art. After being blessed with the opportunity to watch a preview …I along with the host of individuals in the room sat in an uncomfortable silence contemplating the images which had just passed before us. The visuals were intense, disturbing, provoking, intelligent, and engaging as Mel weaved together aspects of the Gospel, his imagination, and elements of his religious tradition.

Gracious enough to join us at the screening, Mel expressed that he was pleased with the film because to him, “the film worked… I think it was fairly faithful to the Gospel, but at the same time I was able to use my imagination to a degree…” Mel stated like a proud parent.

As for the negative press, it seems completely unfounded, as the film plays extremely evenhandedly to all of its character groups… the key is to view this film for what it is intended to be: a work of art, an expression of Mel Gibson and those who worked on the film as a gift to the viewer. Rather than a tool to manipulate, Mel stated that his greatest dream for what to happen in the theaters was that “It would be free, and afterwards everyone would have ice cream.” Yet he acknowledged the power of art: “Art has the power to transcend many things, and that’s why during the Renaissance and all the religious art work over the centuries is amazing stuff and has inspired people, and I think that this can do the same thing, it can inspire, and can just make people aware of who they are in relationship to the world and what has gone on before them, I mean civilization has been changed forever by Christ, …nothing was the same ever after that, whether you’re a believer or not it’s effected your world and there’s no getting around that.”

And while the film almost demands that the audience come with some foreknowledge of the event, the central themes of Christ’s struggle during the last hours of his life are painfully clear.

In regard to the film’s violence and receiving an R rated, Mel responded “it is hard to watch, and I did intend to push for it.” “Why?” asked Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek. “the enormity of the blood sacrifice, I mean blood was required, it was in the old covenant, blood was always required, blood was really required for this, and every drop of it …he chose to go all the way.”

When questioned about the potential costs beyond merely financial costs on the line with this film, Mel responded with a statement that summarized his priorities and view of the Hollywood culture: “Well, I’ve had a career, I’m bored with it.”

Overall, I would highly suggest that you experience “The Passion…” Not only because this could be one of the biggest crossroads of Christ and Culture in a long time, but because of how it will affect you as a person… The film is very virtuous and biblical in its worldview and message. Violence: Heavy | Profanity: None | Sex/Nudity: None
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Joel Veenstra, age 26
Positive—The entire movie was summed up with the marvelous effect with the overhead camera view of Calvary that morphed into God’s single tear drop that triggered the earthquake when he hit the ground. Such a simple and visionary concept.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4]
—Mark Smith, age 40
Positive—First I have to say—about all the criticisms to this movie—take them all and throw them out the window! Just toss them out the window like vomit. For that is all they are worth—useless rubbish! I often wondered if I could get on a time machine and go back in time to see it for real, what it would be like? I think I know now. I really did feel like I was there. I felt it in a way I hadn’t experienced before through the other portrayals of this, His sacrifice. Oddly, I came prepared with tissues, expecting to be crying my eyes out. I instead found myself feeling numb, the kind of numbness that comes from going through something so intense that if you don’t go numb you will be torn to shreds. It was that intense. But I don’t think I would have wanted it to be any other way.

For those concerned about children seeing this, I will reveal this. When the Roman soldiers scourged Him with the cat of nine tails, you actually saw His flesh being torn to shreds. And they wouldn’t stop flailing Him, either. They just kept going and going and going and going. Likewise, after Judas realized what he had done, you see him being tormented by children—who turn out to be demons, who reveal themselves as such. The rope he hung himself with came from a dead, decaying animal. Gross? Yes. Symbolic? Most definitely yes.

At the beginning of the movie, I could tell how Gibson had been using artistic license, but after a while it didn’t matter. Like an artist painting a portrait, he brought out the highlights he saw as precious. Would I have changed some things? Yes, but this was his portrait, not mine. And that’s OK. In the Garden, Satan sends a snake to Him. After Jesus surrendered His will to the Father, He crushes the head of the snake with His heal! As He is being crucified, the scene flashes back to when Jesus had said, “I am the Good Shepherd. I lay down My life for the sheep…” When Jesus died, the earthquake was so violent it split through the Temple. The eruption ends with Satan crying in defeat.

I at first thought the resurrection scene was weak. But I think I realized why. If the resurrection had been as dramatic as it is worth, we would leave the theater almost forgetting what had passed before. No, it had to be toned down for us to be dwelling on His sacrifice and what He had done for us in that way. I normally don’t sing very loud in public. As I left the theater, I was singing with all my heart, not caring who thought what of it: “Light of the world, You stepped out into darkness… Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You’re My God… I’ll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross… You’re all together lovely, altogether worthy, all together wonderful to me…”
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Deanna Marquart, age 33
Positive—First of all, allow me to explain why I gave this film an “extremely offensive” rating. I think that the organizations/churches that have promoted the idea of taking young children to this movie to parents are incorrect in doing so—this movie depicts, in horrendously graphic detail, the most brutal act found in the Bible. Can someone explain to me why is that something that young children should see?

For those who are of appropriate age and can endure 100 minutes of pure torture out of only 126, with only short flashbacks to serve as relief, this will be the most important movie you have ever seen. After the screening was over, no one in the theater knew how to react—do you applaud? Cry? Go get coffee? What? I couldn’t, and still can’t decide. I think this film’s power will be lost on many, though, as such things always are; people seem to miss that the point of this movie is not to preach the message of God’s love spread by Christ, but to show the price he paid for spreading it. If you want the full experience, read his teachings before you enter the theater, but otherwise, do not complain that the movie was too much blood and not enough blessing.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this movie. All I can say that you should see it…
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/5]
—Peter Jurmu, age 18
Positive—What does sin look like? If it were to appear to you, what shape would it take? If that horrendous monster called sin were to appear it would be unspeakably gruesome! Now consider the person in this whole world you love the most. Someone you would never even consider hurting. Would that person be your son, your daughter, your mother, your husband or wife? Now think of how you would feel if that lovely, innocent person whom you love tenderly were to be shoved in front of an oncoming Mack truck speeding along at 100 miles per hour! Think about how it would affect you to see that person killed brutally right in front of your very eyes! This is our Jesus. This Jesus who belongs to ALL THE WORLD. This Jesus who never hurt a single person. This Jesus who was sinless took on our sins and paid the price for them all. Everyone’s sin that ever was committed, and ever will be committed. All ugly, dark, monstrous sin through all time. If those sins were to be made visible, they would be that bloody, ripped, torn, battered, unrecognizable body of Jesus depicted in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ.”

The sin of us all is just as horrible as the torture Jesus endured for us and the innocence of Jesus is just as pure as that person you love the most in this world. The horror of watching him tortured and killed is just as heart wrenching as watching the death of your most loved! If anything speaks to us from the screen out of this film it is this truth: He knew the pain was coming, He loved us enough to do it, and He knew and trusted God completely—knowing full well that on the third day He would rise again! Thank you, Mel Gibson, for being so brave as to tell all people who see this movie, no matter what ethnic background they may have, no matter what denomination, believer or non-believer, that there is a PROMISE made by God to all mankind. That promise is that for those who seek God and BELIEVE will have everlasting life. That there is NO FEAR of death for those who BELIEVE for they SHALL RISE AGAIN! I was overwhelmed with that thought. I came home with a knot in my stomach. I will tell everyone…”Come and see… HE IS ALIVE!!”
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
Sheri McMurray, age 51
Positive—…spectacular movie …my life has been forever changed. I knew God loved me and that He died for me but until you truly see what He went through you don’t realize the true cost and depth of His love. All through this movie the one thing that kept playing over and over in my mind was,” He did this for me!.” I am not worthy of this sacrifice nor do I understand fully why He loves me as He does but what I do know now is that His love for me transcends anything and everything and that I can give no less than my all for Him. He surrendered everything and I must do the same and do so willingly. I cried from the very beginning in the garden to the very end where he leaves the tomb, not out of fear but out of shame and love for my Savior. Shame that it was me that put Him on that cruel cross, not the Jews, and love because I know of no one who would have done that for me except Jesus! Mel Gibson has done a wonderful thing in presenting Jesus to the world. He has stored his treasures in heaven and I for one will never ever be the same again. God bless this man and all those who will be changed and saved because of his movie.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Amber S. McCarver, age 34
Positive—The story of Jesus and his immense suffering, agonizing crucifixion and holy resurrection for the hope of mankind is centuries old. It is an account that has been shared in churches, back alleys, dilapidated prison cells and third world county-sides for generations, yet never have I been witness to the Jesus I saw on film. “The Passion of the Christ” was the most powerful and yet almost unbearable account of the final hours of Christ that I have ever heard, read or seen. To understand these last twelve hours of Jesus is to understand his mission—the mission to come to Earth as God’s son and die for the sin’s of all humankind.

…This subtitled film craftily weaves flashbacks to earlier periods in the life of Jesus. Through these episodes, viewers gain a deeper meaning to who this person known as Jesus of Nazareth really was. Viewers also understand more fully his torments, his relationships, and his message to humanity. It has been said that this is a story that transcends languages, and that is most definitely the case with Gibson’s version. Filmed entirely in the Aramaic and Latin languages, viewers are transported to a time and a place with such vivid realism that one could imagine a CNN ticker crawling across the bottom of the screen, while witnessing life unfold before their very eyes.

This is the most unfiltered and realistic version of a suffering Jesus that I have ever seen on film. Honestly, it was almost beyond my imagination of what I thought Jesus suffered. Never have I seen such brutality and torture showered onto the Jesus I have known and loved for years. Yet, as painful and unpleasant as this film was to view, it was necessary for me to serve witness to it. Before viewing the film, I thought that I was prepared for the graphic, yet necessary, violence I saw on screen. But, I wasn’t.

Before viewing the film, I was sure that I was prepared for the mental and physical anguish that Jesus endured from the brutality of the soldiers that put him to death—and the betrayal and desertion of his closest friends. But, I wasn’t.

Before viewing the film, I knew that I was ready to sit side by side, and hand in hand, if necessary, with the mother of Jesus, while she experienced the atrocious treatment of and ultimate sacrifice of her son. But I wasn’t.

“The Passion of the Christ” is the kind of film that may strengthen the fabric of modern-day Christianity while challenging others to a deeper investigation of this message that has been called the greatest story ever told. “The Passion of the Christ” is a marvelous work of cinema. With the inventive use of ancient languages, the unparalleled acting, the magnificent set design, wardrobe, music and directing—this film is a cinematic tour de force. This film, unlike any in recent memory, has the potential to affect all who see it. It is the story of Love, Suffering, Sacrifice, Hope and Faith. It is a story, and a movie that will be talked about for days, weeks and years to come. It is a story that will continue to be told and retold as long as there are ears to hear and eyes to see.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Noel T.Manning, II, Member, Broadcast Film Critics Association, age 38
PositiveMel Gibson has created a film not for the sake of entertainment, but rather to reaffirm Christians in their faiths. This is no “Greatest stories ever told,” but rather a emotional snippet taking us to the final moments of the life of Jesus Christ, in all its bloody gore. Since first hearing of the film I’ve waited in great anticipation. A rare treat to see such a dedicated Christian film come out of Hollywood. Perhaps after this they’ll make many more, due in part to the expected economic success this film will have. The theatre was literally packed where I was. Not even the supposed Jewish bashing turned the crowds away.

After seeing the film I’d have to say that any worries about negative portrayals are misplaced. After some research I’d even come to realize that most of the people who are worried about it are Christian themselves and the Jewish community at large is rather supportive of the film. Throughout the film, one could clearly see that the motives of the Jewish people are understandable. I’d think that people would be more concerned about how the film portrays the Romans.

Of course, this is not the only controversy. The gore of this film is rather graphic. It is a true visually spectacle of suffering. However, I must agree with Mel Gibson on this artistic decision. While it may make many uncomfortable to view such things, it’s almost a necessary thing. To cover up or play down the effects of any human cruelty is a disgrace to those involved. To watch Jesus bare the burden of our sins is completely a life changing experience that one must endure. I’d recommend that small children not see this film, but keep it on hand for when their older.

Their is one flaw with the film, however. While I’m sure Christians from all over will flock to see this film, the theatre will not only be filled with Christians. When I saw the film I went with an atheist friend and from what I heard the theatre was filled with many others from many different religious backgrounds. While it thrilled me to see the story of Jesus reach so many, I worried about how little of the story they were getting. While the film does well as an experience for already devout Christians that know the stories of Jesus and his teachings well, one can’t help but feel that this look into only a few hours of his life leaves us with a vary partial image. Here is not the Jesus who preached about love and god. This is only the Jesus who dies for our sins. I suppose I fear that many will come away only knowing one side of Jesus. His message forgotten perhaps in the name of Hollywood blood. See this film, experience its amazing telling of Jesus Christ’s last moments. However, if you happen to go with one who lacks in faith please give them a Bible to read. They’ll likely enjoy the film better if they know the stories up to that point!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4]
—Ian C., age 18
Positive—I don’t think that I ever have or ever will see a movie that has touched me so deeply. I always knew about the death of Jesus and I knew that he suffered greatly, but I didn’t get it until I saw this movie… let me comment on one of the two topics of controversy with this movie. The violence may seem extreme to some, but it is necessary. To try to sugar coat that, I think, would be blasphemy. Christ’s death wasn’t a quick and painless experience… quite the opposite… this movie …deals with that subject very seriously without being too over the edge. I think Mel Gibson knew what he was doing, and I think he drew the line just at the right spot. Jesus died for our sins, and it was ALL of our sins that killed him. Everything you see up there on the screen he did for us, so that we could spend eternity with Him. As it was said in the movie, there is no greater love than for a man willing to lay down his life for his friend. I strongly urge anyone of age to see this movie. However, I don’t feel that it is for younger kids because of the violence, and I’m not quite sure they’ll understand it all. I am very pleased with the work of Mel Gibson, and I thank him for having the strength, conviction, and will power to make this film. This one will definitely be remembered.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Sara, age 18
Positive—…a remarkable achievement, and its success will attest to that. The media campaign to bring the film and its director down have been a resounding failure. After the first line of attack (Mel Gibson and his film are anti-Semitic) failed, a second line was quickly thrown together (Mel Gibson is marketing violence to children using Christianity as a cover) and marched out by the media the week before the film’s opening.

The anti-Semitism charge was always weak, even when influential rabbis and Catholic bishops expressed concern about the content of the film script. Today’s anti-Semitism does not spring from the Christian gospel. One need only look to Europe, let’s say to its more “sophisticated” cities to see what happens when Christianity loses ground to secularism. Anti-Semitism does not decline or disappear. It certainly hasn’t disappeared from the placards that are carried by elite demonstrators in the streets of Paris, or from the books that appear on Le Monde’s best seller list. It is not John’s gospel or old passion plays or “the religious right” that are fostering the latest waves of anti-Semitism.

John writes succinctly in his gospel account. He’s not obtuse or abstract, but clear and to the point. He writes that salvation comes from the Jews. His stories reach heights of eloquence and drama that have never been matched. He was inspired by God, but he was also inspired by his life and heritage as a Jew and by the beauty of his Jewish homeland. And he is fair to all his characters. He even gives Caiphas, the main villain of the passion story, his due and his respect as a high priest. Caiphas, a text-book study in rationalization, is strong and decisive, and, unlike his more malleable contemporaries, Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas, he is in complete control of his ruling power and his prophetic faculties.

About a year ago I saw Al Pacino play King Herod on Broadway in Oscar Wilde’s “Salome.” Pacino really chewed the scenery with his take on the Jewish king’s degeneracy. The press didn’t say a word about anti-Semitism. In fact, they made goo-goo eyes over Pacino’s depiction. In recent years, the Metropolitan Opera has frequently presented Richard Strauss’ operatic adaptation of Wilde’s “Salome.” In the production I saw, the singers wore feathery, vulture-like costumes designed by Cecil Beaton, and acted out the corruption of a Jewish ruling family on a sadomasochistic, dungeon-like set. Again, not a murmur was heard from the press. In Martin Scorcese’s film, “The Last Temptation of Christ,” Judas, as played by Harvey Keitel, was a sloppy, tattoo-wearing Jew. Audiences avoided that movie, and time has revealed it to be a bad film, unworthy of serious attention. When it was released, the media, again as if on cue, went into adulation mode, and Scorcese was nominated for a Best Director Oscar. I won’t even touch the ways in which Spike Lee has portrayed Jews in his films. Remember the club promoters in “Mo Better Blues”? Lee is another director whom the press have crowned as both an artist and a sage.

I admit that I am nitpicking here, but I believe that is what Gibson’s critics are doing as well, but they are being very selective in deciding whom to pick on. The news stories about Mel Gibson’s father’s anti-Semitism are incomplete and unfair. Hutton Gibson is the Billy Carter of this media story, and Mel Gibson is wise not to bite at that piece of bait. The accounts about the director’s cultish, ultra-conservative Catholicism also lack any firm data. The rumors seem to bounce from one news account to another (parrots could easily fill in for the reporters) with no in-depth examinations that reporters profess to love. I haven’t seen a single interview with any member of Gibson’s parish. Latin masses, a mainstay of Gibson’s Los Angeles Church, are enjoying a come-back in Catholic churches across the country, and have the approval of Rome. The Latin Mass does not contradict the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and is hardly confined to cults. The press stories about Gibson’s obsession with supposedly outdated rituals are attempts to paint Gibson as a fanatic, regressive anti-Semite. And they have not worked.

Now we come to phase two of the attack. Phase two is another muddy conundrum in which the press express concern that the film’s violence, especially the long scourging at the pillar scene, threatens children. “Do not take your children to this movie,” one New York critic wrote in her column today. One might want to ask her why she doesn’t begin all her reviews of R-rated movies with such a warning . “The Passion of Christ” reveals something that other movies and TV shows do not. Violence has become chic and detached as we see weekly on “The Sopranos,” and on “Six Feet Under.” These well reviewed and constantly honored shows are available in our homes on cable television. How are children protected from these forms of violence? How often do critics express concern over how those dramas may affect children? Gibson shows us something that other filmmakers are afraid to. Sin leads to violence. Violence leads to suffering. Suffering leads to reflection. Gibson wants his audience to reflect. Not on the violence. But on the suffering. And on the sins that led to the violence and to the suffering.

Mel Gibson deserves credit for his heroic efforts in making “The Passion of Christ.” The film is a gift to Christians, and to all moviegoers. I expect a third wave of media attacks once the film is released and finds what I expect to be a large audience. I’m guessing the third wave will have something to do with merchandising, along the lines of Mel Gibson overcharging for “Passion” T-shirts. When those arrows start to fly, Mr. Gibson can relax and let his detractors say what they will. He’s already beaten them.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Jim O’Neill, age 51
Positive—…a masterpiece… the magnum opus of Mel Gibson’s career and may go down in history as one of the best films ever made… beautiful visually and would stand on its own even if it wasn’t about the greatest story ever told. It is subtle (uses few words) and speaks mainly through its visual effects. The film brilliantly weaves in metaphoric imagery (especially the Satan figure and the serpent) which heightens the movies’ already potent message. Yes, the movie is violent but not in a gratuitous way as Gibson cuts from the actual brutality to other scenes of Christ’s life which show the true heart of the Son of God who is undergoing incalculable suffering for us. It is not anti-Semitic in any way and sticks closely to the biblical text, but not in a wooden way. I would recommend this film for adults and students ages 13 and up (because of the graphic violence) and would encourage all youth groups to attend this film and discuss it in a group setting afterward. Finally… a Christian film that delivers.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Bobbyjon Bauman (Youth Pastor), age 35
Positive—This film is not about judging or blaming anyone, only about the forgiveness freely offered to all of us no matter what we have done. While it would be impossible to figure out how to portray this most important story perfectly, Mel Gibson has done his best at creating a moving picture of the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for all of us, and hopefully it will lead others to question the reason for this willingness to suffer something he did not deserve. My ears burned when I walked out of the theater to see a family in tears as a man explained to them the purpose behind the torment they had just witnessed. I noticed the difference it made to see skillful actors play the well-known parts, and I believe seeing the movie helped me pay attention to the story in some ways that it’s difficult to since I have read and heard and watched this story so often before. Watch it if you can, and make sure you see it before your kids do if you’re debating about whether they should view it right now.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Stephen Huey, age 23
Positive—I just got back from viewing the movie with a friend. I needed to check it out first before I would take my kids. I am very picky about what they see—they are 15 and 12 and I will be taking them. This movie was quite sobering. You are just left speechless. It was true what is said about it—you don’t watch this movie—you experience it! It is brutal, but real! It was not violence for the sake of violence—it was real! To witness what Jesus went through really makes you re-evaluate your own life and think of how you need to continually try to improve it! I was just awed by the movie. I did have to look away at times and throughout the movie you are moved to just want to stand up and scream--“stop it—leave him alone”!! I couldn’t have endured one second of what Jesus did and that in itself makes you humble! Great for 12 and over depending on maturity level. I also recommend that it is only seen with families together—it is not a fun movie to see with friends. Need family guidance to get kids through it… it is a must see for everyone!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—A. Williamson, age 41
Positive—I normally have a lot to say about movies. This one has left me pretty much speechless. It is violent, yes, but it is also full of love. It deserves both an R and a PG-13 rating for those reasons. I would not take anyone younger than 13-14.

I do not think that this film will convict a non-believer of the truth of the gospel, but I do believe that it will affirm the faith of one who is already convicted, and I also believe that it will convict those who know the story, but have not yet committed their lives to Christ. Having said that, I have to tell you this—I have an agnostic friend who asked me about the movie, and he sat and listened intently to my review, and then allowed me to present the gospel story to him. So maybe it will have an effect on non-believers. It at least has one listening.

For those who call the movie brutally violent, I just don’t understand you. Having done much study on the topic of crucifixion, I actually believe that this movie understates the violence found in such a scourging and death. Amazing, I wrote three whole paragraphs on a movie that truly left me speechless. Go see it for yourself, form your own opinion. Now.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Carl Fuglein, age 56

[Editor’s Note: We agree that the movie’s depiction of the physical suffering of Christ is not medically accurate. The reality was actually much worse than the movie portrays. Read our articles, “How did Jesus die? Learn the facts!” / Viewer’s medical authenticity comment below / What is crucifixion?]

Positive—…excellent both times I viewed it! I wept several times… not for children… excellent for teens and adults…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Rodney Cavalier, age 40
Positive—…this will awaken our senses and help us to grow closer to God. (at least it should)
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Beulah Womack, age 31
Positive—…really show us the reality of God’s sacrifice for the human creation, brings the faith more to our hearts…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Wildelina Logan, age 41
Positive—The theatre was packed at 9:30pm last night. If you haven’t seen this movie you need to. I left the theatre in total awe. I cried through most of it and could not believe that I was seeing on the “Big” screen what I visualized in my mind every time I read about what he suffered. Yes, some will be offended as they still can’t except that Christ came as a man and died a terrible, morbid death. If you leave theatre without any emotion, check your pulse as you could be dead. This did awaken my thoughts as I knew it would. My suggestion: GO SEE this movie!!!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Beulah Womack, age 31
Positive—“I can’t believe you’re going to go without sweets for 40 days! I just couldn’t do that!,” one of my coworkers expressed to me just yesterday afternoon. We were …talking about my decision to cut out excess sugar (especially my favorite, ice cream) during this 40 day season of Lent. I partially agreed with them, but then thought of just how very small my sacrifice was. By midnight that same Ash Wednesday, I would have a much clearer idea of what a real sacrifice could be. As I watched “The Passion of the Christ,” I was struck more than ever in my life of just how willingly Jesus gave up His life, sacrificed His body and blood, and paid the ultimate price for my salvation. How can I ever look at the cross, the symbol of the free gift that cost our Savior so much, the same again? I can’t. This movie is powerful beyond words, and just as painful to watch. It is not for children, or the overly sensitive. I believe it will change the lives of millions, and because of the publicity, both good and bad, bring at least thousands to salvation and eternal life through Jesus.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Mike Koger, age 43
Positive—…Phenomenal!… Having heard a great deal of the negative (and mixed positive) publicity surrounding this film, I was extremely nervous to see it. Not because I was afraid of being offended, but more so because I didn’t know if I was yet ready to witness just what Jesus had done for me. After seeing the incredibly brutal and inhumane way that our Lord was treated, without merit, no less, I have a better understanding of how minute my own problems are. The direction, set design, acting, and cinematography were absolutely perfect. It is quite clear that Mel Gibson was not the only one creating this film—God, the director of all things, was just as much a part of the creation of this film as the cast and crew.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Nathan J. Rossin, age 23
Positive—This film is not just good, it is an experience. Along with probably most people in the theater, I had tears running down my face too. The movie is violent and graphic, but it is not gratuitous as the violence is in most movies. There were some liberties taken in some of the dialogue, and there were some creative liberties taken, but nothing that distorts the gospel. If you like and appreciate “The Passion”, I recommend renting The Gospel of John (when it comes out on video), Time Changer …These movies are morally excellent and glorify Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Brady Williams, age 34
Positive—Hey what all the controversy??? The truth hits us like a brick wall… His love is awesome. I thought I couldn’t love Jesus anymore than I did, but I was wrong. Why the blame game… truth is it was ALL OF US. He did it for all of us and he didn’t have to. Everyone should go see this brilliant and honest look of our Lord amazing love for us… Smaller children I don’t recommend but pre teen and teens, adults GO GO GO. This is not a movie that you eat popcorn at. It a movie that people in the theater were passing handkerchiefs and tissues because you can’t help but be moved. I will never sing the “The old rugged cross” the same again… I belt it out.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Virginia Orona, age 42
Positive—…very powerful film… I was moved to tears the whole two hours… I believe this will be a great way of reaching people who haven’t heard of the Gospel. It is true that the film is very graphic when it shows us what Jesus suffered, but I bet what we saw was not even close to what actually happened, I bet it was much worse. I recommend that everyone watches this film, although I admit it may be pretty strong for children under 13 years old… an awesome experience and a glimpse of what Jesus did for us.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Lily, age 20
Positive—This is a must see movie! What a great tool for sharing the love of Christ. WE must remember to take the unsaved to see this and lovingly share HIS message! It was hard to watch at times but it is what it is… cruelty at it’s hardest. How I thank my LORD!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Marilyn, age 41
Positive—…very good. It is the best movie that I have seen about the crucifixion…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Sport, age 20
Positive—…wonderful, gut wrenching, emotionally heart breaking, and gives the viewer a fresh and realistic perspective of the crucifixion. There is a tendency in many Christian camps to gloss over the suffering Christ endured on the cross. This movie does a good job of reminding all of us, in gory detail, of that suffering. Some of the most emotionally charged scenes for me were the flash backs of Christ and Mary. They showed a real tender side between the two of them, which completely contrasted to the constant whippings, and curses coming from the crowd when Christ flashed back. The other scene that made me cry was when the thief next to Christ asked him to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. All in all, a very wonderful film. My only complaint is that the ending was way too short. The hope of every Christian is the resurrection of Christ, and I thought that Mel Should have spent some more time on it. However, The brief ending, coupled with Mel Gibsons comments that he wishes to make more religious films leads me to believe that Gibson might make a “sequel” to the Passion. But it is just a guess, anyway, GO SEE THE MOVIE!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Athanasios, age 24
Positive—Those of you expecting entertainment out of this movie will be very disappointed. This movie was not meant to be entertaining. Its intent is to make you think. Think about all the Christ had done for us. To anyone… planning to take their children to see this, I urge you to please rethink your plan. DO NOT take your kids to this movie. Sure they need to know the truth about Christ and the crucifixion. My 5-year old daughter knows about this event. She does not need to see it in such graphic detail. Do yourselves and your kids a favor. Don’t take them to the theater. Rather, wait until it comes out on DVD, and then wait until they are of a much more appropriate age. (I’d say 15 or so.) Then sit down with them and explain it to them. Ask questions and be prepared to answer questions. I would not take my kid to see “Freddy vs. Jason,” why would I take them to see this. (I know you can’t compare the two movies, but you get my point.)

The Jewish community is up in arms saying that the movie vilifies them as the ones who killed Christ. May I be so bold as to say that nobody “killed” Christ. Christ did not die by the hands of man. Christ died, and subsequently rose again, as a part of God’s plan. Jesus knew from the get-go that this was going to happen. However, he knew that his crucifixion was inevitable.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/5]
—Scott Foster, age 33
Positive—This movie indeed lives up to its reputation. The images can be very disturbing, and it could be confusing to those who are not familiar with truly how horrifying the details of his suffering were and the blood that was shed. You will see lots of blood. (Rom 5:9, 1 John 1:7, Col 1:14). Many times I looked away and was focusing on the exit sign which I later found ironic. I wanted to run out of the theater and hide as I knew He was there to take my place. Even though it was almost unbearable to sit through the graphic depiction of His suffering, and I had to look away for some parts, I left not ever wanting the impact of those images to leave me. It was my sin that put Him there. It was not the fault of the Jew or Romans. It was me, it was you, and it was all of mankind. Any controversy about this film or negative criticism is due to the fact that no one wants to admit to this truth.

This movie affected me in many ways. It made me want to dig into the Word straight away which I have been doing since I left the theater. I don’t think anyone can see this movie and not be affected, wherever you are spiritually. If you are a lukewarm Christian, be prepared to be convicted. None of us will ever feel like we can do enough for our Lord after seeing this film. You will also leave asking yourself, “where do I go from here, what now?” My husband and I both thought this and so I believe the Church needs to be there to answer those questions to all the saved and lost that will see this movie! It left me with an intense urge to share the good news with all and do whatever I can, even though I have been hearing my pastor preach this in church. When you feel like you’ve been an eye witness you can’t help but want to run and tell the world.

I do not find the artistic liberty he has taken to be offensive or detracting from the truth of scripture. If I could have a disappointment with this movie it would be that I had high hopes that he would provide a more fluid marriage of all four gospels. I won’t cover every detail or dialogue missing as I’m sure others noticed them as well. For those that are “die-hard” for total accuracy there are some changes you might find upsetting such as the other apostles missing where they were told to wait nearby, (Matt 26:36) the scene where Peter denies Christ differs from the actual account, and during the crucifixion scene two women are entirely missing. (Mary the wife of Cleopas and Salome). Also some might have a problem with Mary Magdalene being portrayed as the adulteress woman that was going to be stoned to death while caught in the act.

The scenes with Judas Iscariot include generous helpings of artistic interpretation especially with the demon like children that aide in driving him mad. This is one of the reasons why I haven’t decided whether to let my 13 year old son see this. We are a family of faith but this is not necessarily a “family movie.” We’re getting a look into the full scale of the evil of this world, that of mankind and the unseen spiritual world around us. (Eph. 6:12).

As a mom I especially found the two flashbacks of Jesus with his mother gut wrenching and yet full of beauty. I know that some are concerned about the scenes with Mary being “too heavy” on Catholic traditional thought. However, for me it only reiterated the humanity of Jesus and the intensity of His suffering on an emotional level as well as physical.

There were no previews played at this film nor was there any music played beforehand. We are instantly brought into this visionary masterpiece by the prophetic words of Isaiah in 8th Century B.C.(Isaiah 53:5). I was so glad Gibson chose to put this scripture in because it’s very important for the viewer to know that our Lord’s death was prophesied over 500 years before He was even born. I think this makes up for the fact that he doesn’t include any history as to why He came for us.

The opening scene is surreal and instantly draws you in. The performance of Caviezal is convincing as you can almost feel the stress and anxiety Jesus must have been feeling as He was praying in the Garden. Unlike other movies where you are watching the film in this one you feel like you are experiencing it. I felt fully immersed like I had been transported back into time and I was actually there witnessing history, only unable to be seen.

I was not prepared for the scenes with Satan in the sidelines spewing forth his usual lies and rhetoric. They are disturbing, but I am glad Gibson chose to include them. The performance of the actor is chilling. It serves to show the truth that Satan is indeed very real. He’s not some red, scaly creature with horns and a pitchfork. He’s a fallen angel and the author of sin. He’s our enemy. The world needs to know this.

My body tensed as I witnessed the agony of His prayer and watched him suffer the stress of the impending burden He’s about to carry. Take your worse panic and anxiety attack and magnify that by 10 billion and beyond. But He was there to do the will of the Father, to show us His love. In laying His life down for us He regained what man had lost and conquered sin and Satan, who has the power of death. (Heb: 2:14) Gibson has fully accomplished showing this truth to the audience. We also see this in the end of the movie when Satan screams in defeat as the redemption of mankind is accomplished.

The film making quality is extraordinary, undeniably superior to any religious movie ever made before and equal to the best in secular film. The setting, costumes, cinematography, musical score, it’s all breathtaking. After the first few minutes I can honestly say that I was not aware that I was following this movie by reading subtitles. I could almost hear the dialogue in my own ears and it wasn’t until it was over that I even thought about it.

I knew this movie would be emotionally charged and no doubt intense. However, I was not fully prepared for just how difficult it would be to sit there in that seat. As a Christian who already believed in the truth of the gospel story, I felt utterly devastated at my own sin and the price Jesus paid for me. In seeing this film I felt that conviction all over again. I feel like I’ve been given a glimpse of the cross and the enormous price paid for my debt. I now possess an even greater sense of gratitude for my Savior that can never be measured.

I left the movie feeling like I would never be the same and I didn’t think that was possible after having already given my life over to Christ. I already believed, I already knew the story but such a powerful, moving, visual representation of how He suffered for our sin left me literally shaking, unable to walk away unchanged. No one spoke as they left the movie and every one stood silent watching you as you left. You can completely understand why the apostles and early believers were so bold in their faith, telling everyone about Christ, even to the point of death. How could you not? I am ever the more humbled and thankful for my salvation.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Melissa of Menomonee Falls, WI, age 30
Positive—I support and promote “The Passion of the Christ” wholeheartedly and without reservation. This is a great movie, a documentary for the ages. But I do have questions…

MOST IMPORTANT, this is a movie about JESUS, not about persecution of the Jews. Why do we allow the Anti-Defamation League, Mr. Abraham Foxman, et al to steal the discussion and make it all about anti-semitism? Are we afraid to say, “Jesus”?

This is a Roman Catholic movie rather than a biblical movie. The basis of the movie is the 14 stations of the cross, each of which are shown, to the exclusion of important biblical events… “there’s no time to include eevvvry-thing!”
a) Mary senses through the floor stones where Jesus is imprisoned.
b) Mary and Mary Magdalene mop up His precious blood after the flogging.
c) Veronica and the face cloth
d) Mary and the cup on the Via Dolorosa
e) “Mother, behold, I make all things new” (taken from Rev. 21:5).
f) Peter, kneeling before Jesus’ mother, begs for forgiveness and restoration.

…What happened to
…the young man in the garden who fled naked when a soldier grabbed the linen cloth wrapped around him?
…the cock crow after Peter’s denial of Jesus?
…the interrogation by Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18:19-24)?
…the supernatural darkening of the sun from noon until Jesus died? That wasn’t storm clouds, it was the SUN (Amos 8:9; Luke 23:44,45).
…the priests blowing the 3 silver trumpets at the slaughter of the Passover lambs, at about 3 PM, the same time that Jesus died?
…”His blood be upon us, and upon our children!” (Mt. 27:25). (We know: the ADL censored the caption.)

What are we as Christians to say about the extra-biblical scenes, the so-called “artistic license,” such as Jesus being knocked off the bridge and being caught by the chains and the rope around His neck, just before hitting the rocky ground? What are we to do with the other material taken from the vision of the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich in The Dolorous Passion of the Christ? This vision is verifiably incorrect in points, which causes skepticism about its unverifiable “extra-biblical content” [fables, myths, and legends]. If I am not mistaken, it puts the death of Augustus in 10 BC, the reign of Tiberius beginning in 1 AD, and Jesus’ dates from 15 BC through 19 AD.

The apostle Peter would not have passed along such stories. “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

How can we witness to His word at the end, “It is completed!” The Greek, “teleo,” has the significant meaning from commerce, “paid in full,” referring to the sin debt and His atonement for sin. “It is completed” means… “what?”

I recognize Mr. Mel Gibson has the right to publish whatever he wants with his money, that a Roman Catholic movie is appropriate for a Roman Catholic to produce, and that this movie is the witness of his faith and life.

I also have the right to question, as did the Bereans, whether these things are so. My witness is to the truth, which dispels the fuzzy thinking, empty imaginations, and wannabe history of old wives’ tales.

Having said that, I still recommend the movie without reservations to my friends and acquaintances.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
—Brian Eargle, age 57
Positive—I feel as if I couldn’t have possibly viewed the same movie as some viewed when I saw the terms like “hate-filled” or lack of emotion in acting being used. The movie was in line with scripture although we know some creative license was taken (which didn’t seem to far out of line). I know that some details were not as factual as they could have been (medical details of death by crucifixion; carrying the entire cross, placement of crucifixion nails, etc.) But when you consider that Gibson stated that his purpose was to tell the story of Christ’s last 12 hours and to show how incredible His suffering and shedding of blood were… I’d say, mission accomplished.

I felt the cinematography in general was excellent. I forgot about the subtitles. I was “there.” My heart was so touched, not only by Christ’s sacrifice, but by the scenes that showed the agony of Peter after the denial, the “flashbacks” to Jesus’ childhood of Jesus’ mother, Mary, and the faithfulness of Mary Magdalene and John the Apostle.

Of course, this movie isn’t for children. I wouldn’t take my child to view a movie of a crucifixion or a beating because if it is realistic, it is brutal.

Anti-semitism? I’m a gentile and I walked away with only positive emotions and a heart bursting with love for a Jew… Jesus.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Lynn Mitchell, age 36
Positive—…A wonderful, heartwrenching, true to life account of our dear Lords last 12 hours.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Suzanna Johnston, age 35
Positive—I believe that every living person should view this movie, whether they think that they might like it or not; they should at least view it. I think that it ignited christian love for those of us that have watched it. Mel Gibson certainly was driven to do this work, It took him a while before he got it on screen but it was worth the wait. All praises to Mel Gibson and his work, but the highest praise goes to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Cornelius Brown, age 48
Positive—…indeed the most graphic and powerful movie I have ever seen. Gibson did a masterful job in depicting the extent of the physical suffering of Christ. As I left the theatre, I couldn’t help but be humbled by the fact that all of Christ’s suffering was done as a payment for my sin. After witnessing this reenactment, it is hard not to be moved by sorrow and grief over what Christ went through. Gibson even touches, a bit, on the spiritual suffering which was indicated by Christ’s word regarding His father’s forsaking Him. This forsaking of Jesus by the Father was the true suffering—the moment when Christ was experiencing the torments of hell—and all for us! Watch the movie—and find out who really killed Jesus. As Gibson so correctly states, “We all did!”
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Jim Vanden Heuvel, age 37
Positive—I was very apprehensive about going to see this movie because of the violent nature. I applaud Mel Gibson for his astounding work. A beautiful, horrific masterpiece. I am praying that it turns Hollywood on end next year at the Oscars!

I was literally unable to walk following this movie. The emotional impact is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I am glad I was with my husband or I am not sure I would have been able to drive home afterward! It still amazes me though how some cannot connect the torture that Christ bore with the Christian message of His love. They go hand in hand and cannot be separated.

As for the criticisms that those viewing the movie get no context as to why Christ is being tortured, my response is simply this: Gibson’s purpose is in the title: the PASSION of the Christ—His suffering. For those not familiar with the rest of the story I say grab a Bible and find out. Let the alleged lack of context be your gateway to God’s word.

In regards to the supposed anti-Semitic nature of the film, I found no basis in any such claim. The film follows the Gospels—the Jewish religious leaders had been antagonists of Jesus’ all along and assumed no different role during his arrest, torture and crucifixion. Again, I urge any who have a different opinion to reread your Gospels. Those who view the film will also note the numerous Jews weeping and mourning over Christ’s torture and journey to Golgotha. Many attempt to give Him a drink (which of course was somehow interrupted—a visionary reference to His statements at the Last Supper).

On a more positive note, the scenes that were not riddled violence were breathtaking in scenery and costume. The unspoken connections between Christ and His mother were sincere and heartwrenching. The flashbacks were emotional and extremely moving. The languages were beautiful. I cannot imagine the film being spoken in any other manner. I especially loved the pronunciation of Jesus’ name: Yea shua d Nazaret. I have been repeating it ever since!

Finally, I was appalled to see 7, 8 and 9 year olds on line for this movie. There has been no shortage of media review of this movie as extremely violent and even in some cases the most violent movie reviewers had ever seen. Anyone who was shocked by the violence and upset that their child was traumatized by it amazes me. The extreme violence was not kept a secret. As a 26 year old mother, I even had to shield my eyes through parts. To consider taking a child younger than 14 at the very youngest is unwise.

Bravo Mel Gibson. I am going to refer this movie to all I know. I am praying it will affect them and change their lives as it did mine.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Alyson, age 26
Positive—This movie was amazing. I left the theater speechless and in tears. I recommitted my life to Christ because of this film. Yes, it was violent but this was the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and I honestly don’t think it was all pretty and painless. I would only recommend those who feel ready to see the film to do so. It is intense, but well worth it.
My Ratings: [5]
—Rebekah, age 20
Positive—This is one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen, and I think some of the images will stay with me for a very long time. Yes, the violence is prolonged and graphic. But what is shown in this movie is true to the Gospel accounts. It is so easy to read the Gospel accounts in a detached and unemotional manner. But it’s not so easy after viewing this film. This film graphically illustrates just how much Jesus had to suffer to redeem us from sin. Salvation is a free gift to us, but it cost Jesus His very life. No ordinary person could endure what Jesus did. But that was the whole reason why He came in the first place. I felt sick to my stomach pretty much the whole time. There were times when I had to turn away from the screen. Especially during the flogging, during Judas’ suicide, and also as the nails were being pounded into His hands and feet. I didn’t get much sleep after seeing this movie because every time I closed my eyes, I saw Jesus being mercilessly beaten and covered with blood. I got pulled in and forgot I was watching a movie. I felt like I was actually watching the Crucifixion of my Lord and Savior. I was moved to tears several times.

Even if you are desensitized to seeing violence (and I thought I was) you will be affected by the intense violence in this movie. But as a Christian, I was touched on much more than an emotional level. (Movies almost never make me cry, even so called tear-jerkers) I was touched on a spiritual level as well. I was very aware that I contributed to the death of Jesus through my sin and that He was dying for me. I felt like I was in shock as I left the theater. The brutatlity and violence represent what Jesus suffered on our behalf. While one part of me knew it was just a movie, I also knew that is what Jesus went through. The blood also looked very realistic. Seeing this movie has changed me. I’m still not sure exactly how. It has changed the way I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection and Isiah 53. This movie is deeply distrubing, but it illustrates a very powerful and real truth. I don’t think anyone can watch this movie and not be affected. It is very rare to come across a movie about Jesus that portrays Him as He actually was and is true to the Gospel accounts. With a few minor exceptions, this movie does that very effectively.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Lisa Sutter, age 27
Positive—…no other movie that related our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came as close as this one did on the day that he was crucified. This movie is not about hating a race, putting people down, or judging a human being. It is about being thankful to the Father, for sending His Son to die on the cross for us. If He wouldn’t of done this, then it would have been us. When he was whipped, it wasn’t the Romans or the fault of the Jews that he was whipped. That was us, our sins, our iniquities. Throughout this movie, stop looking at the actors, or how violent this movie is. Instead, be thankful that because of everything he went through, he did it for love and he thought of everyone. The movie showed the last moments of His life while heading to the cross. However, now that He lives in us, show the world the Christ they long to see, the one that lives in us, and makes things new because he loves…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Marco Velasquez Jr., age 28
Positive—I saw the Passion twice and plan to see it again… it was the best movie I have ever seen on the subject, and Isaiah would have been proud… And although I didn’t catch it the first time, it bothered me a little that Peter as well as John referred to Mary as “Mother” (a catholic perspective I suppose). But it’s not enough for me to condemn a fine movie that will go far in drawing the unsaved to Christ and those who already know Him closer to Himself. I recommend this movie to the world.
My Ratings: [Excellent/5]
—Thomas P. Banas, age 54
Positive—I was really apprehensive about going to see this film… I didn’t want to see my Jesus suffer. But I decided if He could go through that for me then I could watch it for Him. I owed Him that much. So, I went and I am so glad I did. It was the hardest thing I ever sat through in my life, but I needed to be reminded that He suffered and died for my sins. The part that had the greatest effect on me was when Jesus cried out, “Father, why has thou forsaken me?” In that moment I realized that Christ felt every pain and that God didn’t spare Him because He was His son.That was powerful for me. Go and see this movie. You will never forget it and you will never feel more loved than you will when you walk out of the theatre. This is the only movie I have ever seen where the only sound you hear is sobbing and people don’t even speak when they leave the theatre. It is that powerful. Thank you, Jesus.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Sue Cameron, age 53
Positive—…Part of the morality of the movie is to love your enemies and one another, have mercy and compassion, and willingly submit your will to God’s… I thought of Hebrews 12:4 “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” It must have been difficult to stay the course in enduring such a trial, when one has the power to stop it. I would have liked the movie to have added a more miraculous darkness when Jesus cries out about being forsaken, and also getting a sense of significant time passing (our sins placed on Him) before saying it is finished…
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Gary Ford, age 37
Positive—This is now my favorite film. I never thought that I would say this, but Jesus Christ really changed the way I see things through this film, so this was a life changing film for me. I took two of my friends who have not been going to church a lot lately, and now they are totally renewed in their faith and are on fire for God. It’s awesome.

All of that aside, I have a few things to say about all of the NEGATIVE reviews that I have read on this site. Why is this? Can we as Christians resort to being prudes about the violence in the film?! The crucifixion was not some G rated event. This was a horrific thing that happened. The violence has a purpose. The R rating is there for a reason. To say that you feel “convicted” over going to see this just can’t be possible. How can a film about Christ give you that feeling of conviction? Simply can’t happen as far as I’m concerned. Another thing: I read complaints about children apparently being horrified by the violence. This film IS rated R. They have no business being there in the first place. It’s something that we like to call “responsible parenting.” That’s why we have the ratings system …We as Christians should be promoting this film like no other. It’s a magnificent acheivement. Please, ignore the negative, and go support this, because we may never see another film like it.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Adam Renkovish, age 21
Positive—…It wasn’t nearly as disturbing as I had been led to believe. My 12 year old boy wants to see it and he has my permission. I’m disturbed by Christian leaders saying that children under 15-16 shouldn’t see it. They should and they should be disturbed. I would draw the line at 12 and under depending on the maturity level. I also find it laughable that many of the critics who hail Quentin Tarantino, trash The Passion. The Passion, is unique. No one in Hollywood has ever approached the story from this perspective and it happens to be the most Biblical perspective. I watched Tarantino’s first movie Reservoir Dogs a few years ago. One of the main characters spend most the movie bleeding to death and another major scene involved cutting off a policemans ear and dousing him with gasoline. What a piece of gratuitous, pointless trash. Yet most critics of the Passion praised Reservoir Dogs. Go figure.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Chris Nelson, age 36

Neutral comments received

Neutral—I, like many, didn’t know what to expect of the movie. It was a gripping depiction of Christ’s suffering that had me sobbing at times. It did help me to realize in vivid imagery what Christ bore for us, why “by his stripes we are healed.” I realize that “The Passion” was to examine the true suffering of Christ before his death, but I was disappointed in the fact that the majesty of God was not better portrayed. When Christ said “I AM” at the Garden of Gethsemane, where was the power of his voice knocking down the soldiers. To me, the sky did not fall black enough or fast enough on his death, the ending temple scene was not pronounced nor the people moved to enough to realization of what they had done. And the power of His resurrection was limited to him getting up and walking across the screen in less than 10 seconds. Christ is certainly the center focus of the movie and rightly so. I noticed how well Simon of Cyrene was developed in his few scenes, yet John the beloved disciple was a fairly flat character throughout the entire movie. He barely said a word. I pray that many go and that many lives are changed by the realization of what Christ did for us, but it is an “R” rated movie and appropriately rated. I wouldn’t recommend taking kids under the age of 10.
My Ratings: [Good/3½]
—Cliff Cannon, age 40
Neutral(Out of Context: Where is the message?)—Many Catholics and other religions have trouble understanding the message of salvation that Jesus brings. Attempts to earn God’s deliverance through our own merits will always fall short. This is why Jesus came to substitute us by offering a faultless sacrifice. Yet we disregard God’s Way when we devise additional methods. Many try to bribe God into their redemption by offering their affliction and tears during the Passover period. Thinking of Jesus just in a manger or just at the cross erases Jesus message in between which could truly set us free. The Gospel of John was a better wholesome movie, but we wonder why it wasn’t promoted by the church leaders as famous Gibson’s is.
—Hector Ros, age 37
Neutral—I enjoyed this movie,it was very bloody, definitely not for the squeamish. I found its portrayal of Jews to be very anti-semitic and offensive at times. And I wish the movie was in English. We should realize that we are all responsible for the death of Christ, Jesus willingly gave his life for all of us. To say “The Jews killed Christ” is absurd, we all did, plus 3 days later Jesus rose from the grave, Jesus is alive and well in Heaven. Jesus was and is Jewish, the whole early Church was Jewish, so it basically balances out. However, Christians should fully be aware of the tragic history of Christian and Church Anti-Semitism, two books that every Christian should read our “Our Hands are Stained with Blood” by Michael L. Brown, and “The Anguish of the Jews” by Edward Flannery.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Jack Jensen

Neutral (medical authenticity lacking) - … the movie will enhance the heart of every believer and may bring non-believers to a greater understanding of the price God paid for our sins… My neutrality comes from 20 years as a critical care nurse. I have seen with my own eyes multiple times the result of equal amounts of bodily trauma. Just after it has happened, and the hours and days that follow. All I [in “The Passion…”] saw was blood, blood and whip marks filled with blood. There was virtually no signs of bruising that I saw in the movie that I’m sure would have been in abundance given the time span of His first traumatic encounter to the end when He died on the cross.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Isa 53:5 (NKJ)

As for His demise on the cross, this also lacked the realism that I as a medical professional know to be true and had hoped would finally be there given the skills of movie makers in this century. First, the old story line of the nails actually being driven into His hands is false. When a person is crucified as the Romans did it, their death is from asphyxiation. Meaning to say that in the position of the person being crucified on the cross, the only way to be able to breathe, exhale that is, is by lifting and pulling oneself up. Then to inhale only requires the person to relax. This pulling at the nails in their hands would of ripped the skin and they would simply fall off the cross. The nails were actually driven into their wrists, and thus lock the hand in place, and not allow it to tear away.

As for the asphyxiation, that comes in when the person can no longer endure the pain or has the strength left in them to lift themselves up; they die because they cannot breathe unless they are able to lift or pull themselfs up to supply the body with the needed oxygenation.

Also, when we speak, it is in the cycle of exhale. Any words spoken by Christ while on the cross would of first been proceeded by a painful and agonizing lifting and pulling up of the body and much more prominent with the person trying to speak as opposed to just trying to survive. This I do not believe was shown. In the movie, his breathing pattern, although strained at times was not very realistic to what actually was needed to stay alive for the six hours Christ was up there. The obvious strain that would have been so evident with any speaking while hanging on the cross was mistakenly left out.

The act of pushing up on the nail driven feet and wrist would have been a very noticeable event thoughout the entire time spent on the cross and would of in my opinion given the price of the cross much more solid evidence for the cost He paid. This horrifically painful part of the cross is where we get the word “excruciate.” This all is more clearly stated by Alexander Metherell, M.D., PH.D in Lee Stobels book “The Case For Christ”

Although beatings and such is very painful, not being able to breathe is by far, in my opinion, the worst of the worst in psychological and physical endurance. Just ask anyone with asthma or any of the other myriad lungs diseases people live and die with.

…on the medical front I think it failed miserably. I again say that, in whole the think the movie will touch people like no other movie. It just saddens me that with the information and technology available to today’s moviemakers, they choose to sanitize the crucifixion and the excruciating pain that is a natural consequence of that type of death.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/1]
—Michael, age 52

[Editor’s Note: Read our articles, “How did Jesus die? Learn the facts!” / What is crucifixion?]

Neutral—I feel that this movie has been “over-hyped” in Christian circles. Just because it is a movie about Jesus that stays true to the Biblical record, I still feel that I did not need to SEE the prolonged violence to feel profound gratitude at what my Savior suffered for me. Also, Jesus suffering was more that just the twelve hours before he died—he suffered all His life. I appreciate what Mr. Gibson is trying to do, but have we so bought into our culture that we feel that we need this? There were too many missing pieces for this movie to stand alone. As a Christian, the flashbacks symbolized precious truth to me, but I think it would be very confusing for a non-Christian. I don’t think this is a great evangelistic tool, because I would have a hard time encouraging someone to sit through this graphic a film if they don’t have the relationship to connect with Christ’s suffering for them. I don’t want to limit the Spirit, but I’m just not sure about this.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Candie Vanderpol, age 46
Neutral—Disappointed. When a movie is hyped for months on TV and in the media …Beware! As an almost fifty year old Christian who made a real solid commitment to Christ in my early twenties, I felt extremely let down by this movie. Yes, of course, I expected the graphic brutality, because I have seen Gibson’s “Braveheart,” but there was something missing at the heart of “Passion,” as though there was very little understanding of who God truly is and how He thinks and acts. I sat there expecting to weep, or at least cry, as I have done in many secular movies over the years…
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Christopher Marsden, age 49
Neutral—…many of the movie scenes do not match the gospel and in many sense it does not promote the deity of Jesus. For one part, Jesus does not fear the cross. That is the reason Jesus came, But, what he feared most was being abandoned by the Father. He and the Father (in heaven) were close. In fact, he and the Father are one, always, never apart before. At the last moment, when Jesus has been made sin, the last time he looked up into heaven, usually whenever he looks up into heaven, he found comfort, his heavenly Father was there to comfort him. But, this time, the Father, …has turned away. Turned away from Jesus. He cried “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabach tani.” Jesus tasted our death for us. This point is not being driven strongly by the movie… Also, the devil scene is very disturbing to me, that is just plainly not in the same spirit as the gospel. The devil fears Jesus. The devil is just purely the fallen angel, it is still subject to the authority of the Son of Man… A better movie would be “The Gospel of Matthew” and “The Gospel of John” by the “Visual Bible” production, and also “THE HOPE” in which you can view from this Web site… We as Christians have to go out and share these four points to others. 1. Man has fallen into sin. In fact, All people sinned and thus, cannot see God, cannot taste life, and never will have peace. 2. There is nothing that Man can do to gain, or earn that peace. Humanity attempt to gain peace, life, and happiness, will turns out in vain. 3. Christ comes to us. Not as a great teacher, not as a spiritual leader, but As fully GOD and fully Man, to give his life for us. He tasted our death for us. He came to bring us Salvation. He came as the Lamb of God, that is to be sacrificed for us. He know, that this is why he came. He came to fulfill the law. 4. That if we call unto his name, and receive him we shall be saved from death, and receives etternal life. John 3:16… God is preparing workers for the harvest. And the harvest is here right now.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Chisso Dinata, age 29
Neutral—…How the president of Focus on the Family can say this movie is “theologically accurate” is beyond me. A GREAT DEAL of literary license was used in the film… The whole depiction of Satan was disturbing in that he is not mentioned in the gospel accounts of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. In addition, Scripture describes him as an “angel of light,” not some sepluchral dark being with worms coming out of his nose. The struggle of our Lord in the garden was between His will and His Father’s; nowhere does the account of Him in Gethsemane indicate Satan’s presence… On a positive note, the portrayal of His crucifixion is something I’ll never forget, nor the way they juxtaposed His last hours with memories from moments only hours and days before… I went to the movie expecting a huge spiritual revelation, as one who seeks to love her King and Savior with a passion. Instead, I felt like He was not glorified as He should have been, sold short of what He did for us, for me. And most of all disturbed that His Father was not glorified. In John 17, Jesus’ high priestly prayer is that His being glorified will glorify God the Father, because He did what God had Him come to earth to do. Instead, I feel like Mary got glorified and even Satan to a certain extent. I’ll skip recommending this movie believers and non-believers alike. The power of seeing a realistic portrayal of our Lord’s suffering on our behalf is overshadowed by mysticism that detracts from giving glory to the Father.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Carrie Foldberg, age 41
Positive—I’d like to respond to two of the criticisms of The Passion: (1) that the movie is overly and unrealistically violent, and (2) the violence is intended to stir up feelings of guilt.

  1. First, let’s discuss the violence. Yes, the film is violent, but the violence is of an entirely different kind than the violence in practically any movie I have ever seen. Yes, it is painful to watch in parts, but Gibson shows the audience the right response, that of Mary. For all but a few minutes, she watches, even as tears stream down her face. She identifies herself with her son. She never doubts that he is in control of the situation. During the scourging she asks herself when he will choose to be delivered. The depth of the love that causes God to humiliate himself in this way is unfathomable to her, as it is to us. But Mary does not turn away. At the scourging, having been beaten with rods, Jesus looks at Mary, and she at him. Continuing to look at her, he raises himself up, to the incredulity of the Roman soldiers, and they proceed to beat him metal-thonged whips until he is practically dead. Gibson does not show all the blows. Instead the camera turns away to show Mary, or to flashbacks.

    There are a few places, perhaps, where Gibson may have exaggerated. For example, immediately after Jesus’s arrest the high priest’s soldiers, after beating Jesus, push him over a bridge. He tumbles nearly to the ground before his chains stop the fall. Of course that scene is not in the gospels.

    However, the scourging certainly is in the gospels and was, we know from secular history, a common Roman penalty and an important part of a crucifixion. Moreover, we also know from secular history that the Romans used whips with metal thongs that flayed the flesh, and we know that in some cases soldiers delivered one hundred blows. As for the crucifixion, who can say that Gibson has exaggerated its torment? The act of crucifixion is shameful and sadistic—unworthy of the humanity of its perpetrators.

    Moreover, to those who think Gibson went overboard in what he shows, I would point out what he does not show. He does not show—can’t show it—the moral suffering that Jesus underwent. He cannot show the weight of all of the sins of humanity. One well-known writer on the Passion, Dr. Pierre Barbet, believes that Jesus died of asphyxiation on the cross. Jesus’ last hours were spent in a desperate struggle to lift himself up… so that he could breathe. Gibson does not show this torture. For more on what Jesus likely suffered, from a medical point of view, see Barbet’s book, A Doctor at Calvary.

  2. Finally, let’s discuss the idea of guilt. Is Gibson’s point—is the gospels’ point—to make the audience/reader feel guilty? No! To think that Jesus underwent the crucifixion to make people feel guilty reveals a lack of understanding of Jesus’ message. Jesus came, he said, not to condemn, but to save. Does Jesus cry out against his tormentors? He does not accuse, he does not judge, he does not condemn. On the contrary, as the nails are being driven into him, and from the cross, he pleads with his Father to forgive the perpetrators and even excuses them, saying they do not know what they are doing. Moreover, though according to orthodox Christian doctrine human sin is a cause of the Passion, it is also clear that the Passion was not strictly-speaking necessary. God could have chosen to redeem the world in any way he wished, or he could have chosen not to redeem it at all. One bruise on Christ, one scratch, one tear—any of these things could have redeemed the entire world, had the Father so chosen.

    It is and will always remain a mystery to us why God chose to have his son undergo the Passion. So far as we can see, and as the Church teaches, he did so out of a superabundant, unfathomable, even mad love. In revealing this love, God was showing us something about himself and about us.

    Does knowing the truth about ourselves and about God make us feel guilty? For a moment, yes, but very quickly this guilt—which is negative—is replaced by contrition—which is positive. (Or at least it should be, if one is a follower of Christ, has been properly instructed in the faith and is open to grace and conversion of heart.) Contrition has been described as the sorrow of love. St. Paul explains the difference: “for worldly sorrow”—guilt—“produces death, but godly sorrow”—contrition—“a salutary repentance without regret.” II Corinthians 7:10.

    After one of Jesus’ falls on the way to Calvary, Mary rushes to comfort him. “I am here” she tells him. Caked in blood, striped with scars, crowned by thorns, Jesus responds, “Mother, behold, I make all things new.” The music soars, the spirit ascends. Guilt? Guilt is insignificant in the face of the Passion. It is a speck, a grain of dust. The Passion utterly transcends guilt. It is the supreme manifestation of the love of God who is love for his children, though we be sinners…

    Reflecting on the Passion moves the believer to contrition, to greater love of God and neighbor, to forgiveness of others, and to profound inner peace and joy; that is why the Church has encouraged its faithful to meditate on the Passion frequently… Mel Gibson’s movie will have a similar effect on millions of its viewers, and that fact alone makes it an outstanding film.

My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Kieran Dickinson, age 31
Negative comments received
Negative—…Why does Mel Gibson use dead languages that no one can relate to? …Why was all the horrific violence necessary? I took my almost 3 year old son to see the film, as with many who went to see it with their families and he was screaming by the end of it, as was my heart! …If you must go, please do not take your children, as I did. It took me the rest of the night to calm him down.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3]
—Shelley Johnston, Indianapolis, age 34
Negative—This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. First of all, the acting is terrible. Mary and John (Jesus’ brother) demonstrate very little emotion. Second, unless you know the story, the events would be confusing. Where are the other disciples? Is character development a lost art in religious movies? Most importantly, what is the movie trying to show us? That crucifixion is horrible? Is there anyone who didn’t already know that? I don’t have to see a child raped and murdered to understand the violence and brutality of such a heinous act. I am sick from having seen this… Christians are bringing in their own mindsets that tell them this is good, but as a Christian myself, I found this terrible and well try and persuade anyone who will listen to me to avoid seeing this movie.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
—Phil Davidson, age 60
Negative—I was very disappointed in Gibson’s epic. I found it hate-filled and angry and without any of the love that needs to be a part of Christ’s teachings. Who does he want to impress by showing Pilate as a hemhawed leader, by showing Jews as hooknosed hatemongers, and Christ as a whipping post for violence. Though James Caviezel did fine in his physical work here, this was not a dimensional character. The Aileen Wuornos character in Monster was a more humane and believable character than Jesus Christ was in Gibson’s film! …Overall, I thought the movie was only effective as a supernatural horror film, a la The Exorcist, with the hovering Satan creating genuine creeps. But the movie’s barbaric and hateful tone was way too Old testament fire and brimstone and I think its a pretty negative message, a glass half empty version of the ultimate full glass story ever told!
My Ratings: [Average/2½]
—Peter Weets, age 34
Negative—Goodness gracious, what a sad sad feeling I had when leaving the theater after watching this film. If ever there was an example of an insidious interpretation of the Christ story, it is Mel Gibson’s hate-fueled film. There was such barbaric, sadomasochistic hatred painted on the screen that I was sick to my stomach… be warned that this is not a message of Christ’s love, only of his sacrifice, and I felt the film was unquestionably anti-semitic.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
—Carl Haim, age 30
Positive—This is not just a movie, it’s a movement! God is love, and Jesus proves it. How can it be anti-semitic when Jesus Himself was a Jew and so were most of His disciples. The charge of anti-semitism is just an evil ploy. Don’t be ignorant. See the movie and receive the Holy Spirit! Highly recommended for mature audiences!…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Mary Alice, age 46
Negative—½ out of ***… after more careful and studious review, I am forced to give Mel Gibson a failing grade on this movie. This movie was not based on the Holy Bible (I nearly lower cased that)—but rather on a book written during the early 19th century by an Augustinian nun. Additionally, for starters, The Bible contends that an angel was sent to Jesus to comfort Him in Gethsemane. Do you recall the angel (and it was an angel… IN BLACK) that was sent to “comfort” Him in the movie? The sinister Rosalinda Celentano, Queen of the fallen. Lady Satan. And this is just for starters. Mr Gibson, how big a fool do you think we are? Pardon me, but this is just one man’s opinion. Thank you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Lewis, age 50 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—…the best movie that i’ve seen that portrays the last hours of Jesus very well. It was a tear jerker and you come out of the movie feeling as though you were there with Jesus as standing on the side lines not being able to do anything…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Rochelle, age 17
Positive—…amazing! …so inspiring… Many might ask, “How could the scourging of Jesus inspire you?.” I would answer, “As a young teen raised up as a christian I have spent my teen years torn between a life I desire and a life that I know is right, this movie summed up all the things Jesus has done for me so that I might chose the right path in life. This movie captured the pain that Jesus went through and captured the reality of that era, and because it was so real it made me realize what I should do to become a better Christian.” …this movie is in no way offensive to me because it’s what actually happened in the Bible. I also felt that the movie did not portray one bit of… racism… I thank God each night for sending his son to release us from the Devil.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Serena Morales, age 15
Positive—Wow!! …to tell you the truth I didn’t really think it was graphic enough to describe the death of Jesus the Bible says that he was not able to be recognized as a human being. I find this is a must see film and bring a friend not saved with you. A couple friends of mine have a Foreign Exchange Student living in their house, and they brought her. She was asking a lot of questions after the movie and she was crying. The one question she asks that sticks out the most to me is this: “Why would one man, our “God,” come down here and go though all that for us?” My answer to her was short and simple and it made her cry even more. I looked at her and said “He loves you” and I pointed at her. It was the most touching thing that happened to me in the movie theater. The only reason why I rated this a 4½ is because I don’t think it was graphic enough…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Cory, age 16
Positive—This film changed my life. I think that basically any age should see it… most of the kids out there have already seen movies like Braveheart, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, etc. So we should be able to see what our Lord went through. I didn’t understand why it was so offensive to the Jews. If anything, I didn’t like the Romans in the movie cause they were the ones that carried it out ruthlessly… Very good movie. GO SEE IT!…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Craig, age 16
Positive—You can’t watch this movie and not be changed in some way. After watching “The Passion…,” I was inspired to witness to a friend. After all, if Jesus could take that pain for me, surely I could risk my reputation and friendship by sharing about his amazing sacrifice with one other person? After watching the movie for herself, my friend is now saved and in the Kingdom. This movie will change people’s lives. Must see.
—(male), age 17
Positive—If there’s one word to sum up this movie its… EXCELLENT! this is the first movie of Christ’s last 12 hours of life that really moved me. I also would have to disagree with all people who find the “Passion of the Christ” offensive. There was nothing in the movie that is offensive. Overall, the characters did a great job and Mel Gibson… thank you for making this movie and making it excellently. I would recommend this movie to children who are able to read well (because of the subtitles), teenagers and adults. I disagree with those who feel children under a certain age shouldn’t be allowed to see this movie because they need to have a good understanding of what Christ did for US. This is definitely a must see movie. “The Passion of the Christ” is the most awesome movie ever made.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—J.F., age 13
Positive—…outstanding… It really makes you think of the things that our Lord and Savior did for YOU individually… I did not find anything anti-Semitic… I loved this movie…
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Ben Theis, age 14
Positive—This film was heartbreaking. It gave me a view of Jesus that I had never seen before. A gritty, real person undergoing horrible, gruesome torture FOR ME. The violence is strong and in your face,and certainly not for young children. Kudos to Mel Gibson for having the courage to tell the truth. The world needs to know, “for by His stripes we are healed.”
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—(anonymous), age 13
Positive—WOW!!! This film is truly remarkable and upsetting. I have never been that upset while watching a film. It shows in great detail what Jesus went through and how he was treated… outstanding storyline and filmmaking… this film is extremely graphic… Jesus is whipped …with extremely brutal weapons. The most graphic part in this scene …is about the third lashing …where IN SLOW MOTION it shows the whip hit Christ and pull and overly large piece of flesh out of his back… It is an intense film that will leave you speechless. Words cannot at all describe it. Go see it (if your let kids see it under 11, you might want them to walk out at the whipping scene).
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—WSB, age 13
Positive—WOW!! If there is one word I could say to sum up this movie it is wow. I have never been so touched by a movie before. Mel Gibson has done a fabulous job! I am absolutely amazed at how wonderfully well this movie was directed. This movie shows the true pain Jesus suffered for us in order to save us from our sin. It sticks to the bible completely and gives the reality of how much cruelty He endured for us. I saw an early preview of the movie along with my mom. Although she turned away at some of the harsh parts I was glued to the screen the entire movie horrified at what I usually glanced over in the written version. It’s a whole other experience watching it. I strongly recommend this movie to any Christian.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Sam, age 14
Positive—I really don’t think I could give this film any bad comments. The film is so… amazing and sad. To me—being a christian—I thought that in the end it was very hopeful. I really liked how Jesus was portrayed in the flashbacks of him with his disciples… even though it was just an actor playing the part it really reminded me that being with Jesus in heaven some day is going to be so wonderful that no matter what happens to the earth or the entire universe, Christ still died for our sins and we will never have to suffer in Hell. Satan was portrayed to be very evil and so unnerving that every time he was on the screen I would cringe just at the sight of him. He looks so sinister in the movie and I have no doubt that he is as bad if not worse than he is portrayed. Bottom line is that this movie is so amazing that I hope it does really well in the theaters and a lot of people buy it when it comes to video. (I know I will)
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—David Demeusy, age 15
Positive—…excellent beyond words… James Caviezel, who played Jesus, did awesome. During the scene where he was being nailed to the cross, I started crying. I looked over and saw that my friend was crying too… see it soon so it gets good box office ratings. This is the best movie of all time. A must see. P.S. This movie should be seen by people 12 and up.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Craig Grounds, age 12
Positive—…the best movie I saw! …It incorporated all feelings, sadness, sympathy, love, hate, happiness, guilt and more, and this was the way it all happened… DO NOT EAT, this movie will make you not want to, you might cry, etc. so prepare yourself for that. As said on TBN, this is not a “popcorn and candy” movie, it is a dramatic and sad account of what really happened. This movie is bloody, but not too gory, the only gory thing you see is when (brace yourself for this one) the “cat of nine tails” slashed into his skin and ripped off a large chunk, exposing his ribs. Now, if you see the movie, you will say “any normal person would of easily died” that is true, but Jesus was not an ordinary person, mind you! God waited for the right moment to take him into his kingdom, but only to rise again on the third day! Bring anyone (if you want to) ages 12+ up, because of the blood, because youngsters will take it wrong, and also not comprehend what Jesus went through… it is the best movie ever made, it moved me, it touched me, and it was an excellently made movie!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Greg S., age 14
Positive—…nothing short of amazing. I walked itno the theatre with a critical mind but came out with a new understanding if what Christ did for all of us… besides a few errors in accuracy, it was beautiful. I highly recommend this film, but suggest young children to not be allowed to see it. For it is a very graphic film (which does add to the impact, I assure you)
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Ali Robbins, age 14
Positive—A recent Jars of Clay song emphatically declares: “Jesus’ blood never failed me yet, never failed me yet, Jesus’ blood never failed me yet, this one thing I know, that he loves me so.” However, unlike most songs, this one verse is repeated over and over—without interlude or bridge or chorus, just Jesus’ blood. After being somewhat desesenitzed to Jesus’ actual sufferings and what He went through both physically and mentally, the power of this song didn’t entirely hit home… until I saw The Passion of the Christ. People need to understand the severe suffering and pain that Jesus, both man and God, went through. We don’t need romantics where there are none, Christians need to come to grips with the reality in order to fully perceive God’s gift in 21st century America. The movie presents striking realism, if not over-the-top depiction of Christ’s sufferings and I have no complaints—Gibson’s work should be commended for its overall accuracy and for the risks he took in such an endeavor. Go see it!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Luke Neubcker, age 17
Positive—Many detractors and negative reviewers have called Gibson hateful, sadistic, pornographic, and oh so typically Catholic (as though it were an insult). They feel that Gibson is masking his hatred for the Jews and other groups in a hyped-up movie about Christ’s final 12 hours. Some have even picked at Gibson for portraying a white Jesus. Is this really the sort of behavior Christ expects from us?

None of these accusations are true. The purpose, I think, of Gibson’s film is not to teach us the Gospel. In fact, the entire presupposition of the movie is that we are already familiar with them, so Gibson doesn’t have to spend time putting all that into film. We can get that quite easily from our Bibles. Gibson’s goal is to give us an idea of just what our Savior suffered because of his love for us. We all know that Jesus was crucified to cleanse us from our sins, but we never really give much thought to just what that entails. We just assume that it was hard, painful, but necessary. We never take the time to consider the utter horror of the crucifixion, including the psychological and spiritual pressure. Even after having seen the film, I don’t think any of us can truly understand just how much Christ suffered for us. However, The Passion gives us at least some idea. It was a sobering experience, and it made me think about a lot of things I had never given much consideration.

Of course, no portrayal of Christ is perfect, but I think that this is definitely one worth watching. But don’t expect this to supplement the Gospels. The movie’s purpose is to enhance our experience with the Word, not to replace it. If you don’t think you can handle it, don’t watch it.

And the accusations of Gibson’s anti-Semitism? Baseless. Gibson’s movie is based on the description of the crucifixion in the Gospels, and unless the Jews have another record they aren’t telling us about, there’s no reason to suspect that this is a manifestation of Gibson’s own hatred. They might as well accuse Jesus himself of anti-Semitism, despite the fact that he was a Jew. After all, didn’t he start this whole Christianity thing? Even the Torah doesn’t seem to portray the Jews in a very positive light, what with all their unfaithfulness and such. The truth is, we’re all sinners, and Jesus died for all of us.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4]
—Christopher Rodriguez, age 18
Positive—WOW!!!… This is the best film ever made! I couldn’t find ANYTHING in this movie that was out of place. It is a violent film, but let’s face it-was crucifixion giving someone a tea party? Did God want everything to be cheesy? Nope and nada. This is the way things had to be and THAT is the way they are shown! Anti-Semitic. Now, some Jews killed Jesus (note SOME). Some white people owned slaves. Does that mean that all of both are bad? Certainly not! The lady who plays Mary (Jesus’ mother) is Jewish and she herself said the movie is not. God totally is working through this film and I’m sure that He was working when it was being made. Don’t forget, Jim Caviziel got struck by lightning, and it bypassed his heart. So did the studio and they, cast and crew, kept going. Non-believers were SAVED and people with diseases were being healed on the set. Over-all? I absolutely love this film; it is my absolute all-time favorite…
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Noelle, age 16
Positive—This movie was amazing! It’s unbelievable what Jesus really went through for us. As I watched it, I felt such unbelief to realize that he did all of this for me. I think everyone should see it, believers and non-believers. It will change your life! Mary had flash-backs of when Jesus was younger and some of this was really sad for me. Although there were some additions to the movie almost everything was exactly according to the Bible—word for word—even to the point that Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” during the last supper. I can’t say what age group that this is suitable for because when I talked to my 10 year old sister about it she was scared hearing about it. The scourging was terrible. It went on for so long and seeing Him being nailed on the cross was heart wrenching! On the other hand, Jesus actually endured nearly 24-hours of torture, not 2-hours. If you want to know the truth about what He went through and did for everyone go see it. I think that God raised up this movie for “such a time as this.”
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Bekah, age 12
Positive—I went to see this movie with my Christian high school the day after it opened and I have to say it was awesome. I always pictured the death of Jesus as just being painful on the cross, but instead he received endless betings (which was very bloody and I would not recommend it to very young kids). This film will really touch your heart when you think about how he went through the pain and suffering for our sins. The technical quality was excellent as well as the music, effects, makeup and costumes. The subtitles were a good touch added to the movie and it really made it seem like you were there. Overall, the movie was great, and I recommend it to teens and adults who are ready to shed a few tears.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Rosey, age 14
Positive—…At the end, Gibson did a great showing Satan’s defeat with Jesus’s death… The thing that hit me the most in this movie was the impact it had on the audience… everyone in the whole entire theatre was stunned and sat in silence for the whole entire credits. And when you left, in your heart, you just had to say Jesus did that for me and I am truly forever grateful for his sacrifice.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—John Kehr, age 15
Positive—This movie made me really think. I am one of those people who learn better if they see it, then read it. Overall, I thought this was a really good movie. I really think everyone should go see it. When my family and some of my friends and I went, after the movie you know how there is always soooooooo much popcorn and stuff—well this time there was nothing but tissue!!!… everyone was crying, it just wakes you up and you realize how much Christ sacrificed for us all, and Mel Gibson just gave us a taste of just a little Jesus went through. I really like this movie, and I would like to everyone who hasn’t seen it yet just to go, they won’t regret it:) Just one thing, when you go to see it—take LOTS of tissue, you will need it:)
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Jamie Gonzales, age 16
Positive—…amazing. I liked it so much… when they nailed Him to the cross, with every hit from the hammer, it was like, “This one is for your lies, this one is for your jealousy, this one is for your bad thoughts…” I think everyone (everyone who is really mature, that is) should see it. It really helped me realize exactly how high a price Jesus paid for me…
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Brittney, age 13
Positive—This movie had given me a better understanding of Christ. What had He overcomed? Why did He do that? What Christ suffered through for us? Why did He die? This film tells you all. It shows you pictures what Christ did. It is a sad story though.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Luo Rong, age 11
Comments from others
…It’s certainly the most powerful portrayal of the passion I’ve ever seen or heard about. The movie is historically and theologically accurate…
—Don Hodel, President of Focus on the Family
…a beautiful, wonderful account of the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. It is consistent with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… The movie portrays historical accounts realistically, but the Body of Christ worldwide does not blame Jewish people for the crucifixion. Evangelicals believe that our sins are responsible for creating the situation that required the crucifixion of Christ. Christ did not die because of the political and religious powers of the day, but for a far greater purpose. We are all responsible. This is why evangelicals view The Passion of Christ as a love story. It demonstrates the profound love Christ has for all people.
—Ted Haggard, President of NAE (National Association of Evangelicals)
Mel Gibson screened his new film for 85-year-old evangelist Billy Graham. Graham said that the movie moved him “to tears.” “I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a bystander during those last hours before Jesus’ death.” “After watching “The Passion of the Christ,” I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus’ death and resurrection… No one who views this film’s compelling imagery will ever be the same…
—Rev. Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
…I couldn’t be more optimistic about the film’s spiritual impact on everyone who sees it…
—Dr. Larry Poland, Mastermedia