• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Friday, February 13, 2009

    The Passover Plot

    One of the Jesus films that I've never had the chance to see (as it's not on DVD and the old VHS copies are prohibitively expensive) is Michael Campus's The Passover Plot. For those not in the know it's essentially a previous generation's Da Vinci Code - a biblical conspiracy story movie based on a best-selling book.

    The volume in question (also called "The Passover Plot") was written by Hugh J. Schonfield in 1965 and proposed that Jesus did not really die, but that he faked his own death in order to perform the miracle of raising himself from the dead. However, in contrast to "The Da Vinci Code", "The Passover Plot" was written in more in the style of non-fiction. There were two parts, the first which commented on Jesus life and ministry as it told the story, and the second which looked at "The growth of the legend".

    Yet the film, which starred Zalman King as Yeshua (Jesus) and Donald Pleasence as Pilate, was drama not documentary, which presumably means screenwriters Millard Cohan and Patricia Louisianna Knop had to do a little work than would normally be the case for an adaptation. Despite being nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design, it appears the film was not well received. 2005 saw the book's 40th anniversary, and a year later Tom Hanks was donning his swept back mullet, but neither occasion prompted anyone to re-release it in the hope of making a quick buck.

    There is, however, a trailer for the film on YouTube that gives a few insights into what the final film was like. Perhaps I'll get to view it someday and report back.


    • At 9:19 pm, February 14, 2009, Blogger LaVonne said…

      never heard of this movie before, but it is on ebay with 2 days left. currently at $26. blessinsgs!

    • At 5:02 pm, February 16, 2009, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks La Vonne

    • At 4:43 pm, February 19, 2009, Blogger Kevin C. Neece said…

      Yeah, I tried to snag that copy on Ebay. Missed it. So, SO disappointing. It was still sealed, never played. Super rare. You can also get it on Amazon, but you have to be wiling to pay upwards of $50 for it.

    • At 1:06 am, April 06, 2011, Anonymous Jake said…

      Does this movie look controversial or sac-religious?
      Because i saw a trailer of this film on youtube and the "Jesus" character acted like he was not saying the right quotes from the bible. Is there any information about this, like a summary of it like that? Because i don't know whether or not this movie is fact (Bible) or fiction (if the novel is made-up like Kazantzakis' Last Temptation).

    • At 9:05 am, April 07, 2011, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Hi Jake,

      I've actually just managed to get a copy of this from ioffer so I may be posting about it soon.

      However, it is meant to be controversial. I don't know whether it's technically "sacrilegious", but assuming you mean that in a non-technical way, then the answer is probably "yes". From what I've read it basically asserts that the resurrection was all a plot, a fake, that Jesus didn't die on the cross and was resuscitated three days later.

      I'm also lead to believe that it's sufficiently bad to actually inspire belief in the resurrection! I'll post my thoughts when I've had a chance to see it.


    • At 7:32 pm, December 01, 2020, Blogger Unknown said…

      Full film analysis in my to be published book (dec 2020) about Judas in cinema - 2 volumes - Christophe Stener

    • At 9:17 am, January 24, 2021, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Sorry that I never replied to this Christophe. I have just sent a reply to the email you sent me.


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