Wherever it was shown, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ caused controversy and sometimes violent demonstrations, whether in Protestant America and Great Britain or Catholic Italy.
In America, there were pickets outside the cinemas where it was shown and militant religious groups threatened to use bombs.
After similar protests at the Venice Film Festival and a condemnation from the Vatican, trouble then flared up in France when five Catholics set fire to a cinema for daring to show the film.
What caused such passions to be aroused? Principally it was the dream-on-the-cross sequence, during which Jesus imagines himself making love to Mary Magdalene, and dreams of the companionship of marriage and a family.
Scorsese wanted to show Christ as a man suffering human doubts and desires and to present audiences with a Christ for the 1980s.
Far from being blasphemous, this portrait was reconcilable with the Bible’s notion of the Son of God made man.
Harry Dean Stanton
Mary, mother of Jesus
John the Baptist