Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

“filmed in Todd-AO 35”, 35mm film, 70mm film [blow-up], “color by Technicolor”
2.35:1, 2.20:1 [70mm prints]
mono [35mm optical prints], 4-track Stereo [35mm magnetic prints], 70mm 6-track, English

An American religious fantasy film directed by Norman Jewison.

Plot Summary

A group of hippies re-enact the story of as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot in the form of a .


Directed by: Norman Jewison
© MCMLXXIII [1973] by Universal Pictures
A Universal picture. A Norman Jewison-Robert Stigwood production
Produced by: Norman Jewison and Robert Stigwood
Associate Producer: Patrick Palmer
Screenplay by: Melvyn Bragg and Norman Jewison
Based on the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, book by Tim Rice
Director of Photography: Douglas Slocombe
Film Editor: Antony Gibbs
Music by: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by: Tim Rice
Costume Designed by: Yvonne Blake
Make-up: Neville Smallwood
Hairdresser: Gordon Bond
Production Designer: Richard Macdonald

Ted Neeley as Jesus Christ
Carl Anderson as Judas Iscariot
Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene
Barry Dennen as Pontius Pilate
Bob Bingham as Caiaphas
Larry T. Marshall as Simon Zealotes
Joshua Mostel as King Herod
Kurt Yaghjian as Annas
Philip Toubus [real name: Paul Thomas] as Peter

Pi Douglass
Robert LuPone [James]
Jonathan Wynne
Thommie Walsh [Thaddeus]
Richard Molinare [Andrew]
David Devir
Jeffrey Hyslop
Richard Orbach
Shooki Wagner

Alternative Titles

Iisous Hristos, yperlabro astro – Greece
Jesucristo superestrella – Mexico
Jesucristo Superstar
– Argentina, Peru
Jesucristo superstar
– Spain
Jezus Kristus – Superzvezda
– Slovenia
Jézus Krisztus szupersztár
– Hungary

See also
Jesus Christ Superstar (1972)
Jesus Christ Superstar (2000)

Production Notes

The film was screened to a group of visiting Soviet film makers in November 1972 as part of a trip arranged by ACTT to help establish a co-production treaty between the UK and the USSR. 1CinemaTV Today no.10007 (18 November 1972) p.3

In January 1977, the Playhouse Cinema in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, closed its doors for the last time due to breaches of fire regulations. But manager Duncan MacKinnon told British trade journal Screen International that the building had recently been “cursed” by The Reverend William MacLean of the Free Church of Scotland when MacKinnon refused to bow to his demands not to show Jesus Christ Superstar. Although the building was closed due to patrons preferring the unsafe balcony from which to watch their films, it stayed open as a bingo hall in the far safer stalls – not that this impressed Reverend MacLean: “I do not agree with that, either,” he told Screen International. “The whole thing is the work of the Devil.” 2Screen International no.71 (22 January 1977) p.8.


CinemaTV Today no.10047 (1 September 1973) p.6
Visually and musically exciting […] It is more political than religious, and Norman Jewison underline this by introducing contemporary symbols as unsubtle reminders that greed, oppression and sophistry have survived for two thousand years of . The familiar story of told very simply; the many excellent songs are put over with great attack and enhanced by some striking visual effects. I failed to find anything to give offence to the open-minded of any faith or race. The film has its faults: the choreography is unimaginatively telly-spectacular; some of the scenes involving Christ resemble a commercial for Coke; and the well-scrubbed kiddiwinks could have been clamouring for baked beans rather than the Messiah. But these are minor irritations in a production which is so splendidly photographed in magnificent scenery and gives us the camped-up decadence of Joshua Mostel's Herod, the warm sincerity of Yvonne Elliman's Mary Magdalene and, above all, the power and pain of Carl Anderson's Judas. – from a review by Marjorie Bilbow

New Musical Express 3 April 1982 p.38
Unimaginable epic guff and conceit, as super media bores Lloyd Webber & Rice turn their histrionic farrago over to Hollywood via the screen-writing hands of Jewison and – hang your head in shame, lad – Melvyn Bragg. What could possibly be worse: rock, opera, , modern Hollywood dance… do you think there are any prize stinkers you left out, lads? As the man said on the cross, what a way to spend Easter! – review (On the box) by Ian Penman



  • CinemaTV Today no.10007 (18 November 1972) p.3 – note (Russians see ‘Jesus Christ')
  • CinemaTV Today no.10013 (6 January 1973) p.24 – illustrated preview
  • CinemaTV Today no.10047 (1 September 1973) p.6 – credits, review (by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction vol.272 (January 1974) pp.83-85 – review (“Jesus with jets” by Baird Searles)
  • New Musical Express 3 April 1982 p.38 – review (On the box by Ian Penman)
  • Screen International no.71 (22 January 1977) p.8 – note (Cinema closes after ‘curse')
  • Screen International no.254 (16-23 August 1980) p.8 – note (World news desk: South Africa by Rod Hay)
  • Today's Cinema no.9925 (23 July 1971) p.3 – note (‘Jesus Christ Superstar' goes on film)


  • Encyclopedia of Rock Music of Film by Linda J. Sandahl p.72
  • Film Review 1974-75 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.196
  • by Walt Lee p.231 – credits
  • Rock-Film: In 450 film, trent'anni di Cinema & Rock by Paolo Belluso and Flavio Merkel p.128 – credits, note