The Last Temptation of Christ script
Synopsis: The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 American epic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Paul Schrader with uncredited rewrites from Scorsese and Jay Cocks, the film is a film adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' controversial 1955 novel of the same name. The film, starring Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Andre Gregory, Harry Dean Stanton, and David Bowie, was shot entirely in Morocco.


From above:
Flying close over a thick grove of olive trees.

MUSIC fades into the sound of wings beating through the air.

We hear (OVER) the voice of a young man, thoughtful but



The feeling begins. It's a light

tingling at first. Right on the top

of my head. Very tender. Like a

caress. Soft wings carrying me to

Paradise. Then the pain starts.

Now we see JESUS, the son of Mary, 28 years-old, sleeping

under an olive tree. The mid-morning sun (OVER-EXPOSED) shines

on his stubby face. He is dreaming.


It feels like the bird has grabbed

me from behind. Just above the neck.

Talons slip underneath the skin and

work and claw their way up the back

of my neck. Then the real pain begins.

Each claw digs into the soft matter

behind my brain, and then across the

top of my head toward my eyes. Just

before they reach my eyes, they dig


Jesus wakens. He looks around.


And I remember. I have to make a


While he is still speaking he reaches up to touch the back

of his head, where the pain started. He pulls his fingers

away. There is blood on them.



Jesus shapes a long piece of timber with an adze. His patched

tunic rests on the workbench. Walls are hung with tools.

A nail-studded belt hangs from a hook above his head. The

belt is speckled with dried blood. Two drops of fresh blood

drip off the belt onto the ground.


At first I fasted for three months.

Then I whipped myself before sleeping.

At first it worked, then the headaches

returned. I know it's God. Or the

devil. Who can tell them apart? They

exchange faces; God sometimes becomes

all darkness, the devil all light,

and they become confused in my mind.

Outside, there are NOISES of a crowd gathering nearby.

Undistracted, he finishes off the piece of timber, which has

become the crossbar of a cross. He places the crossbar between

two brackets on the wall, then puts himself halfway between

them and stretches out his arms, gauging the proper




Narrow and crowded with citizens on their way to a

crucifixion. A ROMAN SOLDIER watches them with professional

disinterest. His armour is non-existent, his uniform is

certainly not splendid. He looks like a sloppy traffic cop.

PEOPLE come from behind him and walk in front.

Over the soldier's left shoulder appears a man with blazing

red hair and beard, moving with the crowd. He walks close

behind the soldier for just a moment. Very professionally,

he cuts his throat. The soldier falls to the ground. The man

keeps walking calmly and the camera follows as, in the

background, people start to notice that a soldier has been


A WOMAN screams. Two other MEMBERS of the crowd grab her and

silence her, while SEVERAL OTHERS drag the body off into a


The red-haired man keeps walking. This is JUDAS.



Jesus looks toward the door, almost as if he has felt the



Who is it? Who are you? Why are you

following me?

Judas enters, sees Jesus working on the cross.


Are you ready?

Jesus doesn't answer.


I said are you ready?

He grabs him. Jesus still doesn't answer. He keeps working.


You're a disgrace.

Jesus smiles at him.


I'm the disgrace? Judas, I see the

blood on your knife.

Judas lets go of him. He takes the knife from inside his

cloak and removes it from its scabbard. He wipes the blood

off the blade with a rag.

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Paul Schrader

Paul Joseph Schrader is an American screenwriter, film director, and film critic. Schrader wrote or co-wrote screenplays for four Martin Scorsese films: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead. more…

All Paul Schrader scripts | Paul Schrader Books

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"The Last Temptation of Christ" STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 22 Feb. 2018. <>.

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