Judas and Jesus

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Judas and Jesus
Original title Judas
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2004
length 87 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Charles Robert Carner
script Tom Fontana
production Ann Wingate
music Bill Conti
camera Michael Goi
cut Raúl Dávalos

Judas and Jesus is an American Bible film from 2004 , in which the figure of Judas Iscariot , played by Johnathon Schaech and his motivation to betray Jesus of Nazareth ( Jonathan Scarfe ), is in the foreground. The film, shot for television, was directed by Charles Robert Carner .


The young Judas sees his father being crucified by the Romans . His hatred of Rome begins to germinate. Many years later he is ready to murder for his belief in a free Israel . At this time, Judas - who has now become a wine merchant - gets to know the Galilean Jesus of Nazareth , who casts all Israel under his spell. Judas' hopes that Jesus could lead people to revolt fail because of the Master's pacifism . Judas Jesus wants to revelation as political Messiah force and betrays him for this reason for thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests .

In the garden of Gethsemane there is a fateful betrayal, which on the one hand sets the Passion in motion for Jesus up to the violent crucifixion, on the other hand ends with suicide for Judas . At the same time as Jesus is taking his last breath, Judas hangs himself on a tree, pictures of his time together with Jesus pass him shortly before. When the disciples later find him there, they cut the noose out of mercy, lift Judas to the ground and bury him in prayer.


Production notes

The film was produced by Laserpacific Media Corporation in collaboration with ABC Entertainment Group and CBS Television Studios. It was distributed by Paramount Home Media. The shooting took place in Ouarzazate in Morocco and in the Italian capital Rome .

The production budget was estimated at $ 5 million.


The film interprets the biblical tradition primarily from a socio-political perspective. Narrated from the point of view of Judas and the governor Pontius Pilate , the viewer learns about the political conditions in Palestine occupied by the Romans at the time of Jesus. Tom Fontana's screenplay uses language as if it all happened in 1980, and street jargon doesn't fit the time either. The script suggests that the Romans conspired to get the Jews to condemn Jesus, but then evades to avoid feeling guilty on one side or the other. It says in the room that Pontius Pilate made his decision based on a post-coital mood of his wife Claudia.

The process of Jesus and his crucifixion is shown in great detail with images that are known from many other Jesus films. This brings the film, which has set itself its own task in terms of title and subtitle, very close to conventional Bible adaptations. However, the crucifixion of Jesus turns into a technically heavy process in this film: ramps are built, cranes are operated and winches are set in motion. These details tend to distract from the actual topic for a long time, namely the relationship between Judas and Jesus. Political motives of the time correspond to the results of historical-critical biblical research. Pharisees , Zealots , Herod Antipas and the figure of John the Baptist are developed as the appropriate setting for the plot. The film moves for a long time, especially with regard to the words that Jesus speaks, astonishingly close to the tradition of the four Gospels of the New Testament.

Special attention is paid to the group dynamics that prevail in the disciples' circle. Judas has been a problem disciple long before his betrayal - that's what film drama wants . In the judgment of a fellow disciple, he has “a black soul”. He wants to sell and sell the miracle of Jesus, wears a sword under his dress and repeatedly uses his special contacts to the capital Jerusalem, his homeland. He lives in competition with the Galilean Simon Petrus and stands out from the other disciples who are more rural. The film is speculative. The biblical figure of Maria Magdalena also appears on the side of Jesus and gives the scene a slightly erotic touch because the script places it in the prostitute milieu. Jesus is not bothered by the fact that he does not allow himself to be irritated by “the old men” who guard the laws of the Mosaic religion.

The miracles of healing and the raising of the dead (such as Lazarus ) handed down in the Gospels are presented on film in a surprisingly naive and unbroken manner.


The film premiered on American television on March 8, 2004, and was released on DVD in the USA on August 24, 2004. It celebrated its video premiere in Argentina on December 22, 2004 under the title Judas . In Germany it was released on DVD on November 10, 2005 by Paramount (Universal Pictures). It was first broadcast on April 6, 2007 on Sat.1's program .

It was also published in Japan, Greece, Hungary and Poland.


The set of the film, the drawing of the characters and partly also the acting performance of the actors can hardly convince. Jonathan Scarfe as Jesus, for example, portrays his character as a boyish, shy and often overwhelmed person. He can hardly convey the seriousness of his role. The film may therefore appeal more to viewers who place more value on the social background of the biblical texts than on the visual and acting aspects.

Variety's Phil Gallo believed that ABC's version, which expanded the relationship between Judas and Jesus, was invented and also tried to dumb down prime-time viewers in terms of language. In terms of biblical interpretation, little is offered, and this is where the film differs significantly from Mel Gibson's recently released monumental film The Passion of the Christ . With Jonathan Scarfe, Jesus is given the appearance of a surfer boy and Johnathon Schaech plays a Judas who hardly knows any concerns and who is ultimately soulless. He gives Judas a threatening strength, but he can never really make the inner conflicts that the script suggests in abundance believable. Scarfe has little majesty or charisma, so it is difficult to find out why he has so many followers around him.

The film portal Videobuster said this was "a dramatic and thought-provoking film - a remarkable retelling of a familiar story from a new perspective". Judas Iscariot, the “would-be revolutionary”, is “a strong symbol of human failure”, whose “once honorable intentions” would be “undone by inner torment”.

TV Spielfilm pointed the thumbs up, gave one of three possible points for claim, action and tension and drew the conclusion: "Courageous counterpart to Mel Gibson's blood spectacle 'The Passion of Christ'."

A review by moviessansfrontiers only recommended the film to those who had the courage to accept a different point of view. This is a remarkable film because it was made at least two years before the Gospel of Judas was excavated in Egypt, and because it has historically been recognized that the four gospels of the New Testament are not the only gospels. The remarkable thing about the film is the attempt to reevaluate the known facts of an elected disciple of Christ - who obviously needed a Judas to betray him in order to die on the cross and leave his mortal body.

On the page letterboxd.com it was said that the praiseworthy idea of ​​telling the story of Jesus from the standpoint of Judas Iscariot was disturbed by the limits that a television production shows and could therefore hardly convince with new insights.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Judas and Jesus Box Office adS of the IMDb
  2. a b c Judas adS variety.com (English). Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  3. a b c d Thomas Lankau: Film star Jesus Christ: the latest Jesus films as a challenge for theology and religious education. Verlag LIT, Münster, 1st edition 2007, ISBN 3-8258-0196-9 , pp. 7, 28, 124, 214.
  4. Judas and Jesus. (No longer available online.) In: Zelluloid.de. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017 ; accessed on September 18, 2018 .
  5. Judas and Jesus - The extreme treason adS videobuster.de. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  6. Judas adS tvspielfilm.de (with 13 film images)
  7. 20. Little known US TV film director Charles Carner's "Judas" (2004): Recommended only for those who have courage to accept another viewpoint adS moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.de (English)
  8. Judas adS letterboxd.com (English)