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Godspell (1973)

Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (original title)
G | | Musical | 1973 (UK)
An adaption of the musical, in a modern-day song-and-dance recreation of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Katie Hanley ...
Katie
David Haskell ...
John / Judas
Merrell Jackson ...
Merrell
Joanne Jonas ...
Joanne
Robin Lamont ...
Robin
Gilmer McCormick ...
Gilmer
Jeffrey Mylett ...
Jeffrey
...
Jerry
...
Lynne
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Storyline

A modern-day version of the gospels, opening with John the Baptist calling a disparate group of young New Yorkers from their workaday lives to follow and learn from Jesus. They form a roving acting troupe that enacts the parables through song and dance, comedy, and mime. Jesus' ministry ends with a last supper, his Crucifixion in a junkyard, and, the following morning, his body being carried aloft by his apostles back into the world of the living on the streets of New York. Written by Steven Dhuey <sdhuey@mail.soemadison.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Gospel according to today. See more »

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Godspell  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" everyone except Jesus jumps into "The Angel of the Waters" fountain, also known as the Bethesda Fountain, in New York City's Central Park. "Bethesda" is a reference to a pool described in the Gospel of John that is supposed to have healing properties. See more »

Goofs

When the troupe is carrying the deceased Jesus around the corner, and the streets of Manhattan are supposed to be vacant, a person walks on a sidewalk in the background. See more »

Quotes

Jesus: Now, do you know what the seed is?
Katie: A baby!
Jesus: [imitating her] Wrong!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits include an infinity frames effect. A sixteen second film of a busy street is shown, and then the right and bottom of the frame is frozen in a sideways capital L. This then becomes the frame for the next iteration of the film, which in turn leaves its right and bottom edges as a frame for the next film. Over the frames and film are played thumbnails of the actors, then credit cards and finally a credit scroll. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Double Dragon (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Alas For You
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Schwartz
Performed by Victor Garber
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User Reviews

 
Rejoice in the beautiful city.
26 January 2004 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Although I have had the soundtrack to this movie since I was a little girl (and LOVED it), I only just rented it and I was pleasantly surprised at how relevant this supposedly "dated" film still seems. In using real NYC locations, this film wisely eschewed a hokey fantasy-carnival setting that the "vaudeville troupe" feel of the stage play might have suggested (and "The Fantasticks" later went with). I was particularly moved by the use of Bethsaida Fountain (recently used in "Angels in America"), and the visual reference to the Statue of Liberty during the line "you are the light of the world." As a "New York movie," this has got to rank right up there with "Annie Hall" or "Moonstruck." While I don't believe that the historical Jesus skipped and bounced when he was preaching, Victor Garber's Christ continues the tradition that Jesus was both human and divine, the incarnation of Love. It's a very thoughtful, nuanced performance. For me, as a twentysomething, it's very moving to see a representation of Jesus around my age (because, of course, in the Bible Jesus disappears between the ages of 12 and 30). And, for the record, the typing of Jesus as a clown dates to the Medieval mystery plays.

I was most struck by David Haskell's performance as John/Judas. This character both loves Jesus best and questions him the most, and in that, I think, represents the polarities of belief that everyone goes through, no matter their faith. Haskell is the strongest singer in the cast and has a sort of smoldering intensity that would not be expected of a young stage actor. The rest of the ensemble makes up in enthusiasm and vocal verve what they may lack in camera experience. They present the parables of Jesus in a way that is easy to understand but not blasphemous... Jesus says "Rejoice" but he makes no bones about the punishment for sin, either. In sum, "Godspell" is campy and dated, yes, but it's altogether a pleasant piece... in times like these, I daresay we need a smiling Jesus more than we need Mel Gibson's bloody, tortured Christ.


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