- 1 hr 42 min
Godspell is a musical movie released in 1973, directed by David Greene and adapted from the Off-Broadway musical of the same name by John-Michael Tebelak. The film brings to life the Gospel according to St. Matthew by way of the rock music of Stephen Schwartz. The story follows Jesus Christ as He gathers a group of everyday people to spread his message of love and peace. At the beginning of the movie, a group of strangers gathers in a derelict urban area as they are summoned by John the Baptist to meet Jesus Christ. Jesus then invites them to join him and teaches them through parables, games, and songs. Throughout the story, we see the group of apostles grow closer to Jesus not only through his teachings but through their different personalities and backgrounds that reflect society's mix. The film is composed of a series of musical skits and songs that blend humor with a message of love and faith that mostly remain faithful to the Bible's narrative. These contrasting songs can be lighthearted and playful at times and transcend to a heavier and more serious tone later on when Judas decides to betray Jesus. Despite its biblical roots, the film's contemporary style and catchy tunes make it appealing to a wide audience. Its visual imagination and enthusiastic cast add to the film's charm. The characters' costumes are richly colorful and reflect the diversity of the world they represent. The cast's acting is often praised for its energetic and captivating nature, with Victor Garber standing out as the Jesus Christ who shines with a unique quality that makes his questions and teachings appealing. Several sequences are memorable for their visual creativity, and the film's locations are a major highlight. One of the standout songs "Day by Day" features the female lead (Katie Hanley) singing while playing on a swing in high above New York City. The film also showcases several original pieces of choreography to match the visual imagery of song and dance. The production is impressive and has a great musical score with uplifting songs that speak directly to modern life. The cast also features other notable performances, with Lynne Thigpen as the female lead, who shows strong vocals and is able to handle the film's different styles of music. She sings gospel, blues, and rock songs, sometimes in collaboration with other supporting cast members. The performances of Thigpen and Hanley, in particular, stand out, and the two women's voices blend together in harmony for a moving rendition of "By My Side." Overall, Godspell is a joyous celebration of music and faith that tells the timeless story of Jesus Christ in a contemporary style. It's a movie that tackles difficult topics with ease, blending the light-hearted spirit of Broadway-style musicals with a more somber approach that displays both the joy and the struggles of the human experience. The film's message is as relevant today as it was in 1973, as it emphasizes the importance of love and understanding between people of all backgrounds, cultures and religious beliefs. In conclusion, Godspell is an enduring and timeless musical film that has been loved by many generations since its release. Despite various adaptations and iterations of the story of Jesus Christ, Godspell remains a standout classic that continues to amaze audiences with its vibrant cinematography, outstanding music, and memorable performances that keep the message of love and faith alive throughout the years.