in ,

Martin Scorsese Learned His Lesson After His Controversially Condemned 1988 Film Starring Willem Dafoe, Later Tested It on Liam Neeson’s Movie

Martin Scorsese discussed his most controversial film of all time.

Martin Scorsese Learned His Lesson After His Controversially Condemned 1988 Film Starring Willem Dafoe, Later Tested It on Liam Neeson’s Movie


  • Martin Scorsese talked about the infamous 'The Last Temptation of Christ' in a roundtable discussion.
  • The filmmaker made some reflections on the lessons he learned after doing the movie.
  • He found another way to channel this idea in a sequel film.

Martin Scorsese has done a lot of highly acclaimed films over the decades, but among those were some provocative ones that really became the talk of the town. Directors are usually tested in terms of creative decisions, and no matter how ingenious and sincere their works are, many people would still find flaws in them.

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese

Some of Scorsese’s most notably controversial films include The Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas, but the one that really challenged him was the 1988 movie The Last Temptation of Christ starring Willem Dafoe.

RELATED: “You must work with him sometime”: Robert De Niro Changed Leonardo DiCaprio’s Career by One Phone Call to Martin Scorsese That Started Their Budding Relationship

Martin Scorsese Defends His Controversial Epic Religious Film

In a roundtable discussion of directors via The Hollywood Reporter, veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese revealed that his work on The Last Temptation of Christ received a lot of criticism, particularly from the church. He said:

Fandomwire Video

Last Temptation, definitely. Condemned by very conservative elements that are Christian evangelical. I am Roman Catholic, it’s a different thing. And even the hierarchy of the church condemned it without seeing it.”

Scorsese explained that the movie is an attempt to understand faith and the concept of incarnation. He wanted the film to serve as a bridge for an intelligent conversation and exploration of the subject.

Willem Dafoe The Last Temptation of Christ
Willem Dafoe in The Last Temptation of Christ

The filmmaker admitted it took him several years to discover another way to use the concept and go deeper into it. He also noted that “it’s just an idea, it’s not based on the Bible, it’s not based on New Testaments.” With this experience, Scorsese reflected:

It made me realize maybe art is important, but there’s something beyond that, and that’s what I had to deal with in myself.”

Christians worldwide condemned the film as blasphemous, and it remains one of the most debatable movies of all time.


RELATED: “They have earned the right”: Iron Man Director Jon Favreau Felt Indebted To Martin Scorsese Despite Latter’s Brutal Criticism Against His Work

Martin Scorsese Finally Did It Right In The Sequel

Liam Neeson Silence
Liam Neeson in Silence

Despite the viewers’ mixed reception of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, he still found a way to try it again in 2016’s Silence. In the same discussion via THR, he explained:

It took me years later to find the other way, to go further, and that was Silence, to go deeper into it, so what happens is that the iconography of the Last Temptation… it sets off people right away. Better to go behind, not go around the iconography.”

Silence was loved and praised by fans and critics alike, and it also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography. It is the last of Scorsese’s trilogy movies that tackled and challenged religion and faith, after The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun (1997).

The Last Temptation of Christ is available on Amazon Prime.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

RELATED: “I’m not a f*cking cinephile, I’m not a snob”: Joaquin Phoenix May Not Agree With Martin Scorsese Over His Brutal Criticism For Marvel Movies

Was this Article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Written by Ariane

Ariane, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.