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The Day Christ Died.jpg

The Day Christ Died is a 1980 American television film directed by James Cellan Jones. The collaborative production by 20th Century Fox and CBS-TV dramatizes the last 24 hours of Jesus Christ's life and is based on Jim Bishop's 1957 book of the same name. Bishop, who did not accept the script adaptation, had his name removed from the credits, called the film "cheap revisionist history", and even tried unsuccessfully to change the film's title. The Day Christ Died was filmed in Tunisia, at a cost of US$2.8 million. It was broadcast by CBS-TV on Wednesday, March 26, 1980.


Around the same same time that a popular mob hero named Barabbas is arrested and convicted by Pontius Pilate and his lieutenant governor/aide Tullius, Jesus of Nazareth arrives in Jerusalem in time for the celebration of the Passover/Seder. The High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, who oppose and find Jesus to be a menace and danger to their traditions, scarcely bargain with Pilate on how to detain Jesus. This ideas initially goes well with Pilate since he fears a riot from a mob clamoring for Barabbas release. When Jesus is finally condemned by the Sanhedrin and handed over to Pilate, he uses him as a decoy or alternative to please the Jerusalem populace by acquitting Barabbas and sentencing Jesus to be crucified in his place.


  • Chris Sarandon as Jesus Christ
  • Colin Blakely as Caiaphas
  • Keith Michell as Pontius Pilate
  • Jonathan Pryce as Herod Antipas
  • Barrie Houghton as Judas
  • Tim Pigott-Smith as Tullius
  • Jay O. Sanders as Simon Peter
  • Eleanor Bron as Mary
  • Delia Boccardo as Mary Magdelene
  • Hope Lange as Claudia (Pontius Pilate's wife)
  • Oliver Cotton as John
  • Rod Dana as Abenadar
  • Gordon Gostelow as Nicodemus
  • Nando Paone as Thaddeus