The Judas Project (1990)

PG-13 | 97 mins | Melodrama | 12 December 1990

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HISTORY

In a 1990s interview introducing the home video release of The Judas Project, writer-director-executive producer James H. Barden states that the movie is a “retelling of the story of Christ, filmed in a modern setting.” He told the 25 Apr 1993 NYT that he made the film “over a period of fourteen years,” after being inspired by “a vision” that helped him recover from a “near-fatal illness.”
       Principal photography began 11 Apr 1988. Locations included the city of Savannah, GA, and Tybee Island, GA, the 17 May 1988 HR reported. According to a document in AMPAS library files, The Judas Project was completed in Oct 1990 and screened for a week in Santa Monica, CA, beginning 12 Dec 1990, to qualify for Academy Award consideration. The film did not have a distributor at that time. The 15 Mar 1993 DV and 27 Sep 1994 HR noted that RS Entertainment distributed the film in the “Deep South” and American Southwest for a year and a half, mostly targeting church groups, before returning The Judas Project to Southern California for a “sizeable run” in seventy theaters in Sep 1994.
       Secular critics uniformly drubbed The Judas Project. The 1 Mar 1993 Austin [TX] American Statesman called it “a cinematic disaster of….biblical proportions,” and the 26 Sep 1994 LAT review predicted: “Most movie-savvy Christians will feel more embarrassed than inspired.”
       The film begins with the title card: “Two years earlier...” End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank the following for their generous cooperation: The people of Tybee ... More Less

In a 1990s interview introducing the home video release of The Judas Project, writer-director-executive producer James H. Barden states that the movie is a “retelling of the story of Christ, filmed in a modern setting.” He told the 25 Apr 1993 NYT that he made the film “over a period of fourteen years,” after being inspired by “a vision” that helped him recover from a “near-fatal illness.”
       Principal photography began 11 Apr 1988. Locations included the city of Savannah, GA, and Tybee Island, GA, the 17 May 1988 HR reported. According to a document in AMPAS library files, The Judas Project was completed in Oct 1990 and screened for a week in Santa Monica, CA, beginning 12 Dec 1990, to qualify for Academy Award consideration. The film did not have a distributor at that time. The 15 Mar 1993 DV and 27 Sep 1994 HR noted that RS Entertainment distributed the film in the “Deep South” and American Southwest for a year and a half, mostly targeting church groups, before returning The Judas Project to Southern California for a “sizeable run” in seventy theaters in Sep 1994.
       Secular critics uniformly drubbed The Judas Project. The 1 Mar 1993 Austin [TX] American Statesman called it “a cinematic disaster of….biblical proportions,” and the 26 Sep 1994 LAT review predicted: “Most movie-savvy Christians will feel more embarrassed than inspired.”
       The film begins with the title card: “Two years earlier...” End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank the following for their generous cooperation: The people of Tybee Island, Savannah, and Rabin County, Georgia; Cellular One; British Knights; Hertz Equipment Rental; West L.A. Music; Kurzweil Music Systems, Inc. Special thanks to Geraldine Teraskiewicz and my wife, Emi Barden and all of the partners in The Judas Project Limited Partnership: Ben Buritt, Gene Corso, Bill Phillips, John Phillips, Rick Rosen, Larry Thompson, Bill Thomas, Wylie Stateman.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Austin American Statesman
1 Mar 1993
Section B, p. 8
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1993
p. 43
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1994
p. 15, 64
Houston Chronicle
3 Mar 1993
Houston, p. 3
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1990
Calendar, p. 53
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1994
Calendar, p. 12
New York Times
25 Apr 1993
Section A, p. 27
Variety
22 Mar 1993
p. 52.
Variety
10 Oct 1994
p. 11, 14
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring:
as Jesse
[and]
as Jude
Also Starring:
as Cunningham
as Ponerous
and
as Jackson
Introducing
as Pete
Co-Starring:
+

PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr, Prod staff
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Co-exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stedi-Cam op
1st asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
2d unit photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Elec best boy
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Elec
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed, Post prod
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const co-ord
Const foreman
On set dresser
Asst leadman
Asst props
Swing crew
Swing crew
Swing crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
COSTUMES
Ward des by
Key cost
Cost const
Cost const
Asst ward
MUSIC
Addl mus
Mus ed, Post prod
Mus eng, Post prod
Mus eng, Post prod
Orig mus comp, orch, performed and prod by
Mus rec at
Mus rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Foley artist, Post prod
Foley artist, Post prod
Re-rec mixer, Post prod
Re-rec mixer, Post prod
Re-rec mixer, Post prod
Re-rec mixer, Post prod
ADR/Foley mixer, Post prod
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff prod by
Spec eff supv
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Visual eff art dir, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Dir of photog, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Spec projects supv, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Visual eff ed, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Spec eff foreman, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angel
Opt dept supv, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Chief financial officer, Boss Film Corporation, Lo
Prod mgr, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cali
Chief eng, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cal
Chief matte artist, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Miniature supv, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles
Asst to Richard Edlund, Boss Film Corporation, Los
Prod coord, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
Opt supv, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cali
Opt supv, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cali
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Negative developer, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Opt co-ord, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
1st asst cam, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Prod illustrator, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angel
Matte artist, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Matte cam op, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Spec projects asst, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Still photog, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Mechanical eff, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles
Mechanical eff, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles
Prod asst/Ed, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Prod asst/Ed, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Chief lighting tech, Boss Film Corporation, Los An
Key grip, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cali
Grip, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Californ
Stage asst, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
Chief model maker, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ange
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Miniature painter, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ange
Sculptor, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cali
Sculptor, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cali
Miniature eff crew, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Miniature eff crew, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Miniature eff crew, Boss Film Corporation, Los Ang
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Cal
Mechanisms, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
Make-up eff, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Make-up eff, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Make-up eff, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, C
Des eng, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif
Chief electronics eng, Boss Film Corporation, Los
Prod accountant, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angele
Asst accountant, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angele
Prod buyer, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Ca
Craft service, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
MAKEUP
Make-up supv
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Behind the scenes
Craft service
Transportation co-ord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Security supv
Caterer
Asst caterer
Asst caterer
Prod co-ord, Prod staff
Loc mgr, Prod staff
Auditor, Prod staff
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Prod secy
Key prod asst
Asst loc mgr
Asst auditor
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Extra casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Unit pub
Voice casting
Voice casting, Post prod
Craft service
Movie Magic software by
STAND INS
Co-ord, Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
ANIMATION
Spec anim cam, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles,
Rotoscope supv, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles
Rotoscope anim, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles
Rotoscope anim, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles
Anim, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Californ
Anim, Boss Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Californ
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer, Post prod
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"He's Just A Man With A Band And A Magic Show," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Did You Ever Hear The Story," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Thirty Pieces Of Silver," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
+
SONGS
"He's Just A Man With A Band And A Magic Show," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Did You Ever Hear The Story," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Thirty Pieces Of Silver," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"All I Need Is You," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Jesse, I Need You," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Forgive Me," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Alan Lindgren
"Only Then," written and composed by James H. Barden, arranged by James H. Barden & Jimmie Haskell. All songs performed and produced by James H. Barden for Branch Productions & James Barden Productions. "The Overture," composed by James H. Barden, arranged by Alan Lindgren. All music published by Sharon Rose Music Publishing Co.
+
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Judas Project: The Ultimate Encounter
Release Date:
12 December 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 12 December 1990
Production Date:
began 11 April 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Judas Project, LP, 1988
Copyright Date:
15 April 1993
Copyright Number:
PAu1788977
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® at Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Filmed in AGFA and 65mm Eastman Kodak
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Gunmen surround Jesse on a beach. Jude approaches and shouts, “Why?” Two years earlier, Jude stands on a sand dune watching Jesse touch a drowned boy and bring him back to life in front of a crowd. As Jesse walks away, reporter Judith Childs tells her television viewers they have seen a miracle. The next day, Jude sees Jesse addressing a group of people. Jesse touches an old blind man, tells him to “receive the light,” and restores the man’s sight. He also makes a crippled war veteran throw down his crutches and walk. Jesse explains to the crowd that he came into the world to save the lost and give eternal life to those who believe in him. Later, Jude approaches Jesse in a bar to ask why he does not announce himself on television, where tens of thousands will hear his message. Jude disputes Jesse’s claim that love is the world’s greatest power, because human beings understand only hate and fear. Meanwhile, Arthur Cunningham, an industrialist who controls or influences much of the world’s wealth and political systems, informs his assistant, Jackson, that he has been watching Jesse for two years and believes the young man could become a world leader. Cunningham is impressed with Jesse’s growing assurance, and wants Jackson to start a file on him. Mr. Ponerous enters the room, angry that he, “the voice of the Church,” was not asked to participate in Cunningham’s meeting with world leaders. Ponerous wants “an end to Jesse” because the young man threatens the Church’s authority. Cunningham disagrees, adding that Jesse may be useful. Ponerous warns Cunningham that Jesse could destroy them both. Meanwhile, Jude talks with Jesse’s ... +


Gunmen surround Jesse on a beach. Jude approaches and shouts, “Why?” Two years earlier, Jude stands on a sand dune watching Jesse touch a drowned boy and bring him back to life in front of a crowd. As Jesse walks away, reporter Judith Childs tells her television viewers they have seen a miracle. The next day, Jude sees Jesse addressing a group of people. Jesse touches an old blind man, tells him to “receive the light,” and restores the man’s sight. He also makes a crippled war veteran throw down his crutches and walk. Jesse explains to the crowd that he came into the world to save the lost and give eternal life to those who believe in him. Later, Jude approaches Jesse in a bar to ask why he does not announce himself on television, where tens of thousands will hear his message. Jude disputes Jesse’s claim that love is the world’s greatest power, because human beings understand only hate and fear. Meanwhile, Arthur Cunningham, an industrialist who controls or influences much of the world’s wealth and political systems, informs his assistant, Jackson, that he has been watching Jesse for two years and believes the young man could become a world leader. Cunningham is impressed with Jesse’s growing assurance, and wants Jackson to start a file on him. Mr. Ponerous enters the room, angry that he, “the voice of the Church,” was not asked to participate in Cunningham’s meeting with world leaders. Ponerous wants “an end to Jesse” because the young man threatens the Church’s authority. Cunningham disagrees, adding that Jesse may be useful. Ponerous warns Cunningham that Jesse could destroy them both. Meanwhile, Jude talks with Jesse’s three fishermen friends named Pete, John, and James. He speculates what he could do if he had Jesse’s power, and cannot understand why Jesse does not try to improve the world. Later, Jesse leads Pete, John, and James to a mountain summit. As a storm cloud approaches, the loud voice of God proclaims that Jesse is his son. Fireballs descend from the cloud and surround Jesse’s body with a glowing halo. Jesse’s friends declare that he is indeed “Christ, the Son of God.” Pointing to the ground, Jesse announces, “Upon this rock I will build a church.” He informs them that soon his life will be sacrificed for the sins of mankind, but he will return three days later. Jesse bestows upon his friends the mission of telling the world about his message after he has risen from the grave. Later, Jude joins Pete, James, John, and a number of people on the beach. The crowd is hungry, so Jesse sends Pete to his sports utility vehicle to get a loaf of French bread and a wedge of Cheddar cheese. As Jude and his disciples distribute the limited supply of food, the bread and cheese multiply until everyone is fed. Nearby, DeCarmo, a Cunningham minion, photographs the miracle. Later, on the streets of town, Asa, a tall woman, gets out of a Mercedes-Benz automobile, introduces herself to Jesse as Cunningham’s messenger, and invites him to a party the following evening at Cunningham’s estate. After Asa leaves, Jesse walks among prostitutes and promises them the chance of a better life. The following evening, Asa picks up Jesse and his disciples in a limousine and delivers them to Cunningham’s mansion. Many world leaders gather at his table, and Cunningham explains that with their help he can harness Jesse’s growing power for the good of mankind. However, Ponerous condemns Jesse as a heretic and a lowlife who consorts with prostitutes and other sinners. Jesse leaves the estate with his followers, except for Jude, who thinks Jesse missed his chance to have a true effect on the world. Ponerous declares that since Cunningham has no control over the young prophet, only Jesse’s death can save the nation. Cunningham sends Jackson to assassinate Jesse with a sniper’s rifle, but Jackson cannot pull the trigger. On the beach, Jesse gathers his followers and predicts they will deny knowing him three times before dawn. Jesse chooses Pete to be his primary messenger. Suddenly, helicopters descend and men jump onto the beach with guns. Jude approaches Jesse and yells, “Why?” Why did Jesse turn down the chance to ally himself with world leaders and change the world? Jude embraces Jesse and kisses his cheek, prompting Jesse to ask if the kiss is Jude’s way of betraying the Son of God. Jude walks away. Jackson confesses to Jude that he now believes Jesse’s message, but realizes he cannot save him from Cunningham and Ponerous. Jude insists that what he did was not a betrayal of Jesse, but rather an attempt to ally him with Cunningham. The thirty pieces of silver he received had nothing to do with it. To prove his point, Jude drives to Cunningham’s estate and throws the silver ingots over the fence. At a camp near the beach, Jesse and his disciples are beaten. Ponerous declares that Jesse’s teachings will die with him, and defies the disciples to claim themselves as his messengers. To save his own life, Pete denies knowing Jesse three times. So do the others. In the name of God, Ponerous places a crown of thorns on Jesse’s head and orders him crucified. Steel spikes are driven through his hands and feet. Jackson is crucified next to him. Storm clouds hover above. When Jackson shouts to Jesse, “Take me with you,” Jesse promises a place in paradise. Lightning frees Jesse’s disciples from their bonds and chases away the gunmen. Ponerous flees, but lightning and darkness follow him into a cemetery. As Jesse’s spirit leaves his body, other spirits in the cemetery rise up from their graves and ascend skyward. A fire engulfs Ponerous. Jude arrives at the crucifixion, touches Jesse’s foot, and walks away holding a rope. Later, a funeral procession carries Jesse’s casket past Cunningham’s estate. Tearfully regretting his denial of Jesse, Pete touches the passing casket, and a state trooper hits him with a club. The other disciples rescue Pete and take him home. There, they remember the times they spent with Jesse and recount his teachings. Later, Pete walks alone on the beach. Jesse approaches him, and they embrace.
+

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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