Godspell (film)

Godspell (film)

Infobox Film
name = Godspell

image_size = 200px
caption = original film poster
director = David Greene
producer = Edgar Lansbury
writer = David Greene John-Michael Tebelak
starring = Victor Garber
David Haskell
music = Music and new lyrics Stephen Schwartz Song "By My Side": Peggy Gordon Jay Hamburger
choreography = Sammy Bayes
cinematography = Richard G. Heimann
editing =
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = March 21, 1973
runtime = 103 min.
country = U.S.A.
language =
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
imdb_id = 0070121

"Godspell", released in 1973, is the film adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical "Godspell" created by John-Michael Tebelak.

Set in modern New York City, the film stars Victor Garber as Jesus and David Haskell as John the Baptist/Judas. John-Michael Tebelak co-wrote the screenplay and served as the creative consultant.


The structure of the musical is, in large part, retained: a series of parables interspersed with musical numbers. Many of the scenes take advantage of well-known sites around New York City. John the Baptist (David Haskell) gathers a diverse band of youthful disciples to follow and learn from the teachings of Jesus (Victor Garber). These disciples then proceed to form a roving acting troupe that enacts Jesus's parables through the streets of New York. They often make references to vaudeville shtick.

Differences with musical

The song "Beautiful City" was written for and first included in the film, while the songs "Learn Your Lessons Well" and "We Beseech Thee" were left out. "Learn Your Lessons Well"'s melody is used briefly in an early scene of the film and again as incidental music. "We Beseech Thee" is heard in the scene inside Cherry Lane Theatre where Jesus plays its melody on the piano during the story of "The Prodigal Son".

The film is deliberately less "stagy" than the musical with less emphasis on the choreography. That choreography is much more a function of the location chosen for scenes except for the scene in the band shell at Lincoln Park. The cinematography does much to emphasize the architecture of New York City as the backdrop, and except for the opening scenes and the very last scene, the city appears devoid of other people.

While the film still presents the group in the form of a roving acting troupe, the characters overall are less edgy and made out more as flower children than as social rebels.

While not visible, Tebelak helped to operate the Pharisee Monster.

Vocally, the chorus is very much in the same style, but solo parts are, at times, more lyrical, notably in "All Good Gifts" where Lamont Alford had used a dramatic tenor voice, Jackson uses a lighter voice and falsetto for the high ornament.


"Godspell" received generally positive reviews in 1973. Allmovie Guide currently gives the film a three out of five rating. Various bands have covered songs from the film/musical and in the film "Meet the Parents", Greg (Ben Stiller) recites "Day by Day" when asked to say grace over his first meal with the family. The film "Jesus Christ Superstar" was released that same year as" Godspell".


For the eight apostles, the role name is simply the same as the actor's name. In the opening scenes, each of the eight apostles is presented in New York City as having an occupation. Several of the cast were from the Off-Broadway show and attended Carnegie Mellon University. For several of them, it is their first film role. With only ten actors, each was allowed to develop a distinct personality within the film.

Below is a list of the characters and their songs, sorted by order in which the songs occur in the film.

See also

* Godspell (album)


External links

*imdb title|id=0070121|title=Godspell
*amg title|id=1:93405|title=Godspell
* [http://patchesandfacepaint.tripod.com Patches and Face Paint- A Godspell Fansite]
* [http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Studio/8849/Moviemusicals/Godspell/Godspell.htm Godspell: From Stage to Screen]
* [http://www.geocities.com/gilmergirl10/ Kelly's Godspell Playground]

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