Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964, Fr./It.) (aka Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo)

In writer/director Pier Paolo Pasolini's stark documentary-style, neorealistic, black and white, unpretentious biographical (literal or 'true life') recounting of some of the events in the New Testament epistle, featuring a cast of unknowns performing naturalistically, although often interpreted as a proto-Marxist allegory:

  • the film's first image after the opening credits -- a lingering, still closeup of the face of a very young, concerned-looking Virgin Mary (Margherita Caruso) - obviously very pregnant in a long shot, with a distraught-looking Joseph (Marcello Morante) nearby
  • shortly later in a vision, an Angel of the Lord (Rossana Di Rocco), a young girl, appeared before Joseph to reassure him and provide instruction: "Joseph, take unto thee Mary, thy wife, that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. She shall bear a son, and thou shalt call him Jesus. He shall save his people from their sins"
The Angel Appearing in a Dream-Vision to Joseph
  • and later after a short prologue of Jesus' infancy and childhood, the introduction of the dark, unibrowed, adult-aged, black-caped Jesus (Enrique Irazoqui) to preacher-prophet John the Baptist (Mario Socrate) in the rugged wilderness - for baptism (John the Baptist: "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"), after which he wandered for 40 days/nights in the wilderness
  • the sequence of Jesus' many acts of healing and sudden miraculous transformation of five loaves and two fishes (one of many miracles) into a plentiful feast, and his instructions to his fishermen-disciples to boat to the other side of the water ("I wish to pray. Go. Cross to the other side before me"); his followers watched in amazement as Christ, in a distant dark silhouette, miraculously approached them walking on the water; although they thought he was a spirit, he spoke: "Be of good cheer, it is I. Be not afraid"
Jesus' Crucifixion
Jesus' Aged Mother
  • the final sequence of Christ's crucifixion, the final release of his spirit, his retrieval from the cross and burial, and the announcement that he had risen from his tomb by the angelic girl: "Fear not ye. Jesus, which was crucified, is not here. He is risen. Go and tell his disciples: He is risen, awaiteth you in Galilee" (spoken to followers, including Jesus' aged, smiling toothy mother (director Pasolini's own mother Susanna Pasolini))
  • the delivery of Jesus' instructive final words to his followers from a Galilean hillside (in partial voice-over), without any reaction shots: "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye and teach all nations. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching all things I have commanded. I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"

The Virgin Mary


Pregnant Mary

Mary with Infant

Jesus Before Baptism by John

Jesus Walking on Water

Jesus' Last Words to Folloers


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