Martin Scorsese’s Most Controversial Movie Was Banned In Multiple Countries

Overall, Martin Scorsese’s intention with “The Last Temptation of Christ” wasn’t to rile up the religious community or make a mockery of religion as a whole. The film actually begins with text that reads, “This film is not based on the Gospels, but upon the fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict.” Nevertheless, devout believers took offense to what the movie has to offer, rejecting it wholeheartedly and urging others to do the same. Simultaneously, some turned to violence in hopes of stopping the film in its tracks.

On October 22, 1988, “The Last Temptation of Christ” was screened at the Saint Michel Cinema in Paris, France, when disaster struck. An integralist Catholic group had planted an incendiary device in one of the rooms of the theater, which ignited around midnight as the film was playing. By the time the fire was put out, 13 people were injured with four sustaining severe burns, and the building itself was heavily damaged. Several suspected perpetrators were later taken into custody and the Saint Michel Cinema was repaired and reopened three years later.

It’s one thing to dislike or disapprove of a piece of art, calling for it to be censored or banned, but premeditated violence is wholly uncalled for. Thankfully, no lives were lost in the Saint Michel Cinema attack, but the event remains a stain on the legacy of “The Last Temptation of Christ” — a movie about the Bible that you should add to your must-watch list if you’ve never seen it.

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