Screen Pilates: Gary Oldman

Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week.    The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King, Keith Mitchell, Leif Erickson, Peter Firth, David Bowie, Lowell Gilmore,  Hurd Hatfield, Vincent Regan and Arthur Kennedy may be viewed  here, here, here, here  here , here, here, here, here , here , here, here, here , here , here , here , here , here and here.

Gary Oldman, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017), assumed the role of Pilate in the 1999 CBS miniseries Jesus.  I cannot find a clip of his performance on the internet, but we do have an interview in which he discusses Pilate and the role of Pilate:


Oldman says that in this version the Romans are to blame for the execution of Jesus with  Pilate the consummate politician leading the plot against Jesus.  Certainly almost nothing in Scripture to support this viewpoint, but it certainly is one that has been frequently raised.

More to explorer


  1. “Oldman says that in this version the Romans are to blame for the execution of Jesus with Pilate the consummate politician leading the plot against Jesus.”

    That view is pretty much the accepted view today, in and out of churches. The part about Pilate leading the charge is a bit off, but generally the blame is put firmly on the shoulders of Rome.

  2. It is pretty clear who was responsible for Christ’s execution in 33 A.D. To blame Pilate is being politically correct to avoid controversy. The Passion of Christ was labelled anti-Semitic by some Jews in Hollywood entertainment industry. So are we going to hear from the Italian Anti-defamation League?

  3. On a spiritual level it is mankind that is responsible for Jesus’ death because of our sins, past, present, future.

  4. CAM

    You have it.
    Many of us has scourged or abandoned or betrayed our Lord at some point during our life. Washing our hands to remove the blood from them could be summed up in not taking responsibility for the needs of our neighbor when we were moved to do so, but came up with various “good” reasons to ignore them.

    The blood of the innocence is on our hands collectively…in varying degrees, and at The Final Judgement I presume I’ll be asked about our helpless brother and sister killed in the wombs. What did I do to help them? What did I do to help kill them?

  5. If one melds the slim records of Rome with the Gospels, it would seem Pilate was a typical Governor of a small province and his role and performance in the passion was as a bit of a cypher. On that basis, I would give the nod to Telly Savalas’ performance. I can certainly understand there would be other candidates, though I do think Richard Boone was something of a stretch. As far as blaming the Jews, that would be about on par with blaming Southern Baptists for the Ku Klux Klan.

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