I.N.R.I. (film)

I.N.R.I. is a 1923 German silent religious epic film directed by Robert Wiene and starring Gregori Chmara, Henny Porten and Asta Nielsen. The film is a retelling of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was based on a 1905 novel by Peter Rosegger. It was reissued in 1933 in the United States with an added music track and narration as Crown of Thorns.

Directed byRobert Wiene
Produced by
Written by
Music byWilly Schmidt-Gentner
Distributed byBayerische Film
Release date
  • 25 December 1923 (1923-12-25)

The film uses a framing device set in modern Russia. The film is generally conventional in its treatment of the story except for the character of Judas Iscariot. Judas is portrayed as a social revolutionary who wants Jesus to become the leader of a Jewish uprising against the Roman army of occupation. Judas' eventual betrayal of Jesus comes from political disillusionment rather than money.[1] The Judas role was very important to the film as it was conceived by Weine, because it linked the biblical story to the framing story. However, the modern scenes provoked opposition from the censors, and the film was generally shown without them.[2] It premiered in Berlin on Christmas Day 1925.[3]

The film was shot over 90 days between May and September 1923[4] at the Staaken Studios in Berlin. It was made with a star cast, expensive sets and hundreds of extras. The film's art direction was by Ernö Metzner. In scale and length, it was the largest film directed by Wiene during his career.[5]



  1. Jung and Schatzberg p. 107–108
  2. Jung & Schatzberg p. 109–110
  3. Jung & Schatzberg p. 212
  4. Jung & Schatzberg p. 212
  5. Jung & Schatzberg p. 107


  • Jung, Uli; Schatzberg, Walter (1999). Beyond Caligari: The Films of Robert Wiene. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-57181-156-1.
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