Mel Gibson's duely loved and loathed epic about Jesus Christ is hitting DVD shelves on August 31st. In anticipation of the disc's release we're giving away copies of the DVD to some lucky MovieWeb readers!

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Focusing on the final 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the year’s most talked about movie, The Passion Of The Christ, makes its highly anticipated DVD and VHS debut on August 31, 2004 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Icon Productions. Released in theaters on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004, the powerful Mel Gibson-helmed epic went on to gross more than $375 million at the box office – earning a spot in the top 10 grossing movies of all time. Starring Jim Caviezel in the critically-lauded role of Jesus Christ and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene, The Passion Of The Christ DVD is presented with a maximum bit rate, 5.1 Dolby Digital and 5.1 DTS, offering viewers the highest quality picture and audio. The film, which was shot in Aramaic and Latin, is presented with English subtitles on VHS and English and Spanish subtitles on DVD. Priced to own, The Passion Of The Christ is available in Widescreen or Pan and Scan DVD for $29.98 and on VHS for $24.98. Day-and-date with its DVD and VHS debut, The Passion Of The Christ will be available for the first time on D-VHS“ for $34.98, joining Fox’s library of releases for JVC’s D-VHS“ system featuring D-Theater‘ encryption. The D-VHS release will feature a DTS® digital surround encoded soundtrack at the full bit rate of 1509 kbps, as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.

This depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus opens with his betrayal by Judas, his condemnation by the Pharisees and his appearance before Pontius Pilate. Pilate defers to King Herod, but Herod returns Jesus. Pilate then asks the crowd to choose between Jesus and Barrabas. The crowd chooses Barrabas. Pilate washes his hands of the matter, and Jesus is forced to carry the cross through the streets to Golgotha where Roman soldiers crucify him. Although Jesus briefly fears that God, his Father, has abandoned him, he regains his faith, proclaiming "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit." At the moment of his death, nature itself over-turns.

The Passion Of The Christ has a running time of 127 minutes and is rated “R” by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is closed captioned for the hearing impaired.

A recognized industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming on VHS and DVD as well as video acquisitions and original productions for the U.S. and Canada. Each year the Company introduces hundreds of new and newly repackaged products, which it services to more than 70,000 retail outlets – from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce – throughout North America. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a Fox Entertainment Group company.

Dont't forget to also check out: The Passion of the Christ, Passion of The Christ [WS]