Across the country, moviegoers walked out of the theater in tears, some saying the movie strengthened their Christian beliefs.
In Arkansas, the depiction of Christ's torture and death was so intense it caused one person to pass out.
In Kansas, a woman collapsed during a screening and died at a hospital, although the cause of death is not yet known.
Not everyone is praising the epic. One film professor in Nebraska says it was too violent and too stylized, like an action-adventure picture.
As for charges of anti-Semitism, some say the movie gives a clear message of love and forgiveness. Others insist the violence could easily inflame anti-Jewish sentiments.