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Pontius Pilate is the secondary antagonist from the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. Pilate was married to Claudia Procula.


Several years after he became the Roman Governor of Judea, a number of the high priests approached him with a young preacher named Jesus Christ. Seeing the condition of the young man Pilate asked if it was the custom of the high priests to badly beat their prisoners. He then sent the young man on to Herod Antipas as Christ was under his authority, however Herod sent Christ back to Pilate.

Pilate questioned Christ at length and came to believe that Christ was not a threat to the state and had done nothing worthy of death. While Christ was in custody Claudia told Pilate of a dream she had concerning Christ, and begged her husband not to have Christ put to death. Pilate responded that his relationship with Emperor Tiberius was still quite fragile, and that the Emperor would not tolerate disruption in the province.

Pilate had Christ scourged by his troops, one centurion was so brutal in his treatment of Christ that he was forced to step in and stop him. Pilate still believed that Christ was still not guilty of anything that would merit a death sentence, however it became clear that the Jewish authorities there were egging the people on into a full-scale revolt. Pilate finally acquiesced. Giving them the choice of Barabbas or Christ the people chose Barabbas. Christ was taken away to be crucified. Before that could be done Pilate produced a sign to be placed on the Christ proclaiming him to be the King of the Jews. When the priests protested Pilate said too bad, he wasn't changing the sign for them.


In the film Pilate is portrayed by the Bulgarian actor Hristo Naumov Shopov. Pilate is shown as speaking fluent Aramaic, which was the day to day language of Judea at the time, and the language generally agreed by historians to have been used by Christ and his disciples. This version of Pilate was also shown to speak fluent Latin, which would have been his first language.

Shopov reprised the role of Pilate in the 2006 film The Final Inquiry. This version of Pilate colluded with the Jewish high priest to cover up the resurrection and trying to convince the Emperor's investigator Taurus that it was all a sham.