Facts About "Zeitgeist: The Movie"

by Rebecca Macken
Released in 2007,

Released in 2007, "Zeitgeist: The Movie" illustrates various theories.

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Produced by Peter Joseph in 2007, "Zeitgeist: The Movie" is a controversial three-part documentary concerning the development of Christianity, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the Federal Reserve Bank. In addition, these three topics are explored to provide the basis for a variety of related conspiracy theories. First released online by Google Video for free viewing, the original documentary has spawned a series of films and an ideological movement.

About the Producer

Peter Joseph is a former equity trader, originally from North Carolina. Joseph currently lives in New York City and addition to his work on "Zeitgeist: The Movie" performs audio-visual editing, post-production, as well as musical composition. After the release of the film, Joseph went on to produce additional films related to the original documentary, including "Zeitgeist: Addendum," "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" and "Zeitgeist: Beyond the Pale."

Film Summary

The film consists of three parts, including "The Greatest Story Ever Told" on the development of the concept of Jesus, "All the World's a Stage" on the September 11th terrorist attacks and "Don't Mind the Men Behind the Curtain," concerning the relations between the U.S. government and its financial institutions. Part one begins with the development of deities in world religion and astronomy in an attempt to illustrate the origins of Jesus Christ as a religious myth. Part two concentrates on the U.S. government's responsibility in the September 11th attacks, either through direct involvement or complacency, and related conspiracy theories. Part three examines the development of the U.S. financial system and its relationship to the government, including sections on World War I, World War II and Vietnam.


Since 2011, the production of the Zeitgeist films has accepted and utilized donations from the public to assist with distribution and production costs. However, the original film "Zeitgeist: The Movie" was wholly funded by Peter Joseph himself and freely distributed online.


Originally designed and performed as a six-night performance piece in New York City, "Zeitgeist: The Movie" was never intended to become a documentary. The performance, which combined live instruments, video and recorded music, was filmed and posted on the Internet. The popularity of the post led to the official release of the performance on Google Video, transforming the performance into its current film form.

The Zeitgeist Movement

Following the release of the second Zeitgeist film, "Zeitgeist: Addendum," Peter Joseph founded The Zeitgeist Movement. According to the film series website, the movement is a "grass roots campaign to unify the world through a common ideology based on the fundamentals of life and nature. The Zeitgeist Movement bypasses traditional ideas of politics [and] religion." Although the movement is seen as an offshoot of the original film, the movement does not directly address the issues covered in the documentary but rather looks to broader ideological issues such as economics and social values.

Photo Credits

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