The anticipation has been building for weeks.
"We are excited we bought our tickets Saturday and we had to get one today, so we had to wait in line an hour already, said Donna Ethridge of Beaver Creek, Alabama.
We just have been waiting. We can't wait. This is going to be the best witness for Jesus Christ that has ever been," said Joanne Crenshaw.
All the hype, all the press coverage and all the controversy over one film about one very famous man.
"Christian or non-Christian alike it going to be a good eye opener and hopefully get the nation back on track." said Al Davis of Collinsville.
Those are strong claims for Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" which opened in theaters Wednesday. The film, based on the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life became a hit long before it opened, selling record advanced tickets. But even with all the buzz, nothing prepared viewers for what they saw, some of them were left speechless.
"It was awesome, it was just awesome, never seen anything like it. Never encountered anything like it," said Terrence Usher who saw the movie.
As for claims the movie was anti-semantic or exaggerated. Becky Luke says you just have to see it for yourself. "Everybody has their own questions. Until you actually view something like this, a movie of this magnitude, you have to see it yourself, before you can judge it," said Mrs. Luke.
"I think this is marvelous, I wish everyone on the planet could see it," said Blanche Clay.
For further discussion of the movie, tune into WTOK's "On the Record" program. John Johnson will be joined by Rabbi Cosseth and Father Elvin Sunds this Sunday starting at 5:30.
Read online reviews of The Passion Of The Christ: