A Man For All Seasons 1966

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Adapted by Robert Bolt and Constance Willis from Bolt's hit stage play, A Man for All Seasons stars Paul Scofield, triumphantly repeating his stage role as Sir Thomas More. The crux of the film is the staunchly Catholic More's refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw)'s break from the church to divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn (an unbilled Vanessa Redgrave).

Starring:
Orson Welles, Leo Mckern
Runtime:
2 hours 0 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices

A Man For All Seasons

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Fred Zinnemann
Starring Orson Welles, Leo Mckern
Supporting actors Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, John Hurt, Paul Scofield, Susannah York
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 3 Feb 2005
Format: DVD
Films such as this are rare today; 'A Man for All Seasons' turns not on action sequences of battles past or present, nor on love affairs, or indeed political issues that have a burning relevance for today. It is not a comedy, nor a tragedy in the classic sense. In a word, it would seem to have little to recommend it -- however, it is one of the best film ever produced. Turning largely on the issue of personal integrity and the conflict of competing calls to faithfulness, this is a drama of the interior struggle of Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, writ large across the political/religious landscape of Henry VIII's England.
The whole tone of the film is excellent. From the opening scenes of couriers dashing from Wolsey to More, backdrops of pre-Renaissance England fill the screen, from the magnificent but appropriate un-ornate manor houses and parliamentary scenes (the set of Westminster Hall, a building in which I once worked) to the costuming and music, period in style and instrumentation. The director Fred Zimmermann resisted the urge to provide orchestral music as a background; indeed, through much of the film, there is no music at all, as the drama itself carries the weight of the narrative and atmosphere. The cinematographer, Ted Moore, as well as the director received Academy Awards for their work.
This is an actor's film, the force of the drama being driven by their performances. Exceptional acting by John Hurt, Leo McKern, Nigel Davenport and Robert Shaw enhance lead actor Paul Scofield's Oscar-winning portrayal. Scofield presents the intellectual More as a character of supreme integrity (following Bolt's play perfectly), an integrity hard to maintain in the shifting sands of Henry VIII's drive to break with Rome to secure a divorce.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Mar 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember the first time I saw this film in the mid-Sixties in Middlesbrough on a school trip. I thought it utterly wonderful, most of my classmates thought it wordy and foolish.

Sir Thomas More is played as a man of unbending conscience who depends upon his lawyerly skills to keep him from the axe (for this is England, not Spain) as such it is an evocation of the joys of hairsplitting. At times almost Shakesperarian in its language, it is a play about words and what they mean. More must seem a terribly unreal person to our present generations, but Scofield plays him very believably as a rather autistic good man who finds the foibles of others hard to accept. He is surrounded by a bevy of thespian talent. Nigel Davenport as the stentorian Duke of Norfolk, Leo McKern as the evil Cromwell, John Hurt as the man who gains all and loses all, Robert Shaw giving us a Henry VIII that (like Alec Guinesses's Charles I) sticks in the mind; and Colin Blakeney as the servant Matthew. It's a joy to behold. (And I've forgotten to mention Orson Welles and many many others).

I cannot think how many times I've seen it; please give it a shot, I think you'll enjoy it.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ian Millard on 10 April 2007
Format: DVD
This tells the better known part of the story of Sir Thomas More, who was raised from lawyer and then judge to become Lord Chancellor or England, only to be sentenced to death and beheaded for treason, having failed to take an oath which would legitimize the divorce of Henry VIII from his Spanish wife and his soon-following marriage to Anne Boleyn (later also beheaded). More's book "Utopia" is not mentioned in this film. The film itself is a production of such quality that it is hard to praise it enough. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, the photography, especially of "sweet Thames" and its bird life, is of the highest and most moving quality, though in fact filmed not on the Thames itself (the banks of which are now largely developed between Hampton Court and Chelsea) but on the Beaulieu River in Hampshire. The acting likewise, featuring some of the best British film actors of the time of filming, as well as Orson Welles (playing the previous Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey). The screenplay by the unrivalled Robert Bolt is what really puts the seal on this most valued film. If you have never seen A Man For All Seasons, see it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Franco on 30 Sep 2006
Format: DVD
Despite other customer reviews that have questioned the historical credibility of this film, agnostic script-writer Robert Bolt produces an accurate depiction of Thomas More according to original transcripts. Okay, so the whole catalogue of More's life hasn't been included within this film (including the torture of heretics), but realistically that would be impossible.

Although it is true that More did torture heretics that by today standards may seem somewhat barbaric, you must keep in mind the societal/political period in which More lived - this was the English renaissance 15th century, and laws and social mandate were remarkably different to the modern day society we all know. Needless to say this does not justify such an act of cruelty. However, law is a key theme of this film. And it is most likely that More's interrogation and torturing answered to hard-line politics intolerant of heretical viewpoints. More did not create legislation, but was renowned for his obedience to the law (which if not for Richard Rich perjury would have saved his neck!) and foremost his impartiality as a statesman.

A Man for All Seasons is a film carried by fantastic script-writing, impeccable acting from all members of the cast, and authentic cinematography that really generates the atmosphere of the period. Unlike many modern hollywood movies that largely incorporate special effects, this is quite simply a film of substance over style. For those who may be slightly dubious as regards to the religious context, do not be dissuaded, for this is a film for people of all beliefs, especially those interested in the virtues of integrity, conviction, and courage in the face of adversity.
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