The Agony And The Ecstasy 1965

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(51) IMDb 7.2/10
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Adapted by Philip Dunne from the novel by Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstacy is the story of the 16th century war of wills between Renaissance artist Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and warrior pope Julius II (Rex Harrison). Commissioned to paint a religious fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the independent-minded Michelangelo balks at the assignment. He is virtually strongarmed into accepting the job by Pope Julius, who wants to leave something for future generations to remember him by. Director Carol Reed deftly juggles screen time between the Pope's activities on the battlefield and Michelangelo's slow, arduous completion of his monumental task. The film also gingerly approaches the subject of Michelangelo's sexual orientation vis-a-vis his relationship with the Contessina de Medici (Diane Cilento). Too long and limited in subject matter to score at the box office, The Agony and the Ecstacy holds up pretty well when seen today, especially when viewed in a wide-screen print.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Starring:
Fausto Tozzi, Maxine Audley
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature universal
Runtime 2 hours 10 minutes
Starring Fausto Tozzi, Maxine Audley, Diane Cilento, Charlton Heston, Adolfo Celi, Venantino Venantini, Alberto Lupo, Harry Andrews, Rex Harrison, John Stacy, Tomas Milian
Director Carol Reed
Genres Drama
Studio 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release Limited availability
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature universal
Runtime 2 hours 10 minutes
Starring Fausto Tozzi, Maxine Audley, Diane Cilento, Charlton Heston, Adolfo Celi, Venantino Venantini, Alberto Lupo, Harry Andrews, Rex Harrison, John Stacy, Tomas Milian
Director Carol Reed
Genres Drama
Studio 20th Century Fox
Rental release 30 May 2014
Main languages English
Subtitles Italian, Spanish
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2006
This fictionalized account of the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling focuses on the battle of wills between the artist, Michelangelo (Charlton Heston), and his patron, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison). As the story opens, Michelangelo, already an established sculptor, is commissioned by the warrior Pope to decorate his ceiling. Michelangelo doesn't want to do it, preferring to concentrate on the 40 statues intended for Julius' tomb. But the Pope wins that battle, the first of many, for the two men are equally matched in their stubbornness and pride. Renaissance Rome is finely recreated with great sets and costumes, not to mention the step-by-step painting of the ceiling.

Both Michelangelo and Julius are portrayed as stiff-necked, driven men who use reverse-psychology on each other to get what they want. The dialogue is literate, but each line is delivered like a grand speech. We learn a great deal about Julius as a man and not as much about Michelangelo. These are great performances by Heston and Harrison; they play men with monumental egos and ambitions but infuse them with human faults and foibles. A wonderful documentary over-view of Michelangelo's work that precedes the film would have been better at the end. I enjoyed the film almost as much as Irving Stone's novel, and that's saying a lot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Sept. 2014
Format: DVD
When I am finished!

And so it be that that is the often repeated exchange between Rex Harrison's Pope Julius II & Charlton Heston's Michelangelo, and thus we have the basis for the film version of Irving Stone 's novel The Agony & The Ectasy. This is a fictionalised account of how Michelango came to paint his masterpiece on the roof of the Sistine chapel, focusing solely on the two main characters of the piece, The Agony & The Ectasy is a character and dialogue driven piece of work.

I'm not here to give you a history lesson on the Renaisssance painters or the background to Pope Julius II (The Warrior Pope) and his term of office, there are many well written comments on this site that revel in that side of things. I'm here purely as a lover of this film and to tell you that I do indeed love it regardless of the obvious historical failings. It spins a smashing story of two great men driven to distraction by each other on account of each respective mans' blustery ego, both men seemingly failing to realise that what irks them so, does in fact flourish the soul. Thankfully the two lead actors here put up a special show to carry the film with ease, both Heston & Harrison really getting their teeth into the roles to feed off each other with quality results, with one scene having Michelangelo goad Julius off his sick bed being particularly memorable. The toil and time consuming lengths that Michelangelo went to finish the wondrous ceiling of the chapel is perfectly captured by the pacing from director Carol Reed, and it's within this mindset that I personally feel engrossed with the characters from beginning to end. Though it should be noted that the film is not without moments of humour, some scenes shaking you away from the battle of wills to bring dashes of levity.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By websurfer on 23 Aug. 2005
This 1965 production of the "Agony and the Ectasy" an expensive production starring Charlton Heston as Michael Angelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II is a very interesting example of the Hollywood movie making formula of the early 1960ths.
Adaptad by Philip Dunne from a novel by Irwing Stone the film
focus on the period of Michael Angelo's life during wich he painted the Sistine Chapel and explores his turbulent relationship with Pope Julius II. Although it may not be exact from an historical point of view constitutes nevertheless a wonderful piece of entertainment directed by veternan brithish director Carol Reed (The Third Man) with a second unit team by Robert D. Webb (Love Me Tender)and a wonderful cinemathography by Leon Shamroy (nominated for an academy award for this film!)
"The Agony and the Ectasy" is the kind of Hollywood epic that exibits superior production values and carismathic actors that will give the audience the felling of experiencing a special event. Essential purchase!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IP TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Jan. 2015
Format: DVD
The perfect companion for all film enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Not a perfect film - some scenes are plodding - but I enjoyed it. The cinematography is great - particularly the scene where Michelangelo is arguing with the cardinals from the scaffolding. Rex Harrison's brings a great deal of pathos and humanity to Pope Julius II, a man who isn't often remembered sympathetically.

The film is at its best when Heston and Harrison are on the screen together, and flounders when they're not. To take two specific examples: The final scene before the intermission is much too on the nose, showing Michelangelo's inspiration in the clouds. Maybe it looked great projected in 70mm, but content-wise, it's just cheesy and on the nose. The first scene following the intermission has Michelangelo meeting Pope Julius at his camp during a battle, and showing Julius the plans for the ceiling while the battle takes place around them, and Julius is completely absorbed by the plans.

I also liked the little documentary prologue. A little background on Michelangelo's statuary work and time in Florence helps set the stage. It also solves a major problem that afflicts many movies about geniuses - Carol Reed is not an equal to Michelangelo, and nothing he or any director does narratively could show Michelangelo's genius as much as the work itself.
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