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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's only painted plaster, Your Holiness."
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,...
Published on 2 Mar 2006 by Kona

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great,but read the book
I thought this film was great,and then i read the book which has completely changed my life.I also think that the film chose a funny chapter in his life to portray and as amazing as the sistine ceiling is,i think there are better works and more exciting chapters in his life to know about.therefore...read the book.
Published on 5 Jun 2001


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's only painted plaster, Your Holiness.", 2 Mar 2006
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heston plays Michael Angelo, 23 Aug 2005
By 
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I planned a ceiling, he planned a miracle", 2 Jun 2004
There is no other film on the subject of art that is better than this one in my opinion. Irving Stone's best-seller was a great read, but in this case the film is better than the book. It centers on the creation of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the contentious but invigorating relationship between Michelangelo and Pope Julius II; one drove the other "to complete his work", and even their verbal battles were productive. It is about the courage of putting one's vision into reality, the hard work, and the faith in one's self and in God.
The script by Irving Stone and Philip Dunne is fabulous; the words flow like sweet wine and there is not a single unnecessary scene, or rarely one that is not meaningful. The direction by Carol Reed is meticulous, the cinematography by Leon Shamroy a marvel, and the score by Alex North adds much to the film. The costuming and sets are lavish for the papal quarters and the Medici household, and give one a sense of 16th century Rome, and the depictions of the fresco painting technique is interesting and educational.
Charlton Heston, gaunt and bearded, is brilliant as Michelangelo, as is Rex Harrison as the warrior pope. The interactions of these two actors is riveting, and the dialogue between them worth hearing repeatedly. Others of note in the cast include Diane Cilento as the Contessina de Medici, Harry Andrews as Bramante, and Tomas Milian as Raphael (the most famous papal portrait I know of is by Raphael, of Pope Julian II).
Though Stone's book and script take much artistic license, there is also a good deal of accuracy. This period of 16th century Italy was one of the most fascinating in all world history, and Pope Julius II was not only one of its greatest art patrons, but also an extraordinary man.
This is a film that moves me to tears with its beauty, and brightens my mind with its words. If you are interested in the artistic process, don't miss this magnificent film.
The film includes a Prologue, a mini-documentary of modern-day Rome and Florence, which traces Michelangelo's life, from his birth in Tuscany in 1475, showing his many wondrous works, including an early sculpture he did at the age of 15, through his death in 1564. Total running time is 139 minutes.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great performance by Charlton Heston., 25 May 2007
By 
Uenna (London) - See all my reviews
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This movie is based on Irving Stone's book the Agony and the Ecstasy. Charlton Heston gave an awesome performance as the obstinate painter Michelangelo commissioned by the Pope Julius the 2nd (Rex Harrison) to paint the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.The project became a battle of wills between the two men, fuelled by artistic temperament and differences. This a great story turned into a fascinating movie, played by two iconic stars of our time. It is very inspiring, poignant and emotive. A great entertainment. I recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Transfer to Blu Ray-Full Marks, 10 April 2014
By 
R. J. Muirhead (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Agony and the Ecstasy [Blu-ray] [1965] (Blu-ray)
My comments are restricted to the quality of the transfer of this mid 60's movie to blu ray. The picture quality is absolutely first class, better than many so called modern digital movies being made today, sound quality too is excellent. Top marks to the restoration team. A great job well done for a great movie. Full marks!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New to Blu Ray, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: The Agony and the Ecstasy [Blu-ray] [1965] (Blu-ray)
The Agony and the Ecstasy... Michelangelo masterpieces and The Eternal City look magnificent in Blu Ray... pity then the screenplay and performances still seem prosaic and pious, but urge you to listen to Alex North's monumental score on the soundtrack! and you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just marvellous!, 15 Mar 2014
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You can't make films like this
anymore: today Carol Reed's masterpiece
would cost too many millions. You
can't have stars like Charlton Heston
and Rex Harrison, costumes like those
made by Nino Novarese, set decorations
reproducing the paintings of the Sistine Chapel,and
the true atmosphere of the late Italian Renaissance...
A screenplay written by Philip Dunne (based on
the novel by Irving Stone), the collaboration of the
best technicians... Everything that was
still possible in 1965 when dollars could buy
almost everything in Europe and movie-stars'
salaries did not reach the sky.

The confrontation between two giants of the
sixteenth century, the della Rovere Pope Julius II( played
by Rex Harrison) and genius Renaissance sculptor
Michelangelo Buonarroti (Charlton Heston)is very well depicted
in the movie. You can feel the dramatic tension between the
very stimulating ambition of an art-loving Pope and the suffering
of a great artist in each and every scene . A film as good as
a course in the history of art, with an introduction
showing the most beautiful sculptures of Michelangelo.

A pure delight: five stars.

Elisheva Guggenheim- Mohosh, Geneva, Switzerland.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great,but read the book, 5 Jun 2001
By A Customer
I thought this film was great,and then i read the book which has completely changed my life.I also think that the film chose a funny chapter in his life to portray and as amazing as the sistine ceiling is,i think there are better works and more exciting chapters in his life to know about.therefore...read the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Agony and the Ecstasy, 21 Mar 2009
This film made in 1965 stands the test of time well. If you are interested in Italian art especially Michelangelo this is for you. It tells the story of the conception and painting of the ceiling of the sistene chapel and the reluctance of Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) to accept the commision, arguing that he is not a painter but a sculpter.Well we all know he did a pretty good job. Rex Harrison as the Pope is very good. This is visually excellent and historically fairly accurate.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story over 450 years old and still amazing., 16 Mar 2008
By 
Charlton Heston (BenHur,El Cid,)Stars as Master Sculptor Michaleangilo in this classic epic from 1965 Based on Irving stones novel and directed by Carol Reed.I think this movie has been forgotten about and doesnt get the true recognition it truly deserves.
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The Agony and the Ecstasy [Blu-ray] [1965]
The Agony and the Ecstasy [Blu-ray] [1965] by Carol Reed (Blu-ray - 2014)
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