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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:
Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller
Runtime:
2 hours, 0 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Fred Zinnemann
Starring Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller
Supporting actors Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York, Nigel Davenport, John Hurt, Corin Redgrave, Colin Blakely, Cyril Luckham, Jack Gwillim, Thomas Heathcote, Yootha Joyce, Anthony Nicholls, John Nettleton, Eira Heath, Molly Urquhart, Paul Hardwick, Michael Latimer
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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.
2 Comments 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Bolt's play managed to use contemporary accounts of the life of this great man of English History and he was able to adhere closely to the original.The film,although straying slightly further manages to retain the beauty of the language and combines it with some fine acting.I think Sir Paul Schofield is supreme in the role and is particularly poweful in the scene of his trial.Robert Shaw too as Henry conveys well the difficulties he must have faced in putting to death one of his wisest councillors and best of friends.There is no violence, no bad language, a film that can really be enjoyed.I remember it firing my imagination when it was first released and led me to a life long love of the Tudor period I would thoroughly recommend it.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I have read some of the more "learned" opinions of this film, and have to bow to the greater knowledge of those who have studied the characters portrayed, and their true histories. I have seen another version of this story - actors etc. now forgotten - but this time the underlying politics, personal stand-points and emotions were much more evident to me. One has to listen to every word and consider every phrase to gain the maximum from the dialogue, and thus from the story. Watch it two or three times, you might just understand the arguments if you do!
I cannot judge the accuracy, others seem to have done so - but there seems, to me, to be a window into Tudor politics in this film, and a feeling that politics may not have changed much since...
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