Man for All Seasons

Man for All Seasons

4.5 18
Director: Fred Zinnemann

Cast: Fred Zinnemann, Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern


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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 andSee more details below

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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). Sir Thomas willingly goes to the chopping block rather than sacrifice his ideals. Director Fred Zinnemann retains the play's verbosity without sacrificing the film's strong sense of visuals. The impeccably chosen cast includes Wendy Hiller as Sir Thomas' likably contentious wife Alice, John Hurt as the deceitful Richard Rich (More's put-downs of this despicable character provide some of the film's biggest laughs), Orson Welles as a dour Cardinal Woolsey, Leo McKern as the ambitious Thomas Cromwell, and Susannah York as More's daughter Margaret. The "Common Man," an important bridging-the-scenes character in the original play, is removed from the film version, which does just fine without him. A Man for All Seasons won six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, as well as seven British Film Academy awards.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This beautifully made, brilliantly acted, and altogether stirring film version of Robert Bolt's 1960 play dramatizes one of history's most infamous clashes between religion and politics. Among the film's many distinctions is Paul Scofield's Oscar-winning performance as Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century English judge and chancellor pressured to endorse the adulterous liaison of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn -- a union that prompts a break with the Catholic Church and the formation of the state-sponsored Church of England. More's personal faith compels him to condemn this expedient, yet too vigorously a protest will undoubtedly lead to accusations of treason and, possibly, even to his death. Henry VIII is wonderfully played by Robert Shaw, who earned an Oscar nomination for his depiction of the colorful king as educated, charming, and sensitive but also volatile, arrogant, and imperious. Also registering strongly among the uniformly superlative cast is Leo McKern, whose Thomas Cromwell is among those putting the squeeze on More, and Orson Welles, whose five-minute turn as Cardinal Wolsey is masterful in its economy of expression. Bolt's screenplay retains everything that made the stage drama so powerful. Consequently, this is a very talky film, but the speeches are so well crafted and delivered that you'll never notice the relative paucity of physical movement. An unalloyed triumph for producer-director Fred Zinnemann (High Noon), this Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1966 has stood the test of time and remains one of the most profound, and compelling, historical dramas ever brought to the screen.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
A Man for All Seasons is a handsome adaptation of the stage play on which it is based, with fine acting, solemn issues, and a message of moral order that conservative audiences of the 1960s found attractive. Historians, however, have objected to the glorification of Sir Thomas More, who was hardly the innocent martyr portrayed by playwright/screenwriter Robert Bolt. For example, the historical More urged the executions of various "heretics," a distasteful matter that the film somehow overlooks. The appeal of A Man for All Seasons to 1966 audiences was a direct reaction to the cultural upheavals in the world at large. In a era where once-confident values were being questioned and sometimes destroyed, the story of the principled More, who sacrifices himself rather than give in to change and wickedness, had resonance among those who longed for simpler days with more concrete values. AMPAS, still a bit embarrassed over having honored the libertine Tom Jones three years earlier, showered the film with six Oscars, including Best Picture.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

The Life of Saint Thomas More featurette

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paul Scofield Thomas More
Wendy Hiller Alice More
Leo McKern Thomas Cromwell
Robert Shaw Henry VIII
Orson Welles Cardinal Wolsey
Susannah York Margaret More
Vanessa Redgrave Anne Boleyn
Nigel Davenport Duke of Norfolk
John Hurt Richard Rich
Corin Redgrave William Roper
Colin Blakely Matthew
Yootha Joyce Averil Machin
Cyril Luckham Archbishop Cranmer
Thomas Heathcote Boatman
Anthony Nicholls King's Representative
John Nettleton Jailer
Eira Heath Matthew's wife
Molly Urquhart Maid
Paul Hardwick Courtier
Michael Latimer Norfolk's Aide
Philip Brack Captain of Guard
Martin Boddey Governor of Tower
Eric Mason Executioner
Matt Zimmerman Messenger
Jack Gwyllim Chief Justice

Technical Credits
Fred Zinnemann Director,Producer
Eric Allwright Makeup
Robert Bolt Screenwriter
John Box Production Designer
Joan Bridge Costumes/Costume Designer
Georges Delerue Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
George Frost Makeup
Elizabeth Haffenden Costumes/Costume Designer
Ralph Kemplen Editor
Josie MacAvin Set Decoration/Design
Terence Marsh Production Designer
Ted Moore Cinematographer
Constance Willis Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Man for All Seasons
1. Start [5:15]
2. A Butcher's Summons [4:13]
3. With the Cardinal [6:43]
4. Petitions [1:00]
5. Home to Chelsea [5:07]
6. Saying "No" to a Heretic [4:06]
7. The Duke of Norfolk [1:22]
8. The New Lord Chancellor [1:47]
9. "Surprise" Visit [5:02]
10. Quiet Words [8:20]
11. Catching the Tide [4:12]
12. A Bad, Dangerous Spy [3:22]
13. Rich & the New Secretary [4:30]
14. The King's Answer [1:20]
15. More Resigns [1:36]
16. Explaining His Decision [1:34]
17. The King's Wedding Day [10:31]
18. A Letter [2:39]
19. Conversation With Cromwell [1:04]
20. Ending a Friendship [5:07]
21. News of the Oath [4:57]
22. In the Tower [1:36]
23. An Inquiry [2:34]
24. Family Visit [7:21]
25. The Trial [7:56]
26. Richard Rich Testifies [6:12]
27. Verdict & Discharge [4:21]
28. Sentence Carried Out [3:48]

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