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The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 7 October 1965 (USA)
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The biographical story of Michelangelo's troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II.

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Writers:

(based on the novel: "The Agony and the Ecstasy" by), (screen story and screenplay)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
Contessina de'Medici
...
Alberto Lupo ...
...
...
Paris De Grassis
John Stacy ...
Fausto Tozzi ...
Foreman
Maxine Audley ...
Woman
...
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Storyline

Pope Julius is eager to leave behind works by which he will be remembered. To this end he cajoles Michelangelo into painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When not on the battlefield uniting Italy, the Pope nags Michelangelo to speed up his painful work on the frescoes. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the age of magnificence comes a new magnificence in motion pictures See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

7 October 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Irving Stone, the author of the book which this movie was based on, lived in Rome for about four years, traveling throughout Italy doing research, including periods working in quarries, even apprenticing to a sculptor. See more »

Goofs

During most of his reign, HH Julius II wore a beard; however, apparently because of Harrison's preference, the Pope is clean shaven through the entire movie. See more »

Quotes

Raphael: For what is an artist in this world but a servant, a lackey for the rich and powerful? Before we even begin to work, to feed this craving of ours, we must find a patron, a rich man of affairs, or a merchant, or a prince or... a Pope. We must bow, fawn, kiss hands to be able to do the things we must do or die.
[chuckles]
Raphael: We are harlots always peddling beauty at the doorsteps of the mighty.
Michelangelo: If it comes to that, I won't be an artist.
Raphael: [scoffs] You'll always be an artist. You have no choice.
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User Reviews

 
Purportedly a biography of Michelangelo, it turned out to be that of Pope Julius II
28 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The movie is better than the book in the sense that it is kinder to Michelangelo. Remember that in the book there were hints of the artist's latent homosexuality to explain his lack of interest in women. In the movie, this is attributed to his dedication to his artistry. His greatest rival in the arts, Leonardo da Vinci also does not figure in the movie, but to no great loss as his presence would have needlessly complicated the plot.

The movie portrays Pope Julius II, "the warrior Pope" in good light. He took up the sword to finally bring an end to French interference in the papacy (cf. the "Babylonian Captivity" of the papacy in Avignon). And of course, despite the notorious division of Italy into city states, he struggled to free that country from foreign domination while keeping the papal states intact.

Rome is correctly shown as a city in decay during the Middle Ages. It took Julius II to finally build a Basilica worthy to be the focus of world Christianity. His patronage of the arts and of grand architecture enabled Rome to justly keep the title "The Eternal City."

In the end, Julius II may be judged as a competent monarch and in his way, a faithful priest who initiated many reforms to curb corruption among the clergy.

Heston and Harrison, both great actors, brought out the best in one another as they gamely sparred in this immortal film - one as the driven and haunted artist, the other as the saturnine Pope fighting to preserve the temporal power of the papacy against all odds.


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