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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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(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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...
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Contessina de'Medici
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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:

A raging era of titans, popes and princes... of conspiracy and conflict... of turmoil and transgressions... of a man among men... of magnificence! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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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)
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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

In the film, the quarries that Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) sourced for the marble for his sculptures were the actual quarries attended by the real Michelangelo at Carrara, Massa-Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. See more »

Goofs

Giovanni de' Medici (Pope Leo X) is portrayed in this movie as an older man in this film, however he was only in his 30s when the Sistine Chapel ceiling was painted and only 37 when elected Pope. See more »

Quotes

Pope Julius II: You see, my son... how well we understand each other... when you don't shout?
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User Reviews

 
Battle of Wills Between Michelangelo and Pope Julius--Fascinating
1 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is a fascinating, colorful and very-well made film that looks like an epic and is in fact an intelligent drama about sculptor-painter- architect-poet Michelangelo Buonarrotti. Here portrayed by the much taller Charlton Heston, and admirably, he is presented as a man who want only to create beauty, a man without "people skills" or interest in much of anything else--not women, nor war not the dynastic dreams of men--only the Renaissance idea of utilizing one's abilities. He even pays attention to religion only because the world interests him, and he equates his heaven with what men can achieve--and Earth with the same sort of place he expects to find as an afterlife. Carol Reed directed and produced this fascinating look at the Renaissance, with its warrior priests, its worldly dreamers and its subtle change toward a politics of gunpowder, secular pursuits and worldly morality. Philp Dunne, author of "David and Bathsheba" wrote this thoughtful spectacle film as well. In the cast besides Heston are Rex Harrison as Pope Julius, close-fisted patron, admirer and nemesis, Harry Andrews as his rival Bramante, Diane Cilento as the woman who would like to love him, Alberto Lupo, Adolfo Celli, Fausto Tozzi and a narration by Marvin Miller. The opportunity to see the real landscapes in which Michelangelo was born, worked and became inspired is a wonderful one for the viewer; the entire Carrara marble quarry section is stunningly beautiful. The film has battle scenes able done by Robert D. Webb, Leon Shamroy's cinematography, a prelude by Jerrald Goldsmith and sterling music by Alex North, production design by John Cuir and Jack Martin Smith and memorable costumes by Vittorio Nino Novarese. The basic thrust of the storyline is twofold; against the wars conducted by vigorous and all-too-worldly Pope Julius, the war to win secular hegemony for his Papal rule, the counter-current is Michelangelo's desire to further his career in Rome by obtaining a commission from the Pope. He does, an assignment to refurbish the Sistine Chapel for him. But after an attempt at some saints, he leaves Rome, and flees to his beloved Carrara. There, surrounded by mountains, he has a vision at sunset and suddenly knows what he must do. Obtaining Julius's reluctant permission, he sets to work covering that modest ceiling with tremendous figures, a bearded Jehovah, a recumbent Adam touched to life by a divine spark, the world's most famous fresco painted from a homemade scaffolding; in spite of illness, missed meals, filth, deprivation, cold, an injury that nearly costs him his eye and more, including the Pope's indifference to his intense passion for his art, Michelangelo endures. "When will you make an end?" Julius cries. "When I have done," the artist insists. And at the end, Julius, beaten on the field of battle, admits he may also have been wrong about the ceiling...that his fostering of Michelangelo's work may be the most important thing he has ever done. Of course the puritans of the era object to the nakedness the artist has depicted, but Michelangelo says he painted people as God made them. The movie, based on the biography "The Agony and the Ecstacy" by Irving Stone here concentrates on a seminal moment in the great artist's career. He may be a sculptor as he insists; but after seeing this moving and fascinating film, no one can doubt that he is also a stubborn and single-minded man--and a painter of genius. Most underrated; often fascinating fictionalized biography. Heston and Harrison are good, everyone else good as well. Worth seeing many times, if only for Dunne's dialogue and the scenery.


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