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The story takes place in 16th century England. But men like Sir Thomas More, who love life yet have the moral fiber to lay down their lives for their principles, are found in every century. Concentrating on the last seven years of English chancellor's life, the struggle between More and his King, Henry VIII, hinges on Henry's determination to break with Rome so he can divorce his current wife and wed again, and good Catholic More's inability to go along with such heresy. More resigns as chancellor, hoping to be able to live out his life as a private citizen. But Henry will settle for nothing less than that the much respected More give public approval to his headstrong course. Written by
Charlton Heston lobbied heavily for the role of Thomas More, but was never seriously considered by the producers as a candidate for the role. Heston would go on to play More in several stage productions of the play and ultimately film a television production of it in 1988. See more »
After John Hurt (Rich) says "Sir Thomas--if only you knew how much, much rather I'd your help than his", you can see Scofield's lips moving immediately in response but without sound. See more »
[first spoken lines are over 6 minutes into the film]
...there's the country every second bastard born is fathered by a priest.
[clears throat to get More's attention]
Why, in Utopia, that couldn't be.
Well, there the priests are very holy.
Therefore, very few.
Sir Thomas More:
Is it anything interesting, Matthew?
Bless you, sir, I don't know.
[...] See more »
A Man For All Seasons is an erudite examination of the old Biblical maxim: a man cannot serve two masters. Sir Thomas More (poignantly portrayed by Paul Scofield) struggles to be true to both his faith and his monarch (the lusty and hearty King Henry VIII superbly played by Robert Shaw). I think it is difficult for citizens in our present secular society to truly understand just how central a role religion played in a man's life during the period of the film; it was an age of faith when Christianity exerted the most powerful of influences on one's thinking. On a side note, the American Republic wisely sought a nation that "divided church and state." However, the fine distinction remains that it would be a state informed by faith but not run by the church. The aforementioned exemplary performances by the leads are backed by excellent supporting turns, especially from Orson Welles as the less than saintly Cardinal Wolsey and the eternally ebullient Susannah York as Sir Thomas's daughter Margaret. This is a true masterpiece that richly deserves all the accolades and plaudits it has received.
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