A man's views cause a rift between peasants and the church.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Patrick Magee ...
Hans
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Johan Von Eck
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Thomas De Vio
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The Knight
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Katherine
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Brother Weinand
Maurice Denham ...
Peter Cellier ...
Thomas Heathcote ...
Lucas
Malcolm Stoddard ...
King Charles
Bruce Carstairs ...
Duke of Saxony
Matthew Guinness
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A man's views cause a rift between peasants and the church.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1525 the world was rocked by a powerful explosion. His name was Luther.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

April 1976 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

John Osborne's Luther  »

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(Eastmancolor)

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1.85 : 1
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Trivia

The Broadway production of "Luther" written by playwright John Osborne opened at the St. James Theater in New York on September 25, 1963, ran for 211 performances and won the 1964 Tony Award for the Best Play. See more »

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Remake of BBC Play of the Month: Luther (1965) See more »

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He Betrayed His Revolution
1 March 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The first impression you might have is that there is no way that John Osbourne, the creator of the frustrated Jimmy Porter in Look Back In Anger, could possibly have reached back five centuries for the subject matter of another play. Osborne's best work Look Back In Anger is firmly rooted in the 20th century, dealing with the post empire Great Britain that he knew and was part of.

Luther of course is about the founder of one large sect of Protestantism, Martin Luther of 16th century Germany which was a geographical expression, not a country at that time. Luther was an angry young man like Jimmy Porter who revolutionized theology in his time and issued the bluntest, most direct challenge to the supremacy of the Catholic Church and the Pope. He founded his church which became supreme in Northern Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

But when the peasants started to revolt, Luther betrayed the revolution he started and urged that they be put down as severely as possible which they were. It's for this that John Osborne indicts him in his work. It is the biggest tragedy of Luther's career and the one in which the Catholics never stop heaping scorn on him, a lot of it justified.

The film Martin Luther from the Fifties that starred Niall McGinniss and the recent Luther that starred Joseph Fiennes from this decade do not deal with part of the Luther story. We see a very flawed human being, torn by a most exquisite conscience and frightened about the forces he has unloosed. One of the church elders who admonishes him says that the peasants want the gold and silver of the church, not a new kind of faith and he's not completely wrong.

Stacy Keach takes Albert Finney's place who originally created the role on Broadway where the play ran for 211 performances in 1963. Keach does a fine job in the part as does Judy Dench as Mrs. Luther, Patrick Magee as Luther's father and Hugh Griffith as one of his church superiors who lays the law down to him, unsuccessfully.

No doubt we've not seen the last interpretation of this man's life. Martin Luther will be reinterpreted by historians and dramatists for centuries.


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