This bio-pic is about Galileo, the 17th century Italian who laid the foundations of modern science. Galileo made himself one of the world's first telescopes and discovered the moons of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Cardinal Inquisitor
Colin Blakely ...
Priuli
Georgia Brown ...
Ballad Singer's Wife
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Ballad Singer
Margaret Leighton ...
Elderly Court Lady
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The Old Cardinal
...
Sagredo
...
Richard O'Callaghan ...
Fulganzio
...
Ludovico Marsili
...
Angelica Sarti
...
Federzoni
Patrick Magee ...
...
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Storyline

This bio-pic is about Galileo, the 17th century Italian who laid the foundations of modern science. Galileo made himself one of the world's first telescopes and discovered the moons of Jupiter. He supported Copernicus' theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This brought him in conflict with the Catholic Church. By threatening him with torture, the Church forced him to recant his views in front of a tribunal, and sentenced him to house arrest. However, Galileo's trials and theories inspired others like Newton and Kepler to prove that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe. Some years ago, the Pope accepted that Earth does revolve around the Sun and issued a rare apology for what the Church had done to Galileo, i.e., the Catholic Church recanted! Written by <sundar1@aol.com>

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Biography | Drama

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PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

18 June 1981 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Galileo Galilei  »

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Gough was an eleventh-hour choice after the actor first cast as Sagredo was taken ill during lunch. See more »

Quotes

Andrea Sarti: [upon Galileo's recantation] Unhappy is the land that has no heroes.
Galileo Galilei: Incorrect. Unhappy is the land that *needs* a hero.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #23.1 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Galileo" is about the scientist's responsibility to society
24 June 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The movie of Bertolt Brecht's play "Galileo" was made in 1975, starring Topol, with John Gielgud and Clive Revill among others. The goal in making this movie (and all AFT films) was to take a theatrical experience and turn it into a cinematic experience without changing the content to do so. Criticisms that this film didn't do enough to expose the excesses of the Inquisition or that Topol's depiction of Galileo was too abrasive miss the point. This play is about the role and responsibility of the scientist in society. Written during the time that atomic bombs were being created, it criticizes scientists who fail to bring the truth to the people because they fear the retaliation of the authorities.

Galileo is portrayed as an opportunistic genius who is not above stealing someone else's invention and claiming it as his own if it will profit him. He is self-indulgent and corrupt, but he is still a scientist. When his theories of the nature of the universe conflict with the Church's, he recognizes that this may upset not only the way people view the sky, but their own own position in the constellation of their society. Galileo hopes to profit from this, to become a new high priest of science. But when threatened with torture by the Inquisition, a threat the Inquisitors know they dare not carry out because of Galileo's popularity, Galileo capitulates out of the fear of physical pain. His work is confiscated by the Church to be locked away from the people, his recantation is published and the incipient revolution he inspired dies away. Galileo is granted a small pension and forbidden to do any real scientific work.

Years later, Galileo is visited by a former assistant who tells him of the chilling effect his recantation had on scientific progress everywhere in Europe, that no one dares to express any dissident viewpoints. Galileo removes a copy of his scientific treatises from a hiding place and gives it to the assistant to smuggle out of the country. Galileo tells him he has spent many years secretly reconstructing his findings, waiting for someone to give them to. The assistant's tone instantly changes and he lauds Galileo for surviving the Inquisition so his work would not be lost. But Galileo refuses to accept these congratulations and condemns his recanting of the truths he had discovered. He says he knows now that he was never truly in danger and that his personal cowardice led to the continuation of oppressions of all kinds in society as well as the corruption of scientific discovery. He wonders what he and others scientists might have accomplished for the good of all if only he had stood up for the truth when he had the chance to do so. As the assistant leaves with the treatises, Galileo cautions him not to tell anyone where he got them. Galileo still fears reprisals from the powers that be and the loss of his minimal comforts. "...Your cheering at some new achievement would be echoed by a universal howl of horror," Galileo tells his former assistant. "I have betrayed my profession. Any man who does what I have done must not be tolerated in the ranks of science." This all supports playwright Brecht's leftist views, of course, but also accurately reflects the ambivalence of many of the A-bomb scientists about their creation.

"Galileo" was made by the American Film Theatre, the brainchild of producer Ely Landau. The AFT films were shown only in selected movie theaters to audiences who paid a subscription fee for a series of 6 plays on film a year. The AFT series ran from 1973 to 1976. These films were not simply filmed stage productions, nor were they "Hollywoodized" to increase viewers. They used the text of the plays as written by their authors. However, they also used cinematic techniques (close-ups, pans, dolly shots, etc.) to focus the audience's attention on important characters' expressions, reactions and interactions with other characters.

Other plays in this series include "The Man in the Glass Booth", for which Maximilian Schell received a Best Actor Academy Award Nomination, Jean Genet's "The Maids" with Susanna York and Glenda Jackson (I think) an


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