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Luther (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  26 September 2003 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 12,249 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 103 user | 72 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

During the early 16th Century idealistic German monk Martin Luther, disgusted by the materialism in the church, begins the dialogue that will lead to the Protestant Reformation.

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Title: Luther (2003)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Girolamo Aleander
Claire Cox ...
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Frederick the Wise (as Sir Peter Ustinov)
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Mathieu Carrière ...
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Maria Simon ...
Hanna
Lars Rudolph ...
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Ulrick
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von der Eck
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Storyline

Biography of Martin Luther, the 16th-century priest who led the Christian Reformation and opened up new possibilities in exploration of faith. The film begins with his vow to become a monk, and continues through his struggles to reconcile his desire for sanctification with his increasing abhorrence of the corruption and hypocrisy pervading the Church's hierarchy. He is ultimately charged with heresy and must confront the ruling cardinals and princes, urging them to make the Scriptures available to the common believer and lead the Church toward faith through justice and righteousness. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Rebel. Genius. Liberator.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

26 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lutero  »

Box Office

Budget:

€21,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$908,446 (USA) (26 September 2003)

Gross:

$8,330,360 (Germany) (12 December 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Sir Peter Ustinov's final film before his death on March 28, 2004 at the age of 82. See more »

Goofs

During the Indulgence scene with Johann Tetzel, the camera cuts to a close up of the hand above the torch, where one can see the heat resistant gel on the (presumably the stunt double's) hand in the flame. It is most visible on the thumb. See more »

Quotes

Frederick the Wise: It's so irritating. Who are they to deprive my university of such a fine mind?
See more »

Connections

Version of Martin Luther (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Can't stop this thing we started
24 October 2004 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

The title of Bryan Adams' song "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" aptly describes this 2003 retelling of the story of Martin Luther. The film basically depicts Luther as a good Catholic, loyal to the Pope but horrified by the scandals and corruption that plagued the 16th century Church. He is even more horrified when his effort to reform the Church gets out of control, is co-opted for political purposes, and becomes a popular revolution with the attendant carnage and bloodshed.

I suspect Luther has been highly romanticized here. For one thing, the film follows him from age 34 to 50, yet (as embodied by the angelically handsome Joseph Fiennes) he never ages a day. His relationship with Katharina von Bora seems astonishingly chaste -- no struggle with the lusts of the flesh for this pious monk! His demons are of a different kind. We see scenes where Luther seems plagued by demons, thrashing about in his cell, hearing unseen voices. (I know Luther was manic-depressive, but I hardly think he was a madman.)

The film provides a good summary or outline of the major events of Luther's life and times: the selling of indulgences, the Ninety-Five Theses nailed to the door of Wittenberg Church, the Diet of Worms (a council presided over by Emperor Charles V), the Confession of Augsburg. The costumes accurately reflect historical reality. If I have any quarrel with the film in this regard, it is that it does not adequately mirror a key factor in the struggle between Germany and Rome: the principle of "cuius regio, eius religio". In other words, local princes and kings imposed their own religious beliefs on the peoples they governed.

The cast is a constellation of stars, veritable luminaries, including Sir Peter Ustinov in one of his last roles as Frederick of Saxony. The actors are uniformly excellent in their roles, and the dialogue is well written. The photography is somewhat static, leading me to believe this film was made with television in mind -- albeit of the highbrow kind, in the Masterpiece Theatre tradition.

Still, if anyone asked me if I recommended "Luther", I would reply as he did at the Diet of Worms: "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me."


47 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Any Luther film showing 'our side? For us Catholics? AnneOBrienRice
Do any of you know Jesus? diamond_tears_2
Ulrick, Luther's Dutch friend is NOT HISTORICAL ? reko-716-854614
This movie sucks. hairylarry_2200
I think satan loves this TrojanGold21
Luther as film? Anyone? Anyone? burnunit
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