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23 user 4 critic

Martin Luther (1953)

Biopic of German priest Martin Luther (Niall MacGinnis), covering his life between 1505 and 1530 A.D., and the birth of the Protestant Reformation movement.

Director:

Irving Pichel

Writers:

Allan Sloane (researched and prepared for the screen by), Lothar Wolff (researched and prepared for the screen by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Niall MacGinnis ... Martin Luther
John Ruddock John Ruddock ... Vicar von Staupitz
Pierre Lefevre Pierre Lefevre ... Spalatin
Guy Verney Guy Verney ... Melanchthon
Alastair Hunter ... Carlstadt (as Allastair Hunter)
David Horne ... Duke Frederick
Fred Johnson Fred Johnson ... Prior
Philip Leaver Philip Leaver ... Pope Leo X
Heinz Piper ... Dr. Eck
Leonard White Leonard White ... Emissary
Egon Strohm Egon Strohm ... Cardinal Alexander
Annette Carell ... Katherine von Bora (as Annette Carrell)
Alexander Gauge Alexander Gauge ... Tetzel
Henry Oscar
Irving Pichel ... Brueck
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Storyline

This biographical account of Martin Luther's actions that eventually created the Lutheran and Protestant denominations was filmed in conjunction with the Lutheran Church. Niall MacGinnis portrays the friar whose nailing of the ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg created such a stir that it shook the foundations of the medieval Church. This movie shows the struggle between Luther and Rome, and how the medieval Church did not fully explain things he questioned, which led to him to be labelled a heretic.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Man Who Changed the World - FOREVER! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1954 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Martin Luther See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,000,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The music was composed by Mark Lothar and performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. See more »

Connections

Version of Luther (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
By Faith Alone
1 January 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This reverential biographical film of the founder of the Lutheran Church by the Lutheran Church would hardly have been anything else. The many flaws of Martin Luther, his sexism, his anti-Semitism, get no mention here. His contributions to theology and to the German culture the good ones are discussed at great length.

Martin Luther is not THE founder of Protestantism, he's the founder of one of the Protestant denominations. There was a fellow over in Switzerland named John Calvin, a guy later on in Scotland named John Knox, and even that wife slaughtering monarch in England Henry VIII all founded various Protestant denominations.

Yet Luther, a priest who originally wanted to be a lawyer and who attacked the ruling Roman Catholic Church, certainly showed a lawyer's training. His famous 95 questions nailed to the church door in Wittemberg was nothing less than an indictment.

The great contribution theologically speaking that Luther made was the notion that no one, not even a Pope intercedes for man in his relationship with the Deity. One is saved by faith alone in the fact that Jesus is the Messiah who sacrificed himself for the sins of man.

It should not be forgotten that at this time the Catholic church was very engaged in the geopolitics of Europe and the world as a temporal power as well as a center of faith. The Pope as a temporal ruler had temporal needs like the ruler of any other state, maybe more so with his dual function. Hence the sale of indulgences which according to the Lutheran versions were dispensations for sins to come. I'm sure Catholics will differ, but they didn't produce this film.

Niall McGinniss makes a fine and upstanding Martin Luther. The film was shot on location in West Germany in the places mentioned in the story. The film also got Oscar nominations for Art&Set Design and black and white cinematography in its very graphic depiction of medieval Germany.

It's not my view of Martin Luther, but it certainly is the view that Lutherans certainly have of him.


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