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The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

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The biographical story of Michelangelo's troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II.

Director:

Carol Reed

Writers:

Irving Stone (based on the novel: "The Agony and the Ecstasy" by), Philip Dunne (screen story and screenplay)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charlton Heston ... Michelangelo
Rex Harrison ... Pope Julius II
Diane Cilento ... Contessina de'Medici
Harry Andrews ... Bramante
Alberto Lupo Alberto Lupo ... Francesco Maria della Rovere, duke of Urbino
Adolfo Celi ... Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici (pope Leo X)
Venantino Venantini ... Paris De Grassis
John Stacy John Stacy ... Sangallo
Fausto Tozzi ... Foreman
Maxine Audley ... Woman
Tomas Milian ... Raphael
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Storyline

Pope Julius is eager to leave behind works by which he will be remembered. To this end he cajoles Michelangelo into painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When not on the battlefield uniting Italy, the Pope nags Michelangelo to speed up his painful work on the frescoes. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the age of magnificence comes a new magnificence in motion pictures See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

7 October 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,000,000, 31 December 1965
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

International Classics See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Michaelangelo's most celebrated sculptures is that of Prophet Moses. It was Charlton Heston's resemblance to that sculpture that persuaded director Cecil B. DeMille to overcome his initial reluctance to cast Heston as his cinematic Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956). See more »

Goofs

Giovanni de' Medici (Pope Leo X) is portrayed in this movie as an older man in this film, however he was only in his 30s when the Sistine Chapel ceiling was painted and only 37 when elected Pope. See more »

Quotes

Michelangelo: I'm a Florentine and a Christian... painting in this century. They were Greeks and pagans living in theirs. Pagans? Christians? An artist should be above such distinction. And a cardinal, especially one who pretends to understand art... should be above such foolishness. I'll tell you what stands between us and the Greeks. Two thousand years of human suffering stands between us! Christ on His Cross stands between us. And this difference is what I will express in my paintings. Just as I'll paint ...
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User Reviews

 
excellent historical drama
3 November 2000 | by rupieSee all my reviews

I would be more generous than Maltin was with this one. I watched it again recently on tape and my impression improved over my first viewing. The production values are sumptuous, and the construction of a 1:1 mockup of the Sistine Chapel by Dino deLaurentis is a story in itself, evidently. Heston is pretty good as Michelangelo but is, I think, overshadowed by Harrison, who is just marvelous as Pope Julius (a previous commenter remarked on the historically inauthentic absence of his beard; in addition, Julius was too old & inform too ride a horse into battle, but insisted on leading while carried on a litter). The conflicted interplay between Julius & Michelangelo is the core of the film, of course, and the script does its job well in this regard, particularly in the closing dialogue. It is interesting, though, to see how the movie dances around the issue of Michelangelo's purported homosexuality. We are so much more frank today (not necessarily for the better), and one shudders to consider how a contemporary movie would treat this subject (not that there's a chance in hell of a major movie being made today on the subject of the creation of one of the masterworks of West's artistic inheritance). If any movie definitely needs the letterbox format to show it off at its best, it is this one, so watch for it on AMC where it is often shown that way.


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