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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 ... Francesco Maria della Rovere, duke of Urbino
Adolfo Celi ... Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici (pope Leo X)
Venantino Venantini ... Paris De Grassis
John Stacy ... Sangallo
Fausto Tozzi ... Foreman
Maxine Audley ... Woman
Tomas Milian ... Raphael
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Storyline

Pope Julius II (Sir Rex Harrison) is eager to leave behind works by which he will be remembered. To this end he cajoles Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) 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>

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Taglines:

A raging era of titans, popes and princes... of conspiracy and conflict... of turmoil and transgressions... of a man among men... of magnificence! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dark "paint" dripping into the mouth of Michelangelo as he lies on his back under the fresco was actually chocolate pudding. See more »

Goofs

During most of his reign, HH Julius II wore a beard; however, apparently because of Harrison's preference, the Pope is clean shaven through the entire movie. See more »

Quotes

Pope Julius II: What you have painted here, my son, is not a portrait of God. It's a proof of faith.
Michelangelo: I hadn't thought that faith needed proof.
Pope Julius II: Not if you're a saint, or an artist. I am merely a pope.
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Connections

Referenced in Married... with Children: The Agony and the Extra C (1996) See more »

User Reviews

 
The worldly pope Julius II Confronts the great renaissance artist Michelangelo and out of this clash is born the finest frescoes the world has ever seen.
15 February 2013 | by appujosephjoseSee all my reviews

I like historical films. Recently I watched three historical films all made in the early 1960s. These are 'El Cid', 'The Spartacus' and 'The Agony and The Ecstasy'. Of the three, I rate The Agony and the Ecstasy as the best. This film is based on the eponymous novel written by Irving Stone. I had read the book nearly a decade back and it was nice to see the film finally. The film is about the circumstances under which Michelangelo came to compose his famous frescoes in the Sistine Chapel of Rome in the 16th century. The Sistine fresco, the 'creation of man' has become almost an emblem for the artist. But not many know that Michelangelo painted the Sistine frescoes reluctantly, only because he was forced to do so by his patron, Pope Julius II. The film is about the war of wits between these two great men Pope Julius II is a warrior pope, a worldly Pope. His concern is to protect the papal states from being over run by warring European powers. For this he is willing to take up arms. The pope knows that the posterity wont remember him for his spiritual prowess or leadership. Therefore he want to leave great works of art as his legacy. He therefore hires Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The artist is not very keen on painting and considers sculpture to be his true calling. He is also not willing to conform to the prevailing canons of artistic excellence. He feels constrained by the limits of time and money that is set. All the great moments of the film occur when the Pope and the Artist clash. It is a clash of ideas and world views: (1) Whether sculpture is a superior form of art as compared to painting; (2) Whether it is appropriate depict biblical figures in their raw humanity; (3) Whether it is moral for a man of god to take arms for his principles and so on. For me the finest scene in the film is where the Pope and the Cardinals come to see the frescoes and judge it as lacking in good taste. The Artist is forced to give a strong rebuttal and in the process he expounds the humanist philosophy of art. Shot in beautiful Technicolor, the film still looks spectacular. It is a visual and intellectual treat.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

16 September 1965 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Agony and the Ecstasy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

International Classics See more »
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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
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