7.2/10
5,605
63 user 17 critic

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

Trailer
3:27 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
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)
Reviews
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The War Lord (1965)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 11th century Normandy, a Norman duke sends one of his knights to build a defensive fortress in order to guard the borders against Frisian raiders.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Charlton Heston, Richard Boone, Rosemary Forsyth
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in China, U.S. Marine Major Matt Lewis, aided by British Consul Sir Arthur Robertson, devises a strategy to keep the rebels at bay until an international military relief force arrives.

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Guy Green
Stars: Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, David Niven
Khartoum (1966)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In the Sudan, in 1884-85, Egyptian forces led by a British general defend Khartoum against an invading Muslim army led by a religious fanatic, the Mahdi.

Directors: Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon
Stars: Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, Richard Johnson
El Cid (1961)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The fabled Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz (a.k.a. El Cid) overcomes a family vendetta and court intrigue to defend Christian Spain against the Moors.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone
Flap (1970)
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Comedy based on the plight of modern Native Americans living on reservations.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Claude Akins, Tony Bill
Diamond Head (1962)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Rich Hawaiian pineapple grower and US Senatorial candidate Richard Howland tries to control everything and everyone around him, including his headstrong sister, Slone. Howland learns the ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Green
Stars: Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, George Chakiris
The Hawaiians (1970)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The intertwined lives of two kindred souls with ambition begins when Captain Whip Hoxworth discovers that Nyuk Tsin has been smuggled aboard as part of cargo on The Carthaginian, which he ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Gries
Stars: Charlton Heston, Tina Chen, Geraldine Chaplin
Lust for Life (1956)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.

Directors: Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald
Major Dundee (1965)
Adventure | War | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a straight-laced British accountant marries a free-spirited American, he starts trying to change her. His wife doesn't keep regular hours, so he suspects an affair and hires a ... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Mia Farrow, Topol, Michael Jayston
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An all-star, large scale epic film that chronicles the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Directors: George Stevens, David Lean, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Charlton Heston
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Four Jewish intellectuals carpool to the funeral of their old friend Leslie Braverman, who died suddenly at age 41.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: George Segal, Jack Warden, Jessica Walter
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The on-screen title is actually "Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy," with 'The Agony and the Ectasy' in larger, more stylized typeface. See more »

Goofs

On the eastern wall of the Sistine Chapel, we can see two frescoes that have been painted by Arrigo Paludano in 1571 and Matteo da Lecce, thirty years after Michelangelo completed the Last Judgement (1541). They replaced the first paintings by Signorelli and Ghirlandaio destroyed by a partial collapsing of the wall. Obviously, they couldn't be shown if the action takes place between 1508 and 1512. See more »

Quotes

Pope Julius II: You dare to dicker with your pontiff?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Night at the Movies: The Gigantic World of Epics (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Creating A Wonder
17 May 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Agony and the Ecstasy is the story of the creation of the Sistine Chapel Roof painting, the time and money it took while Pope Julius II was busy establishing his Papacy as a political force.

Back in those days the Pope was far more than the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He ruled a considerable piece of real estate in the center of the Italian peninsula that were called the Papal States. They varied in geographic size depending on how relatively strong the Pope or his enemies were at a given time. The Papal States were the last independent entity to join a united Italy in 1870.

The Borgias had been nibbling away at the Papal States for years and their triumph became complete when one of their's became Pope Alexander VI in 1491. When Giuliano Della Rovere became Julius II in 1503 succeeding Alexander VI he had it in mind to reclaim the states from the Borgias and their backer the French monarchy. Those are the folks you see Rex Harrison fighting at the beginning of the film.

In fact Harrison's identity as the warrior Pope is made clear right at the beginning of the film when after we see this figure on a white horse killing some foes in battle, he takes off his helmet and some attendees put his papal vestments right over his armor.

But Julius II wanted to be known as a patron of the arts as well as the warrior Pope. His uncle Pope Sixtus VI had built the Sistine Chapel which is today the personal chapel of the papal residence. According to Wikipedia its dimensions are exactly what the Bible lays down as the dimensions King Solomon built his temple. But who knows what Solomon had decorating his roof.

It's a big bare spot and who to fill it with something good. Julius II decided on Michelangelo Buonarrati who's got quite a resume of creativity to recommend him even though it's mostly sculpture.

The film is the story of the creative differences between Michelangelo and Julius. Michelangelo is knowing he's created something for the ages, but he won't see the big picture of the here and now of Renaissance European politics which Julius II has to deal with.

Sir Carol Reed directed The Agony and the Ecstasy and does a marvelous job of creating the look and atmosphere of the Renaissance in Italy. Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison playing Michelangelo and the Pope give outstanding performances.

If the film has a weakness is that it really is a two man show with no other characters developed in any way. The rest of the mostly Italian cast just serve as a crowd.

If you're either a patron of the arts or a Catholic who would like to know how the Sistine Chapel acquired its legendary roof than by all means see The Agony and the Ecstasy.


27 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 63 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed