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Martin Luther, Heretic (1983)

Martin Luther inspires a breakaway from the Roman Catholic church and is the founder of Protestantism.


Norman Stone


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Pryce ... Luther
Maurice Denham ... Father Staupitz
John Nettleton ... Andreas Karlstadt
Clive Swift ... Johann Tetzel
Philip Stone ... Johann Eck
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Duke Frederick
Hugh Dickson ... Georg Spalatin
Jon Croft Jon Croft ... Berlepsch
Valentine Dyall ... Chancellor
Pip Miller Pip Miller ... Captain
John Byron John Byron ... Papal Nuncio
Eric Francis Eric Francis ... Keeper of Relics
Timothy Ackroyd Timothy Ackroyd ... Student
Neal Swettenham ... Student
James Kirby James Kirby ... Emperor
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Martin Luther inspires a breakaway from the Roman Catholic church and is the founder of Protestantism.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Man Dared to Fight For His Beliefs - At Any Cost


Biography | Drama


Did You Know?


Maurice Denham had previously played Luther's friend and mentor Staupitz in Luther (1974). See more »


Martin Luther: [narrating] As I studied, this was the question to which I kept returning: what is true repentance? How can I be sorry for sin when I never stop sinning? As I chased words through the Bible, I began to make discoveries. This was how, slowly at first, light began to break into my prison: through a window of words.
See more »


Referenced in An Audience with Mel Brooks (1983) See more »

User Reviews

Brother Martin
9 November 2019 | by persistenceofvisionSee all my reviews

A good short-ish TV movie (not much longer than an hour) about Martin Luther. We get to see Luther's private pangs of conscience as a monk; his teaching, as a lecturer, the doctrine of justification by faith alone; his denunciation of the Pope's cynical exploitation of Germany through the sale of indulgences; the Pope's consequent ban on him; and the protection of him by German princes (more for worldly than spiritual reasons), all leading up to his speech at the Diet of Worms. BBC costume-dramas of the early '80s were not handsome cinematic big-budget affairs: the audience were expected to focus on the acting and the writing. So this isn't a feast for the eyes, but at its heart is a fine performance by Jonathan Pryce as Luther (my only reservation would be that he's scrawnier than the real Luther, a bull-necked coalminer's son). Like John Osborne in his stage play, scriptwriter William Nicholson does not make Luther perfect and all his opponents stupid or venal: sometimes he seems more a man of doubt than faith, destroying the unity of medieval Christendom because of his own private demons.

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Release Date:

8 November 1983 (UK) See more »

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