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A Return to Grace: Luther's Life and Legacy (2017)

500 years ago, Martin Luther triggered a seismic upheaval that rocked the western world-with an impact that continues to reverberate to this day. This entertaining new film follows the ... See full summary »


David Batty


Mike Trinklein

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Credited cast:
Pádraic Delaney ... Martin Luther
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hugh Bonneville ... Narrator
Kuba Rudzinski Kuba Rudzinski ... Nobleman
Karina Seweryn Karina Seweryn ... Katharina von Bora


500 years ago, Martin Luther triggered a seismic upheaval that rocked the western world-with an impact that continues to reverberate to this day. This entertaining new film follows the great adventure story of Luther's life, packed with political intrigue, kidnappings, secret hideouts, and life-or-death showdowns. At the same time, it's a story about the most important questions of life. "Who am I?" "What is my purpose?" "How do I get right with God?"

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Plot Keywords:

reformation | martin luther | See All (2) »




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Release Date:

31 October 2017 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World See more »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

The great Protestant reformer in all his glory and shame
8 December 2017 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

RELEASED IN 2017 and directed by David Batty, "Martin Luther: An Idea That Changed the World" (aka "A Return to Grace: Luther's Life and Legacy") is a documentary/biography about the influential Protestant reformer of early 16th century Europe.

The most important points of Luther's life are reenacted with Padraic Delany in the title role. Any words ascribed to Luther are those of which he actually said or wrote. In between and during these segments are the insightful commentaries of roughly two dozen scholars of varied theologies (including a Catholic Cardinal). The producers picked a nicely diversified group of theologians and historians, each interesting in his/her unique manner.

It's all here: The absurdity of the Roman Church selling indulgences in Germany & elsewhere to fund St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City; Luther's Ninety-five Theses (debate points) that he (probably) nailed to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517; his taking advantage of the printing press, a new technology; His excommunication by Pope Leo X and subsequent condemnation by Emperor Charles V in 1520-21 after refusing to renounce his writings; his emphasis on sola Scriptura ("by Scripture alone"); his exile to the security of the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach; his simple revelation about God's grace of salvation coming through faith in Christ alone so that no one may boast; his German translation of the New Testament in a mere eleven weeks in 1522 so that the common people could read God's Word; The tragic Peasant's War where approximately 100,000 "commoners" lost their lives; his marriage to ex-Nun Katharina von Bora in 1525 and subsequent family; his attempts to organize the Protestants; his manual in 1529 for pastors & teachers, the Large Catechism, as well as the abridged Small Catechism for general believers; his initial kindness toward Jews in 1523 contrasted by his teachings two decades later; how the wicked (Hitler) and the righteous (Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr.) used Luther's iconic status and words to fuel their ideologies.

Too often biographies either overly applaud the individual or attack him/her. Yet this documentary does an admirable job addressing Luther's impact, his strengths, his weaknesses and failings, all with honesty, balance and deference.

THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hours. WRITER: Mike Trinklein.


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