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A Man for All Seasons (1966)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 6

Solid cinematography and enjoyable performances from Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw add a spark to this deliberately paced adaptation of the Robert Bolt play.

50

Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

Solid cinematography and enjoyable performances from Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw add a spark to this deliberately paced adaptation of the Robert Bolt play.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 9,321

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted by Robert Bolt and Constance Willis from Bolt's hit stage play, A Man for All Seasons stars Paul Scofield, triumphantly repeating his stage role as Sir Thomas More. The crux of the film is the staunchly Catholic More's refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw)'s break from the church to divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn (an unbilled Vanessa Redgrave). Sir Thomas willingly goes to the chopping block rather than sacrifice his ideals. Director Fred Zinnemann retains

G,

Drama, Classics

Feb 2, 1999

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (6) | DVD (9)

There's more than a little of the school pageant in the rhythm of the movie: Though it's all neater than our school drama coaches could make it, the figures group and say their assigned lines and move on.

August 30, 2012 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most intelligent religious movies ever made.

February 20, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Producer-director Fred Zinnemann has blended all filmmaking elements into an excellent, handsome and stirring film version of A Man For All Seasons.

January 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Robert Bolt's boring historical drama functions best as an anthology of British acting styles, circa 1966.

December 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (2)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Orson Welles alone relieves the boredom in a marvellous cameo as Cardinal Wolsey. If only they'd let him loose with the whole sorry history...

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Man for All Seasons is a picture that inspires admiration, courage and thought.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's Scofield's picture -- his is an inspired performance of virtue with a dash of vanity.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Fred Zinnemann's historical drama is the kind of authentic, stately yawner that probably wouldn't even score a greenlight today.

February 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Superb movie of More's stand against Henry VIII.

December 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Political, religious and personal niceties of the period are streamlined, and the movie concentrates on the impressive steadfastness of Sir Thomas More.

June 24, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The dry film, more boring than it had a right to be, nevertheless was sincere and won an Oscar for Best Picture.

March 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Ainda que a abordagem de Zinnemann não consiga contornar a natureza essencialmente teatral do roteiro, as atuações (especialmente de Scofield, brilhante) e os diálogos absurdamente elegantes e bem construídos mantêm o filme sempre instigante.

February 9, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Zinnemann proved to be a filmmaker for all seasons.

April 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Waiting for More's breaking point provides the only thread of suspense.

February 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Prestigious, well turned out piece of British historical drama with enough genuine intrigue and wit to persuade some audiences they aren't watching a history lesson.

February 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This absorbing film features inventive camerawork and superior production values.

December 13, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One man's conviction against the tyranny of Henry VIII makes for an intriguing drama in A Man for All Seasons

November 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Splendidly acted by Paul Scofield, who won an Oscar, this version of Robert Bolt's play about the conflict between Church and State suffers from Zinnemann's restrained, middlebrow sensibility.

July 24, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

It's basically a play, but the script is so good and Scofield is masterful.

November 10, 2005
Zap2it.com

A film for all seasons.

August 12, 2005

Outstanding adaptation of Robert Bolt's play detailing battle between Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII

July 7, 2005
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for A Man for All Seasons

This is a film based on a play based on the true life story of Sir Thomas More, a staunch Catholic who was so firm in his convictions, that he became a martyr for refusing to compromise his beliefs by signing an agreement that would recognize King Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn.

It makes sense that this stroy was an adaptation of a play since it is besaically stage and executed like one for basically the entire running time. This is a historical drama (which the Academy loves), so it makes sense also that this won some of the Big Awards, including Best Picture.

I do love historicla movies, but this is one of those cases where a film that's feverishly historically accurate doesn't always mean it's going to be an enjoyable one...at least not for those looking for something with mainstream appeal and accessibility.

There's basically no action, and it's almost entirely a philosophical discussion/character study about two vastly dfifferent men with extremely clashing views/personalities. I dug it for the most part, but admittedly did find it hard to sit through and kinda boring here and there.

Still though, you gotta give a lot of credit to it for the stellar cinematography, art direction, set design, and costumes. The attention to period details and historical accuracy are also to be appluaded, but it probably couldn't have hurt to put in some more action or somehting just to liven things up on occasion.

The direction is okay, but Zinnemann has done far better work. The writing is quite sharp and really nails the characters and subject matter, but what really sells the film are the performances. Paul Scofield reprises his role from the play, and rightfully earned an Oscar for his superb work. Robvert Shaw was awesome as Henry VIII, and he's definitely an actor worth checking out if all you know of him is his brilliant work in Jaws. Other notables in the cast invlude Vanessa Redgrave as Anne Boleyn, John Hurt as Richasrd RIch, and Orson Welles, whose turn as Cardinal Wolsey is terrific just ofr the sheer fact that it's cool to see him rocking the always photogenic Cardinal robes.

This is a hard film to get into, and more for the patient intellectuals than those who like action oriented history based works, but it's got some great themes and materia lworth discussing, so all in all, it's a fine film, but not one I would necessarily say is totally deserving of Best Picture.
March 19, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I saw this play as a kid--I was raised Catholic, so this was seen as the triumph of a martyr for his faith--and saw just last night again on DVD. It's probably one of those stories (like Anna Karenina) that it's interesting to view at different stages of your life. So, now as a mature woman, I saw the story as that of a man who is steadfast in his refusal to change while the winds of change blow him off his pedestal. I saw loyalty to a corrupt church: but as he says, the Catholic church was the only one with a pedigree from JC. His son-in-law was adamant that he destroy everything corrupt, not realising as I do with the advantage of advanced years hahaha, that man is corrupt and killing a few doesn't change corruption, it just changes the names of the people in charge. The final question is what are you willing to die for, remembering of course that the life span was a lot shorter then. The questions the story of Thomas Moore raises are complex and the answers not easily apparent and I think it might be good for youngins to view it as a way into the complex ideas of life now--nothing is black and white.
January 10, 2012
Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

With lawerly integrity, Sir Thomas More poltiely defies Henry VIII's increasingly threatening demands that he publically approve of Henry's divorce and break with the Roman Catholic Church. Released in 1966, More's principled, moving and fatal civil disobedience struck a universal chord and made this intricate character driven historical costume drama a surprise hit.
March 6, 2008
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

There is something oddly intreageing about this film. I normally don't enjoy this kind of thing, but I found this very entertaining.

Great dialog helps make the 120 minutes fly by.
March 1, 2008
kenstachnik

Super Reviewer

    1. Thomas More: When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Latest News on A Man for All Seasons

March 20, 2008:
Paul Scofield: 1922-2008
David Paul Scofield, Oscar-winning British actor of stage and screen died from complications related...

Foreign Titles

  • A Man for All Seasons (1966) (DE)
  • A Man for All Seasons (UK)
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