A Man for All Seasons - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Man for All Seasons Reviews

Page 1 of 36
August 16, 2017
For a movie typically considered slow, A Man For All Seasons is a surprisingly quick-moving drama with Paul Scofield at his best. Zinnemann should be known as one of the great editors of film, because everyone in his cinematic pantheon is art at high velocity. Fascinating, regrettable part of history that is an essential in understanding religion and politics.
½ June 19, 2017
It's a very good movie about how stupid humans get about religion. I'd like to say this has changed in the last 500 years but nope. Thomas More comes across as articulate and principled - it's just too bad his foundational principles are so stupid. Religion aside, some solid points are made about justice - but it all gets steamrolled by religion and since they're all religious I have little sympathy for anyone. There are good performances - with the notable exception of Vanessa Redgrave as Anne Boleyn who is comically, pathetically phony.
April 13, 2017
Knotty and erudite drama, pitting the conscience of one man against the might of the king and his cronies. A perfect fit for the director of High Noon, and Zinnemann corrals a fine cast, led by the great Paul Scofield to articulate without sentiment Robert Bolt's excellent brisk screenplay. It doesn't shed its theatrical roots, but this is its strength: plain staging, a focus on argument and the interrogation of conscience. Leo McKern, John Hurt, Robert Shaw and Orson Welles all give marvellous support, and Georges Delerue supplies a perfect period score.
March 31, 2017
Winner of 6 Oscars including Best Picture, "A Man for All Seasons" details the true story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England who refused to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII of England's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and thus resigned rather than take an Oath of Supremacy declaring Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England. With great direction by Fred Zinnemann (who won Best Director), excellent acting (especially Paul Scofield, who won Best Leading Actor for his role of Thomas More), and an important retelling of England's history, "A Man for All Seasons" is a masterpiece film for people who appreciate history (like myself) and love watching movies to enjoy again and again.
½ February 28, 2017
It's enjoyable to say the least.
½ February 4, 2017
Mind-numbingly dull. How this film won any awards is beyond me. (First and only viewing - 7/21/2010)
January 25, 2017
England, 1520s. King Henry VIII is in power and wants to marry Anne Boleyn. His current wife, Catherine of Aragon, seems unable to bear him a son and heir and he's besotted with Ann Boleyn. He wants to divorce Catherine but, other than the Pope, the main impediment is Sir Thomas More, a pre-eminent legal authority and devout Christian. More is eventually made Lord Chancellor, one of the highest positions in government. He resigns this position out of protest against the King's plans to go ahead with the divorce. Surely, now that he is out of government and out of the limelight, as long as he doesn't air his views, his principles aren't a threat to the King's plans and he is safe from prosecution?

Directed by Fred Zinneman (High Noon, From Here to Eternity, The Search) a wonderfully lavish production. A noble sentiment too - a man willing to stand by his principles no matter what the cost.

However, the film moves along at a snail's pace, has excess dialogue and ultimately feels quite padded. Also doesn't help if you know history (and/or, like me, have seen The Tudors) and know how everything will end up.

There are moments of relief among the verbosity. Any time More is in an argument on points of law, his sharpness of mind, knowledge of law and expert use of the English language shine through - his wordplay is something to behold.

Won the Best Picture Oscar in 1967.
November 22, 2016
I think this is a classic. Watched it for the first time and had that kind of majestic feeling afterward.
September 12, 2016
This 1966 adaptation of Robert Bolt's play is an intellectual film about the Church and politics, brought to life with entertaining performances and superb photography.
July 23, 2016
Saw this cinematic masterpiece again a few days ago after seeing it on the big screen 12 years ago. Essential filmmaking study...Iconic Oscar winning example of classic 60s international cinema. Robert Bolt, who wrote The Mission, another exceptional period piece with Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, penned this classic. Follows tensions created between Henry VIII, played by the great Robert Shaw, and his boy the chancellor, Sir Thomas Moore, acted by the Oscar winning beast Paul Scofield. You assuredly missed the fact that John Hurt, who plays the sorry pussy ass coward, Richard Rich, is in fact the same gimp who would have that little alien BURST out of his gut in Ridley Scott's, Alien. Great cinematography by Ted Moore. They don't make them like that anymore.
July 18, 2016
It has its merits on the performances and cinematography that's agreeable, but however, those qualities were the film's only offers at a small value when the it's just plain boredom from being tedious - at such the slowest pace as possible - and not inviting a lot of audience that aren't familiar to the story besides its Best Picture title. It's an ultimate sleeping pill than "2001: A Space Odyssey." (B-)

(Requires another viewing)
May 17, 2016
A Man for All Seasons (1966) ????
One of the greatest movies ever made, an honest, knockout drama (arguably Zinnemann's best film) about Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the king rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage, while also (subtlety) keeping his relationship with God in check. Vivid, fiercely though-provoking, with superb, fascinating dialogue, characterizations; breathtakingly beautiful in every way, plus haunting finale. Well-deserved Oscar wins for Screenplay (Robert Bolt) and for Scofield's unforgettable performance in leading role. Picture, Director, Photography, and Costumes also won. A truly wonderful motion picture.
December 23, 2015
A drama around a controversial issue about justice.
November 11, 2015
I finally saw Fred Zinnemann's "A Man For All Seasons," which won six Oscars in 1966, including Best Picture, Director and Actor. It won all these Oscars for the same reason that "How Green Was My Valley" bested "Citizen Kane" and "Forrest Gump" bested "Pulp Fiction." Hollywood prefers to honor formula over innovation. "A Man For A Seasons" boasts immaculate production values, a deeply moral script and a letter perfect cast lead by an unknown British stage actor that originated the role. Like Ben Kingsley as Ghandi, the role of Thomas More would define Paul Scofield, who won the Best Actor Oscar over Richard Burton in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" Scofield had internalized the role, but Burton lived his, and acted circles around Scofield. But Hollywood prefers to honor heroes and martyrs over deeply flawed individuals. Oscar's snubbing of director Mike Nichols and Richard Burton showed that Hollywood could not handle the Truth. Robert Bolt's screenplay may stand as a flawless morality play, but it's still Golden Age Hollywood, with real emotions buried under Victorian manners and layers of costuming. It won because it was expected to win, just as all the Merchant & Ivory films won because they were expected to. But that does not mean it deserved to win.
October 17, 2015
A majestic film, not only a biographical film but also a courtroom drama. Sir Thomas More is the kind of man that is hard to find nowadays, a man loyal to his principles. Sir Thomas More did a legal and moral exposition that is a master piece on reasoning.
½ September 22, 2015
"I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live"....Thomas More
½ July 26, 2015
I am very surprised my uncle was the first source from which I heard about this film - it seems like it should be much more famous than it is. It won the academy award for Best Picture of 1966, and it co- stars famous actors Orson Welles, Robert Shaw, and John Hurt. The strongest aspects of this film are the writing and performances; combined, these two elements form a great movie.

Not mentioned above, Paul Scofield, who I have never heard of prior to seeing this film, carries this film with a brilliant performance. He plays Thomas More, a man defiant to man's law if God's law says differently. This is the essence of his personality, and he is a character who is full of wisdom and a great sense of logic in order to defend himself against the accusations of the corrupt. While his wisdom and logic do not ultimately save him, these characteristics form one of the most inspirational characters I have ever seen on film. Scofield plays More as a man who calmly accepts his fate while standing by his words and beliefs, rather than pleading his allegiance to the corruption within England's government.

The supporting cast - especially John Hurt - do a good job of building up More even more (pun not intended) by portraying corrupt individuals who More has tried to help. More always has the best intentions; John Hurt's character is looking for employment at the beginning of the film, and More tries to convince him to become a teacher to avoid the corruption of government, and offers him a bribe he has received in order to get the man started. At first it seems possible that Hurt's character will remain loyal to More, but instead uses the fact that he was "bribed" by More to obtain a post within the government. It is heartbreaking to listen to Hurt's character lie about More late in the film in order to just keep climbing up the ladder, a situation More was trying to prevent entirely for the best intentions.

Most of the film consists of inspiring monologues through More, an aspect I love since I think monologues are difficult to pull off correctly and are extremely effective in developing character. Scofield does it with mastery. I think it makes sense that this work stems from a play because I see it more fitting to be performed on stage than I see it as a cinematic work. If the film was more cinematic I would give it a perfect rating, but to me the only really visually captivating scene in the film was the penultimate scene: the trial for More's life. As my uncle says, in a way, this film makes you "want to be a better person."
June 20, 2015
I learned... but way too historical for me...
April 26, 2015
An all time great movie.
April 25, 2015
A Man for All Seasons is a good lesson in British history, however I'm not much of a history buff. Paul Scofield portrays Sir Thomas More with a quiet dignity that I hope to have when faced with adversity. It was also very interesting to see Robert Shaw play someone other than an Irish crime boss or a gruff shark hunter. I liked it, but this movie is definitely more educational than entertaining.
Page 1 of 36