The Agony and the Ecstasy Reviews

  • Jul 18, 2020

    There isn't much here besides religion.

    There isn't much here besides religion.

  • Jul 27, 2019

    Poor, historically inaccurate portrayal of how belief in ancient fables could capture parts of the world. Despite all the (multitudinous) evidence to the contrary, there are still some who will see this somehow as "religion" when it is nothing more than men battling, conquering, and dominating others for their own selfish reasons. Heston is usually bad, but here he is just mediocre, making this a movie about Rex Harrison, a better actor. Throw all rationality to the side as you watch this -- laugh if you can at the inaccuracies and the unpleasantness of life for everyone in the world who wasn't a world ruler or pope.

    Poor, historically inaccurate portrayal of how belief in ancient fables could capture parts of the world. Despite all the (multitudinous) evidence to the contrary, there are still some who will see this somehow as "religion" when it is nothing more than men battling, conquering, and dominating others for their own selfish reasons. Heston is usually bad, but here he is just mediocre, making this a movie about Rex Harrison, a better actor. Throw all rationality to the side as you watch this -- laugh if you can at the inaccuracies and the unpleasantness of life for everyone in the world who wasn't a world ruler or pope.

  • Carlos M Super Reviewer
    Apr 02, 2018

    What makes this film fascinating is the conflict between the two characters, which is centered mostly on a great dialogue that explores the motivations and creative process of a genius, with Charlton Heston delivering his typical overacting and Rex Harrison as magnetic as always.

    What makes this film fascinating is the conflict between the two characters, which is centered mostly on a great dialogue that explores the motivations and creative process of a genius, with Charlton Heston delivering his typical overacting and Rex Harrison as magnetic as always.

  • Aug 15, 2017

    Yes, it's stolid and yes, some of the casting is underwhelming - but what rescues this rather lumpen block of art is Charlton Heston, whose surprisingly sensitive and vulnerable Michelangelo more than makes up for Diane Cilento's unsexy Medici and - particularly - Rex Harrison's clipped apparently Surrey-born Pope Julius: all he lacks is a briefcase, a Rolex and a few Lerner-Loewe songs. The last gasp of a particular kind of epic HGV.

    Yes, it's stolid and yes, some of the casting is underwhelming - but what rescues this rather lumpen block of art is Charlton Heston, whose surprisingly sensitive and vulnerable Michelangelo more than makes up for Diane Cilento's unsexy Medici and - particularly - Rex Harrison's clipped apparently Surrey-born Pope Julius: all he lacks is a briefcase, a Rolex and a few Lerner-Loewe songs. The last gasp of a particular kind of epic HGV.

  • Mar 29, 2017

    Carol Reed never lets spectacle overshadow substance. I have this to compare with a recent viewing of Cleopatra, another one of Fox's grand 60s epics, and a failed one. Whereas Cleopatra was just looking at things, Ecstasy has ideas. There's humor, wit, personality where Cleopatra is dry, cliche, and stagey. I love bold, vibrant colors in film, but whereas Cleopatra artlessly vomits every color all over the screen with lots of glimmering gold, Ecstasy is delicate and choice. It's cliche, but it uses blue and orange beautifully, particularly near the end when Michelangelo encounters Pope Julius atop his scaffold, criticizing his depiction as being false, but no doubt admiring the work. Also unlike Cleopatra, where there are no interesting relationships, Ecstasy has a beautifully dynamic, humanistic portrait of the artist/producer relationship - Michelangelo and Julius never stop their bickering, right to the very end; it's a friendly rival connected by faith. Julius is a bastard tyrannical papal authority, and he doesn't even seem to forgive himself for that, but certainly Michelangelo mocks the hell out of it. Michelangelo works for himself, but he bows when necessary. Heston & Harrison have all the chemistry they need to pull it off - I enjoy the shots of Julius walking out to procession in the chapel, looking up at Michelangelo, who looks down over him like a god through the opening in his scaffold. Unlike biblical epics before it, the film shares it's glory with artists over the church; their work, not their fawning to authority, is what measures faith. The film is critical of the church's war-mongering, and Julius is an absolute antagonist. The purpose of cardinal appoinments are mocked in a hilarious juxtaposition between Julius discussing with one of his people about the need for a fourth cardinal to get Michelangelo what he needs -- cut to a red hat haphazardly stuffed over a young boy's head, covering his eyes. I love little jokes like this that find their way throughout the film, detracting from the tedious exercise these epics can be. Michelangelo finding his inspiration atop the mountain, soaring above rippling-like-water clouds, takes it's inspiration from surrealist works. The sky behind him is not meant to look like a real sky, but a painted one to inspire a painter. The clouds become the iconic vision of God reaching out to Man. The sun radiates from behind, creating a glorious backlight against the cumulous formation. Along with the Alex North score, it's a beautiful moment painted by Reed and company.

    Carol Reed never lets spectacle overshadow substance. I have this to compare with a recent viewing of Cleopatra, another one of Fox's grand 60s epics, and a failed one. Whereas Cleopatra was just looking at things, Ecstasy has ideas. There's humor, wit, personality where Cleopatra is dry, cliche, and stagey. I love bold, vibrant colors in film, but whereas Cleopatra artlessly vomits every color all over the screen with lots of glimmering gold, Ecstasy is delicate and choice. It's cliche, but it uses blue and orange beautifully, particularly near the end when Michelangelo encounters Pope Julius atop his scaffold, criticizing his depiction as being false, but no doubt admiring the work. Also unlike Cleopatra, where there are no interesting relationships, Ecstasy has a beautifully dynamic, humanistic portrait of the artist/producer relationship - Michelangelo and Julius never stop their bickering, right to the very end; it's a friendly rival connected by faith. Julius is a bastard tyrannical papal authority, and he doesn't even seem to forgive himself for that, but certainly Michelangelo mocks the hell out of it. Michelangelo works for himself, but he bows when necessary. Heston & Harrison have all the chemistry they need to pull it off - I enjoy the shots of Julius walking out to procession in the chapel, looking up at Michelangelo, who looks down over him like a god through the opening in his scaffold. Unlike biblical epics before it, the film shares it's glory with artists over the church; their work, not their fawning to authority, is what measures faith. The film is critical of the church's war-mongering, and Julius is an absolute antagonist. The purpose of cardinal appoinments are mocked in a hilarious juxtaposition between Julius discussing with one of his people about the need for a fourth cardinal to get Michelangelo what he needs -- cut to a red hat haphazardly stuffed over a young boy's head, covering his eyes. I love little jokes like this that find their way throughout the film, detracting from the tedious exercise these epics can be. Michelangelo finding his inspiration atop the mountain, soaring above rippling-like-water clouds, takes it's inspiration from surrealist works. The sky behind him is not meant to look like a real sky, but a painted one to inspire a painter. The clouds become the iconic vision of God reaching out to Man. The sun radiates from behind, creating a glorious backlight against the cumulous formation. Along with the Alex North score, it's a beautiful moment painted by Reed and company.

  • May 22, 2016

    Carol Reed ("The Third Man") dirige con precisión y grandilocuencia el retrato biográfico de Miguel Ángel y la creación pictórica de la Capilla Sixtina en "La Agonía y el Éxtasis". Protagonizada por Charlton Heston como Miguel Ángel y Rex Harrison como su mecenas, el Papa Julio II, esta cinta se centra en el conflicto creativo y en la angustia del artista. Con un mini-documental como prólogo y con una dirección de arte magnífica, esta película será de sumo interés tanto para cinéfilos como para los amantes del arte.

    Carol Reed ("The Third Man") dirige con precisión y grandilocuencia el retrato biográfico de Miguel Ángel y la creación pictórica de la Capilla Sixtina en "La Agonía y el Éxtasis". Protagonizada por Charlton Heston como Miguel Ángel y Rex Harrison como su mecenas, el Papa Julio II, esta cinta se centra en el conflicto creativo y en la angustia del artista. Con un mini-documental como prólogo y con una dirección de arte magnífica, esta película será de sumo interés tanto para cinéfilos como para los amantes del arte.

  • May 22, 2016

    Carol Reed ("The Third Man") dirige con precisión y grandilocuencia el retrato biográfico de Miguel Ángel y la creación pictórica de la Capilla Sixtina en "La Agonía y el Éxtasis". Protagonizada por Charlton Heston como Miguel Ángel y Rex Harrison como su mecenas, el Papa Julio II, esta cinta se centra en el conflicto creativo y en la angustia del artista. Con un mini-documental como prólogo y con una dirección de arte magnífica, esta película será de sumo interés tanto para cinéfilos como para los amantes del arte.

    Carol Reed ("The Third Man") dirige con precisión y grandilocuencia el retrato biográfico de Miguel Ángel y la creación pictórica de la Capilla Sixtina en "La Agonía y el Éxtasis". Protagonizada por Charlton Heston como Miguel Ángel y Rex Harrison como su mecenas, el Papa Julio II, esta cinta se centra en el conflicto creativo y en la angustia del artista. Con un mini-documental como prólogo y con una dirección de arte magnífica, esta película será de sumo interés tanto para cinéfilos como para los amantes del arte.

  • Feb 01, 2016

    Probably the best representation of the great artist whom painted the Sistine Chapel, and the pain he went through to give the world something which makes his legacy live on in the centuries to come!

    Probably the best representation of the great artist whom painted the Sistine Chapel, and the pain he went through to give the world something which makes his legacy live on in the centuries to come!

  • Dec 31, 2015

    Pretty standard for a mid-60's classic.

    Pretty standard for a mid-60's classic.

  • Aug 29, 2015

    The work of an artist who did not want to paint. Michelangelo is a renowned sculpture, perhaps the best the world has ever seen; however, when the Pope has finished the infamous Sistine Chapel, it isn't as gorgeous or inspirational as he hoped. He assigns Michelangelo to paint the ceiling. Michelangelo is reluctant and really wants no part of the project; but once he begins, he will stop at nothing to make his work a masterpiece. "Michelangelo burst from his heritage like an unexpected flame." Carol Reed, director of The Third Man, Oliver (1968), The Fallen Idol, The Public Eye, Trapeze, A Girl Must Live, Night Train to Munich, and Odd Man Out, delivers The Agony and the Ecstasy. The storyline for this picture is awesome and well portrayed. I loved the setting, dialogue, and acting. The cast includes Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Diane Cilento, Harry Andrews, and Adolfo Celi. "You shouldn't mock the apostles." "I don't mock the apostles. They mock me." I came across this picture on Netflix and thought it looked interesting; that, and I adore the Roman/Greek history. This movie was outstanding and a fun look at the life and challenges of Michelangelo as he executed one of his greatest masterpieces, despite not being a painter. This is an absolute must see. "I planned a ceiling. He planned a miracle." Grade: A

    The work of an artist who did not want to paint. Michelangelo is a renowned sculpture, perhaps the best the world has ever seen; however, when the Pope has finished the infamous Sistine Chapel, it isn't as gorgeous or inspirational as he hoped. He assigns Michelangelo to paint the ceiling. Michelangelo is reluctant and really wants no part of the project; but once he begins, he will stop at nothing to make his work a masterpiece. "Michelangelo burst from his heritage like an unexpected flame." Carol Reed, director of The Third Man, Oliver (1968), The Fallen Idol, The Public Eye, Trapeze, A Girl Must Live, Night Train to Munich, and Odd Man Out, delivers The Agony and the Ecstasy. The storyline for this picture is awesome and well portrayed. I loved the setting, dialogue, and acting. The cast includes Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Diane Cilento, Harry Andrews, and Adolfo Celi. "You shouldn't mock the apostles." "I don't mock the apostles. They mock me." I came across this picture on Netflix and thought it looked interesting; that, and I adore the Roman/Greek history. This movie was outstanding and a fun look at the life and challenges of Michelangelo as he executed one of his greatest masterpieces, despite not being a painter. This is an absolute must see. "I planned a ceiling. He planned a miracle." Grade: A