A Man for All Seasons

Drama | English | 120 minutes

Info

Cardinal Wolsey is attempting to obtain from the Pope an annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a marriage that has not produced a male heir. With the annulment, Henry would be able to marry Anne Boleyn. However, Sir Thomas More is the only member of the Privy Council to oppose Wolsey. The devoutly Catholic Thomas feels that only God can annul this marriage. Hearing this exchange is Thomas Cromwell, Wolsey’s aide. Henry visits Thomas at his estate and implores him to change his position. Thomas refuses. Cromwell then offers Richard Rich, an acquaintance of Thomas, a position at the Court, if Rich can dig up damaging information about Thomas. Thomas is subsequently informed Henry  has written a new oath that all must sign or face charges of high treason. When Thomas reads  the oath declares the King Supreme Head of the Church, Thomas refuses to sign. A trial ensues and Rich, promised to be Attorney General of Wales, lies under oath. Thomas is sentenced to death. Before the execution by guillotine, Thomas declares, “I die his Majesty’s good servant, but God’s first.”

Cast
Paul Scofield (Sir Thomas More) / Robert Shaw (Henry VIII) / Orson Welles (Cardinal Wolsey) / John Hurt (Richard Rich) / Vanessa Redgrave (Anne Boleyn) / Leo McKern (Thomas Cromwell)
Why Stream This Film?

A gripping story about the conscience of a minister of the Crown, Sir Thomas More, and his refusal to support an erring King Henry VIII. In 17th century England, this is traitorous and the punishment is death. A memorable and timeless film  produced from an Academy Award winning script and memorable performances.    

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 83%
  • Metacritic Score: 72
Accolades
  • Academy Award Winners: Best Picture; Best Director (Fred Zinnemann); Best Actor (Paul Scofield); Best Screenplay (Robert Bolt)
  • Directors Guild of America: Winner, Outstanding Directorial Achievement (Fred Zinnemann)
  • Golden Globe Award Winners: Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Actor, Drama (Paul Scofield); Best Director (Fred Zinnemann); Best Screenplay, Motion Picture (Robert Bolt)
  • National Board of Review Winners: Best Film; Best Director (Fred Zinnemann); Best Actor (Paul Scofield); Best Supporting Actor (Robert Shaw)
  • New York Film Critics Circle Award Winners: Best Film; Best Director (Fred Zinnemann); Best Actor (Paul Scofield); Best Screenplay (Robert Bolt)
Producer-director Fred Zinnemann has blended all filmmaking elements into an excellent, handsome and stirring version of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.
A.D. Murphy

VARIETY

Fred Zinnemann has done a fine job of putting upon the screen the solid substance of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, Robert Bolt’s play about Sir Thomas More, and in so doing he presents us with an awesome view of a sturdy conscience and a steadfast heart.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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