A Man for All Seasons

A Man for All Seasons

Fred Zinnemann (1966)

U Certificate


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In this Oscar-laden version of Robert Bolt's 1960 play, Paul Scofield stars as Sir Thomas More, who wins the moral argument but loses the more vital one, concerning custody of his head, to Henry VIII. Whereas Charles Laughton's Henry VIII (in the 1933 Alexander Korda film) made you think of Billy Bunter, Robert Shaw could not be more different. This Henry is younger, thinner, a man of formidable intelligence and political skill. Orson Welles literally fills the screen as Cardinal Wolsey; John Hurt (in his first major role) is eloquent in Parliament; and Leo McKern, Wendy Hiller, Susannah York and Vanessa Redgrave (as Anne Boleyn) complete the splendid cast. But it's Scofield's picture - his is an inspired performance of virtue with a dash of vanity. Note, too, the brilliant use of sets and locations - a clever fake of Hampton Court, Studley Priory Hotel in Oxfordshire as Scofield's home, a river on the Beaulieu Estate posing as the Thames - that belies the film's bargain-basement budget.


Henry VIII's decision to divorce Catherine of Aragon leads to a clash with the Roman Catholic Church and his own lord chancellor Sir Thomas More. To force his will, the king declares himself the supreme head of the Church of England and demands More's approval - but when he fails to get it, he puts his former adviser on trial for his life. Oscar-winning adaptation of Robert Bolt's history play, with Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, John Hurt and Orson Welles.

Cast & Crew

Sir Thomas More Paul Scofield
King Henry VIII Robert Shaw
Alice More Wendy Hiller
Thomas Cromwell Leo McKern
Margaret More Susannah York
Richard Rich John Hurt
Cardinal Wolsey Orson Welles
Duke of Norfolk Nigel Davenport
Anne Boleyn Vanessa Redgrave
Director Fred Zinnemann
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray