The life of one of the controversial figures in the history of modern religion is brought to the screen in this historical biography. Born in 1483, Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes) was an intelligent and principled young man who was studying law in early 16th century Germany when a close brush with death led him to follow a spiritual path and join a Catholic monastery. Under the guidance of Johann von Staupitz (Bruno Ganz), Luther became a valued member of the monastery's hierarchy, and as a sign of his trust, von Staupitz ...
The life of one of the controversial figures in the history of modern religion is brought to the screen in this historical biography. Born in 1483, Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes) was an intelligent and principled young man who was studying law in early 16th century Germany when a close brush with death led him to follow a spiritual path and join a Catholic monastery. Under the guidance of Johann von Staupitz (Bruno Ganz), Luther became a valued member of the monastery's hierarchy, and as a sign of his trust, von Staupitz asked Luther to join him for a voyage to Rome as part of church business. Luther was appalled by the corrupt practices of the leading church officials, in particular the sale of "indulgences," in which the wealthy could purchase forgiveness for a wide variety of sins. Luther left the monastery to study theology in Wittenberg; a keen student, he later became a professor and won the support of Frederick the Wise (Peter Ustinov), who also recognized the potential controversy of Luther's iron principles. When a new pope, Leo X, assumes the throne at the Vatican, he orders the construction of St. Peter's Basilica. To pay the costs, an ambitious monk, Johann Tetzel (Alfred Molina), was sent out to sell indulgences to both the wealthy and the poor, leaving his audiences with little doubt of the eternal consequences that awaited those who did not empty their purses. An infuriated Luther wrote an angry essay on the corruption of the church entitled "95 Theses," and thanks to the recent invention of the printing press, Luther's words were soon circulated throughout Europe, leading to an angry conflict with Catholic officials which threatened to tear the church in two. Luther also features supporting performances from Claire Cox as Katharina von Bora and Jonathan Firth as Girolamo Aleandro. Mark Deming, Rovi
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I have watched this movie many times and shared it in a classroom setting. Many of the students were just amazed regarding all the persecution Luther went through to withdraw from the religious system and commit himself to the study and publication of the Word of God. He realized that God's Word was for everyone and not just the Catholic Church. In the midst of persecution he stood his ground and would not recant. My whole class exploded with excitement during his trial. Then his discovery that he did not have to be without a wife. Sitting in the attic he realized God was for marriage and he could have sexual pleasure with his partner if he chose one which he did later in the movie. I loved the gentleman he called Father as God used this man greatly to encourage Luther to study the Word of God. We were all thrilled when in the end he won his battle and the Bible was written in German so the people could read it and know what the real Truth was and not according to the Catholic Church. Thank God for men like Luther that stand their ground for the gospel and are willing to suffer no matter what. We were blessed to find so many people followed him in his beliefs and became Christians. His realization that you cannot buy your way to heaven made a great impression on all of us. He realized that salvation was a gift and the Word of God had been kept from the people in order to control them. Joseph Fiennes did a wonderful job in the role of Luther. This movie should be viewed by every Christian. It is outstanding.
We were impressed at his writings as well and to find a theologian that spoke the truth even when his best friend was against him. However, some of his friends protected him and joined him in his efforts as they knew the Catholic Church was abusing the poor and taking their money to benefit their kingdom rather than God's.