The now largely-forgotten winner of the 1966 Best Picture Oscar, it scored six statuettes in all, including one for its director Fred Zinnemann and actor Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More.
There’s a less famous player in the drama that was the reign of King Henry VIII. That would be Sir Thomas More, the man who rebuffed Henry and forms the subject of this exquisitely rendered historical drama. Hoping to divorce his wife and take one that will provide him with a male heir, Henry cannot get the blessing from the Pope,sotries to do an end around and declare himself the head of the English Catholic church. The refusal of More to take an oath supporting this treason against his deeply felt beliefs makes him a thorn in the side of his former friend. His stubbornly principled refusal to yield eventually lands him a date with the gallows. More, as personified by Scofield, reflects a bedrock principle of self-determination that prefigures modern democracy and is articulated in a dramatically satisfying manner by a script and production, which combines the language of the classical stage with that of modern cinematography.
A scholarly documentary that puts the life of Thomas More in the larger context of western parliamentary democracy and suggests that the film has historical integrity.
If only the Oscars got things this right as often in the subsequent 40 years.