Based on the life of the 16th century monk who defied excommunication and the stake in his demand for religious reform, "Martin Luther" provides the first motion picture portrayal of the incendiary beginnings of the Protes... more »tant Reformation. This dramatic motion picture, which was nominated for two "Oscars" for photography and art direction, was produced in cooperation with the Lutheran Church on location in the towns, castles, and churches of West Germany. Careful research of European and American documents of Roman Catholic and Protestant writers formed the basis for the script and much of the dialogue was culled from actual historic documents. Luther fought against the sale of indulgences. He demanded that the church of his day be cleansed of secular abuse and that the authority for doctrine and practice be scripture rather than Popes or Council. To bring up the abuse of indulgences for debate, he nailed a 95-points of argument- on the church door. This argument split the Roman Catholic Church and The Holy Roman Empire. Labeled a heretic, Luther was excommunicated by the Pope and banished and condemned by the Empire. Luther's beliefs gave birth to an evangelical movement that quickly spread throughout Europe and the world. Bonus Features: Scene Selection, Trailers, Martin Luther's 95 Theses. Product Specs: 1-DVD5; Mono; English Subtitles; 103 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1953; SRP - $14.99.« less
"This is the classic black and white movie on Luther's life, shown in nearly every Lutheran church basement! It takes the viewer from Luther's entry into the monastery to around 1530, when the Augsburg Confession was presented to the Emperor. For many years, this was the best film on Luther. Unlike Luther (1973, with Stacy Keach) which showed only Luther's struggles, this movie shows his triumphs and successes, and the support he had from others.
This DVD has several good features. Several languages are supported, Spanish, German, Korean, and a few others. Unfortunately, the film was not digitally remastered-- but the picture quality is still not that bad. An interesting documentary is included on how the movie was made and the reaction when it was shown. It also includes a slideshow of Luther sites.
This movie can't compare with the new movie (Luther, 2003 with Joseph Fiennes) as far as presentation is concerned. Yet it is still inspiring, and a faithful presentation of Luther's life."
Thumbs up for Martin Luther!
Todd Hudnall | Colorado Springs, CO | 08/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those who prefer your history acted out on the screen rather than read from a book, I highly recommend Martin Luther. The movie stays painstakingly close to the actual historical record (at least the record in Protestant history books). It begins with Luther as a young man studying for the legal profession and ends with him as the embodiment of the Protestant Reformation. The movie contains many details of his life, including his days as an Augustinian monk and his great struggles of faith. The story goes on to detail Luther's eye opening trip to Rome, the nailing of the 95 Theses, the Diet of Worms, his protective custody in the Wartburg Castle, a happy marriage to Katherine von Bora, his opposition to the Peasant's Revolt and almost every other major events of his life. The motion picture concludes with his best-known hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." All of the major characters are depicted from Eck and Melanchton to the drunk who purchased his indulgences in advance. For those of us who know the history, it is a joy to watch it portrayed. To those unfamiliar with the story, get ready for a quality history lesson. As a history lesson, please note that Luther is seen in the very best light. His courage, intellect, and passion are clearly portrayed. Yet like most human heroes, Luther had his dark side. His overreaction to the Peasant's Revolt, anti-Semitic views, and fondness for beer are not depicted in this script. Still the movie it is a quality portrayal of the life and times of Martin Luther. As for entertainment value, this black and white film may seem too slow moving and lacking embellished for today's "hyper stimulated" movie audiences. "Patriot" or "Braveheart" it is not. When released in 1953 it received 2 Academy Award Nominations. I feel actor Niall MacGinnis has given us an outstanding portrayal of Martin Luther. I highly recommend the movie. Running time 1 hour and 43 minutes."
Overall, a well done movie
Frank Webster | Dallas, TX USA | 02/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was a well done, reasonably accurate, portrayal of Martin Luther. It touches upon most, but not all, the major areas of his life. It does a good job of showing how he went from law school, to Augustinian monk, to a pilgrimage to Rome, to protesting the excesses of the Vatican. It captures his stormy personality well. To get some historical insight, it is an excellent movie. It is not Terminator, no buggy chases or bow/sword fights. I doubt seriously if Hollywood could make a film like this today that actually told a story without adding excessive violence, sex, or somehow making him a new age evangelist..."
Provides a good introduction to Reformation issues
Laurence A. Bates | MI USA | 10/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed this video. It doesn't paint either Martin Luther or the Catholic church as either a saint or a villain. It does show the corruption that all churches can sink to if they become self centered and self reliant. It also has a lot of insight into how believers should thoughtfully compare either their own life or current church practises with the scriptures."
Historically accurate and spiritually challenging
Laurence A. Bates | 03/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is consistent with written histories of Martin Luther and his times. It is rightfully an Academy Award Nominee, because the film is exceptionally moving and worthy as entertainment or education. The story explains the divide between Catholics and Protestants to any who are not sure, obviously from a Protestant perspective. Homeschoolers alert! Wonderful film."