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The Agony and the Ecstasy

Released Sep 24, 1965 2h 16m History Drama List
86% Tomatometer 7 Reviews 78% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings
During the Italian Renaissance, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) contracts the influential artist Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) to sculpt 40 statues for his tomb. When the pope changes his mind and asks the sculptor to paint a mural in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo doubts his painting skills and abandons the project. Divine inspiration returns Michelangelo to the mural, but his artistic vision clashes with the pope's demanding personality and threatens the success of the historic painting. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (7) Critics Reviews
Kevin Carr 7M Pictures Required viewing for the fan of pious filmmaking or the cinematographer in film school. From a story and character perspective, it's sadly very forgettable. Rated: 2/5 Mar 9, 2014 Full Review James Plath Movie Metropolis For some viewers, the agony will be watching Charlton Heston (over)act, and the ecstasy Rex Harrison. But it IS refreshing for a period film to cover such new and (pun intended) artistic ground. Rated: 7/10 Mar 2, 2014 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com As a chronicle of the artist Michelangelo, this is one of Carol Reed's most underwhelming films, though some of the production values are good. Rated: C+ Jul 6, 2010 Full Review Chuck O'Leary Fantastica Daily Rated: 3/5 Oct 21, 2005 Full Review Linda Cook Quad City Times (Davenport, IA) Rated: 5/5 Feb 9, 2003 Full Review Philip Martin Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Rated: 3/5 Jul 31, 2002 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (129) audience reviews
S R 12/15/23 - watched it again. It was tedious at times, but still well made, acted and directed. I did enjoy the introduction to the artist and that made me appreciate his work shown a bit more. Saw on TCM. Saw it ages ago and it still has stayed with me. Excellent performances and information about Michelangelo. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 12/16/23 Full Review Link I have watched this movie several times and it continues to illuminate the late Middle Ages well! The war scenes, man's struggle, and the amazing talent of Michelangelo. Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison shine brightly here. It's just a great story and equally great film! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review steve d There isn't much here besides religion. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Poor, historically inaccurate portrayal of how belief in ancient fables could capture parts of the world. Despite all the (multitudinous) evidence to the contrary, there are still some who will see this somehow as "religion" when it is nothing more than men battling, conquering, and dominating others for their own selfish reasons. Heston is usually bad, but here he is just mediocre, making this a movie about Rex Harrison, a better actor. Throw all rationality to the side as you watch this -- laugh if you can at the inaccuracies and the unpleasantness of life for everyone in the world who wasn't a world ruler or pope. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Audience Member What makes this film fascinating is the conflict between the two characters, which is centered mostly on a great dialogue that explores the motivations and creative process of a genius, with Charlton Heston delivering his typical overacting and Rex Harrison as magnetic as always. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Audience Member Yes, it's stolid and yes, some of the casting is underwhelming - but what rescues this rather lumpen block of art is Charlton Heston, whose surprisingly sensitive and vulnerable Michelangelo more than makes up for Diane Cilento's unsexy Medici and - particularly - Rex Harrison's clipped apparently Surrey-born Pope Julius: all he lacks is a briefcase, a Rolex and a few Lerner-Loewe songs. The last gasp of a particular kind of epic HGV. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Agony and the Ecstasy

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis During the Italian Renaissance, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) contracts the influential artist Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) to sculpt 40 statues for his tomb. When the pope changes his mind and asks the sculptor to paint a mural in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo doubts his painting skills and abandons the project. Divine inspiration returns Michelangelo to the mural, but his artistic vision clashes with the pope's demanding personality and threatens the success of the historic painting.
Director
Carol Reed
Producer
Carol Reed
Production Co
Twentieth Century Fox, Cinecittà, Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica
Genre
History, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 24, 1965, Original
Rerelease Date (Theaters)
Oct 7, 1965
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 1, 2013
Runtime
2h 16m
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