review for A Man for All Seasons on AllMovie

A Man for All Seasons (1966)
by Richard Gilliam review

A Man for All Seasons is a handsome adaptation of the stage play on which it is based, with fine acting, solemn issues, and a message of moral order that conservative audiences of the 1960s found attractive. Historians, however, have objected to the glorification of Sir Thomas More, who was hardly the innocent martyr portrayed by playwright/screenwriter Robert Bolt. For example, the historical More urged the executions of various "heretics," a distasteful matter that the film somehow overlooks. The appeal of A Man for All Seasons to 1966 audiences was a direct reaction to the cultural upheavals in the world at large. In a era where once-confident values were being questioned and sometimes destroyed, the story of the principled More, who sacrifices himself rather than give in to change and wickedness, had resonance among those who longed for simpler days with more concrete values. AMPAS, still a bit embarrassed over having honored the libertine Tom Jones three years earlier, showered the film with six Oscars, including Best Picture.