Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Originally presented in two parts for the British television anthology Empires, this very thorough biographical documentary concentrates on the German religious leader described by historian Michael Mullett as one of "the great emancipators in human history." Originally a Catholic prelate, Martin Luther (1483-1546) did not set out to spearhead the Protestant Rebellion; originally, he merely demanded the right to speak out against what he felt were the faults, shortcomings, and excesses of Catholicism as it stood during his time. But once he realized that an all-out reformation was needed, there was no stopping him. Although respectful to its subject, the film does not worship at Luther's altar; instead, it takes a dispassionate, open-minded viewpoint, carefully placing both Luther and his more inflammatory opinions (notably those regarding Jews) in the context of the 16th century. Actor Timothy West provides the voice of Luther, while Liam Neeson serves as narrator. Produced by filmmaker Cassian Harrison, the man also responsible for the award-winning Jerusalem : City of Heaven, Martin Luther was first broadcast on PBS July 9, 2003.
Catholicism, freedom-of-religion, German [nationality], Protestant, reform [improve], religious-leader