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The Film A Man For All Seasons

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The film A Man for All Seasons is an absolute masterpiece. It really is a cinematic tour de

force. Directed by the legendary Fred Zinnemann, well known for High Noon, and starring

incredibly talented and powerful actors as Paul Scofield, who plays the wonderful Thomas

Moore, Orson Welles, and John Hurt. This won six academy awards in 1966. The film uses the

historical story of Sir Thomas Moore to explore one of Zinnemann’s favorite themes--

martyrdom- a person standing up even to death for their personal beliefs. Not only that, this film

also wrestles with several themes that deal with legal issues such as hot to deal with

conscientious objectors, natural law versus positive law, consequentialism versus deontology and

the history of legal safeguards in the Common Law Tradition.

The character of Sir Thomas Moore, a devout Catholic who sat on the Kings Council and

eventually became Lord Chancellor, is a jurist who is devoted to the law of England. He

performs his duties diligently and with care. He turns down attempts at bribery and ruling with a

leaned hand of justice. Moore and King Henry the VIII, played by Robert Shaw, are very close

friends. The King seeks a divorce from his barren wife so that he can wed his mistress and

hopefully have an air to his throne. The church rejects King Henry’s request and in turn, King

Henry declares himself that head of the Church and puts pressure on the clergy to accept his

divorce and his new wife. Moore’s
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