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Luther (2004)

Joseph Fiennes , Bruno Ganz , Eric Till  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, Peter Ustinov, Alfred Molina, Jonathan Firth
  • Directors: Eric Till
  • Writers: Bart Gavigan, Camille Thomasson
  • Producers: Alexander Thies, Bart Gavigan, Brigitte Rochow, Christian P. Stehr, Dennis A. Clauss
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2004
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002C9D9U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,821 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Luther" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Original theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) stars as Martin Luther, the brilliant man of God whose defiant actions changed the world, in this epic, ravishingly beautiful (The New York Times)film that traces Luther's extraordinary and exhilarating quest for the people's liberation. Regional princes and the powerful Church wield a fast, firm and merciless grip on 16th-century Germany. But when Martin Luther issues a shocking challenge to their authority, the people declare him their new leaderand hero. Even when threatened with violent death, Luther refuses to back down, sparkinga bloody revolution that shakes the entire continent to its core.

Like The Passion of the Christ, Luther is the story of a spiritual leader, German monk Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), in opposition to the religious orthodoxy of the time (in his case, the 1500s). His goal--to bring God to the people and to take money, fear, and shame out of the equation--made him a reformer to some, a heretic to others. Released around the same time as Mel Gibson's blockbuster, it failed to attract the same degree of attention--or controversy. Granted, it's a different film, but not radically so. Directed by Eric Till (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace), Luther isn't always easy to follow or as emotionally involving as it could be. That said, it's a fascinating story and Fiennes receives solid support from Alfred Molina (Frida), Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire), and the late Sir Peter Ustinov (Spartacus), in his final film role, as Frederick the Wise. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
171 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Changed How We See God October 23, 2003
There have been a lot of movies recently about God (Bruce Almighty) and faith (Dancing at Lughnasa), but many of them have avoided mentioning one word: Christ. Luther breaks that trend by addressing the foundation figure of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther. This film unabashedly presents the man as both a fallible human being, with crushing fits of self-doubt, and a man in constant pursuit of the mind of God, a man who changed the face of Europe.
Luther was and is an ambiguous figure to many, and this movie doesn't try to simplify anything. We see Luther (Joseph Fiennes) in the most productive and tumultuous years of his life, with the movie ending abruptly after the Augsburg Confession. The character of Luther's sponsor, Philip the Wise (Sir Peter Ustinov), is cut down, making him a friendly figure where he was in fact a shrewd politician who tried to use Luther's opinions as a way to enrich state coffers. The figure of Karlstadt (Jochen Horst) is real and receives comment, but the film doesn't really permit Luther to endorse or condemn his rebellion. Luther's wife and sometime foil, the sharp and witty Katerina von Borg (Claire Cox), doesn't even appear until near the end of the film. And Johann Tetzel (Alfred Molina), whose abuses spurred Luther's greatest accomplishments, is treated like a straw man.
This movie seems structured at times like a Cliffs Notes of Luther's life and work. Perhaps it's intended to encourage the viewing public to read the books themselves and find out who Luther was. It's certainly not a technical tour-de-force. The opening is cut together with the same abruptness as a trailer, Luther's conversions (he had three, each more profound than the last, like stairsteps) are compressed, the camera is usually unmoving, like a portable stage.
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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reluctant Hero November 22, 2004
I entered the theatre fearing the worst. I saw little reason to expect that a movie being distributed in the mainstream markets would be able to do justice to a character so reviled as Martin Luther. While he is a hero to many, to far more he is a villain - sectarian, racist, arrogant and divisive; a man who tore the Christian world apart and whose legacy remains to this day. I am happy to say that my fears were unfounded. Luther represents the man fairly, portraying him as a reluctant hero and one who, though plagued with doubts about his own abilities, was able to stand firm in the face of fearsome opposition.

The scope of the movie is impressive. It begins in 1505 with a young Luther running and crawling through a field, trying desperately to escape a fierce storm, all the while crying out to Saint Anne to save him. It ends twenty five years later, again with Luther in a field, though this time has is rejoicing, for he has just received the news that Emperor Charles V has given in to the German princes and has allowed Protestantism to survive. The movie ends at the beginning of religious tolerance in Germany.

The initial pace of the move is frantic. We see Luther giving his life to the service of the church and then nervously performing his first mass. We see him wrestling with his sinfulness and with his perception of an angry, vengeful God. He is assigned a task which takes him to Rome and there his disillusionment with the church grows as he sees brothels for priests and finds that the papacy is little more than a money-making institution. The poorest people in society give the little they have to the church to ransom their loved ones from purgatory. At this point the movie begins to slow its pace.
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203 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing movie October 31, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have seen many Luther films over the years. They make him into a superhero. In many senses Luther was a superhero but he didn't set out to be one. What I like about this movie is it brings in other aspects such as the Peasant Revolution and the ensuing slaughter. This is avoided in other movies about Luther. Such topics are risky fare for those hoping to make Martin Luther perfect. After all, Luther's greatest supporters were directly connected to the carnage. The movie makes Luther human for once and this movie isn't one of those boring theological dissertations. Sir Peter Ustinov turns out a magnificent performance as Duke Frederick in this, his final film before his death. I saw this 3 times in the movies and would have seen it more had the movie remained in local theaters longer.
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332 of 374 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever made. October 28, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this film in theaters last year and was awed by it.

First of all, the film is not anti-Catholic as some critics have said. It was made in Germany with the cooperation of the Catholic and Lutheran churches there. It is fact based and tells the truth about what happened. It may portray them in a bad light, but calling the film anti-Catholic would be like calling a film about the Holocaust anti-German.

This film shows the brutality of the Spanish inquisition and their notoriously anti-Prosestant attacks. Another early Protestant, William Tyndale, was executed for heresy. His 'crime' was translating the Bible into English. Though the Catholic Church did do these things, they have apologized for it.

The film has stunning performances by Joseph Finnes (Ralph Finnes' brother)and Peter Ustinov in his last film role before his death.

On October 31, 1517 A.D. the door of the Wittenberg church had Luther's 95 theses nailed on it, and with that the door to religious freedom was opened. This film should be seen even by secular people because if it were not for Luther, there may have been no seperation of Church and state until many years later.

The film is an absolute must-see for those interested in the Protestant Reformation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
This is a great film. It is the incredible true story of Martin Luther and the reformation. It is a great example of true Christian faith, and a man who was willing to lose... Read more
Published 2 days ago by P. McWhorter
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie.
Shared with a friend. Love this movie.
Published 9 days ago by John Larrabee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Highly recommend this video to learn how Christianity evolved and thanks be to God for Luther!
Published 12 days ago by Jan Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie!
Published 12 days ago by Andrea
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this movie
I really enjoyed this movie, the acting was great quality, the theology was accurate, and the life of Luther accurately portrayed.
Published 12 days ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
Good movie, good quality packaging
Published 14 days ago by Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
movie was awesome. Jesus is King!!!!!
Published 17 days ago by Michael Duke
4.0 out of 5 stars organized religion meets it's end
Decent entertaining pretty much corner to corner, Fiennes matches up with this lead characters background personality well. Read more
Published 18 days ago by D. D. Lampert
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved Duke Frederic-was great to get actor who did Nero ...
Well made Luther Character is not emphatic enough in personality and needs to be much more animated. Read more
Published 22 days ago by 1966 Alex Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
This film was better than I had expected, and it needs to be in all Christian homes.
Published 23 days ago by E Dee Monnen
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