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Reformation Day
Reformation Day
Luthers' 95

Reformation Day
aka Halloween
Table of contents


General Beginnings

Henry VIII

Queen Elizabeth I

English Civil War


American War of

At the Movies




John WyCliffe: The Morningstar (distributed by Christian Film Distributor's Association) Peter Howell, Jeremy Roberts Michael Burtenshaw, Barrie Cookson and Noel Howlet Biography of 14th century scholar who translated the Bible into English for the first time.  He taught that man cannot buy God's forgiveness with indulgences and that the only true authority is God's Law-Word.  Great way to introduce the morningstar of the Reformation.  By the way, the gent that plays Wycliffe also plays Lord Howard Cunningham in the BBC's Elizabeth R series.

John Hus (1981, distributed by Vision Video) Story of this man in a flashback mode that lived years before Martin Luther.  He was convinced the Bible should be in the language of the people, salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ, and God's Law-Word is the final authority.  He openly taught at the University of Prague.  Through intrigue and treachery, John Hus was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. He died singing.

Martin Luther (1953, De Rochemont) The dramatic black and white classic film of Martin Luthers life made in the 1950s.  This film was originally released in theaters worldwide and nominated for an Academy Award.  A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reforming efforts.  This film traces Luthers life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Church.  This film, in spite of its age, continues to be a popular resource to introduce Luthers life. Unfortunately, the gentleman that plays Martin Luther tends to have him come across as psychotic (which is probably why it won awards in Hollywood!).  This is not that great a film, but it'll have to do until something better comes along.  


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Henry VIII of England
King Henry wrote a treatise against Martin Luther which won for him the title "Defender of the Faith" by the pope. However, as this man needed an heir to the throne, he changed his "faith".

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1971, BBC production, 6 videos, 90 minutes each) Effectively analyzes each individual wife of Henry VIII giving reasons behind the divorces and beheadings. Historically accurate except the writer obviously couldn't stand Cromwell (this is not Oliver Cromwell) other than this unfortunate bias, the video set is not bad.

God's Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale (Vision Video) Today, William Tyndale is known as "the father of the English Bible" and recognized as one of the major leaders of the English Reformation.  The movie deals with international politics, (visible) church intrigue, betrayal and false justice which ended in a criminal's death for William Tyndale.  He was actively pursued by King Henry VIII, Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More and Cardinal Wolsey.

A Man For All Seasons (1966, Columbia Pictures) Robert Shaw, Paul Scofield and Orson Welles Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) is the only one standing in the way of Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon (mother of Queen Mary known as "Bloody Mary" & King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain's daughter).  Catherine has failed to produce a male heir and Henry (Robert Shaw) is confident Anne Boleyne will be able to give him a son.  The king is backed by everyone except Sir Thomas More.

A Man For All Seasons (1988)
Charlton Heston is Sir Thomas More, a man of rare courage a scholar and statesman who will make any sacrifice for king and country as long as he can do so with a clear conscience. His opposition to King Henry VIIIs break with the Roman Catholic Church provides the conflict and universal appeal in "A Man For All Seasons."  Co starring Vanessa Redgrave and Sir John Gielgud. 2 hr 48 min

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969, Universal Pictures)  Richard Burton as Henry VIII pursues and, later, chops off the head of his wife Anne Boylene (Queen Elizabeth's mother)

Prince and the Pauper (1937) Errol Flynn plays Miles Hendon, Claude Rains is the Earl of Hertford, and Alan Hale is the Captain of the Guard --- The movie is based on Mark Twain's' novel where Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour) who swaps places with a twin-like boy his age to experience the life of a commoner.


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Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth R (1971, BBC production, 6 videos, 90 minutes each, follow up BBC production to The Six Wives of Henry VIII)  Takes you through the life of young Princess Elizabeth through to her death.  NOTE:  In video #3, Shadow in the Sun, unfortunately, there are 2 extremely brief scenes of nudity after about an hour into the video one is male [maybe 3 seconds] the other female [maybe 4 seconds].  (Unfortunately, the gentleman families took their videos to in our area to black out various things in purchased videos moved! My girls just look down.).  For whatever reason, this BBC production did not stop to correct errors.  In one of the videos the actors/actresses must "go on with the show" as they are awaiting proper lighting which does, eventually, come on.  Later, a fly buzzes around in front of the camera. In another of the videos, the scene is in Elizabeth's bedroom where she is having a discussion with several women. See if you can hear the passing of gas (for that is what it sounds like) and how professionally the actresses cover.

The Sea Hawk (1940, Warner Bros.) A privateer, Geoffrey Thorpe (Errol Flynn) is employed by Queen Elizabeth I to harry the Spanish in order to delay the Armada.  Although Flynn's character is pure fiction it yet is a compilation of Sir Francis Drake (yeah!), Frobisher, and Hawkins. Good way to introduce and begin to explore these honorable men.  This movie gives a good idea of the Spanish Inquisition without getting graphic (don't worry, it is not bloody).  When Geoffrey Thorpe is sentenced to be a galley slave, remind your children that this was what the gallant, chivalrous, and genteel John Knox went through for 2 years!!  (This movie gives a positive take of Queen Elizabeth.  However, toward the end of her reign both Roman Catholics and Protestants alike ended up detesting her.)

Don Juan (1948, Warner Bros.) The film is also known as The New Adventures of Don Juan. Errol Flynn as Don Juan (This was Philip II of Spain's illegitimate son.  Remember:  It was Philip that continued to pursue the Spanish Inquisition in the Low Countries and sent the Spanish Armada to England in order to rid the land of Protestant "heretics")


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English Civil War

Captain Blood (1935, Warner Bros.) Errol Flynn is Captain Peter Blood, Olivia De Havilland is Arabella Bishop and Basil Rathbone is Captain Levasseur Occurs in 17th century England. Captain Blood is unlawfully convicted of treason for tending a rebel soldier in 1685.  He's unlawfully sentenced to death but is transported to Port Royal where he is sold into slavery. Captain Blood escapes, goes a-pirating, then sails to Arabella rescuing Olivia De Havilland and returns her to Port Royal.  There he finds the island under attack by the French (who are now at war with England), saves the town and is made the governor.  Based on the book Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini.

Cromwell (1970, Columbia Pictures Corporation) Richard Harris is the godly Christian warrior-statesman, Oliver Cromwell and Alec Guinness is the self-serving, treacherous King Charles I Oliver Cromwell is preparing to take his family to the colonies, but the evening before they are to leave, God's providential care intervenes.  There are many fascinating points in this movie.  However, what was of great use to me was pointing out the difference between the Christian use versus the humanistic use of the word damn.  Oliver Cromwell used it in agreement with God's Law-Word, while the humanists used it as slang thereby making light of God's Law-Word.


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Forever Amber (1947, 20th Century Fox) Linda Darnell is Amber St. Clair, Cornel Wilde plays Bruce Carlton, Richard Greene as Lord Almsbury, George Sanders is King Charles II and Jessica Tandy plays Nan Britton Based on the book by the same title by Kathleen Winsor.  Shows the decadence Restoration England fell to after Oliver Cromwell dies. Also takes you through the Great Fire and the Plague.  The movie was banned in Boston and the Pope forbade Roman Catholics from seeing it.  Many today have a difficult time objectively studying the moral baseness that fell upon England after Cromwell.  Under Charles II for the first time, the movie accurately portrays, women were allowed on the stage.


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American War of Independence

There are several movies listed on At the Movies that will show how the Great Reformation continued in the New World.  Review the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and several other founding documents of the United States for Great Reformation documents.


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