A Man For All Seasons is, I think, one of the movies being parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is filled with English people doing historical English things that are super important if you are Royalty and completely unimportant if you are anyone else.
I enjoy English actors acting the shit out of stuff so watching Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw chomping on the saga of Thomas More entertains me to no end.
As someone who is non religious, the central conflict seems petty to me. Sure, I can respect Thomas More for standing on his principles. You have to stand for something.
What he was standing for, however, was the religious sovereignty of the Pope. My response, of course, is a great big “who cares?”
I understand that More had some deeply held beliefs and Henry VIII was crapping all over those beliefs by trying to get a divorce. I further understand that he must have thought he was carving out a really sweet plot of land in heaven by being the good defender of the Catholic faith.
It totally scored him a sainthood so good on him, I guess.
On the other hand, why did anyone care? He wasn’t making a nuisance of himself. He wasn’t speaking out against the crown. In fact, he was going out of his way to avoid speaking out against the crown. Yet Henry felt some sort of personal slight had been made and as a result, he called for a good old-fashioned trial by rigged jury.