Luther (2003)

Rebel. Genius. Liberator.

Blu-ray, 2h 3min
Rating: 6.6
Votes: 14856
Languages: English, Latin
Country: Germany, USA, Czech Republic, Italy
Director: Eric Till

Plot outline

During the early sixteenth century, idealistic German monk Martin Luther, disgusted by the materialism in the Catholic Church, begins the dialogue that will lead to the Protestant Reformation.


During the early sixteenth century, idealistic German monk Martin Luther, disgusted by the materialism in the Catholic Church, begins the dialogue that will lead to the Protestant Reformation. - Gabe Taverney (

Biography of Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), the sixteenth century priest who led the Christian Reformation, and opened up new possibilities in exploration of faith. This movie begins with his vow to become a monk, and continues through his struggles to reconcile his desire for sanctification with his increasing abhorrence of the corruption and hypocrisy pervading the Church's hierarchy. He is ultimately charged with heresy and must confront the ruling Cardinals and Princes, urging them to make the Scriptures available to the common believer and lead the Church toward faith through justice and righteousness. - scgary66

The movie starts off with Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes) trying to escape a severe storm. He promises to become a monk if God lets him live through the storm. He survives and becomes a monk. He goes to Rome to deliver a priest's letters and sees how corrupt Rome has become. He buys an indulgence for his grandfather, Hendrick Luther. He is told, "Hendrick will be released from Purgatory and into the gates of heaven." He realizes that things shouldn't be this way, and goes back to Germany to talk to the priest. The priest sends him to Wittenberg to do a doctorate in theology. The priest believes that Martin will be able to "change minds and open eyes" in Wittenberg. Martin often goes to confession and becomes really aggravated with himself. He wants society to perceive things differently, such as the burial of a suicidal child outside sacred grounds, and he preaches in a church and tells everyone how his views toward God have changed. He lectures in his theology class and makes fun of indulgences and the money that Prince Frederick (Sir Peter Ustinov) collects. The Prince's secretary, Spalatin (Benjamin Sadler), warns Luther that he should stop embarrassing the Prince, because he is the one paying for him at the University. After seeing the effects of the preaching of John Tetzel (Alfred Molina), Martin Luther comes up with the 95 Theses and nails them onto the door of the church. Bystanders take the theses and use a printing press to turn them into books. This allows everyone to have a copy, and his ideas spread faster and easier. Pope Leo X (Uwe Ochsenknecht) thinks that Martin is a drunken German monk who will change his ideas when he becomes sober. Spalatin tells Luther that he is threatened with excommunication and is summoned to appear in Augsburg by Rome. Girolamo Aleander (Jonathan Firth) prepares Martin and tells him that all he should say in front of Cardinal Cajetan (Mathieu Carrière) is that he recants, but Martin doesn't follow through. Pope Leo X orders Martin's books to be burned, and Luther is excommunicated. Then, Martin translates the New Testament into German, because he believes that the common people need to be able to understand the scriptures. In Worms, Martin is given a hearing, and when he is asked if he will recant, he asks for one day to ponder his answer. That night, he goes to confession. The next day he refuses to recant. The Cardinal demands that Martin be delivered to Rome, but Prince Frederick doesn't want that, so he kidnaps Luther and keeps him in Wartburg Castle. When Luther disappears, chaos occurs. The people start to break down the church, and set it on fire. Luther disguises himself as a knight, and goes and stops the people from ruining the church. He finishes translating the New Testament into German and dedicates it to Prince Frederick. He meets a nun named Katharina von Bora (Claire Cox) and marries her. Pope Leo X dies, eight hundred thousand ducats in debt. Emperor Charles V (Torben Liebrecht) calls upon all the Princes to settle what began at Worms. Luther encourages the Princes to speak. He says, "Silence will not save us." All of the Princes stand up against Charles. Martin was successful. - David Henshaw