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The Agony and the Ecstasy Details


Adapted by Philip Dunne from the novel by Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstacy is the story of the 16th century war of wills between Renaissance artist Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and "warrior pope" Julius II (Rex Harrison). Commissioned to paint a religious fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the independent-minded Michelangelo balks at the assignment. He is virtually strongarmed into accepting the job by Pope Julius, who wants to leave something for future generations to remember him by. Director Carol Reed deftly juggles screen time between the Pope's activities on the battlefield and Michelangelo's slow, arduous completion of his monumental task. The film also gingerly approaches the subject of Michelangelo's sexual orientation vis-a-vis his relationship with the Contessina de Medici (Diane Cilento). Too long and limited in subject matter to score at the box office, The Agony and the Ecstacy holds up pretty well when seen today, especially when viewed in a wide-screen print. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:September 24, 1965


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Philip Dunne Best Screenplay 1965 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alex North Best Original Score 1965 Nominee
National Board of Review Harry Andrews Best Supporting Actor 1965 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Leon Shamroy Best Color Cinematography 1965 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Rex Harrison Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1965 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jack Martin Smith Best Color Art Direction 1965 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Dario Simoni Best Color Art Direction 1965 Nominee


Charlton Heston
as Michelangelo
Rex Harrison
as Pope Julius II
Diane Cilento
as Contessina de' Medici
Harry Andrews
as Bramante
Alberto Lupo
as Duke of Urbino
Adolfo Celi
as Giovanni de Medici
Venantino Venantini
as Paris De Grassis
John Stacy
as Sangallo
Fausto Tozzi
as Foreman
Maxine Audley
as Woman
Tomas Milian
as Raphael
Alec McCowen
Richard Pearson
as Cardinal


Carol Reed
Carol Reed
Carol Reed
Philip Dunne
Screen Story
Philip Dunne
Irving Stone
Book Author
Leon Shamroy
Jerry Goldsmith
Composer (Music Score)
Alex North
Composer (Music Score)
Jack Martin Smith
Art Director