A Man For All Seasons
Script - Dialogue Transcript
Voila! Finally, the A Man For All Seasons
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Paul Scofield as
Thomas More movie. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of A Man For All Seasons. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
Every second bastard born
is fathered by a priest.
But in Utopia that couldn't be.
-For there the priests are very holy.
-Therefore very few.
Is it anything interesting, Matthew?
-Bless you, sir. I don't know.
-Bless you too, Matthew.
To be sure, we have
some holy priests in England.
-Oh, name some.
Man's a simpleton.
It's from Cardinal Wolsey.
What's he want?
In Hampton Court?
You won't be there by midnight.
-The King's business.
Mistress Anne Boleyn's business.
Well, it's all the Cardinal's business.
That's very true. And when the Cardinal
calls, you all come running, day or night.
What is the man? A butcher's son.
Chancellor of England, too.
No, that's his office. What's the man?
Surely, Your Grace,
when a man rises so high and so swiftly...
...we must think he was misplaced
in his origins.
That, at least,
was the opinion of Aristotle and....
A butcher's son and looks it.
His looks, yes, I give you his looks.
What was that you said, Richard?
Nothing, Sir Thomas, it was out of place.
And Wolsey's still a butcher.
And you're a member of the King's
High Council, not an errand boy.
That is why I must go.
The Duke would go
if the Cardinal called him.
I'll be back for breakfast.
Go to bed.
"Dear Lord, give us rest tonight,
or if we must be wakeful, cheerful.
"Careful only for our soul's salvation.
For Christ's sake. Amen."
And bless our lord, the King.
-"And bless our lord, the King."
Excuse me, gentlemen.
Goodnight, Your Grace.
Keep clear of Wolsey, Thomas.
He's a frightened man.
-Who is that?
-A young friend from Cambridge.
-What's he want?
-What do they all want? A position.
-Can you give him a position?
-Do you recommend him?
-Did you recommend me?
Richard, I may have a position for you.
-What? What position?
-Not now, Richard. Tomorrow.
For you all, boatman.
Thank you, sir.
Sir Thomas is here, Your Grace.
You opposed me in the Council
this morning, Thomas.
Yes, Your Grace.
-You were the only one.
-Yes, Your Grace.
You're a fool.
Thank God there is only one fool
on the Council.
Why did you oppose me?
I thought Your Grace was wrong.
A matter of conscience.
You're a constant regret to me, Thomas.
If you could just see facts flat on...
...without that horrible moral squint.
With a little common sense,
you could have made a statesman.
Where's he been? Do you know?
I, Your Grace?
Spare me your discretion.
He's been to play in the muck again.
He's been to Mistress Anne Boleyn.
More, are you going to help me?
If Your Grace will be specific.
You're a plodder! All right, we'll plod.
The King wants a son.
What are you going to do about it?
I'm very sure the King needs no advice
from me on what to do about it.
Thomas, we're alone.
I give you my word, there's no one here.
I didn't suppose there was, Your Grace.
Do you favour a change of dynasty?
Do you think two Tudors are sufficient?
For God's sake, Your Grace!
Then he needs a son. I repeat,
what are you going to do about it?
I pray for it daily.
God's death, he means it.
That thing out there, at least she's fertile.
-But she's not his wife.
-No, Catherine's his wife...
...and she's barren as a brick.
Are you going to pray for a miracle?
There are precedents.
All right. Good. Pray by all means.
But in addition to prayer there is effort.
And my effort is to secure a divorce.
Have I your support, or have I not?
The Pope gave a dispensation,
so that the King might marry...
...his brother's widow for state reasons.
We are to ask the Pope to dispense with
his dispensation, also for state reasons?
I don't like plodding, Thomas. Well?
Then, clearly all we have to do is
to approach His Holiness and ask him.
I think we might influence
the decision of His Holiness.
Argument certainly. And pressure.
Pressure, applied to the Church?
The Church has its church property.
No, Your Grace, I'm not going to help you.
Then goodnight, Master More.
Let the dynasty die with Henry Vlll
and we'll have dynastic wars again.
Blood-witted barons ramping the country
from end to end.
Is that what you want? Very well.
England needs an heir.
Certain measures, perhaps regrettable...
...perhaps not, there's much in the Church
which needs reformation, Thomas.
All right, regrettable.
But necessary to get us an heir.
Now, explain how you, as a councillor
of England, can obstruct these measures...
...for the sake
of your own private conscience.
I think that when statesmen forsake
their own private conscience...
...for the sake of their public duties...
...they lead their country
by a short route to chaos.
And we shall have my prayers
to fall back on.
You'd like that, wouldn't you?
To govern the country with prayers?
Yes, I should.
I'd like to be there when you try.
Who will wear this after me?
Who's our next chancellor?
You? Fisher? Suffolk?
-Fisher for me.
-Aye, but for the King?
What about my secretary,
Cromwell. He's a very able man.
Me rather than Cromwell.
Then, come down to earth.
Until you do...
...you and I are enemies.
As Your Grace wishes.
As God wills.
Perhaps, Your Grace.
More! You should have been a cleric!
Like yourself, Your Grace?
Goodnight, Sir Thomas.
-From some grateful poor folk, in Leicester.
-You do more good than you know, sir.
My daughter has a case, sir,
in the Court of Poor Man's Causes.
Baked apples, sir.
To sweeten my judgement.
I'll give your daughter the same judgement
I would give my own.
A fair one, quickly.
Bless you, sir.
I understand. Yes. I'll read it.
Yes. Thank you.
Good evening, Sir Thomas.
-I'll read it.
-It's an awkward case.
-I could illuminate it for you--
-I'll read it.
Just a moment or two....
I expect you'll make it worth my while, sir.
-You've got a licence?
-Bless you, yes sir, I've got a licence.
-Well then, the fares are fixed.
-They are, sir.
Hampton to Chelsea downstream,
a penny halfpenny.
Chelsea to Hampton upstream,
a penny halfpenny.
Whoever makes the regulations
doesn't row a boat.
No. Threepence if you get me home
Thank you, sir.
A nice cup, sir.
That's worth money, sir.
Mind a way, sir.
Thank you, sir.
-Have you been here all night?
You said there was a post?
Yes. I'll offer you a post, with a house,
a servant and £ a year.
At the new school.
Richard, no one's going to give you
a place at court.
Master Cromwell says
he'll do something for me.
Well, if you know Cromwell
you don't need my help.
If only you knew how much,
much rather, I had your help than his.
Not to a place at court.
-What is it?
-It's a bribe!
"l am the gift of Averil Machin."
And Averil Machin has a lawsuit
in the Court of Requests.
Italian silver. Take it. No joke.
What will you do with it?
-And buy what?
-A decent gown!
But Richard, that's a little bribe.
At court they offer you all sorts of things,
home, manor houses, coats of arms.
A man should go
where he won't be tempted.
Why not be a teacher? You'd be
a fine teacher. Perhaps a great one.
-lf I was, who would know it?
-You! Your pupils. Your friends.
God. Not a bad public, that.
And a quiet life.
You say that.
You come from talking with the Cardinal.
Yes, talking with the Cardinal.
It's eating your heart out, isn't it?
The high affairs of state.
-Take this gentleman to the New lnn!
Be a teacher.
-Lady Alice in bed?
The Master Roper's here, sir.
At this hour? Who let him in?
He's a hard man to keep out, sir.
Will wants to marry me, Father.
Well, he can't marry you.
Sir Thomas, I'm called to the Bar.
Oh, congratulations, Roper.
My family may not be at the palace,
but in the city--
There's nothing wrong
with your family, Will.
There's not much wrong with you.
Except you seem to need a clock.
I can buy a clock, sir.
Roper, the answer is no...
...and will be no as long as you're a heretic.
Now, that's a word I don't like,
It's not a likeable word or thing.
The Church is heretical!
Dr. Luther's proved that to my satisfaction!
Luther is an excommunicate!
From a heretic Church!
Church? It's a shop!
-Salvation by the shilling! And divorces!
-What I know, I'll say!
-You've no sense of the place!
He's no sense of the time.
Now listen well.
Two years ago you were
a passionate churchman.
Now you're a passionate Lutheran.
We must just pray
that when your head's finished turning...
...your face is to the front again.
-ls your horse here?
-No, sir, I walked.
Well, take a horse from the stables
and get back home.
May I come again?
Is that final, Father?
As long as he's a heretic, Meg,
What did Wolsey want?
Nice boy, young Will.
Terribly strong principles, though.
-You're very pensive.
-You're very gay.
Was it the divorce?
They're a cantankerous lot, the Ropers.
Always swimming against the stream.
Old Roper was just the same--
You don't want to talk about it.
-I'm sorry you were awakened, chick.
-I wasn't sleeping very deeply.
What did Wolsey want?
-Will Roper's been.
Yes, he's been here all night.
He wants to marry Meg.
-Why you don't beat that girl l--
She's full of education
and it's a delicate commodity.
Marry Meg. A lawyer's son.
Well, she's a lawyer's daughter.
Norfolk spoke of you
for Chancellor of England before he left.
Well, he's a dangerous friend then.
Wolsey's chancellor, God help him.
But Norfolk said, if Wolsey fell, you--
If Wolsey fell, the splash would swamp
a few small boats like ours.
There'll be no new chancellors
while Wolsey lives.
The Duke of Norfolk,
Earl Marshal of England.
Have you any message for His Majesty?
If I had served God...
...one half so well as I've served my King...
...God would not have left me here,
to die in this place.
Thank God you're dying here.
The King would have you die in the Tower.
"l am straightly charged
by the King himself...
"...here openly to declare
how much all England...
"...is beholden to this man.
"And how worthy he is
to have the highest room in the realm.
"And how dearly
the King's grace doth love and trust him...
"...not only for much good council...
but for better council yet...
"...that which is privy to the King's person.
"This same Sir Thomas More...
"...here made before you all to be...
"...Lord Chancellor of the Realm."
Calm yourself, Matthew.
Fetch Lady Alice.
That's very well.
My lady! The King!
Now remember, the visit's a surprise.
But he'll know we're expecting him--
It's a very great honour.
One friend calling on another.
What's he really coming for?
To talk about the divorce.
He wants an answer.
-But he's had his answer.
-He wants another.
Your Majesty does my house more honour
than I fear my household will bear.
No ceremony Thomas, no ceremony!
A passing fancy.
I happened to be on the river.
By heaven, what an evening.
I fear we came upon you unexpectedly.
Yes, Your Grace. Well, no, Your Grace.
Well, that is, we are ready to entertain--
This is my daughter Margaret, sire.
She's not yet had the honour
to meet Your Grace.
they told me you were a scholar.
Among women, I pass for one, Your Grace.
Can you dance, too?
Not well, Your Grace.
Well, I dance superlatively!
That's a dancer's leg, Margaret!
the river's given me an appetite.
If Your Grace would share
a very simple supper.
It would please me. Lead them in.
Thomas and I will follow.
My lords and gentlemen!
Do you like music?
Yes, Your Grace.
They'll play to you.
Now, listen to this.
Be seated. No courtship, Thomas.
You're my friend, are you not?
Thank God I have a friend
for my chancellor.
Readier to befriend, I trust,
than he was to be chancellor.
My own knowledge of my poor abilities--
I will judge of your abilities.
You know that Wolsey named you
Before he died, Wolsey named you,
and Wolsey was no fool.
He was a statesman
of incomparable ability, Your Grace.
Was he so?
Then, why did he fail me?
It was villainy then.
Yes, villainy. Secret opposition, secret.
But deliberate, wilful,
Wanted to be pope to master me, Wolsey.
What is it? Thought!
Because I'm simple and plain and deal
with every man straightforwardly.
Because of that I say,
do they take me for a simpleton?
Wolsey was a proud man, Thomas.
Pride right through.
And he failed me.
Failed me in the one thing that matters,
then as now.
What an evening.
A man could fight a lion.
Some men could, Your Grace.
...touching this matter of my divorce.
Have you thought of it
since we last spoke?
Of little else.
Then you see your way clear to me?
That you should put away
Queen Catherine, sire?
Alas, as I think of it, I see so clearly...
...that I cannot come with Your Grace,
that my endeavour is...
...not to think of it at all.
Then you haven't thought enough!
We have them at Hampton.
Not so fine as this, though.
I'm in an excellent frame of mind.
Thomas, you must consider,
I stand in peril of my soul.
It was no marriage.
I have lived in incest
with my brother's widow.
Leviticus: "Thou shalt not uncover
the nakedness of thy brother's wife."
Leviticus. Chapter verse .
Yes, Your Grace. But Deuteronomy--
Deuteronomy is ambiguous!
Your Grace, I'm not fitted
to meddle in these matters.
To me, it seems a matter for the Holy See--
Thomas, does a man need a pope
to tell him where he's sinned?
It was a sin.
God's punished me.
I've no son.
Son after son she's borne me.
All dead at birth, or dead within the month.
I never saw the hand of God
so clear in anything.
It's my bounden duty
to put away the Queen.
And all the popes, back to Peter,
shall not come between me and my duty!
How is it that you cannot see?
Everyone else does.
Then, why does Your Grace
need my poor support?
Because you're honest.
And what is more to the purpose,
you're known to be honest.
Those like Norfolk follow me
because I wear the crown.
Those like Cromwell follow
because they're jackals with sharp teeth...
...and I'm their tiger. A mass follows me...
...because it follows anything that moves.
And then there's you.
I am sick to think
how much I must displease Your Grace.
No, Thomas, I respect your sincerity.
...man, that's water in the desert.
How'd you like our music?
That air they played, it had a certain....
Well, tell me what you thought of it.
Could it have been Your Grace's own?
Now I'll never know your true opinion,
and that's irksome.
Well, we artists, we love praise,
yet we love truth better.
-Then I will tell my true opinion.
To me it seemed delightful.
Thomas, I chose the right man
I should in fairness add that my taste
in music is reputedly deplorable.
Your taste in music is excellent!
It exactly coincides with my own.
Send them back without me, Thomas.
I'll live here in Chelsea and make music.
My house is at Your Grace's disposal.
Touching this other business, mark you...
...I'll have no opposition.
No opposition, I say. No opposition.
I'll leave you out of it
but you are my chancellor.
I don't take it kindly
and I'll have no opposition!
I see how it will be.
The bishops will oppose me!
The full-fed princes of the Church!
Hypocrites! All hypocrites!
Mind they do not take you in, Thomas!
Your Grace is unjust.
If I cannot serve Your Grace
in this great matter of the Queen.
I have no queen!
Catherine's not my wife!
No priest can make her so.
They that say she is my wife
are not only liars, but traitors!
That I will not brook now!
I will not brook.
It maddens me!
It is a deadly canker in the body politic,
and I will have it out!
You see how you've maddened me?
I hardly know myself.
If you could come with me,
there's no man I'd sooner raise...
...yes, with my own hand.
Your Grace overwhelms me.
Eight o'clock, Your Grace.
Lift yourself up, man.
Have I not promised I'll leave you out of it?
Shall we eat?
If Your Grace pleases.
Eight o'clock, you said.
The tide will be turning.
-I was forgetting the tide. I must go.
-I'm sorry, Your Grace.
If I don't catch the tide
I'll not get back to Richmond.
No, don't come.
Lady Alice, I must go and catch the tide.
Affairs call me to court.
So we give you our thanks
and we say goodnight!
-You crossed him!
-I couldn't find the other way.
You're too nice altogether, Thomas.
-Woman, mind your house!
-I am minding my house!
God save Your Majesty!
God save Your Grace!
God save the King!
Sire! Sire! Sire!
Are you coming my way, Rich?
I think you should, you know.
I can't tell you anything.
Stay friends with him.
Whatever may be done by smiling,
you may rely on me to do.
Set your mind at rest.
This is not the stuff
of which martyrs are made.
Good evening, sir, Lady Alice.
Will wants to talk to you, Father.
I told him it wouldn't be convenient.
You were quite right.
You're very free
with my daughter's hand, Roper.
It's of that I wish to speak.
Sir, you've had a disagreement
with His Majesty.
-So Meg tells me.
I offer my congratulations.
If it's true,
is it a matter for congratulation?
Sir, when last I asked you
for your daughter's hand...
...you objected to my unorthodox opinions.
Well, since then my views
have somewhat modified.
Well, that's good hearing, Will.
Mind you, I modify nothing concerning
the various corruptions in the Church.
-But an attack upon the Church herself...
...no. I see behind that an attack on God.
-The Devil's work...
...to be done by the Devil's ministers!
For heaven's sake, remember my office.
If you stand on your office--
No, I don't stand on it,
but there are certain things I may not hear.
Do you know William Roper, the younger?
By reputation, of course.
-Good evening, Master....
You've heard of me?
In what connection?
I don't know what you can have heard.
I sense that I'm not welcome here.
Why Richard? Have you done something
to make you not welcome?
Cromwell is asking questions.
About you. He's always asking
questions about you and your opinions.
Of him, for one. That's one of his sources.
Of course. That's one of my servants.
All right, Matthew.
Well, you look at me
as though I were an enemy.
Why Richard, you're shaking.
I would be faithful.
You couldn't answer for yourself
even so far as tonight.
-Libel. He's a spy!
-That man's bad!
-There's no law against that.
-Then God can arrest him.
-While you talk, he's gone!
Go he should, if he were the Devil,
until he broke the law.
-Now you give the Devil benefit of law!
-Yes, what would you do?
Cut a road through the law
to get after the Devil?
Yes. I'd cut down every law in England
to do that.
And when the last law was down,
and the Devil turned on you...
...where would you hide, Roper,
the laws all being flat?
This country is planted with laws
from coast to coast...
...Man's laws, not God's,
and if you cut them down...
...and you're just the man to do it...
...do you really think you could stand
upright in the wind that would blow then?
I give the Devil benefit of law
for my own safety's sake.
In there, sir.
Rich? Come in.
Taken you long enough to get here.
Have I kept you waiting?
Do you know the news?
-Sir Thomas Paget is retiring.
And I succeed him.
Secretary to the Council?
'Tis surprising, isn't it?
I mean, one sees that's logical.
Sit down, Rich.
No ceremony, no courtship...
...as His Majesty would say.
You see how I trust you.
I'd never repeat or report a thing like that.
What kind of thing
would you repeat or report?
Nothing said in friendship.
Do you believe that?
That would depend what I was offered.
Don't say it just to please me.
It's true. It would depend
what I was offered.
Well, there is another post vacant.
Collector of Revenues for York.
Is it in your gift?
What must I do for it?
I know a man
who wants to change his woman.
Normally a matter of small importance,
but in this case...
...it's our liege, Lord Henry,
the eighth of that name.
Which is a quaint way of saying that
if he wants to change his woman, he will.
And our job as administrators...
...is to minimise the inconvenience
which this is going to cause.
That's our only job, Rich,
to minimise the inconvenience of things.
A harmless occupation
you would say, but no.
We administrators are not liked, Rich.
We are not popular.
I say "we" on the assumption you'll accept
the post at York I've offered you.
It's a bad sign when people are depressed
by their own good fortune.
-I'm not depressed.
-You look depressed.
I was lamenting. I've lost my innocence.
Some time ago.
Have you only just noticed?
Your friend, our present Lord Chancellor,
now there's an innocent man.
The odd thing is, he is.
Yes, I say he is. Unhappily...
...his innocence is tangled up
in this problem...
...that you can't change your woman
without a divorce...
...and you can't get a divorce
unless the Pope says so.
And from this meaningless circumstance,
I foresee a certain measure of....
This goblet he gave you,
how much was it worth?
Come along, he gave you a silver goblet.
How much did you get for it?
It was a gift, wasn't it,
from a litigant, a woman?
-Which court? Chancery?
Don't get drunk!
Which court was the litigant's case?
Court of Requests.
There. That wasn't too painful, was it?
And you'll find it easier, next time.
My Lord Archbishop, my lords...
...Reverend Doctors of the Church.
The answer of our liege, Lord Henry...
...to his trusty well-beloved subjects...
...pontiffs in the Canterbury Convocation.
"...acknowledges your humble admission
of many grievous errors...
"...for which he accepts...
"...the manumission of £ in token.
"Mindful for the well-being of the realm
and the quietness of his subjects...
"...His Majesty requires that you do now
straightly renounce your pretended...
"...allegiance to the See of Rome.
"And admit the statute
passed through parliament...
"...acknowledging the King's good title...
"...Supreme Head of the Church
Well, my lords, what's your answer?
Yea or nay?
His Majesty accepts your resignation
He's mindful of your goodness
and past loyalty.
And in any matter concerning your honour
and welfare he'll continue your good lord.
You will convey my humble gratitude.
-Help me with this.
Sun and moon, Master More, you're taken
for a wise man. Is this wisdom?
To betray your ability...
...abandon your station
and forget your duty to your kith and kin?
Shall l, sir?
No, thank you, son Roper.
If you want.
There's my clever girl.
Well done, sir! In my opinion,
that thing's a degradation.
I'll tell you my opinion
of the King's title, too--
Don't! Will, silence!
Remember, you have a wife now...
...and may have children.
All right, Thomas, make me understand...
...because I tell you,
to me this looks like cowardice!
All right, I will.
This isn't reformation,
this is war against the Church.
Our King has declared war on the Pope
because the Pope will not declare...
-...that our Queen is not his wife.
-And is she?
Have I your word that what we say here
is between us two?
And if the King should command you
to repeat what I may say?
I should keep my word to you.
Then what has become of your oath
of obedience to the King?
You lay traps for me!
No, I show you the times.
We are at war with the Pope.
For the Pope's a prince, isn't he?
He is. He's also the descendant
of St. Peter, our only link with Christ.
So you believe.
And will you forfeit all you have...
...which includes the respect
of your country, for a belief?
Because what matters
is that I believe it, or rather, no...
...not that I believe it, but that I believe it.
-I trust I make myself obscure?
Why do you insult me
with this lawyer's chatter?
Because I'm afraid.
Man, you're ill.
This isn't Spain, you know.
This is England.
My friends, you all know
why I've called you here.
I have today resigned my office.
I am no longer a great man.
Sir, we want you to know
that we're all on your side.
My side? What side is that?
Well, sir, we all know what you think.
None of you knows what I think.
And if you guess...
...and babble it about,
you do me no good service.
Since I am no more a great man,
I no longer need a great household.
Nor can I afford one. You will have to go.
However, I still number some great men
among my friends...
...and they still need great households.
No one will be turned away
until we've found another place for him.
-We can't find places for them all.
-Yes, we can.
That is all.
What about you, Matthew?
Will you stay?
Well, sir, that's according.
There will be more work and less money.
Well then, I don't see how I can then, sir.
After all, I've got my own--
Quite right, Matthew. Why should you?
I shall miss you, Matthew.
Oh, no, sir, you see through me, sir.
I know that.
I shall miss you.
Damn me! Isn't that them all over!
Miss me? What's in me for him to miss?
"Matthew, will you take a cut in wages?"
No, Sir Thomas, I will not.
And that's it. And that's all of it! All right,
so he's down on his luck, I'm sorry.
I don't mind saying
that I'm sorry, bad luck.
If I had good luck to spare
he could have some!
I wish we could have good luck
all the time.
I wish rainwater was beer!
I wish we had wings! But we don't.
Well, there's an end of you.
What'll you do now? Sit by the fire...
...and make goslings in the ash?
Not at all, Alice.
I expect I'll write a bit...
...I'll read, I'll think.
I think I'll learn to fish.
I'll play with my grandchildren
when son Roper's done his duty.
-Alice, shall I teach you to read?
-No, by God!
Poor, silly man,
you think they'll leave you here to think?
If we govern our tongues, they will!
I have a word to say on that. I've made
no statement. I've resigned, that's all.
The King is made, by act of parliament,
Supreme Head of the Church in England.
This English Church will divorce him from
the Queen, then marry him to Lady Anne.
But on any of these matters,
have you heard me make a statement?
If I'm to lose my rank and fall to
housekeeping, I want to know the reason.
-So make a statement now.
Alice, it's a point of law.
Accept it from me...
...that in silence is my safety,
under the law.
And my silence must be absolute,
it must extend to you.
In short, you don't trust me.
I'm the Lord Chief Justice,
I'm Cromwell, I'm the keeper of the Tower.
I take your hand...
...I clamp it on the Bible,
on the blessed Cross and I say:
"Woman, has your husband
made a statement on these matters?
"On peril of your soul remember,
what is your answer?"
And so it must remain.
Have you opened your mind to Meg?
Would I tell Meg what I won't tell you?
Meg has your heart.
I know that well enough.
This is a dangerous matter then...
...if you've not told Meg.
I don't think so. No.
When they find I'm silent...
...they'll want nothing better
than to leave me silent.
But he's silent, Master Secretary,
why not leave him silent?
Your Grace, not being a man of letters...
...you perhaps don't realise
the extent of his reputation.
This silence of his
is bellowing up and down Europe!
In Europe he is claimed
as the King's enemy.
Rubbish! Crank he may be,
traitor he is not.
Exactly. And with a little pressure....
With a little pressure
he can be got to say so.
That's all we need.
A brief declaration of his loyalty...
-...to the present administration.
-I still say, let sleeping dogs lie.
The King does not agree with you.
What kind of pressure do you think
you can bring to bear?
I have evidence that Sir Thomas,
while he was a judge, accepted bribes.
Goddammit! He was the only judge
since Cato who didn't accept bribes!
When was there a chancellor
whose possessions, after three years...
...totalled £ and a gold chain?
It is, as you imply, common practice...
...but a practice may be common
and remain an offence.
This offence could send a man
to the Tower.
This woman's name is Averil Machin.
She comes from Leicester.
-She entered a case--
-A property case it was.
Shut your mouth.
A property case in the Court of Requests
in April, .
And got a wicked false judgement!
And got an impeccably correct judgement
from Sir Thomas.
-No, sir, it was not!
-Tell the gentleman...
...about the gift you gave the judge.
I gave him a cup, sir.
A silver ltalian cup I bought in Leicester,
Did Sir Thomas accept this cup?
Yes, sir, he did.
He did accept it. We can corroborate that.
You can go.
-To my way of thinking--
-ls that your witness?
By an odd coincidence that cup later
came into the hands of Master Rich here.
-He gave it to me, Your Grace.
-Gave it to you? Why?
Yes, you were a friend, weren't you?
When did Thomas give you this thing?
I can't exactly remember.
Do you "remember" what you did with it?
-I sold it.
-Has the shop still got it?
No. They've lost all track of it.
You doubt Master Rich's word,
It had occurred to me.
This is the bill of sale.
That cow put her case into court in April,
you said. This is dated May.
In other words, the moment Thomas knew
the cup was a bribe...
...he dropped it into the nearest gutter.
The facts will bear that interpretation,
This is a horse that won't run,
Just a trial gallop.
We'll find something better.
-I want no part of it.
-You have no choice.
What's that you say?
The King particularly wishes you
to be active in this matter of Sir Thomas.
He's not told me that.
Indeed? He told me.
Look here, Cromwell...
...what's the purpose of all this?
There you have me.
It's a matter of conscience, I think.
The King wants Sir Thomas
to bless his marriage.
If Sir Thomas appeared at the wedding
now, it might save us all a lot of trouble.
He won't attend the wedding.
If I were you, I'd try and persuade him.
I really would try, if I were you.
Cromwell, are you threatening me?
My dear Norfolk, this isn't Spain.
This is England!
We've been cutting greens.
We use them for fuel.
I have a letter for your father,
Lady Margaret. From Hampton Court.
He's to answer certain charges
before Secretary Cromwell.
Good of you to come, Sir Thomas.
Master Rich will make a record
of our conversation.
Good of you to tell me, Master Secretary.
I think you know one another.
Indeed yes, we're old friends.
That's a nice gown you have, Richard.
Sir Thomas, believe me.
No, that's asking too much.
But let me tell you all the same.
You have no more sincere admirer
No, not yet, Rich, not yet.
If I might hear the charges.
-I understand there are certain charges.
Some ambiguities of behaviour
I should like to clarify, hardly charges.
Make a note of that, will you, Master Rich?
There are no charges.
Sir Thomas, Sir Thomas.
The King is not pleased with you.
I am grieved.
And yet, do you know that even now,
if you could bring yourself...
...to agree with the Church,
universities, the Lords and the Commons...
...there is no honour which His Majesty
would be likely to deny you?
I am well acquainted with
His Grace's generosity.
You have heard of the so-called
"Holy Maid of Kent"...
...who was executed for prophesying
against the King?
-Yes, I met her.
-Yes, you met her.
Yet you did not warn His Majesty
of her treason. How was that?
She spoke no treason.
Our talk was not political.
But the woman was notorious.
Do you expect me to believe that?
-Happily, there were witnesses.
-You wrote a letter to her.
Yes. I wrote, advising her to abstain
from meddling in the affairs of state.
I have a copy of the letter. Also witnessed.
-You have been cautious.
-I like to keep my affairs regular.
In the June of
the King published a book.
A theological work.
It was called,
A Defence of the Seven Sacraments.
For which he was named "Defender
of the Faith" by His Holiness, the Pope.
By the Bishop of Rome,
or do you insist on "pope"?
No. "Bishop of Rome" if you like.
It doesn't alter his authority.
Thank you. You come to the point
very readily. What is that authority?
For example, in the Church of England...
...what exactly is
the Bishop of Rome's authority?
You will find it very ably set out
and defended, Master Secretary...
...in the King's book.
In the book published under
the King's name, would be more accurate.
-You wrote this book.
-I wrote no part of it.
I don't mean you actually held the pen.
I answered to my best ability,
some points of common law...
...which the King put to me,
as I was bound to do.
Do you deny you instigated it?
It was from first to last
the King's own project.
The King says not.
The King knows the truth of it.
And whatever he may have said to you...
...he will not give evidence
to support this accusation.
Because evidence is given on oath,
and he will not perjure himself.
If you don't know that,
then you don't yet know him.
Sir Thomas More.
Have you anything to say...
...regarding the King's marriage
with Queen Anne?
I was not to be asked that again.
Then you understood wrongly.
They are terrors for children,
Master Secretary, not for me!
Then know that the King
commands me to charge you...
...in his name, with great ingratitude!
And to tell you that there never was,
nor could be, so villainous a servant...
...nor so traitorous a subject, as yourself!
...I am brought here at last.
You've brought yourself
to where you stand now.
You may go.
For the present.
What will you do now?
Oh, come, come, it's not as bad as all that!
I can't get home.
They won't bring me a boat.
Do you blame them?
Is it as bad as that?
It's every bit as bad as that!
Then it's good of you to be seen with me.
I followed you.
Were you followed?
-You're dangerous to know!
-Then don't know me.
-I do know you.
-I mean as a friend.
-I am your friend. I wish I wasn't, but I am.
-What's to be done then?
-I can't give in, Howard.
Our friendship's more mutable than that.
The one fixed point in the world
of turning friendship...
-...is that Sir More won't give in.
-To me it has to be, for that's myself.
Affection goes as deep in me
as you, I think.
But only God is love right through,
Howard, and that's my self.
And who are you?
A lawyer! And a lawyer's son!
We're supposed to be the proud ones,
the arrogant ones, we've all given in.
Why must you stand out?
Goddammit man! It's disproportionate!
You'll break my heart.
No one is safe, Howard,
and you have a son.
We'll end our friendship now.
-For friendship's sake?
Norfolk, you're a fool!
You can't place a quarrel,
you haven't the style.
Hear me out. You and your class
have given in, as you rightly call it...
...'cause this country's religion
means nothing to you at all.
Well, that's a foolish saying for a start!
The nobility of England--
The nobility of England would have
snored through the Sermon on the Mount!
But you'll labour like scholars
over a bulldog's pedigree.
An artificial quarrel is not a quarrel.
We've had a quarrel since the day we met.
Our friendship was mere sloth.
You can be cruel when you want,
but I've always known that.
What do you value in your bulldogs?
Gripping, is it not?
-It's their nature?
-It's why you breed them?
It's so with men.
I will not give in, because I oppose it.
Not my pride, not my spleen,
nor any other of my appetites, but I do, l.
Is there, in the midst of all this muscle,
no sinew that serves no appetite...
...of Norfolk's, but is just Norfolk?
-Give that some exercise, my lord!
As you stand you'll go before your Maker
And he'll think that, somewhere back along
your pedigree, a bitch got over the wall!
Cast in this very house
on April last year...
...it is a matter very fit
for the Commons, gathered here...
...in parliament, to take in hand.
Or, in consequence of the decay of guilds...
...the woolen cloth, now coming out
of Yorkshire, Lincoln...
...and the like, is not to blame and this....
I will defer the rest of my matter to later.
That the loyal Commons, here assembled,
will speedily enact this bill, I doubt not.
For as much as it concerns the King's
new title and his marriage to Queen Anne.
Both matters pleasing to a loyal subject.
Mark, my Masters...
...there is among us
a brood of discreet traitors...
...to which deceit
the King can brook no longer.
And we, his loyal huntsmen, must now
drive these subtle foxes from their covert.
I couldn't get a boat.
What is it, Meg?
Father, there's a new act
going through parliament.
And by this act,
they're going to administer an oath...
...about the marriage.
On what compulsion is the oath?
-But what is the wording?
Do the words matter?
We know what it means.
Tell me the words.
An oath is made of words.
It may be possible to take it.
And if it can be taken,
you must take it, too.
Listen, Meg. God made the angels
to show him splendour.
As he made animals for innocence
and plants for their simplicity.
But Man he made to serve him wittily,
in the tangle of his mind.
If he suffers us to come to such a case
that there is no escaping...
...then we may stand to our tackle
as best we can.
And yes, Meg, then we can clamour
like champions, if we have the spittle for it.
But it's God's part, not our own,
to bring ourselves to such a pass.
Our natural business lies in escaping.
If I can take this oath, I will.
I would, for my sake,
you could take the oath.
I never took a man into the Tower
Thank you, Master Governor.
This is iniquitous.
-Where to this time?
This is the Seventh Commission
to inquire into the case...
...of Sir Thomas More, appointed
by His Majesty's Council.
Have you anything to say?
-Seen this document before?
It is the Act of Succession.
These are the names
of those who have sworn to it.
-I have, as you say, seen it before.
-Will you swear to it?
Thomas, we must know--
We must know plainly whether you
recognise the offspring of Queen Anne...
...as heirs to the throne.
The King in parliament
tells me that they are.
-Of course I recognise them.
-Will you swear to it?
-Then why won't he swear to the act?
Because there is more than that in the act.
Just so. Sir Thomas, it states in the
preamble that the King's former marriage...
...to the Lady Catherine was unlawful...
...she being his brother's widow and
the Pope having no authority to sanction it.
Is that what you deny?
Is that what you dispute?
Is that what you are not sure of?
You insult His Majesty and Council
in the person of the Lord Archbishop!
I insult no one.
I will not take the oath.
I will not tell you why I will not.
-Then your reasons must be treasonable!
-Not "must be," may be.
It's a fair assumption!
The law requires more than an assumption,
the law requires a fact.
Of course, I cannot judge
your legal standing in the case...
...but until I know the ground
of your objections...
...I can only guess
your spiritual standing, too.
If you're willing to guess that, it should be
small matter to guess my objections.
Then you do have objections to the act?
Well, we know that, Cromwell!
No, my lord, you don't.
You may suppose I have objections,
all you know is that I will not swear to it...
...for which you cannot lawfully
harm me further.
But if you were right in supposing me
to have objections, and right again...
...in supposing my objections
to be treasonable...
...the law would let you cut my head off.
Well done, Sir Thomas.
I've been trying to make that clear
to His Grace for some time.
Oh, confound all this! I'm not a scholar.
I don't know if the marriage
was lawful or not...
...but damn it, Thomas,
look at these names.
Why can't you do as I did,
and come with us, for fellowship?
And when we die, and you are sent
to heaven for doing your conscience...
...and I am sent to hell for not doing mine,
will you come with me, for fellowship?
So, those of us whose names are there,
are damned, Sir Thomas?
I have no window to look into
another man's conscience.
I condemn no one.
-Then the matter is capable of question?
But that you owe obedience to the King
is not capable of question.
So weigh a doubt against a certainty
Some men think the earth is round,
others think it flat.
It is a matter capable of question.
But if it is flat,
will the King's command make it round?
And if it is round,
will the King's command flatten it?
No, I will not sign.
Then you have more regard for
your own doubt than the King's command?
-For myself I have no doubt.
-No doubt of what?
No doubt that I will not take this oath.
But why I will not, you,
Master Secretary, will not trick out of me.
I might get it out of you in other ways.
You threaten like a dockside bully.
How should I threaten?
Like a minister of state, with justice!
Justice is what you're threatened with.
Then I am not threatened.
Gentlemen, can't I go to bed?
Aye. The prisoner may retire
as he requests.
-I see no purpose in prolonging this.
Then, goodnight, Thomas.
May I have one or two more books?
Why, you have books?
I didn't know, you shouldn't have.
May I see my family?
Have you ever heard the prisoner speak
of the King's divorce, supremacy...
-...or the King's marriage?
-No, not a word.
If he does, you will repeat it to me.
remove the prisoner's books.
Is that necessary?
With regards to this case,
the King is becoming impatient.
-Aye, with you.
-With all of us.
The King's impatience
will embrace a duke or two.
Sir Redvers Llewellyn has retired.
The Attorney General for Wales.
His post is vacant.
You said that I might approach you.
Not now, Rich.
He must submit. He must!
No. The King's conscience
will not permit it.
We have to find some other way.
Meg. For God's sake,
they haven't put you in here?
-No, sir, a visit.
-A brief one, Sir Thomas.
-Good morning, husband.
Good morning, Will.
Well, this is a hellish place!
Except it's keeping me from you,
my dears, it isn't so bad.
It's remarkably like any other place.
-Yes. It's too near the river.
Well, what is it?
Father, come out!
Swear to the act and come out!
Is this why they've let you come?
Meg's under oath to persuade you.
That was silly, Meg.
How do you plan to do that?
"God more regards the thoughts
of the heart than the words of the mouth."
-Well, so you've always told me.
Then say the words of the oath
and in your heart think otherwise.
What is an oath then,
but words we say to God?
When a man takes an oath, he's holding
his own self in his own hands...
And if he opens his fingers then,
he needn't hope to find himself again.
Some men aren't capable of this, but I'd be
loathed to think your father one of them.
-I have another argument.
In any state that was half good,
you would be raised up high, not here...
-...for what you've done already.
It's not your fault
the state's three-quarters bad.
If you elect to suffer for it,
you elect to be a hero.
That's very neat.
But look now. If we lived in a state
where virtue was profitable...
...common sense would make us saintly.
But since we see that avarice, anger,
pride and stupidity...
...commonly profit far beyond charity,
modesty, justice and thought...
...perhaps we must stand fast a little...
...even at the risk of being heroes.
But in reason!
Haven't you done as much
as God can reasonably want?
Well, finally it isn't a matter of reason.
Finally, it's a matter of love.
You're content then to be shut up here
with mice and rats...
-...when you might be home with us?
If they'd open a crack that wide, I'd be
through it like a bird and back to Chelsea.
I haven't told you
what the house is like without you.
-What we do in the evening without you.
-Meg, have done.
We don't read because we've no candles.
We don't talk because we wonder
what they're doing to you.
The King is more merciful.
He doesn't use the rack.
Two minutes to go, sir.
-I thought you'd like to know.
-Sorry, sir. Two minutes.
Listen, you must leave the country.
All of you must leave the country.
-And leave you?
-lt makes no difference.
They won't let me see you again.
You must all go on the same day,
but not on the same boat.
-Different boats from different ports.
-After the trial, then.
There'll be no trial, they have no case.
Do this for me, I beseech you.
-Alice, I command you!
This is splendid.
-I know who packed this.
-I packed it.
You still make a superlative custard, Alice.
That's a nice dress you have on.
Nice colour anyway.
My God, you think little of me!
I know I'm a fool...
...but I'm not such a fool
as to be lamenting for my dresses...
...or to relish complimenting
on my custards.
I'm well rebuked.
I'm sick with fear when I think of the worst
they may do to me.
But worse than that will be to go
with you not understanding why I go.
If you can tell me that you understand,
I might make a good death, if I have to.
-Your death's no good to me.
-You must tell me that you understand.
I don't believe this had to happen!
If you say that
I don't see how I'm to face it.
It's the truth!
-You're an honest woman.
-Much good may it do me.
I'll tell you what I'm afraid of...
...that when you've gone,
I shall hate you for it.
You mustn't, Alice.
As for understanding, I understand you're
the best man I ever met or ever likely to.
And if you go, God knows why I suppose,
though as God's my witness...
...God's kept deadly quiet about it.
And if any one wants to know
my opinion of the King and his Council...
...he only has to ask for it!
Why, it's a lion I married.
A lion. A lion.
This is good.
It's very good.
Sorry, Sir Thomas!
-Oh, for pity's sake!
-Time's up, sir.
-But one more minute!
-You don't know what you're asking.
-Come along, Miss.
-For heaven's sake.
Now, don't do that, sir.
Now, madam, don't make trouble.
Come along, please, Lady Alice.
Take your muddy paws off me!
Filthy, stinking, gutter-fed, turnkey!
I'll see you suffer for this!
You must understand my position, sir.
I'm a plain, simple man
and I just want to keep out of trouble.
Dear Lord Jesus, my soul Saviour,
clear my wits.
Dear Lady, Blessed Mother of God,
comfort my wife and daughter...
...and forgive me for them.
Sir Thomas More, though you have
heinously offended the King's majesty...
...we hope that if you'll even now
forethink and repent of obstinate opinion...
...you may still taste his gracious pardon.
My lords, I thank you.
As for the matters
you may charge me with...
...I fear from my present weakness,
that neither my wit...
...nor my memory will serve...
...to make sufficient answer.
I should be glad to sit down.
A chair for the prisoner.
Master Secretary Cromwell,
have you the charge?
-I have, my lord.
-Then read the charge.
"That you did wilfully and maliciously
deny and deprive...
"...our liege, Lord Henry,
of his undoubted certain title...
"...Supreme Head of the Church
But, I have never denied this title.
At Westminster Hall, at Lambeth,
and again at Richmond...
...you stubbornly refused the oath.
Was this no denial?
No, this was silence.
And for my silence,
I am punished with imprisonment.
-Why have I been called again?
-On a charge of high treason, Sir Thomas.
For which the punishment
is not imprisonment.
...comes for us all, my lords.
Yes, even for kings he comes.
The death of kings is not in question,
Nor mine, I trust, until I'm proven guilty.
Your life lies in your own hands, Thomas,
as it always has!
Is that so, my lord?
Then I'll keep a good grip on it.
So, Sir Thomas...
...you stand on your silence?
But, gentlemen of the jury...
...there are many kinds of silence.
Consider first the silence of a man
when he is dead.
Suppose we go into the room
where he is laid out and we listen.
What do we hear?
What does it betoken, this silence?
Nothing. This is silence pure and simple.
But let us take another case.
Suppose I were to take a dagger
from my sleeve...
...and make to kill the prisoner with it.
And my lordships there, instead of crying
out for me to stop, maintain their silence.
That would betoken!
It would betoken a willingness
that I should do it.
And under the law,
they would be guilty with me.
So silence can,
according to the circumstances...
Let us consider now the circumstances
of the prisoner's silence.
The oath was put to loyal subjects
all over the country who all declared...
...His Grace's title to be just and good!
But when it came to the prisoner,
He calls this "silence."
Yet, is there a man in this court....
Is there a man in this country...
...who does not know
Sir Thomas More's opinion of this title?
Yet, how can this be?
Because this silence betokened...
...nay, this silence was not silence at all,
but most eloquent denial!
Not so, Master Secretary.
The maxim of the law is,
"Silence gives consent."
If, therefore, you wish to construe
what my silence betokened...
...you must construe that I consented,
not that I denied.
Is that in fact what the world
construes from it?
Do you pretend that is what you wish
the world to construe from it?
The world must construe
according to its wits.
This court must construe
according to the law.
My lords, I wish to call Sir Richard Rich!
Richard Rich, come into court.
"l do swear the evidence I'll give
before the court shall be the truth...
"...the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth."
"So help me God," sir.
"So help me God."
Now Rich, on May
you were at the Tower?
-For what purpose?
I was sent to carry away
the prisoner's books.
-Did you talk with the prisoner?
Did you talk of the King's supremacy
of the Church?
What did you say?
I said to him, "Supposing there were
an act of parliament...
"...to say that l, Richard Rich,
were to be king.
"Would not you, Master More,
take me for king?"
"That I would," he said.
"For then you would be king."
Then he said,
"But I will put you a higher case.
"How, if there were an act of parliament,
to say that God should not be God?"
-This is true and then you said--
But then I said,
"l will put you a middle case.
"Parliament has made our King
Head of the Church.
"Why will you not accept him?"
And then he said,
"Parliament had not the power to do it."
Repeat the prisoner's words.
"Parliament had not the competence."
Or words to that effect.
He denied the title!
In good faith, Rich,
I am sorrier for your perjury than my peril.
-Do you deny this?
You know if I were a man
who heeded not the taking of an oath...
...I need not be here.
Now, I will take an oath.
If what Master Rich has said is true...
...I pray I may never see God in the face.
Which I would not say, were it otherwise,
for anything on earth!
-That is not evidence.
-ls it probable....
Is it probable
that after so long a silence on this...
...the very point so urgently sought of me...
...I should open my mind
to such a man as that?
Sir Richard, do you wish
to modify your testimony?
No, my lord.
Is there anything you wish
to take away from it?
No, my lord.
Have you anything to add?
No, my lord.
-Have you, Sir Thomas?
-To what purpose?
I am a dead man.
You have your will of me.
Then the witness may withdraw.
There is one question
I would like to ask the witness.
That's a chain of office you're wearing.
May I see it?
The Red Dragon.
Sir Richard is appointed
Attorney General for Wales.
Why Richard, it profits a man nothing
to give his soul for the whole world.
But for Wales.
My lords! I've done.
The jury will retire
and consider the evidence.
Considering the evidence, it shouldn't
be necessary for them to retire.
Is it necessary?
Then is the prisoner guilty or not guilty?
Guilty, my lord!
Sir Thomas More,
you have been found guilty of high treason.
-The sentence of the court--
When I was practising the law,
the manner was to ask the prisoner...
...before pronouncing sentence,
if he had anything to say.
Have you anything to say?
Since the court has determined
to condemn me...
...God knoweth how...
...I will now discharge my mind...
...concerning the indictment
and the King's title.
The indictment is grounded
in an act of parliament...
...which is directly repugnant...
...to the law of God and His Holy Church.
The supreme government of which
no temperable person...
...may by any law
presume to take upon him.
This was granted...
...by the mouth...
...of our Saviour, Christ Himself...
...to St. Peter and the bishops of Rome
whilst He lived...
...and was personally present...
...here on earth.
It is therefore insufficient in law...
...to charge any Christian to obey it.
And more than this...
...the immunity of the Church is promised
both in Magna Carta...
...and in the King's own coronation oath.
Now, we plainly see you are malicious!
I am the King's true subject...
...and I pray for him and all the realm.
I do none harm.
I say none harm.
I think none harm.
And if this be not enough
to keep a man alive...
...then in good faith, I long not to live.
...it is not for the supremacy
that you have sought my blood...
...but because I would not bend
to the marriage!
You have been found guilty of high treason.
The sentence of the court
is that you be taken...
...to the Tower of London...
...until the day hence to the appointment...
...for your execution!
I am commanded by the King to be brief...
...and since I am
the King's obedient subject...
...brief I will be.
I die His Majesty's good servant...
...but God's first.
I forgive you, right readily.
Be not afraid of your office.
You send me to God.
You're very sure of that, Sir Thomas?
He will not refuse one who is so blithe
to go to him.
Thomas More's head was stuck
on Traitor's Gate for a month.
Then his daughter, Margaret,
removed it and kept it 'til her death.
Cromwell was beheaded for high treason
five years after More.
The Archbishop was burned at the stake.
The Duke of Norfolk should have
been executed for high treason...
...but the King died of syphilis
the night before.
Richard Rich became
Chancellor of England...
...and died in his bed.