This is a very curious movie about the great German reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) that pleased neither Protestants nor Catholics. This is not to say that this film by the prolific director Eric Till is without value. The quality of the cinematography is extraordinary. The outside scenes were filmed in well-preserved late medieval churches, monasteries, and castles and this enables viewers to learn about early modem architecture in central Europe. Many scenes were actually filmed in the Czech Republic perhaps because production costs are significantly more expensive in Germany than in the Czech Republic. The major reason for seeing this movie, however, is that it would be a shame to miss the final film in which the great British actor Peter Ustinov (1921-2004) appeared. In Luther, Peter Ustinov played with great skill the role of Frederick the Wise of Saxony, who protects Luther for reasons that are never explained in this film. Viewers are left with the impression that Frederick the Wise protects Luther from Cardinal Albert of Brandenburg and Emperor Charles V and eventually converts from Catholicism to Lutheranism basically because he liked Luther. This film does not suggest that there was any theological motivation for Frederick the Wise's actions. Although the lines for Frederick the Wise are fairly wooden, the quality of Peter Ustinov's acting is so solid that it only serves to remind us how ineffective this film is from a theological and an historical point of view.
Campion, Edmund J.
"A Review of Eric Till's Film Luther,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 40:
3, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol40/iss3/5