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The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) is the tale of the creation of the ceiling fresco paintings for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The film is also the story of the trails and tribulations of the artist Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and his patron, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison), as they spar over money, Michelangelo's art, inspiration and a bit of the politics of the time.


The film has examples of:

  • Celibate Hero: Michelangelo's love is not women, but art, as Contessa D'Amici learns by the end of the film.
  • Church Militant: The goal of Julius II is to expand control of the papal states, in his belief that a more independent church shall better be able to create peace through Europe.
  • Corrupt Church: Receiving "donations" in order to create cardinals.
  • Doing It for the Art: Michelangelo; payment for him is important, but not critical.
  • The Film of the Book
  • The Noun and the Noun
  • The Pope: Julius II
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: God creating Adam, the inspiration for the famous fresco "Creation of Adam".
  • Unflinching Examination: Michelangelo and Julius II meet as the pope prepares to invade a city so they can discuss Michelangelo's new ideas for the chapel ceiling. As they go over the sketches, enemy artillery goes off around them.
  • Warrior Monk: Julius II is introduced in the movie as a knight first, and as the pope second.
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