Martin Luther

DVD Release: February 24, 2009
Martin Luther


Based on the life of the 16th century monk who defied excommunication and the stake in his demand for religious reform, “Martin Luther” provides the first motion picture portrayal of the incendiary beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. This dramatic motion picture, which was nominated for two “Oscars” – for photography and art direction, was produced in cooperation with the Lutheran Church on location in the towns, castles, and churches of West Germany. Careful research of European and American documents of Roman Catholic and Protestant writers formed the basis for the script and much of the dialog was culled from actual historic documents. Luther fought against the sale of indulgences. He demanded that the church of his day be cleansed of secular abuse and that the authority for doctrine and practice be scripture rather than Popes or Council. To bring up the abuse of indulgences for debate, he nailed 95-points of argument on the church door. This argument split the Roman Catholic Church and The Holy Roman Empire. Labeled a heretic, Luther was excommunicated by the Pope and banished and condemned by the Empire. Luther’s beliefs gave birth to an evangelical movement that quickly spread throughout Europe and the world.

Dove Review

This is an inspiring and well-made film about the great reformist, Martin Luther. His studies of scripture lead him to believe that Christ alone is the foundation for one’s spiritual life, and when he opposes the papacy he finds himself both with converts and enemies. This film was partially filmed on location in West Germany.

We see young Luther from the time he was an attorney in 1605 in Erfurt, Germany, to the time of his leadership and moving forward from the denunciation of his former association with the Catholic Church. Luther hates “indulges” and the teaching of silver purchasing souls from Purgatory.

We see him nail his beliefs including the scripture, found in Romans 1:17, “The Just Shall Live By Faith”, on the church door. This movie presents Luther as a man to be admired and emulated, a man who stuck to his belief in God’s word as being supreme to any church teaching apart from the word. We are very pleased to award our Dove Seal to this movie for ages twelve plus. The very young might find it slow moving and it includes a scene of a straw-man being burned in effigy representing Luther, but it is inspiring and a nice record of church history.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: None
Language: H (as a place)-2; Eternal damnation is mentioned a few times.
Violence: A straw-man is burned in effigy as Luther, a sign is hung saying "Death to Luther"; a comment is made about a Christian, who died as a result of being burned at the stake, who disagreed with the church.
Drugs: Drinking in a few scenes.
Nudity: A drawing features a woman nude from the waist up with breasts revealed and the drawing includes demons and angels; a shirtless man is seen.
Other: There are doctrines Luther comes to disagree with including confessing to a priest and the teaching of Purgatory; tensions and disagreement over scripture by various religious leaders; threats made to Luther.


Company: VCI Entertainment
Writer: Allan Sloane
Director: Irving Pichel
Producer: Robert E.A. Lee
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 103 min.
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter