How about some films on the patron saints of attorneys, civil servants, politicians, & statesmen? Hey wait a second! We are talking about ONE person - the beheaded lord chancellor of England under Henry VIII!
As per the Catholic Encyclopedia, it was only after deeply serious contemplation that Thomas More "chose...to be a chaste husband rather than an impure priest....The question of religious vocation being disposed of, More threw himself into his work at the Bar and scored immediate success....In October, 1529, More succeeded Wolsey as Chancellor of England, a post never before held by a layman....As chancellor it was his duty to enforce the laws against heretics....it was the vices of heretics that he hated, not their persons....
[In 1530] "came the royal proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as 'Supreme Head' of the Church....[More's] firm opposition to Henry's designs in regard to the divorce, the papal supremacy, and the laws against heretics, speedily lost him the royal favour, and in May, 1532, he resigned his post of Lord Chancellor after holding it less than three years....For the next eighteen months More lived in seclusion and gave much time to controversial writing. Anxious to avoid a public rupture with Henry he stayed away from Anne Boleyn's coronation....Neutrality, however, did not suit Henry....
"In March, 1534, the Act of Succession was passed which required all who should be called upon to take an oath acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, and to this was added a clause repudiating 'any foreign authority, prince or potentate'. On 14 April, More was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath and, on his refusal, was committed to the custody of the Abbot of Westminster. Four days later he was removed to the Tower....In June, Rich, the solicitor-general, held a conversation with More and, in reporting it, declared that More had denied Parliament's power to confer ecclesiastical supremacy on Henry....On 1 July, More was indicted for high treason....More denied the chief charges of the indictment, which was enormously long, and denounced [Richard] Rich, the solicitor-general and chief witness against him as a perjuror....The story of his last days on earth...is of the tenderest beauty and should be read in full; certainly no martyr ever surpassed him in fortitude"
The great play, A Man for All Seasons, went on to become a classic film, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1966 (Yup, the very same academy that has given that very same award to such other illustrious "classics" as Midnight Cowboy (1969), American Beauty (1999), and No Country for Old Men (2007)). As per Alison Weir, "More had a talent for friendship and was essentially charming and courteous, yet he could be scathing when aroused, and he was overfound of using scatalogical terms when reviling heretics and others of whom he disapproved." Some great lines from A Man for All Seasons include:
- (In response to objection over his use of the word, "heretic":) "It's not a likeable word. It's not a likeable thing!"
- "The nobility of England, my lord, would have snored through the Sermon on the Mount."
- (To his betrayer, Richard Rich:) "Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world...But for Wales!"
But most powerfully,
- (Pointing to himself:) "this is not the stuff of which martyrs are made." WRONG!
- "I Die His Majesty's Good Servant, but God's First"
As noted by one blogger, it is rather amazing that "When called on to choose his favorite film, the potty-mouthed director of rude little movies like CLERKS and DOGMA chooses the story of Saint Thomas More." Click here for an amazing 2001 New York Times interview with Kevin Smith.