A Man for All Seasons script
Synopsis: When the highly respected British statesman Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) refuses to pressure the Pope into annulling the marriage of King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) and his Spanish-born wife, More's clashes with the monarch increase in intensity. A devout Catholic, More stands by his religious principles and moves to leave the royal court. Unfortunately, the King and his loyalists aren't appeased by this, and press forward with grave charges of treason, further testing More's resolve.

CREDITS OVER:

1 CLOSE UP INSERT

A massive white hand with a bishop’s ring on it, extending from a scarlet satin sleeve, scribbles ferociously the last line of a letter; signs: “Wolsey. Ebor.”

The quill is thrown down, the letter shoved away.

2 INT WOLSEY’S STUDY

The red satin figure of WOLSEY, seated. A huge man of say sixty, the heavy face contemptuous, intellectual, corrupt. He broods at CROMWELL, his Secretary, a younger man with a subtle, serious, very vital face whose movements express energy perfectly controlled as he folds the letter, carefully drips melted wax on it, offers it to WOLSEY who seizes a heavy seal and:

3 CLOSE UP INT.

Smashes it onto the wax, leaving there the Cardinal’s coat-of-arms.

4 INT. HAMPTON DOOR & LONG GALLERY

Letter changes hands from CROMWELL to GENTLEMAN USHER at door of long gallery. USHER walks down gallery. PETITIONERS of every rank rise expectantly, fall back resignedly when they see who it is. He hands letter to MESSENGER in outdoor clothes.

5 INT. HAMPTON STAIRS

MESSENGER descending stairs encounters no-one.

6 EXT. HAMPTON COURTYARD

MESSENGER emerges from door to a courtyard of Hampton. Sunset; the brick walls crimson, the windows flashing bloodily. PANNING, we follow him towards black archway of main entrance. He passes through beneath the massive Royal Coat of Arms.

7 EXT. RIVERSIDE WITH GATE

At the riverside, wrought iron gate in foreground, we see him descend. steps to six-oared longboat. A litter.. of hire boats. nearby. He sits, letter prominent, nods. The rowers heave, longboat moves.

8 EXT. RIVER

LONG SHOT Longboat on the flaming river.

9 EXT. RIVER

LONG SHOT Longboat approaching, the riverbank different, the river silvery, the sky drained of light.

10 EXT. RIVER

MESSENGER looks up, checks his letter, grunts to STROKE ROWER who glances over shoulder at:

11 EXT. LONG SHOT RIVER

MORE’s Chelsea House approaching, a few lights, faint music mingled with the lapping water.

12 EXT. MORE’S HOUSE

STEWARD comes to garden door of MORE’s house to meet MESSENGER approaching. Doesn’t budge when they meet. MESSENGER relinquishes letter to STEWARD who turns on his heel and importantly enters house.

13 INT. MORE’S HOUSE CORRIDOR

Inside, enters corridor, approaching door from behind which, laughter. FINAL CREDIT 14 INT MORE’S HOUSE CORRIDOR

CLOSE SHOT STEWARD glances up and down the corridor, attempts to see what may be in the letter. His manner shows this to be mere impertinent curiosity, not espionage. He can make nothing of it so:

15 INT. MORE’S GREAT HALL

Enters. Clears his throat and signals to someone off scene. With him we see:

15a THE MORE FAMILY, RELATIVES and GUESTS, mostly young. Some are scholars, some are courtiers. ALICE, florid, coarse, splendidly strong and MARGARET, graceful, fine-faced, ardent and another GIRL sew at a half-completed tapestry spread across their knees, baskets of coloured silk at their feet. A pot of crystallized ginger is next to ALICE. YOUNG MEN sit in chairs, on the floor, some drinking wine.

NORFOLK, hard-faced aristocratic, brutal and frank, leans against the fireplace with one foot rested on the belly of an ancient dog. Another old dog is in evidence. On a table, four or five lutes and viols carelessly put down after familiar use—also books. In the background one YOUNG MAN is playing chess with a GIRL, while another GIRL is looking on. They are oblivious of the group at the fireplace A SERVANT is taking the leavings of a meal from the dining table. MORE, in the centre of the group, sees STEWARD. He rises quietly and approaches, his attention still on the conversation.

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Robert Bolt

British left-wing playwright best known for his screenplay for the 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean. more…

All Robert Bolt scripts | Robert Bolt Books

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"A Man for All Seasons" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 24 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/a_man_for_all_seasons_1131>.

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