Reformation day idea: Martin Luther DVD [1953]

Reformation day idea:

Martin Luther, DVD [1953]

How will you be celebrating Reformation Day (Oct. 31st)? A game of pin the 95 theses on the door? Munching on gummy worms (aka Diet of Worms)? Grilling hamburgers (aka a Papal Bull BBQ)? Well this year my family and I will celebrate the day with a movie night.

Although there is a more recent movie on the great reformer, in my opinion nothing beats the movie Martin Luther. Released in 1953, Martin Luther is a black-and-white classic, unsurpassed in depicting both the boldness of Luther and the doctrinal divisions at stake. It depicts Luther wrestling with Paul and the ever-important phrase, “the just shall live by faith.”

One of my favorite scenes is from the debate at Leipzig where Luther says,

“I have the right to believe freely, to be a slave to no man’s authority, to confess what appears to be true whether it is proved or disproved, whether it is spoken by Catholic or by heretic… In matters of faith I think that neither counsel nor Pope nor any man has the power over my conscience. And where they disagree with Scripture, I deny Pope and council and all. A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest Pope without it.”

Luther was bold and strong. The writing of this movie and the acting of Niall MacGinnis bring these characteristics out clearly.

Though it is an older movie, technological upgrades have been introduced to the DVD version. Especially helpful are the subtitles (as the audio can be a bit unclear at times) and the photographic tour of locations and characters. Before watching the movie (especially with kids) it’s great to become familiar with the characters and locations. The DVD also includes a documentary on the making of the film and actor/actress biographies.

So to go along with the Papal Bull BBQ and a Diet of Worms, consider sanctifying October 31st with the classic movie, Martin Luther.

5 thoughts on “Reformation day idea: Martin Luther DVD [1953]

  1. Thanks for the recommendation Tony. I had no idea about this movie depiction of Luther’s life. I have seen “Luther” and enjoyed it and it looks like I will be looking to watch this film as well. Also, wanted to say that I like your site a lot. I found it via the story on the ESV blog about the blank bible (which is really cool). Also, cool to hear you are involved with Sovereign Grace. I attend Covenant Fellowship in the Philadelphia area and my life has truly been blessed through that church.

  2. Praz,

    Thanks for stopping in! You will enjoy the movie. Say hello to pastor Jim D. – enjoyed a great lunch in Louisville with him. What an incredibly gifted evangelist.

    Stay in touch,


  3. I just stumbled upon your post, and immediately have learned something about the movie you described. On October the 31st I’m going to Wittenberg for a service in the Schlosskirche. There is also hold some dispute.
    About the movie: I supposed the new “Luther” movie a little bit to short, especially when he realizes the consequences of the “Peasant war”.
    The quote you made on the top also was for me always connected with the Reichstag in Augsburg, which was later than Leipzig. Perhaps I’m simply mixing it up.
    Have a nice day!

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