Adapted from Irving Stone's fanciful biography of Michelangelo and starring Charlton Heston as the artist, THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY focuses on the five years that the artist spent creating the Sistine ceiling and his tumultuous relationship with Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison). The pope is a vain and ambitious sort who has commissioned the painting of the chapel with the intention of having his name preserved for posterity. To this end, he tries to bully and threaten the volatile painter, who is answerable only to his muse.
John Stacy - Actor
Philip Dunne - Director/Screenwriter/Prod.
Adolfo Celi - Italian Actor
Rex Harrison - British actor
Diane Cilento - Australian Actress/In UK
Fausto Tozzi - Italian Actor
Jerry Goldsmith - Film composer
Jerrald K. Goldsmith - Film composer
Jerrald Goldsmith - Film composer
Michael Hennagin - Film composer
Carol Reed - British Director/Producer
Sir Carol Reed - British Director/Producer
Franco Potenza - composer
Tomas Milian - Cuban Actor/In Italy
Alberto Lupo - Actor
Irving Stone - screenwriter, source writer
Harry Andrews - British Actor
Jack Martin Smith - Art Director
John De Cuir - Production Designer
John DeCuir - Production Designer
Leon Shamroy - American Director of Photography
Alex North - Composer
Charlton Heston - Oscar-winning American actor, BEN HUR (1959)
Charles Carter - Oscar-winning American actor, BEN HUR (1959)
Charlton Easton - Oscar-winning American actor, BEN HUR (1959)
Venantino Venantini - actor
Vittorio Nino Novarese
Much of what appeared in Irving Stone's biographical novel of the life of Michelangelo was of the author's invention, but few will dispute that the artist painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which is the subject of Carol Reed's film. Starring Charlton Heston as the irascible genius, it traces his life from the age of 13 to his death at 88 but deals mainly with the five years during which he painted the chapel. Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) has commissioned the work in the hope that it will serve as an immortal symbol of his enlightened papacy. Yet both his money and remaining years are finite, and his constant haranguing of the artist to finish his painstaking work is the source of an ongoing war of words between them. When not struggling with the pope, Michelangelo battles with his physical limitations and recalcitrant materials in the quest for perfection. The multifaceted Carol Reed (OLIVER!, THE THIRD MAN) has successfully taken on yet another genre in a film that also features superb art direction and costume design.
The film is based on the novel by Irving Stone, which recounted in detail Michelangelo's life from birth to death. The film was rumored to have cost $12 million; it allegedly earned back only $4 million. It is one of the first group of films produced under Darryl F. Zanuck upon his return to 20th Century Fox.