American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"A Man For All Seasons" (1966)


Sir Thomas More's Plea to the Court

Audio mp3 delivered by Paul Scofield


Judge: Sir Thomas More, you have been found guilty of high treason. The sentence of the Court --

More: My Lords, when I was practicing law, the manner was to ask the prisoner before pronouncing sentence if he had anything to say?

Judge: Have you anything to say?

More: Yes. Since the Court has determined to condemn me, God knoweth how, I will now discharge my mind concerning the indictment and the King's title.

The indictment is grounded in an act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to the law of God and His Holy Church, the Supreme Government of which no temporal person may, by any law, presume to take upon him. This was granted by the mouth of our Savior, Christ himself, to Saint Peter and the Bishops of Rome whilst He lived and was personally present here on earth.

It is, therefore, insufficient in law to charge any Christian to obey it. And more to this, the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and in the king's own coronation oath. 

  Cromwell: Now we plainly see you are malicious.

More: Not so. I am the king's true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm.

I do none harm.

I say none harm.

I think none harm.

And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith I long not to live.

Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!!    

Judge: You have been found guilty of high treason! The sentence of the Court is that you be taken from the Court to the tower of London until time and place be will be appointed for your execution.

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