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Filmography - The Protestant Reformation, 1517-1648: Home

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of May 2017

The Protestant Reformation, 1517-1648. Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Gutenberg, Thomas More, Calvin, and the rest

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of May 2017. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications.

Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. To find titles acquired after this filmography was last updated, use keyword searching in (

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The Age of Reformation: Who will sing? 1 online resource (streaming video file) (42 minutes).  Delve into the religious reformations of the 16th century, and learn how the underlying theological debates shaped sacred music. In particular, grasp how changes in Christian ritual impelled William Byrd, Martin Luther, and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina to pioneer new musical genres and ways to make sung texts more intelligible and communicative.  Streaming video.

Anne of the thousand days. 2007, 1 videodisc (146 min.).  Henry VIII of England divorces his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, who has failed to produce a male heir. Instead, he favors the young and beautiful Anne Boleyn. Henry weds Anne and soon she gives him a child. The girl, Elizabeth, is a bitter disappointment to Henry, who desperately wants a male heir. Anne promises Henry a son, but Henry is doubtful. Jane Seymour is at court and Henry's wandering eye has found her. The Queen has her sent away, but, if Anne will bring Jane back to court, the King promises to sign the Act of Succession to insure that Elizabeth will be Queen. Anne's one-thousand-day reign as Queen of England ends with the loss of her head on the block.   DVD 7055

The body of the queen: The British wars / Revolutions. 2002, 1 videodisc (ca. 180 min.).  The body of the queen (1558-1603) -- Elizabeth I led a Protestant nation to greatness in a hostile, Catholic world, all the while defecting intense pressure to marry and conceive an heir. Her success stands in marked contrast to the fate of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. -- The British wars (1603-1649) -- Charles I ascended to the throne in 1625 with a firm belief in the Divine Right of Kings. This almost immediately put him at odds with the Parliament, and their struggle soon expanded to every corner of the British Isles. -- Revolutions (1646-1689) -- England emerged from 50 years of civil wars a kingless republic led by Oliver Cromwell, yet the fighting was far from over. Cromwell sent troops to Scotland and Ireland, and after his death, and the restoration of the monarchy, a brief period of peace came to an end during the regain of James II. DVD 2259  

Christianity vs. the West. 1 online resource (1 video file (52 min., 44 sec.)).  Sex and the Church: Sex and the church. In this final episode of the series, professor Diarmaid MacCulloch explores how the official Christian Church and Western society have moved apart on issues of sex and gender over the last 300 years. The Enlightenment encouraged people to question authority and that included the Church's teachings on sex. In the late 17th century, prostitution and homosexuality openly flourished in western cities - an open affront to centuries of Christian teaching. At the same time, new forms of Protestantism, such as Methodism, began to question traditional Church teaching, giving leadership roles to women. In the Victorian age, sex became a subject for scientists to study, instead of a sin for the Church to condemn. Some Christian thinkers began to challenge the sexual status quo. Josephine Butler fought on behalf of prostitutes, while Bishop John Colenso argued that African converts should be allowed to continue their practice of polygamy. And in the mid 20th century, Christians were at the forefront of the successful campaign for the decriminalization of homosexuality. But elsewhere, Church leaders railed against these changes. Rome insisted on no divorce, no homosexuality, no contraception. And in recent years, both Catholic and Protestant Churches have been mired in sex abuse scandals. Does Christian thinking still have anything to teach a secular world about sex? Streaming video.

The famous history of the life of King Henry the Eight. 2001, 1 videodisc (165 min.).  The complete dramatic works of William Shakespeare: Complete dramatic works of William Shakespeare. "One of Shakespeare's most elaborate 'pageant' plays, chronicling the life of an extraordinary English king."--Container insert. A dramatization of William Shakespeare's historical play, which tells of the intrigues during the first part of Henry's reign, his divorce from Katharine of Aragon, and marriage to Anne Bullen, who gives birth to a baby girl, Elizabeth. DVD 3204   

The Godly family: Protestantism in the home. 1 streaming video file (60 min.).  The Protestant Revolution: Protestant revolution. Martin Luther's most effective strike against the Church may have been his decision to marry. This program shows how Luther's radical choice and the Protestant movements of the 16th and 17th centuries transformed Western attitudes toward sex, love, marriage, gender roles, and family life. Viewers will learn about the contributions of several historical figures, including Thomas Cranmer's versions of the Book of Common Prayer, the misogynist rhetoric of John Knox, Richard Baxter's unexpected marriage and its implications, and the straitlaced culture promoted by Queen Victoria. The progression away from Victorian strictures and the inclusion of women and gays in the clergy are also studied. Streaming video.

Henry VIII. 2010, 2 videodiscs (160 min.).  The Tudor Court is locked in a power struggle between its nobles and the Machiavellian Cardinal Wolsey, the King's first minister and the country's most conspicuous symbol of Catholic power. Wolsey's ambition knows no bounds and when his chief ally, Queen Katherine, interferes in the King's romance with Ann Boleyn, he brings ruin upon himself, the Queen and centuries of English obedience to Rome.  DVD 10936

Henry VIII's enforcer: The rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell. 1 streaming video file (50 min.).  Thomas Cromwell was one of the strongest supporters of the English Reformation. At a time when lineage meant everything, Cromwell rose from poor beginnings to become chief minister to King Henry VIII. However, at the moment of his greatest triumph, Cromwell was struck down and destroyed. He fell victim to the King's anger and was beheaded on 28 July 1540. Cromwell has gone down in history as ambitious and corrupt; a ruthless politician who destroyed people and institutions. Journey through Tudor England in search of the truth about Henry VIII's best servant. Streaming video. 

Henry VIII to the Industrial Revolution. 1 streaming video file (59 min.).  Michael Wood's Story of England: Story of England. The tale of Kibworth village reaches the dramatic events of Henry VIII's Reformation and the battles of the English Civil War. Michael Wood tracks Kibworth's 17th century dissenters, travel on the Grand Union Canal, and tells us about an 18th century feminist writer from Kibworth who was a pioneer of children's books. The story of a young highwayman transported to Australia comes alive as his living descendants come back to the village to uncover their roots. Lastly, the Industrial Revolution comes to the village with framework knitting factories, changing the village and its people forever. Streaming video.

Libraries Gave Us Power. 1 streaming video file (60 min.).  Illuminations: The Private Life of Kings: Illuminations : The Private Life of Kings: Private Life of Kings. Dr. Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of illuminated manuscripts that were custom-made for kings, and explores the medieval world they reveal. In this episode, the story of the British Library's Royal Manuscripts collection reaches its end with the last great flowering of illumination, in the magnificent courts of the Tudors. Ramirez investigates astrological texts created for Henry VII and unwraps his will-still in its original, velvet and gold cover. She hears music written for Henry VIII (which went unperformed for centuries) and reads love notes between the king and Anne Boleyn written in the margins of a prayer book. Ramirez also visits Bruges, the source of many of the greatest manuscripts depicting the collision between medieval art and Renaissance innovations. Streaming video.

Luther. 2003, 1 videodisc (111 min.).  American Film Theatre. The story of Martin Luther and his eventual condemnation of the Catholic Church and incitement of the Protestant reformation. DVD 10818

The Lutheran church.  1 streaming video file (28 min.).  I BELIEVE-with Dennis Wholey. In this program, Dennis Wholey has a conversation about Lutheranism with the Reverend David Eberhard of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, in Detroit, Michigan. Topics of discussion include Martin Luther, his 95 theses, and the Reformation; the doctrine of justification and other core beliefs; the Church's two sacraments; The Book of Concord; how Historic Trinity Lutheran Church stays relevant to both its congregants and the city of Detroit; and concerns over the hectic pace and stress of modern life. The program also goes inside Historic Trinity to illustrate aspects of a typical liturgy-oriented Lutheran worship service. Streaming video.   

A man for all seasons. 1998, 1 videodisc (ca. 120 min.).  A portrayal of the political and religious conflict between adulterous King Henry VIII who wishes to divorce his wife Catherine, and his Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, who refuses to support such a plan. When More cannot be swayed, Henry demands the clergy renounce the Pope and name him the head of the church in England. Cromwell, leader of the divorce campaign, frames More, forcing him to resign as Chancellor. Eventually, More is brought to trial, found guilty of treason, and beheaded. DVD 2093

Nations king death / burning convictions. 2002, 1 videodisc (ca. 180 min.).  Covers the history of Great Britain from 1216 through 1558. Nations (circa 1216-1348) - In the 13th century, the people of Britain found their voice; proud, defiant and nationalistic.  Its language derived not from idealism, but as a response to the subjugation in the campaigns of Edward I to extend his authority over Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.-- King death (circa 1348-1500) -- The plague arrived in England  in 1348 and killed over 1 million people-a third of the population-in just over a decade. But it also paved the way for radical reforms that saw Britain stripped of its feudal remnants and ready to face the future by 1500. -- Burning convictions (circa 1500-1558) - Under Henry VIII, loyalty to one's faith was treason and loyalty to one's king was heresy. Henry's break with the Church marked the beginning of an extraordinary period that saw a nation largely at peace with its Catholic soul bribed, tortured, and cajoled into accepting Protestantism. DVD 2258

No rest for the wicked: Protestantism and economics. 1 streaming video file (59 min.).  The Protestant Revolution: Protestant revolution. In the 21st-century landscape of shopping malls and skyscrapers, capitalism appears irreligious-but beneath its secular veneer lie theological principles born in the 1500s. This program examines the rise of the Protestant work ethic and the religious foundations of Western industry; it also reveals a Protestant consciousness at the heart of social activism and the opposition to extreme capitalism. Beginning with John Calvin and his sanctification of material success, the film focuses on Britain's Nonconformist movement, John Winthrop's colonial ventures, the Puritan basis of Benjamin Franklin's ideals, and divisions that arose within Protestantism over slavery and the excesses of factory labor. Streaming video. 

Peasants' Revolt to Tudors. 1 streaming video file (59 min.).  Michael Wood's Story of England: Story of England. The story of Kibworth moves on to dramatic battles of conscience in the time of the Hundred Years' War. Amazing finds in the school archive help trace peasant education back to the 14th century and we see how the people themselves set up the first school for their children. Some villagers join in a rebellion against King Henry V, while others rise to become middle class merchants in the textile town of Coventry. On the horizon is the Protestant Reformation, but the rise of capitalism and individualism sow the seeds of England's future greatness. Streaming video.

The Politics of belief: Protestantism and the state. 1 streaming video file (60 min.).  The Protestant Revolution  Although Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a church door, his action sparked a political upheaval as well as a religious one. This program examines the rise of the Protestant movement in Europe and its link to revolution, civil war, and modern incarnations of radical and conservative politics. Studying the theology Luther crafted at Wartburg Castle and his confrontations with papal and secular authorities, the film explores Thomas Muntzer's bloody appropriation of Protestant ideals, the Levellers' movement under Cromwell, the birth of the British Labor Party, the role of Baptist teachings in the American civil rights movement, and the conservative Protestantism embodied in the presidency of George W. Bush. Streaming video.

The private life of Henry VIII. 2009, 1 videodisc (94 min.).  Eclipse. Series 16, Alexander Korda's Private Lives: "Alexander Korda's first major international success is a raucous, entertaining, even poignant glimpse into the bedrooms of the infamous king and his six wives."--Container. DVD 9855 

Protest and Division. 1 streaming video file (50 min.).  Saints and Sinners: The History of the Popes: The Renaissance led to a period of cultural greatness for the Church, but it also reached a pit of spiritual degradation. This film examines the reign of Pope Alexander VI, the Borgia pope. Despite rampant nepotism on behalf of his seven known children, Alexander is said by some to have gotten a bad rap. Known for his patronage of the arts - Raphael and Michelangelo both worked for him - it was also said that he purchased the job of pope for himself. Wherever the truths lie, his Papacy led directly to the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, and plunged Europe into religious wars. Streaming video.

Reformation. 1 streaming video file (49 min.).  Christianity: A Brief History. The Reformation split the medieval Church asunder, producing religious wars, massacres and persecutions. Ann Widdecombe, MP, was brought up as a Protestant in the Church of England but became a Catholic fifteen years ago. She finds much to support in the Reformation's initial goals but argues that it went badly wrong, leading Europeans, previously united religiously, to see each other as enemies. She shows how the Reformation played out in England. Beyond the battles of kings, popes and theologians, she explores the way ordinary people responded to the Reformation and its consequences. Streaming video.

Reformation: Chaos and Creation. 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  Churches: How to Read Them. The late middle ages was a time of destruction that still leaves its mark on our churches today. Richard Taylor tries to understand the intense medieval devotion to the Virgin Mary and how this fueled the anger of the Reformation that followed. Streaming video. 

A Reformation of the mind: Protestantism and western culture. 1 streaming video file (60 min.).  The Protestant Revolution. At the core of the Protestant Revolution was a new emphasis on exploring and questioning the natural world. This program shows how a religious upheaval that began a half-millennium ago led to the art, literature, and science of today's Western society. The film makes the case that a humanistic approach to art first grew out of the Protestant drive to remove images from European churches in the 16th and 17th centuries. It also examines the development of the modern novel via the Protestant-informed writings of John Bunyan, Daniel DeFoe, and Charles Dickens-then reveals the Protestant underpinnings of Newtonian physics, Darwin's theories, and our technological culture. Streaming video.

Reformation: The individual before God. 1 streaming video file (59 min.).  A History of Christianity. The Reformation was a period of rebellion, upheaval, and war - all sparked by one man whose revolt against church authority led to the creation of Protestantism and ultimately, to a reinvigoration of the Catholic faith. This program travels to churches in Europe, Britain, and Mexico to explore the key figures, philosophies, and movements of the Protestant Reformation. It looks at the issues that inflamed Martin Luther, and then Zwigli and John Calvin, as well as the doctrines that divided them, and the many branches of Protestantism that formed as a result. The video also provides an overview of the English Reformation and the English Civil War, the Reconquista, the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation, the impact of missionaries in Mexico, the sectarian tensions in Bohemia that sparked the Thirty Years War, and the flight of Calvinist Protestants - Pilgrims - to the New World. Streaming video.

The reluctant revolutionary. 1 streaming video file (60 min.).  Empires: Martin Luther. When an obscure monk named Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses -  stinging rebukes attacking the mighty Catholic church and its head, Pope Leo X - to the door of Wittenberg cathedral, a tornado was unleashed. It was a hurricane of violence that raged across Europe, inspiring a social revolution and changing the face of a continent forever. The Reluctant Revolutionary follows Luther's journey from his rise to defiant revolutionary, risking torture and execution for the right to speak his mind, to the end of his life, simply lived in the German countryside. Streaming video.

The rise of Catherine the Great. 1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 95 minutes).  A quick-witted and compelling dramatization of the troubled marriage of Catherine II (played by German actress Elisabeth Bergner, in her English-language debut) to Peter III (a randy Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and her subsequent ascension to the throne as Empress of Russia. With its luxurious renderings of the eighteenth-century St. Petersburg royal court and its nearly screwball evocation of Catherine and Peter's teasing relationship, The rise of Catherine the Great was a wise and worthy follow-up to Henry VIII. Streaming video.

Saints and Sinners: A Millennium of Monasteries. 1 online resource (1 video file (59 min. 15 sec.)).  Saints and Sinners: A Millennium of Monasteries. Today, monasteries are refuges from the frantic pace of modern life; tranquil retreats insulated from the events, debate and hubbub that dictate life outside their walls. But, it wasn't always like this. For 1,000 years monasteries were at the very heart of public life in the British Isles. Join Dr. Janina Ramirez as she brings the past to life and relates how the monasteries forged a sense of national identity, helped shape the world around them and created a dazzling millennium of art. This program examines how monasteries yielded to moral corruption, faced scholarly competition by secular universities, and were increasingly opposed by Henry VIII and Protestant Reformation ideas. It traces Thomas Cromwell's investigation that quickly resulted in the monastic dissolution-a largely bloodless ideological revolution relieving abbeys of their wealth and religious authority and representing a fundamental social shift. Streaming video.

Skeptics and believers: Religious debate in the western intellectual tradition. 2009, 1 videodisc (180 min.).  Great courses, philosophy & intellectual history. This course will explore how leading Western philosophers and theologians such as Kant, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Martin Buber, Bertrand Russell, Martin Heidegger, Rowan Williams, and Jacques Derrida have defined and debated, defended and attacked religion. Some are pious and some are atheists. Some are philosophers who explain why religion is essential for human life, and some are philosophers who just as rationally explain why religion is irrational and illusory. Is religious faith blind submission? Or can it be part of an intellectually vital and realistic view of the world? Or could it be both, that religion is complicated - at times bound up with the worst, at other times bound up with the best? DVD 8221

The Stuarts. 1 online resource (1 video file (50 min., 53 sec.)).   Ruling Britain for over 300 years from 1603 to 1714, the Stuart monarchs have often been branded as merciless tyrants who stood in the way of progress. But the three separate kingdoms the Stuarts inherited-Scotland, England and Ireland-were already steeped in turbulence and bloodshed, more used to fighting one another than co-operating in harmonious existence. In this series, Dr. Clare Jackson shows how the Stuart monarchs helped establish Great Britain and how their impact on the country can still be felt today. Part one covers James I's attempts to officially unify the three kingdoms, including settling Northern Ireland; Charles I's visit to the Habsburg Spanish court that inspired his authoritarian ruling style; and Scottish Protestant resistance to Charles I's religious authority. Streaming video.

The Tudors: Seasons 1-4. 2008-2010. A look at the life of King Henry VIII, beginning after his assumption of the British throne at the age of 19. DVD 14190-14193

Winstanley. 2009, 1 videodisc (92 min.).  April 1, 1649. St. George's Hill, Surrey, England. A reformation-era religious sect called the Diggers sets out to form a commune and till the soil on "common land," which by law permits grazing-- but not settlement and cultivation. Led by Gerard Winstanley, theirs is a nonviolent action to reclaim land for the poor who have been dispossessed by Oliver Cromwell's recent Civil War. But the local villagers see the Diggers as a threat to their livelihood and, led by the Presbyterian parson, John Platt, take violent action to harass and burn them out. DVD 8990

Wolf Hall. 3 videodiscs (approximately 360 minutes).  Thomas Cromwell is a brutal blacksmith's son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster and deftly picks his way through a court where 'man is wolf to man.' King Henry VIII is obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne. Told from Cromwell's perspective, "Wolf Hall" follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this pragmatic and accomplished power broker who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII's tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn, and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation. DVD 12224