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Robert Bolt (1924–1995)

Author of A Man for All Seasons

36+ Works 4,766 Members 53 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Born in Manchester, England, where he attended the university, Robert Bolt was teaching school in 1957 when his play Flowering Cherry, with Ralph Richardson in the title role, was staged in London. The success of the play persuaded Bolt to devote himself to the theater. The Tiger and the Horse show more (1960) which, like its predecessor, concerns the paradoxes of idealism and detachment, appeared three years later. In the meanwhile, Bolt had written for BBC radio the short play about Sir Thomas More, which he was to expand into his international triumph, A Man for All Seasons (1960). The play brought Bolt the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1962, and, for the screenplay, an Academy Award. Bolt wrote a series of screenplays for David Lean including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and Ryan's Daughter (1970), in which personal melodrama is again played out against romanticized history. The stage work Vivat! Vivat Regina! (1970) confronts Queen Elizabeth's rigidity with the femininity of Mary of Scotland. State of Revolution (1977), written for the National Theatre, is a portrait of Lenin as a sensitive leader imprisoned in his ideals. Some of his other works include The Bounty, The Mission, A Man For All Seasons, and Without Warning: The James Brady Story. He died at age 70, in Petersfield, Hampshire, England, following a long illness. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by Robert Bolt

A Man for All Seasons (1960) 3,009 copies
Lawrence of Arabia [1962 film] (1962) — Screenwriter — 626 copies
Doctor Zhivago [1965 film] (1965) — Screenwriter — 333 copies
A Man for All Seasons [1966 film] (1966) — Screenplay — 242 copies
The Mission [1986 film] (1986) — Screenwriter — 156 copies
The Mission (1986) 101 copies
The Bounty [1984 film] (2002) — Screenwriter — 54 copies
Vivat! Vivat Regina! (1971) 42 copies
New English Dramatists 6 (1962) 34 copies
Ryan's Daughter [1970 film] (1970) — Screenwriter — 32 copies
The Tiger & The Horse (1961) 6 copies
Three Plays (1967) 5 copies

Associated Works

Laurel British Drama: The Twentieth Century (1965) — Contributor, some editions — 86 copies
14 great plays (1977) — Contributor — 31 copies
More's Utopia and its critics (1964) — Contributor — 22 copies


16th century (22) 1960s (21) 20th century (46) adventure (31) Alec Guinness (22) biography (60) Blu-ray (19) British (28) British literature (25) Catholicism (23) classic (38) classics (34) drama (456) DVD (209) England (44) English (26) English literature (24) fiction (165) film (53) Henry VIII (60) historical (42) historical fiction (78) history (102) literature (73) movie (43) movies (19) Omar Sharif (24) play (128) plays (192) read (32) religion (40) romance (19) Saints (28) script (19) theatre (101) Thomas More (94) to-read (57) Tudor (20) war (32) WWI (30)

Common Knowledge



freixas | 8 other reviews | Mar 31, 2023 |
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. 3 hrs. 38 min
Not Rated, consider PG for war violence
SITAG_Family | 8 other reviews | Dec 16, 2022 |
The story of British officer T.E. Lawrence's mission to aid the Arab tribes in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence becomes a flamboyant, messianic figure in the cause of Arab unity but his psychological instability threatens to undermine his achievements. (source: TMDb)
aptrvideo | 8 other reviews | Oct 21, 2021 |
Yesterday I spent 30 minutes grouching to my husband about certain changes being discussed at work that clashed with something in my moral makeup. But, instead of letting that be the end (or the beginning) of the matter/habit, I took it to the manager at lunch. Why? Because it's almost impossible to read this story about More and not want to do something--in the right way-- about wrong things.

But not only that, More (as presented by Bolt) argues for authenticity. Not in the bold, in your face, take it or leave it way that is brandished about on social media, but in the silent, true to beliefs, humbly doing the best that you can way that is seen in the best of men*. He makes the emotional, militant, online petition-signing, meme-sharing, armchair activist** seem hollow, volatile, and unstable.

In an unrelated thought, I wonder if this play would have worked quite as well as it did without Paul Scofield. He created this role just as much as Bolt did, embodied him with strength, humor and certainty that few, I believe, could follow. He, and Dame Wendy Hiller, are the reasons I watch the film and will probably never, even if I have the chance, see a live revival of the production. He leaves impossible shoes to fill.

* See the nice guy at the gym on the elliptical on the end, Gordon B. Hinckley, Larry A Call, etc.
**See "Slacktivist."
… (more)
OutOfTheBestBooks | 27 other reviews | Sep 24, 2021 |



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