YMMV / A Man for All Seasons

  • Harsher in Hindsight: Robert Bolt was arrested for his involvement with the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament a year after the play debuted. Like Sir Thomas, Bolt refused to be bound over and was sentenced to several weeks in jail. Unfortunately for Bolt, he was working on Lawrence of Arabia at the time, and producer Sam Spiegel browbeat him into recanting.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the 1966 film, the role of villianous Amoral Attorney Cromwell is played by Leo McKern, who a few years later would become famous for his role of Rumpole of the Bailey, a dedicated defense barrister.
  • Lawful Neutral: Sir Thomas More. He believes that the law must be followed even if evil people can take advantage of it, and that if you break the law to fight evil, then the law can also be broken to fight good... In his words, "Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • In the 1966 film, Orson Welles as Cardinal Wolsey, the former Trope Namer.
    • King Henry is also roughly this, though admittedly his one scene is fairly long, followed by another cameo at his wedding to Anne Bolyn.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: That giving up your personal values makes you give up your individuality is an ever-relevant message, even if it comes off as a bit heavy-handed.
    • Similarly, the idea that rules should be dispensed in order to punish someone who's Obviously Evil is a pretty stupid one.
    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
  • What an Idiot!: The Duke of Norfolk is short a few little gray cells, mostly so that the audience can get some much-needed legal exposition. He says as much himself at one point, admitting that he is "no scholar".
    Cromwell: Oh, well done, Sir Thomas. I've been trying to make that clear to His Grace for some time!