Pope Joan (1972)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  29 September 1972 (West Germany)
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This movie is based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, who was made Pope for a brief period around 855 A.D. Although it is questionable that Pope Joan really did exist, this movie ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan's Father
Natasa Nicolescu ...
Joan's Mother
Sharon Winter ...
Joan as a child
Margareta Pogonat ...
Village woman
Richard Bebb ...
Lord of Manor
Peter Arne ...
Patrick Magee ...
Elder monk
George Innes ...
Young monk
Susan Macready ...
Sister Nunciata
Shelagh Wilcocks ...
Sister Louise
Mother Superior
Emperor Louis


This movie is based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, who was made Pope for a brief period around 855 A.D. Although it is questionable that Pope Joan really did exist, this movie presents her existence as fact, and portrays her relationships with other notables of the time. Written by edk <laplaza@ccnet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 September 1972 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Imposter  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Helen Mirren and Vanessa Redgrave were approached about taking on the lead role. Susannah York in particular wanted the part really badly. See more »


Version of Pope Joan (2009) See more »


Tu es Petrus
Sung by The Sistine Chapel Choir
Under the Direction of Domenico Bartolucci
See more »

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User Reviews

Mercifully, never received wide distribution in USA...
6 April 2001 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

There is not much one can say about 'Pope Joan' except that it was a huge failure with critics and the public, opening in New York for a brief run of nine days before being yanked into oblivion. This is another of those all-star films popular in the '70s, totally wasting a talented cast--and again, you have to wonder if anyone really read the script before agreeing to do the film. Look at the cast...Liv Ullmann, Trevor Howard, Maximilian Schell, Keir Dullea, Olivia de Havilland, Lesley-Anne Down. The color photography is great and the choral music in the background score is impressive--but the notion that a credible story could be made based on an unfounded legend of a woman who briefly became Pope Joan in the 9th century, is one that would have defeated even the best screenwriter. Given limited release in Europe and only a few showings in the USA, let's hope this is one film that never gets a restoration. No one is seen to advantage--an embarrassment for all concerned. As noted by Tony Thomas in his book, "Films of Olivia de Havilland": "It is a pity to see so many fine actors wallowing in medieval mire."

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