In medieval Europe, a pious young woman becomes a scholar of theology, disguises herself as a man, rises through the Catholic Church hierarchy and is elected Pope.



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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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heresy ... or history ? See more »


Drama | History


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 September 1972 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Imposter  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The final film of Derek Farr. See more »


Referenced in Giornata nera (2006) 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

Interesting, moving, historical
24 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw the film on TV, quite by chance. I found the film gripping: the story, the atmosphere and the historical detail.

I have no religious interest, but it made me curious to find out more about 'pope Joan'. The film is a work of fiction based on a legend, with very little factual basis.

Nevertheless, one could really get a sense of life in those times (9th century Europe). Poverty, illiteracy, corruption. The place of women. The violence, that life was worth very little.

Sadly, I think much of the world is just like that today, so perhaps it is a little window on humanity.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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