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To Kill a Priest (1988)

A young priest speaks out against the Communist regime in Poland and is killed for it.



(English adaptation), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Josef (as Peter Postlethwaite)
Mirek (as Charles Condou)
Tom Radcliffe ...
Young Soldier
Bridge Player (as Wojtek Pszoniak)
Johnny Allen
George Birt ...
(as Georges Birt)
André Chaumeau ...
(as Andre Chaumeau)


A young priest speaks out against the Communist regime in Poland and is killed for it.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Popieluszko  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is based on the true story of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a Catholic priest and Solidarity supporter who was murdered by agents of the Polish secret police. See more »


Father Alek: A government by brute force is not a government.
See more »


The Many Crimes of Cain
Written by Georges Delerue
Performed by Joan Baez
See more »

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User Reviews

Central miscasting spoils a good film
11 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

Every so often, you can see a mediocre film, and get a hint of what the film could have been with just a few changes. This is one of them; it features several excellent actors - Ed Harris, Tim Roth, Pete Postlethwaite, Joss Ackland (sorry for misspellings!) - but one unforgivably bad casting decision: casting the absolutely charisma-deprived Christopher Lambert as the Priest. To believe in the film at all, the priest has to be seen as dangerously attractive to the people, a charismatic leader. Lambert cannot portray that. He is one of the worst actors around, and he kills this picture dead.

Two other major gripes about the film: there is a scene where the priest is lectured by his bishop and then sent to Rome - or not, since he never actually goes. What was that there for? To show that the Polish Church was in cahoots - or at least practiced accommodation - with the government? Fine. But at least, SEND HIM TO ROME. Otherwise you have a useless scene that detracts from the movie.

The other gripe: I suppose there is some screenwriter union rule that dictates that if you have a movie involving a priest, an attractive woman has to fall hopelessly in love with him. What a stupid, useless, cliché, especially in a movie like this.

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