Pope Joan (2009)
"Die Päpstin" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 6,483 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 42 critic

A woman of English extraction born in the German city of Ingelheim in the ninth century disguises herself as a man and rises through the Vatican ranks.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Petherbridge ...
Lotte Flack ...
Tigerlily Hutchinson ...
Jördis Triebel ...
Joan's mother


German village Igelheim's backward priest hopes his sons to succeed him after education in the bishop's cathedral school, but the elder succumbs to disease and the youngest lacks any intellectual drive. Traveling teacher Aesculapius arranges for the inquisitive daughter Johanna to be enrolled too, against their father's wishes. Unfit for the boys-only dorm, she gets to stay with count Gerold, incurring his wife's due jealousy. She's to be dismissed, but survives a Viking pillaging slaughter and assumes brother Johannes's identity to join a monastery, where she becomes the infirmary's trainee. Fleeing exposure as female, she arrives in Rome. As a protégée of rivals in the viper nest-like papal court, she ends up elected as pope, but carries count Gerold's baby, guaranteeing exposure. Written by KGF Vissers

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Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

22 October 2009 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Pope Joan  »

Box Office


€22,000,000 (estimated)

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Did You Know?


Volker Schlöndorff was originally set to direct this movie but left over unspecified differences with the production company. See more »


House Steward: Pardon me, Eminence. The girl has arrived. You had her fetched from Ingelheim.
Fulgentius: Oh yes, now I remember. That Greek scholar's idea. But am I seeing double?
House Steward: The boy is her brother. Their father, a Priest, insists that he too be allowed to attend the Scola.
Fulgentius: What do you know? I send for one and get two! If only the Emperor were as generous as these holy men from the countryside!
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Featured in De wereld draait door: Episode #5.139 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Maybe, a parable
14 February 2011 | by (Romania) – See all my reviews

The story is old. The details are spices of dusty legend. The tragedy of a Roman Church "accident" is chapter of many conspiracy books. But, behind that things, "Pope Joan" is a beautiful film. And this fact is important.For costumes and atmosphere, for extraordinary John Goodman and for the art of details, for the basic fact than the IX-th century is another XXI century, for the perfume of serenity and the force of a myth to be stronger than reality. For the feeling than Joan exist without any testimony. For the spring air and grass smell. For the art to destroy clichés. For remember of essential values of human circle and the end as fly of ash bird. For the warm impression . Historic movie, it is in fact a parable. Like many who sleeps in our memories.

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As a Catholic, I LOVED this book and Catholics need to CHILL OUT hsullivan
This movie is 10 stars! Do not believe the bad rating. m3w
Anti-Catholic bias is tolerated pbca1
Does This Sound Like An Anti-Catholic Bigot To You? vardamansfish
First pics lady-faramir
An article about Pope Joan frcoulter
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