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

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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.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »


Johanna von Ingelheim: As for strength of will, women can be viewed as superior to man. Eve ate from the apple out of love of knowledge and learning. Adam ate it only because Eve asked him to.
See more »


Version of Pope Joan (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Great fun for anyone who loves historical movies!!
27 October 2009 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I went to see Pope Joan with a group of friends the day it was released in Germany. Most of us had already read the book, but some had not. We were all quite skeptical as to whether the movie would be true to the book and whether it wasn't a little too long (two and a half hours seemed a lot to us!). But, after having seen it, I must say it was one of the most absorbing two-and-half-hours-movie I've ever seen. I didn't have a look at my watch once.

The story is quite true to the book. I read the book at least 8 years ago, so I had forgotten most of it. However, when the plot evolved, my memory came back and I didn't notice any major deviances from the book, neither did my friends.

"Pope Joan" is just a classical historical movie and everyone who loves that genre, will most certainly enjoy the movie! It has everything you need: a charismatic heroine who challenges the role of women in her time; some good and wise clergymen (John Goodman is great fun as food-loving, jovial Pope!); some evil and brutal clergymen who want to spread Christianity violently; some scheming and intrigues; a good portion of war and battle scenes; a romantic love story and, last but not least that interesting question at the end that will certainly cause you to discuss with your friends and search wikipedia: Was there really a woman who became Pope?

49 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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