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

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 6,392 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 41 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.



(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)

Company Credits

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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 »


Featured in De wereld draait door: Episode #5.139 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Between Cameron, Wortmann and Cross, War is ending. Zimbardo lives.
17 June 2010 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

This movie is about the indomitable spirit of many of our species regardless of race or sex. It's not about liberal or conservative, it's about right or wrong. Not about girl or boy, but about the abilities of each of us to advance the human cause on this earth. It's not about Buddist, Jew or Christian but about aleivating all the suffering we can. Consider that for one month of the cost of the war in the middle east, every human could have access to clean drinking water. Who knows where the next Einstein or TuTu will come from, surely the potential exists and needs a chance to show itself without the intolerance of prejudice for one of a different color, sex or the distance from your home they come. We have a duty to expand our knowledge and expose all to the light of reason and in that we have no fear. This movie is a gift to parents and adults that want to find the ways to help all. Ignorance is not bliss, the scene about the mustard seed is worth the price of this great movie. Allegory is when your teacher thanks you. Thank you mother.

Wokalek and Flack are superb and a joy. John Goodman is like your pastor or priest and as amiable as I imagine JohnPaul II. Petherbridge as Aesculapius is exactly my image of Hesse's Magister Ludi and Wenham, a developing Chomsky, could of evolved into a Smedly Butler! For those in power this could be a great mini-series for all involved, IMHO. Villains don't get a mention, sry Iain and AT. m.

17 of 23 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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