Following the premature death of his mother, Karol Wojtyla is brought up by his father in the Polish city of Krakow during the first half of the 20th century. An outstanding student with a ... See full summary »
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2005  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski 2 episodes, 2005
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 Cardinal Agostino Casaroli 2 episodes, 2005
Daniele Pecci ...
Vittoria Belvedere ...
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 Navarro Valls 2 episodes, 2005
Ettore Bassi ...
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 Stanislaw Dziwisz 2 episodes, 2005
Stefano Molinari ...
 SS Officer 2 episodes, 2005
Valéria Cavalli ...
Bartosz Glogowski ...
 SS Officer 2 episodes, 2005
Chiara Conti ...
...
 First Young Doctor 2 episodes, 2005
Bianca Nappi ...
 Vittoria 2 episodes, 2005
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Giovanna Nodari ...
Fabrizio Bucci ...
 Krysztof Zachuta 2 episodes, 2005
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Luca Capuano ...
 Jeep Clerk #1 2 episodes, 2005
Andy Luotto ...
 Homeless Man 2 episodes, 2005
Luca Di Prospero ...
 Jeep Clerk #2 2 episodes, 2005
Marcin Kuzminski ...
Allan Caister Pearce ...
 Neurologist 2 episodes, 2005
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Maurizio Di Carmine ...
 Older Doctor 2 episodes, 2005
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Michael Fitzpatrick ...
 Orthopedic Surgeon 2 episodes, 2005
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Stefano Venturi ...
 Parish Priest 2 episodes, 2005
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 Cardinal Konig 2 episodes, 2005
Guido Roncalli ...
 Pope's Doctor 2 episodes, 2005
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 Young Waiter 2 episodes, 2005
...
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 Second Young Doctor 2 episodes, 2005
Juliusz Chrzastowski ...
Giorgia Porchetti ...
Carlo Sabatini ...
 Master of Ceremonies 2 episodes, 2005
Mariusz Sibiga ...
Jean Paul Buana ...
 African Journalist 2 episodes, 2005
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 Lech Walesa 2 episodes, 2005
Marcus J. Cotterell ...
 American Journalist 2 episodes, 2005
Giacomo Piperno ...
 Cardinal Felici 2 episodes, 2005
Fabrizio Rogano ...
 British Journalist 2 episodes, 2005
Mikolaj Grabowski ...
 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger 2 episodes, 2005
Wlodzimierz Chrenkoff ...
 Communist Sec. Officer 2 episodes, 2005
Paolo Paolini ...
 Cardinal Villot 2 episodes, 2005
Dimitri Tamarov ...
 Elderly Cardinal 2 episodes, 2005
Vanni Corbellini ...
 Cynical Journalist 2 episodes, 2005
Sergio Nicolai ...
 First Cardinal 2 episodes, 2005
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 Engineer 2 episodes, 2005
Luis Molteni ...
 Second Cardinal 2 episodes, 2005
Carla Verolo ...
 Eva's Mother 2 episodes, 2005
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 Third Cardinal 2 episodes, 2005
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 Father Kozlowski 2 episodes, 2005
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 Gierek Edward 2 episodes, 2005
Luca Lombardi ...
 French Journalist 2 episodes, 2005
Robert Mazurkiewicz ...
Edward Zentana ...
 Gestapo Officer 2 episodes, 2005
Pietro Sarubbi ...
 José Lopez Portillo 2 episodes, 2005
Zaneta Babik ...
 Little Girl 2 episodes, 2005
Nicola Pistoia ...
 Cardinal De Furstenberg 2 episodes, 2005
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 Little Girl's Mother 2 episodes, 2005
Ronald Dudley Grant ...
 African Cardinal 2 episodes, 2005
Adrian Ochalik ...
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 Prof. Kriek 2 episodes, 2005
Alessandro Zamattio ...
 Gestapo Officer 2 episodes, 2005
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 Hans Frank 2 episodes, 2005
Mariapia Cassarino ...
 Tyranowski 2 episodes, 2005
Slawomir Sosnierz ...
 Older Nun 2 episodes, 2005
Alicja Bienicewicz ...
 Older Nun 2 episodes, 2005
Ewa Zytkiewicz ...
 Andrei Gromyko 2 episodes, 2005
Cyrus Elias ...
 Polish Man 2 episodes, 2005
Maria Bosco ...
 Sister Lucia 2 episodes, 2005
Dominik Nowak ...
 Crucitti 2 episodes, 2005
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 Pope Paul VI 2 episodes, 2005
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 Leonid Brezhnev 2 episodes, 2005
Eddie Roberts ...
 SB Roberts 2 episodes, 2005
Slawomir Zapala ...
 Seminarian Wiktor Loga / ... 2 episodes, 2005
Fabrizio Jovine ...
 Yuri Andropov 2 episodes, 2005
Elisabetta Tucci ...
 Sister Katerina 2 episodes, 2005
Andrzej Szopa ...
 Mikhail Gorbachev 2 episodes, 2005
Claudio Spadaro ...
 Soviet Leader 2 episodes, 2005
Bruce McGuire ...
 US Embassy Official 2 episodes, 2005
Ennio Tozzi ...
 Theatre Director 2 episodes, 2005
Agneska Popkiewicz ...
 Screaming Woman 2 episodes, 2005
Wojciech Leonowicz ...
Krzys Kremieniecki ...
 Young Boy 12 Yrs Old 2 episodes, 2005
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 Emilia Wojtylowa 2 episodes, 2005
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 Cardinal Adam Sapieha 2 episodes, 2005
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 Young Karol Wojtyla 2 episodes, 2005
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 Karol Wojtyla / ... 2 episodes, 2005
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Storyline

Following the premature death of his mother, Karol Wojtyla is brought up by his father in the Polish city of Krakow during the first half of the 20th century. An outstanding student with a magnetic personality, he dreams of becoming an actor. When his homeland is invaded by the Nazis in 1939, he and his friends secretly oppose the systematic persecution of their Polish culture. But, with the death of his father and the lacerating solitude which accompanies this loss, Karol's personal "resistance" takes on a new form and he decides to follow a priestly vocation. At the end of the war, Poland falls into the grip of Soviet totalitarianism. The newly ordained Karol is constantly surrounded by young people whom he teaches to safeguard and defend human dignity. He could be considered a serious threat to the regime, but the Communist authorities merely see him as an innocuous intellectual and even encourage his nomination for the position of bishop. Karol Wojtila is the youngest bishop in ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pope | poland | bishop | church | nazi | See All (28) »

Taglines:

The faith to inspire millions begins with the power of one.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

4 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida de João Paulo II  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

PLN 3,250,463 (Poland), 5 March 2006, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical) | (2 parts) | (4 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Augustus)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian Holm was originally cast for the role of Pope John Paul II but left for personal reasons. See more »

Goofs

After Wojtyla accepts the papal election, the cardinals rise and applaud. The camera then pans in towards the new Pope. However, if you look closely, it is actually the mirror image shot from the previous conclave, with John Paul I clearly in the middle of it all instead of John Paul II. See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant; Voight was amazing
8 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

I watched both the ABC and CBS versions of the life of Karol Wojtyla. The ABC version was impressive but the CBS miniseries is the one to watch for at Emmy time.

This version opens with the shooting of John Paul II on May 13, 1981. Then we see Karol's earlier life through flashbacks. Sadly, we see only five seconds with his mother, but that scene was wonderful. Add to that about ten seconds of Karol's life as a boy.

From there, we go to Poland in the days of the invasion by the Nazis. Karol is part of a theater group, and he is in college. A number of his friends and even a professor get taken away or killed by the Germans, and he has important choices to make. God's call seems to outweigh all the other factors, and Karol does end up becoming a priest, even though he must break rocks for the Germans. Even while doing that, Karol shows how strong and moral he is. Later, the Communists appear to be less of a threat than the Germans. Maybe so, but they are still manipulating the church for their own purposes.

We see several scenes with Karol's loving father, but for the most part his life is shaped by his superiors in the church, including Cardinal Adam Sapieha. Karol advances more quickly in the church than anyone would expect, making the Communists nervous.

Eventually, a new Pope is needed, and Karol is ready. He seems less reluctant to accept the position in this version, and the election process is shown in more detail (and twice), even using the correct language (which must have been Latin).

As Pope, John Paul II is shown as very loving and caring, interested in the people and in travel, and ready to take on all challenges. World events, especially those affecting Poland, receive a detailed treatment here, and Lech Walesa is a major character.

Cary Elwes did a fine job as Karol in his younger years, showing Karol with quite a sense of humor as well as very intelligent. Jon Voight, who looked less like John Paul II than Thomas Kretschmann, did an amazing job and effectively captured an aging and increasingly frail man who still had faith and a strong desire to serve. All the major actors did an impressive job, but I particularly noticed James Cromwell since I have known him since his days as Stretch Cunningham. Who would have ever believed Stretch Cunningham as a Cardinal? Well, believe it.

The ABC movie may be better for those with a limited attention span. If you want to be entertained rather than educated, this may not be the movie for you, though it includes plenty of entertaining scenes and considerably more laughs than the ABC movie did.

As a work of art, though, the CBS production achieves the excellence broadcast TV often lacks.


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