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Karol - The Pope, the Man (2006)

Karol, un Papa rimasto uomo (original title)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dariusz Kwasnik ...
Dr. Renato Buzzonetti
Father Thomas (archive footage)
Julia Ritter
Alkis Zanis ...
Carlos Kaniowsky ...
Fabrice Scott ...
Paolo Maria Scalondro ...
Wojciech Jaruzelski
Daniela Giordano ...
Tobiana Sobótka
Lech Mackiewicz ...
Pietro Ragusa ...
Vadim Belijaev


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Release Date:

16 April 2006 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Karol - The Pope, the Man  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$150,125 (Mexico) (29 September 2006)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The images of the mourners in St. Peter's Square at the beginning and the end of the movie are real newsreel footage. The images of John Paul's return to Poland, the reports of the assassination attempt, and the images from World Youth Day in Paris are also real footage. See more »


On 13 December 1981, the Pope is informed by the cardinals about the introduction of martial law in Poland. When he asks for fatalities, he is told about nine miners shot at the Wujek coal mine - an example of clairvoyancy, since the shooting at Wujek took place three days later, on 16 December 1981. See more »


Follows Karol, un uomo diventato Papa (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Majestic and sublime, yet, so down-to-earth and humane
19 November 2006 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

The sequel to KAROL-UN UOMO DIVENTATO PAPA ("Karol-a Man who Became Pope") was long awaited among many viewers since Giacomo Battiato, the director, used his best endeavors to make the biopic of John Paul II most accurate and touching. Finally, October, the 13th 2006 saw the theatrical Polish premiere of the movie KAROL-UN PAPA RIMASTO UOMO ("Karol-Pope who Remained Man"). While the first part dealt with the 1939-1978 period and the early life of Karol Wojtyla, the sequel deals with his long, fruitful 1978-2005 pontiff. When I first heard that Mr Battiato was going to make a movie entirely about the pontiff of John Paul II, I had mixed feelings because of one material factor: we are so much used to the real pope, his photos galore, archive recordings that I was afraid it would not appeal to me as I find only actors playing. Yet, after seeing this I say I was wrong. The film does a great job.

Firstly, the director dynamically presents the pontiff. Of course, it is impossible to show the entire 26 year-long period of time. Yet, the significant aspects are there. I liked the focus on severe politics contrasted with humane mercy. That is, I think, the gist of who John Paul II was: a genius at being a public figure and a genius at feeling empathy with every single individual. Communism with its focus on totalitarian regime is presented against the Pope with his focus on freedom; terrorists with their destruction of humanity against the Pope with his Civilization of Love; African tribes with their cruelty against the Pope with his mercy. However, it is, in no way, a political movie but a purely balanced biopic of a man who was exposed to such reality. Mind, for instance, the scene with politicians: the pope does not enter into politics but defends human rights and peace which are fundamental in any social matters.

Secondly, the movie is filled with wonderful symbolic moments. Consider, for instance, the attempt on John Paul II's life. There is a memorable morning of May, the 13th 1981. The pope gets up early and prays in his chapel placing all his life hope in God. The scene is interrupted a few times by the short moments of Ali Agca (Alkis Zanis), a perfect killer, who takes exercises relying solely on himself. Besides, there are lots of moments of flashbacks constituting pope's empathy. When he hears of human tragedy, he sees the events in his mind's eyes. Consider, for example, a horrifying moment in Sarajewo and the death of an innocent couple. Another moment that touched me was the one in hospital and the conversation with the woman. I also recommend to draw attention on the visit to the African coast and John Paul II's prayer on the seashore. One of the most memorable symbols, however, is the way the film makes use of the words "Do not be afraid" translated into many world languages.

Thirdly, this is one of the few films that shows John Paul II's real Christian love: which love is that? The one to the poorest of the poor. Even if he is such a majestic figure, he does not hesitate to feed the lepers, kiss little African children, console the dying. I liked the director's idea to show Mother Teresa (Adriana Asti). John Paul II had much in common with this humble woman who sacrificed her life to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. But, together with this love filled with Christ and His Mission, John Paul II is also a man who shows understanding. Consider the character of Julia Ritter (Leslie Hope) and her conversation with John Paul about modern social problems like contraception or abortion.

Finally, the film would not be that great if it weren't for the artistic features. The cast are good, I liked Piotr Adamczyk, particularly in the sequel since he had a hard task: not to play young Karol Wojtyla but the John Paul II many people have in fresh memories. This required much preparation, indeed. Michele Placido surprised me as Dr Buzzonetti and Adriana Asti is appealing as Mother Teresa. Timothy Martin is also memorable as a missionary who takes care of African people. The music by Ennio Morricone is marvelous and supplies the movie with more profoundity.

I recommend everyone to see this film. It is a moving story of the man who went so far and yet has never forgotten empathy, humanity, love; the man who was always so close to the poor, forgotten, frustrated, abandoned; the man who consoled the dying in Calcutta (now, indeed, thanking him in paradise); the man who became an icon of Christ at the dawn of the 21st century.

A friend said to me "I don't want to see another drama" but my answer to that was "It is no drama but a movie of hope". Indeed, although filled with suffering, the film is throughout illuminated by the blissful smile and heavenly blessing of Karol Wojtyla. The final archive shot of the funeral moving on to real John Paul II's smiling face in the mountains covered with snow touches to tears. Profound film and a must see

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