6.7/10
7,774
19 user 43 critic

Pope Joan (2009)

Die Päpstin (original title)
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.

Director:

Sönke Wortmann

Writers:

Donna Woolfolk Cross (novel), Heinrich Hadding (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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On Disc

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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johanna Wokalek ... Johanna von Ingelheim
David Wenham ... Gerold
John Goodman ... Pope Sergius
Iain Glen ... Village Priest
Edward Petherbridge ... Aesculapius
Anatole Taubman ... Anastasius
Lotte Flack Lotte Flack ... Johanna von Ingelheim - Age 10-14
Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof ... Pope Joan - age 6-9 (as Tigerlily Hutchinson)
Jördis Triebel ... Joan's mother
Oliver Cotton ... Arsenius
Nicholas Woodeson ... Arighis
Suzanne Bertish ... Bishop Arnaldo
Richard van Weyden ... Eusthasius
Branko Tomovic ... Paschal
Lenn Kudrjawizki ... Jordanes
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | UK | Italy | Spain

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

22 October 2009 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Pope Joan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€22,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,412,220, 8 June 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on the popular story of the 'female Pope' that has become widespread since the Middle Ages and thereafter. Pope Joan has been mentioned in works that were released several centuries after her supposed reign. Most modern scholars have dismissed the stories as fictional, due to lack of contemporary documentation, and the debunking of indirect evidence. Many theories abound that the lack of evidence is the result of successful attempts by the Catholic Church to erase Joan's existence from history. The matter therefore remains controversial. See more »

Quotes

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.
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Connections

Version of Pope Joan (1972) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Incredible portrayal of 9th-century life
21 January 2012 | by Caryn-2See all my reviews

I'd vaguely heard of Pope Joan, but didn't know until looking her up this morning that she almost certainly didn't exist; I don't know if I would have watched the movie, knowing it was based on a novel I hadn't read. It was kind of slow-moving, and didn't have the lush costumes that are often my favorite part of historical movies, but it did have the most accurate portrayal I've ever seen of life in the middle ages. At the beginning of the movie I was surprised to see the title character's mother giving birth right in front of two other children, but then remembered that, just as people were conceived in full view of the household, they were born that way as well. As the movie went along, there was nothing missing but the smell! Several years of watching The Highlander didn't give me as graphic a view of what a beheading must actually look like as this movie did, and other details were just as they would have been. I'd recommend this movie most heartily to history majors and anyone who thinks the vanished past was glamorous.


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