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Who’s Your Favorite Movie Pope?

Who's Your Favorite Movie Pope?

During this papal interregnum, the best source of Vatican
news is coming from South Philly blogger Rocco Palmo,
whose blog reportedly is the go-to site for news and
gossip about papal succession.

When it comes to films about the church, I’m partial to nun
films (“The Nun’s Story,” “The Sound of Music,” “The Trouble With Angels,” “Therese,” “Black Narcissus”) than pope movies, because the pontiff is usually a
distant authoritarian rather than a fleshed-out character.

Still, I have some favorite film popes, including,
improbably, John Goodman as Pope Sergius in “Pope Joan” (the 2009 movie starring
Johanna Wokaluk as the 9th-century woman who, though Vatican historians say it
never happened, according to legend posed as a male, and was elevated to pope).
As Pope Joan, Wokaluk says something to the effect that women are superior to
men because Eve ate the apple for the love of knowledge and Adam did it only
because Eve asked.

Who could fail to love Michel Piccoli in “Habemus Papam,” the
2011 Nanni Moretti film about the cardinal who, when elected Pope, has a panic
attack and consults a psychoanalyst who is an atheist? (Check out our TOH! interview with Moretti here.)

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SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN (1969) was actually about the selection of a new pope and had an entire sequence devoted to the whole smoke thing. Anthony Quinn played the new pope and had to come up with some kind of strategy to keep Russia and China from going to war. Laurence Olivier played the Russian premier. Burt Kwouk played his Chinese counterpart. Not a great movie, although I haven't seen it in over 40 years, so I don't know how it holds up. But I found the whole selection-of-a-new-pope process in the film to be fascinating and it's a wonder that TCM hasn't figured out what a perfect time it is to re-play it.


While not a pope, I rather enjoyed Cardinal Ignatius Glick, in Dogma :)


I really like James Fox as The Pope in "Mister Lonely"

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