Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 21 September |
The Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle
home iconNews
line break icon

Popes on the Silver Screen

Courtesy-of-Showtime-TV

Fr Dwight Longenecker - published on 11/26/14 - updated on 06/08/17


Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest and Neri Marcore plays Pope John Paul I in Pope John Paul I: The Smile of God.

Gielgud played a third pope in the film Elizabeth  about the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. This time he played the intransigent Pope Paul IV. One of Paul IV’s predecessors, Paul III also tangled with the Tudors, and he was played by veteran actor Peter O’Toole in the television series The Tudors.

Along with the fictional Pope Kiril in The Shoes of the Fisherman there is the farcical The Pope Must Die featuring British comic Robbie Coltrane and the film Pope Joan which is even more farcical because it tries to be serious and historical.

Watching papal performances on film is a reminder of how the rich history of the Catholic church is played out by the simple humanity of men who walked in the shoes of the fisherman. As actors played the role of the popel so each man who was elected pope stepped into a role that was bigger than himself. If the men who became pope did so with humanity and humility then each one of us has our own role to play in the greater drama of God’s interaction with the human race.

I think I’ve catalogued the portrayals of the papacy on film. However, if there are any omissions—if the see is vacant—I hope readers will use the comments box to fill in what is missing.

Fr Dwight Longenecker blogs at Standing on My Head. His latest book comes out in time for Lent. In Slubgrip Instructs a diabolical professor instructs his students on how to corrupt popular culture. Connect with Fr Longenecker at http://www.dwightlongenecker.com.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
MoviesPopePope John Paul II
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
6
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
7
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.