Pope John Paul II: The Movie
Pope John Paul II: The Movie

Christopher Lee, Jon Voight, and Ben Gazarra in Pope John Paul II: The Movie


Cary Elwes in Pope John Paul II: The Movie


Christopher Lee in Pope John Paul II: The Movie


Cary Elwes in Pope John Paul II: The Movie


Pope John Paul II

Cast and Crew

Jon Voight—Pope John Paul II

Born in Yonkers, New York in 1938, Voight first gained widespread attention and received a Golden Globe Award for his 1969 role in the controversial movie "Midnight Cowboy," which also starred Dustin Hoffman. In 1978 he won the best actor Oscar Award for his performance in the film "Coming Home," in which he played a conflicted Vietnam veteran. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his performances in the films "Midnight Cowboy", "Runaway Train", and, most recently, "Ali," in which he played famed sports announcer Howard Cosell.

Voight has also starred in "National Treasure," "Pearl Harbor," "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "Mission Impossible," "Varsity Blues," "Enemy of the State," "Anaconda," "The General," "The Odessa File," "Deliverance," "The Rainmaker" and "The Champ." His television credits include the movies "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "Uprising," and the mini-series "Jack and The Beanstalk: The Real Story" and "Return to Lonesome Dove," both on CBS. His directorial debut was the television movie "The Tin Soldier."

Cary Elwes – Karol Wojtyla

Familiar to audiences as Westley in “The Princess Bride”, Cary Elwes comes from a long line of Catholic artists and intellectuals. Born into one of the oldest recusant Roman Catholic families in England, he counts as his relatives many famous clergyman, including Abbot Columba Cary-Elwes, the founder of the Priory of Sts. Louis and Mary in St. Louis, Missouri.

Elwes' career includes such films as “Glory”, “Bram Stoker's Dracula”, “Twister”, “Liar, Liar”, and “Ella Enchanted”. His television work has included the miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” and a recurring role on “The X-Files”.

Ben Gazzara

One of the most versatile actors in movies today, Ben Gazzara's career on stage and in film has been going strong for over fifty years. Catholic audiences will recognize him from the 1988 film “Don Bosco” in which he portrayed the famous Italian saint.

From humble origins as the son of a Sicilian immigrant laborer, Gazzara soon attracted attention after his first few stage roles, which lead to TV work and then film. His movies include “Anatomy of a Murder”, “The Bridge at Remagen”, “The Spanish Prisoner.”

Christopher Lee - Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski

With his unforgettable voice and tall, menacing physique, Christopher Lee is one of the most popular actors of all time. In his almost 230 film roles, nearly all have been as villains, though he was called “a sweetheart” by the Washington Post describing his role as Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski in “Pope John Paul II.” He is also a great fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's books, and during the filming of the recent film trilogy he spent time visiting the production department to give tips on how to keep the movies accurate to the books.

Lee's films include “Dracula”, “The Mummy”, “The Three Musketeers”, “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”, and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

James Cromwell - Cardinal Adam Sapieha

Veteran actor James Cromwell won popular acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the taciturn Farmer Hoggett in “Babe”. Accomplished in both comedy and drama, Cromwell first gained notice in the 1970's for a recurring role on the hit show “All In the Family”, and has gone on to play many other varied roles on television and the big screen.

Cromwell's films include “Murder by Death”, “Revenge of the Nerds”, “Star Trek: First Contact”, “The Green Mile”, and the upcoming “Spiderman 3”

John Kent Harrison – Writer and Director

John Kent Harrison attended Loyola College in Montreal, Canada, where a Jesuit priest convinced him to start studying Italian cinema. Inspired, he went on to pursue filmmaking as a career. As writer and director, he has created many memorable TV movies.

His films include “The Sound and the Silence”, “What the Deaf Man Heard”, “Helen of Troy”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, and “The Water is Wide”.

Marco Frisina – Composer

For the past twenty years Father Marco Frisina has been the chapel master a t the Musical Lateran Chapel in Rome. An accomplished composer as well as conductor, he has scored such films as “The Apocalypse”, “Saint Anthony”, and the Turner “Bible” series. He also coordinated events and music for the Great Jubilee celebrations of 2000 in Rome, and has written and performed music for both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

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Copyright © 2006 by Ignatius Press

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"Succeeds brilliantly... it does reveal why most of those who criticized [Pope John Paul II] also loved him."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Elwes... deftly depicts the internal struggle that finally drove Wojtyla to be trained for the priesthood. [This film] understands the importance of taking the time to see Pope John Paul II as a fully rounded human being as opposed to a hollow icon." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Voight stands out... he closely mirrors our image of the pope as a person: that mix of majesty and humility, humor and steel."—USA Today

"Voight is quite extraordinary. Besides doing a spot-on impersonation of Pope John Paul's public persona, he ages most convincingly... It's a heart wrenching portrayal. Pope Benedict XVI attended the world premiere screening and at the conclusion blessed the miniseries — the ultimate endorsement!" —Harry Forbes, Catholic News Service

"Watching this film has renewed in me a sense of profound gratitude to God for having given the Church and the world a Pope of such an exalted human and spiritual nature." —Pope Benedict XVI

Although shot on a lavish scale in Italy, Poland and elsewhere, 'Pope John Paul II' succeeds on intimate terms even when troops are marching or huge crowds are filling St. Peter's Square, and Elwes and Voight are largely responsible. The movie is honestly and actually about something... It's the ability to instill joy in human hearts, and the film not only celebrates it but, in its finest moments, even possesses it."—The Washington Post

"Writer-director John Kent Harrison wisely finds a narrative focus... as the pope stares down the unraveling Soviets hoping to help free his native Poland. More than anything, Voight's performance... taps into John Paul's emotional life... it's a remarkable performance."—Variety