The Two Popes (2019)

# 17032 IMDb PG-13 

The Two Popes (2019

taglineInspired by true events.

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Renato Scarpa, Juan Minujín, Germán de Silva

Comedy, Drama (2h 05min)

UK UK, Italy Italy

Rated 7.6 after 77,621 votes, 75% postive reviews on 06-Mar-20.

Nominated for OscarNominated for OscarNominated for Oscar
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 50 nominations


Behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.


Fernando Meirelles (director) Anthony Hopkins Jonathan Pryce Juan Minujín Luis Gnecco Cristina Banegas Renato Scarpa

Anthony Hopkins (Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict), Jonathan Pryce (Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio / Pope Francis), Juan Minujín (Younger Jorge Bergoglio), Luis Gnecco (Cardinal Hummes), Cristina Banegas (Lisabetta), María Ucedo (Esther Ballestrino), Renato Scarpa (Camerlengo), Sidney Cole (Cardinal Turkson), Achille Brugnini (Cardinal Martini), Federico Torre (Protodeacon Estevez), Germán de Silva (Father Yorio), Lisandro Fiks (Father Jalics), Libero De Rienzo (Roberto), Willie Jonah (Cardinal Arinze), Sofia Cessak (Amalia Damonte (as Sofia Mayra Cessak)), Vincent Riotta (Driver (as Vince Riotta)), Daphne Mereu (Gandolfo Nun (as Daph Mereu)), Martina Sammarco (Gandolfo Nun), Juan Miguel Arias (Paolo), Daniel Di Cocco (Unknown Priest (as Daniel Juan Di Cocco)), Joselo Bella (Admiral Massera), Luis Alfredo Huerga Reyna (Captain Astiz), Andrés Zurita (Tonio (as Andrés Carlos Zurita)), Guido Losantos (Father Pepe (as Guido Nicolás Losantos)), Nicola Acunzo (Papal Gardener), Sergio Santana (Slum Man), Cecilia Dazzi (Nun), Maria Florencia Larrea Arias (Amalia's Mother), Hernán Acentares (Father Mugica), Abril Chiara Castelli (Ana Maria Careaga), Luciano Kaczer (Father Dourron), Francisco Di Teodoro (Lorenzo), Walter Andrade (Luis (as Walter Fabián Andrade)), Natalia Salmoral (Woman With News (as Natalia Constanza Salmoral)), Roberto Olivieri (Fan), Thomas D Williams (American Journalist (as Thomas D. Williams)), Cristobal Mamani (Peasant), Olivia Sandy Torres (Peasant), Adalid Paredes Blanco (Old Man), Bonilla Del Valle (Poor Woman)...

From the same director


Anthony McCarten (written by)

Produced by

Mark Bauch (executive producer), Jonathan Eirich (producer (p.g.a.)), Marcelo La Torre (line producer), Dan Lin (producer (p.g.a.)), James Joseph McDonald (archive producer), Tracey Seaward (producer (p.g.a.)), Enzo Sisti (line producer: Italy)



Being inaugurated as a new pope in the last century must have been a source of enormous pride. But there must also have been a nagging thought... at some point you are going to be paraded, stiff as a board, around your work courtyard before being taken back inside to your place of work and buried there!

All that changed in 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI resigned, the first pope to voluntarily do so since Pope Celestine V in 1294. (Pope Gregory XII also resigned in 1415, but he was effectively forced to).

This movie tells the story of that curious situation, when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (played by Jonathan Pryce) ended up as Pope Francis while Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) was still alive. The official reason for the pope's resignation appears to have been his advanced age. But the film paints a rather different picture.

The movie starts back in 2005 as we enter the papal conclave. Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger, as was) is the highly-political German cardinal who desperately wants the papacy; Bergoglio is the highly respected Argentinian cardinal who doesn't seek the office but might have it thrust upon him. (Clearly, when the white smoke clears, history has dictated the outcome).

But flash forward to 2013 and Bergoglio will get another bite of the cherry. Is he worthy of the role? Through flashbacks we return to Perón's unsettling rule over Argentina and the events that made the man.

The two stars are simply outstanding together, and it's no surprise at all that both have been nominated in the Oscar acting categories. They are almost joint leads. But - perhaps to give the film its best awards-season shot - Pryce is down for Best Actor and Hopkins is down for Best Supporting Actor.

Anthony Hopkins in particular for me shone with the brilliant quietness and subtle facial movements that are the mark of a truly confident actor. Less is more.

I was enjoying this movie enormously up until we flashed back to the Argentinian sub-plot. Set in the time of Perón's "Dirty War" when a huge number of people - estimates range from 9,000 to 30,000 - simply went "missing". There's nothing wrong with this sequence of the film. For example, a reunion of Bergoglio with a persecuted priest, Father Jalics (Lisandro Fiks) - is brilliantly and movingly done. It's just that for me it seemed so disjointed. It was jarring to switch from this Evita-era drama to the gentle drama of the papal plot.

If the movie had been 30 minutes shorter and focused on the mental struggles of Benedict I would have preferred it. Curiously - we don't really get to fully understand his divergence from the faith. Bergoglio gets no end of back-story. But Ratzinger's is probably just as interesting, but not explored.

This is still a really fine movie and will appeal to older folks who like a story rich with character acting and not heavy on the action or special effects. The director is Fernando Meirelles (who interestingly directed the Rio Olympics opening ceremony!) and it's written by Anthony McCarten, the man behind the screenplays for "The Theory of Everything", "Darkest Hour" and "Bohemian Rhapsody".

You may still be able to find this in selected cinemas (e.g. Curzon) but it is also streaming on Netflix, which is where I had to watch it.

Memorable quotes

Pope Francis: When no one is to blame, everyone is to blame

26 total 


Jonathan Pryce commented on his physical resemblance to Pope Francis at the Toronto International Film Festival: "The day Pope Francis was declared Pope, the Internet was full of images of me and him, and 'Is Jonathan Pryce the Pope?' Even my son texted me, 'Dad are you the Pope?'"

28 total 


Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 50 nominations 
Academy Awards, USA • Golden Globes, USA • BAFTA Awards • AARP Movies for Grownups Awards • Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards • Camerimage • Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle Awards • Chlotrudis Awards • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards • DiscussingFilm Critics Awards • Florida Film Critics Circle Awards • Gold Derby Awards • Hamptons International Film Festival • Hawaii Film Critics Society • Heartland Film • Hollywood Critics Association • Hollywood Film Awards • Houston Film Critics Society Awards • Indiewire Critics' Poll • Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards • Latino Entertainment Journalists Association Film Awards • London Critics Circle Film Awards • Middleburg Film Festival • Mill Valley Film Festival • New York Film Critics, Online • North Carolina Film Critics Association • Online Association of Female Film Critics • Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards • Satellite Awards • St. Louis Film Critics Association, US • USC Scripter Award

Other titles

The Two Popes ((original title); Australia; Canada (English title); India (Hindi title); Ireland; New Zealand; UK; USA) • Los dos papas (Argentina; Mexico; Peru; Spain) • Die zwei Päpste (Austria; Germany) • Dois Papas (Brazil) • Les deux papes (Canada (French title)) • Los dos Papas (Chile; Uruguay (original subtitled version)) • Kaksi paavia (Finland) • Les deux Papes (France) • Οι Δύο Πάπες (Greece) • A két pápa (Hungary) • Ha'Apifiorim (Israel (Hebrew title)) • I due Papi (Italy) • 2人のローマ教皇 (Japan (Japanese title)) • Dwóch papieży (Poland) • Два Папы (Russia) • Двојица папа (Serbia) • 教宗的承繼 (Taiwan) • İki Papa (Turkey (Turkish title)) • Два Папи (Ukraine) • Hai Vị Giáo Hoàng (Vietnam) • The Pope ((working title))



Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some disturbing violent images.


Argentina:13 / Australia:M / Brazil:12 / Canada:PG / Canada:PG / Chile:13+ / Denmark:11 / Finland:K-12 / France:13 / Germany:12 / India:16 / Ireland:12A / Italy:T / Japan:G / Mexico:B / Netherlands:12 / New Zealand:M / Norway:12 / Philippines:PG-13 / Singapore:M18 / Singapore:PG13 / South Korea:15 / South Korea:12 / Spain:7 / United Kingdom:12A / United States:PG-13 / Vietnam:C16



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