Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II

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The biopic Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II (ABC, December 1, 2005) explains in biographical form the life story of the late head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope John Paul II.


The plot of the film begins with the pope's visit to Jerusalem, a stop on his 91st trip abroad, which occurred between 20 March and 26 March 2000.

At the Western Wall, he asked God to forgive the sins of the church, before retreating alone to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In flashbacks to an early age, he lost his mother and his brother Edmund. Later, he lived through the Nazi occupation of his Polish homeland during World War II and post war Communism. Through all these hardships, he maintained his love for Jesus of Nazareth and the virgin Mary.

He became an ordained priest, and eventually Krakow's bishop and archbishop, where he began his fight against Communism and its oppression. On October 16, 1978, Karol Wojtyla became the 264th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and now called himself John Paul II.

The "Polish Pope" himself made history with the third longest papacy ever. He made his triumphant papal return to Poland in June, 1979, confronted liberation theology, survived the assassination attempt on himself in 1981 by Mehmet Ali Agca (who he later forgave in 1983) and used his influence to help bring both Communist and right-wing totalitarian regimes, such as Alfredo Stroessner's dictatorship in Paraguay, to their knees. Afterwards, he expressed distress over materialism and unprincipled capitalism in his native Poland and denounced the sexual abuse of children that was brought to his attention in 2002, saying that "every sin can be forgiven, but by God, not by me".

On 2 April 2005, Pope John Paul II died.


The ABC film treated the topic of Catholicism differently from some expectations. The film made no attempt to focus on the Holy Scriptures, but rather focused on the devotion of John Paul II to his faith.

Production took place in Lithuania and partly in Rome. Because Benedict XVI had already given Vatican filming rights to CBS for its portrayal of the life of Pope John Paul II, production for the film scenes which play in the Vatican were done on sets.

Actor/Actress Role
Thomas Kretschmann John Paul II
Bruno Ganz Cardinal Wyszyński
Sebastian Knapp Mehmet Ali Ağca
Jasper Harris the 10-year-old Wojtyla
Survila Ignas the 12-year-old Wojtyla
Ignatavicius Paulius Edmund Wojtyla
Petar Goranov Karol's father
Salauskaite Inga Emilia Wojtyla
Michael Klesic Stanislaw Starowieyski
Richard Rees Wojciech Jaruzelski
Charles Kay Paul VI
John Albasiny Stanisław Dziwisz
Roland Oliver Adam Stefan Sapieha
Joaquim de Almeida Archbishop Óscar Romero
Sabrina Javor Ginka

External links[edit]

Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II on IMDb