Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II

Last updated
Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II
Have No Fear Pope John Paul II cover.jpg
Directed by Jeff Bleckner
Produced byPaolo Piria
Written by
  • Michael Hirst
  • Lorenzo Minoli
  • Judd Parkin
Starring Thomas Kretschmann
Music byCarlo Siliotto
CinematographyRoberto Benvenuti
Edited byBenjamin A. Weissman
  • Five Mile River Films
  • Lietuvos Kinostudija
  • Lithuanian Film Studio
Distributed by American Broadcasting Company
Release date
  • 1 December 2005 (2005-12-01)
Running time
90 minutes (ABC television release)

83 minutes (Poland theatrical release)

CountryUnited States
Language English

Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II is a 2005 biographical television drama film centered on the life of Pope John Paul II. It was written by Michael Hirst, Lorenzo Minoli and Judd Parkin, directed by Jeff Bleckner and starred Thomas Kretschmann as 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 postwar 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 JavorGinka

Related Research Articles

Pope John Paul II 264th pope and saint of the Catholic Church

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was elected pope by the second papal conclave of 1978, which was called after John Paul I, who had been elected in August to succeed Pope Paul VI, died after 33 days. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected on the third day of the conclave and adopted the name of his predecessor in tribute to him. John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and the rest of Europe.

Pope Pius XII 260th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958. Before his election to the papacy, he served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany, and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, such as the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany.

Stanisław Dziwisz

Stanisław Jan Dziwisz is a Polish prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Kraków from 2005 until 2016. He was created a cardinal in 2006. He was a long-time and influential aide to Pope John Paul II, a friend of Pope Benedict XVI, and an ardent supporter of John Paul II's beatification.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Pope

The Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2018. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of 24 particular churches and almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies around the world. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor of the church, entrusted with the universal Petrine ministry of unity and correction. The church's administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, a tiny enclave of Rome, of which the pope is head of state.

Funeral of Pope John Paul II Papal funeral in 2005

The funeral of Pope John Paul II was held on 8 April 2005, six days after his death on 2 April. The funeral was followed by the novemdiales devotional in which the Catholic Church observes nine days of mourning.

<i>Pope John Paul II</i> (film)

Pope John Paul II is a 1984 American biopic drama television film based on the life of Karol Wojtyła, from his early days as an activist in Poland to his installation as Pope John Paul II. Written by Christopher Knopf and directed by Herbert Wise, the film stars Albert Finney, Caroline Bliss, Brian Cox, and John Forgeham. The film marks both Albert Finney's American television debut and the first script Finney had ever turned down upon initial reading.

Teachings of Pope John Paul II

The teachings of Pope John Paul II are contained in a number of documents. It has been said that these teachings will have a long-lasting influence on the Church.

History of the papacy

The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.

<i>Pope John Paul II</i> (miniseries)

Pope John Paul II is a 2005 television miniseries dramatizing the life of Pope John Paul II from his early adult years in Poland to his death at age 84.

Redemptor hominis is the name of the first encyclical written by Pope John Paul II. It lays a blueprint for his pontificate in its exploration of contemporary human problems and especially their proposed solutions found in a deeper understanding of the human person. The encyclical was promulgated on 4 March 1979, less than five months after his installation as pope.

Catholic theology Study of the doctrines of the Catholic Church

Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.

Pope Pius XII and Poland includes Church relations from 1939–1958. Pius XII became Pope on the eve of the Second World War. The invasion of predominantly Catholic Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939 ignited the conflict and was followed soon after by a Soviet invasion of the Eastern half of Poland, in accordance with an agreement reached between the dictators Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. The Catholic Church in Poland was about to face decades of repression, both at Nazi and Communist hands. The Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church in Poland was followed by a Stalinist repression which was particularly intense through the years 1946–1956. Pope Pius XII's policies consisted in attempts to avoid World War II, extensive diplomatic activity on behalf of Poland and encouragement to the persecuted clergy and faithful.

As one of the best known and well-travelled persons of the 20th century, there are many cultural references to Pope John Paul II, who reigned as the 264th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City from 16 October 1978, until his death in April 2005, making his the second-longest pontificate after Pius IX's 31-year reign. In addition to his own extensive writings, many films, television programs, books, and journal articles have been written about John Paul II.

Pope John Paul II bibliography Wikipedia bibliography

The Pope John Paul II bibliography contains a list of works by Pope John Paul II, and works about his life and theology. Pope John Paul II reigned as pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City for 26 years and six months. Works written and published prior to his election to the papacy are attributed to Karol Wojtyła. Additional resources can be found on the Vatican website.

Pope John Paul IIs political views

Pope John Paul II's political views were considered conservative on issues relating to reproduction and the ordination of women during his 26-year reign as pope of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City. A series of 129 lectures given by John Paul during his Wednesday audiences in Rome between September 1979 and November 1984 were later compiled and published as a single work entitled ‘Theology of the Body’, an extended meditation on the nature of human sexuality. He also extended it to condemnation of abortion, euthanasia and virtually all uses of capital punishment, calling them all a part of the "culture of death" that is pervasive in the modern world, advocating instead what he understood to be a "culture of life". He campaigned for world debt forgiveness and social justice.

Pope John Paul II worked to improve relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Judaism. He built solid ties with the Jewish community in the hope of promoting Christian–Jewish reconciliation.

Holy See–Soviet Union relations Diplomatic relations between Holy Catholic Church and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Catholic Church–Soviet Union relations were marked by long-standing ideological disagreements between the Catholic Church and the Soviet Union. The Holy See attempted to enter in a pragmatic dialogue with Soviet leaders during the papacies of John XXIII and Paul VI. In the 1990s, Pope John Paul II's diplomatic policies were cited as one of the principal factors that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The Polish Anti-Religious Campaign was initiated by the communist government in Poland which, under the doctrine of Marxism, actively advocated for the disenfranchisement of religion and planned atheisation. To this effect the regime conducted anti-religious propaganda and persecution of clergymen and monasteries. As in most other Communist countries, religion was not outlawed as such and was permitted by the constitution, but the state attempted to achieve an atheistic society.

Anti-Catholicism in the Soviet Union, including the Soviet Anti-Catholic Campaigns, refer to those concerted efforts taken by the Soviet Union to defame, undermine, or otherwise decrease or limit the role of the Catholic Church in Europe.

Salvifici doloris is a February 1984 Apostolic letter by Pope John Paul II. Its theme was suffering in general in the light of the cross and salvific or redemptive suffering in particular. It was issued in connection with the 1983 Holy Jubilee Year of Redemption.