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Shoes of the Fisherman

The Shoes of the Fisherman

4.0 3
Director: Michael Anderson, Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier, Oskar Werner

Cast: Michael Anderson, Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier, Oskar Werner


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A Pope contends with the prospects of nuclear world destruction in this Cold-War saga of religious faith and international politics. (Anthony Quinn) plays a Russian priest who has spent 20 years in a Siberian labor camp. When Russian and Chinese relations deteriorate, Russian Premier Kamenev (Laurence Olivier) releases him and he is made a cardinal. Kamenev wishes to


A Pope contends with the prospects of nuclear world destruction in this Cold-War saga of religious faith and international politics. (Anthony Quinn) plays a Russian priest who has spent 20 years in a Siberian labor camp. When Russian and Chinese relations deteriorate, Russian Premier Kamenev (Laurence Olivier) releases him and he is made a cardinal. Kamenev wishes to have a representative at the Vatican in Rome for future political situations. When the Pope (John Gielgud) dies, a series of events makes the Russian priest the first Pope from a communist country. Taking the name of the saint who spread the gospel to Russia, he becomes Pope Kiril Lakota. He often leaves the Vatican in disguise to mingle with the people to remain in touch with the poor and the needy. When millions of Chinese face starvation, the Pope offers to sell the riches of the church on order to feed the hungry, and he asks that all wealthy countries do the same. David Janssen is the television reporter stationed in Rome whose wife (Barbara Jefford) receives counseling from Kiril, unaware he is the Pope. In a symbolic gesture, Kiril offers his crown as a down payment in an attempt to bring world peace and end the starving of millions. Although a fine drama with a competent international cast, the movie failed at the box office to recoup the 9-million-dollar production costs.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
This 168-minute film displeased critics and suffered at the box office. Perhaps the critics had taken a cue from Morris L. West, the author of the novel that inspired the movie. He withdrew his name as scriptwriter of the film when the production failed to meet his expectations. Clearly, the film has weaknesses, but it also has strengths. One is Anthony Quinn in his portrayal of Kiril Lakota, a Russian elected pope at a time when nuclear war threatens civilization. Quinn invigorates his role with his imposing stage presence and rugged charisma. Hardened by imprisonment and the bite of Russian winters, Quinn's Lakota parries the pressures of Vatican politics while exhibiting doubt and apprehension about the complicated issues of the day. An intriguing subplot centers on Lakota's relationship with Father David Telemond (Oskar Werner) -- apparently, the fictional counterpart of the real-life Teilhard de Jardin, a brilliant Jesuit philosopher and paleontologist -- who seeks a hearing for his controversial theory of evolution. Wonderful scenes exhibiting first-rate acting involve Lakota's encounters with the Russian premier, Piotr Ilyich Kamenev (Sir Laurence Olivier) and the preceding pope Sir John Gielgud. Perhaps the most engaging performance is that of Leo McKern, a rotund cardinal with an encyclopedic mind and a heart that can bleed. The film goes awry, however, when the plot shifts to the outside world -- in particular, to David Janssen portraying a newsman who steps out on his wife Barbara Jefford. The Janssen plot cheapens the film, reducing it to bathos and soap opera. However, the cinematography flaunts Rome at its best, the costumes rustle with clerical splendor, and the music soars. The Shoes of the Fisherman are worth walking in, even if they don't quite fit.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; Vintage featurette "The Shoes of the Fisherman"; Theatrical trailer; English and French languages; English, French and Spanish subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anthony Quinn Pope Kiril Lakota
Laurence Olivier Premier Kamenev
Oskar Werner Father David Telemond
David Janssen George Faber
Vittorio De Sica Cardinal Rinaldi
Leo McKern Cardinal Leone
John Gielgud The Elder Pope
Barbara Jefford Ruth Faber
Rosemarie Dexter Chiara
Burt Kwouk Chairman Peng
Arnoldo Foa Gelasio
Paul Rogers Augustinian
George Pravda Gorshenin
John Frederick American Cardinal
Oskar Ikemer David Telemond
Al Thomas African Cardinal
Frank Finlay Igor Bounin
Clive Revill Vucovich
Niall MacGinnis Capuchin Monk
Marne Maitland Cardinal Rahamani
Isa Miranda The Marchesa
Gerald Harper Brian
Leopoldo Trieste Dying Man's Friend
Peter Copley English Cardinal
Arthur Howard English Cardinal
Jean Rougeul Dominican

Technical Credits
Michael Anderson Director
Tony Brandt Asst. Director
Arrigo Breschi Set Decoration/Design
Edward C. Carfagno Art Director,Production Designer
George W. Davis Art Director
George Englund Producer
Amato Garbini Makeup
Erwin Hillier Cinematographer
James Kennaway Screenwriter
Franklin E. Milton Sound/Sound Designer
Alex North Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
John Patrick Screenwriter
Orietta Vasalli-Rocca Costumes/Costume Designer
Ernest Walter Editor
Morris West Original Story

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Shoes of the Fisherman
1. Overture [4:01]
2. Credits [1:58]
3. Out of Siberia [3:56]
4. Strings Attached [2:02]
5. World Gone Mad [6:05]
6. Unpublished Philosopher [3:22]
7. Streets of Rome [5:42]
8. Elevated to Cardinal [3:27]
9. Between Two Women [2:29]
10. Prayerful Wishes [3:58]
11. Divine Plan or Heresy? [5:58]
12. George's Location [1:34]
13. Death Toll and Rituals [7:06]
14. Where Do We Go? [4:32]
15. Conclave Begins [3:19]
16. Voting [7:30]
17. End of the Rule Book [1:54]
18. Moral Tightrope [3:41]
19. Proclaimed Pope [2:59]
20. Habemus Papem [1:32]
21. Intermission [5:24]
22. Entr'Acte [:47]
23. Dangerous Situation [1:14]
24. The Right Word [3:26]
25. How Does One Get Out? [5:48]
26. Close Encounters [5:32]
27. Shalom [3:18]
28. In Prison [3:21]
29. Red Light [5:43]
30. Telemond's Beliefs [3:38]
31. Love and Hate [5:01]
32. High and Low [4:54]
33. Gains and Losses [3:32]
34. Stricken Men [4:39]
35. Two Confessions [4:44]
36. I Stand With Peter [5:24]
37. Day of Investiture [2:49]
38. Papal Pledge [6:22]
39. Cast List [6:05]
40. Exit Music [:44]


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The Shoes of the Fisherman 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent Show. Displays some of the politics surrounding world events while maintaining that humility is true power. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a supervisor or boss or maybe owner of their own company. It shows you can do great things just by being yourself and never losing touch with what is really important, Life...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie reveals the full election process of a pope in the Catholic Church. It shows how a priest life changes onces he is elected pope. He is faced with many important decisions and he also loses much of his personal freedom. I love this movie. I don't no why it wasn't supported at the box office. I really enjoyed this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boring as all get out! Don't waste your time. It's sad to see Laurence Olivier in the first of many over-hyped, awful films he made in order to have a financial cushion in his old age. Would-be-viewers -- spend your money on tickets to good theater instead of this pompous tripe!