You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Pope Must Die

Say no prayers for The Pope mus t Die, a barbed comedy about an honest goofball who boots the mob out of the Vatican when he's mistakenly made top banana.

Robbie Coltrane Beverly D'Angelo Herbert Lom Paul Bartel Salvatore Cascio Alex Rocco

Say no prayers for The Pope must Die, a barbed comedy about an honest goofball who boots the mob out of the Vatican when he’s mistakenly made top banana.

Scots comic Robbie Coltrane toplines as a priest who doubles as a car mechanic and rock musician in a rural Italian orphanage. When the pope kicks it in Rome, Father Dave Albinizi’s name comes up thanks to a clerical error, and next thing he’s riding around in the popemobile and dispensing blessings.

First to hit the cobblestones is the finance director (Alex Rocco), mob boss Herbert Lom’s main inside man. But when Coltrane’s ex-g.f. (Beverly D’Angelo) turns up and reveals they have a long-lost rock star son (Balthazar Getty), Rocco and his accomplice (Paul Bartel) inform the press.

Loosely based (like The Godfather Part III) on the Roberto Calvi banking scandal, yarn broadens out into a breezy satire of mob pictures and religious pics. Coltrane is solid (and physically right) as the ingenuous lead, but pace slackens when he’s left to make the running. Rest of the cast play it in the fast lane.

Pic lensed in Yugoslavia under the dummy title Sleeping with the Fishes. End roller includes the blithe note: ‘Filmed entirely on location in Europe, not far from the Vatican.’

The Pope Must Die


Production: Palace/British Screen. Director Peter Richardson; Producer Stephen Woolley; Screenplay Peter Richardson, Pete Richens; Camera Frank Gell; Editor Katherine Wenning; Music Anne Dudley, Jeff Beck; Art Director John Ebden

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: Robbie Coltrane Beverly D'Angelo Herbert Lom Paul Bartel Salvatore Cascio Alex Rocco

More Film

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content