Search - Witness to Hope - The Life of John Paul II on DVD

Witness to Hope - The Life of John Paul II
Witness to Hope - The Life of John Paul II
Actors: Rene Auberjonois, George Weigel
Director: Judith Dwan Hallet
Genres: Drama, Special Interests, Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 56min

Shaped by the terrors of Nazi-occupied Poland and the subsequent brutalities of the Communist regime, John Paul II became one of the world?s greatest proponents of religious freedom and human rights. With rare historical ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Rene Auberjonois, George Weigel
Director: Judith Dwan Hallet
Creators: George Weigel, Judith Dwan Hallet, Robert Zakin, Catherine Wyler
Genres: Drama, Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Drama, Religion & Spirituality, Documentary
Studio: Xenon
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish

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Movie Reviews

"poet, philosopher, mystic, pope"
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 06/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Based on the biography by George Weigel, this is an excellent overview of Pope John Paul II's life. Weigel is interviewed extensively, as well as many who knew John Paul II in Poland, in the church, and those on the world stage who interacted with him because of his enormous influence on international affairs, like former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The early years have a few reenactments, but are mostly shown with riveting archival footage, some of it from the horrors of the Nazi invasion of 1939, through WWII.
Then as the Nazis left, the Soviets arrived, and there is a quote saying it felt like "losing the same war twice", as Stalin's fist of iron bore down on the Polish people.

John Paul II was born in 1920 and had much tragedy as a child, losing his mother when he was 9, and his older brother three years later. Handsome and athletic (with looks that remind me of Lawrence Olivier), he was a poet and actor, worked in a quarry, and then joined an underground seminary. It is a life so full of important events, that this documentary moves fast to include them all.
There is marvelous footage of his triumphant return to Poland as pope for the first time, which spread the seeds of freedom and the Solidarity Movement of the workers in Poland. Also covered are the assassination attempt, and how his views sometimes clashed with the ideology of the secular world.

Written and directed by Judith Dwan Hallet, with narration by Rene Auberjonois, and music by Fred Karns, this is good way to quickly familiarize oneself with the life of this saintly man who was "called to a greater love".
Total running time is 2 hours.
Jeff Jones | Redlands, California United States | 03/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the best piece of film on Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) in history. It is not simply a masterpiece for it's portrayal of the Holy Father, but it is also a cinematic masterpiece. It looks good, it sounds good, and yes, IT IS good, very, very, good. I cannot talk enough about the beautiful and piercing yet gentle and quiet power of this film. Whether or not you read the book, it doesn't matter, SEE THIS FILM!"
Marcia L. Dietrich | Leavenworth, KS USA | 06/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Though I knew much of the story of Pope John Paul II's life this film brings it all together in a powerful and personal way. I'd recommend this for anyone. The history, the struggle for religious freedom, the perserverence by faith. This is better than 99% of what Hollywood produces, yet a true story and an inspiration for us all."
The Definite Biography of John Paul II
Bridget | Bedford, OH USA | 04/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is absolutely the BEST biography out there on John Paul II. Unlike those by A & E or NBC or the like, it is simply based on the facts. Many of the other "biographies" have sections in them based on the agenda of the filmmaker. Usually taking the position of admonishment against the Pope for not being a liberal American. This one is just the opposite. It deals with John Paul II with no agenda other than to give a close and intimate portrait of the man. It is well produced and documented. I have seen hours and hours of documentaries on the late Pontiff and I would recommend this as the best."