The Shoes of the Fisherman

By Tom Quiner

Anthony Quinn as Pope Kiril in "The Shoes of the Fisherman"

Anthony Quinn as Pope Kiril in “The Shoes of the Fisherman”

A new pope is elected.

The world is in turmoil.

The pope isn’t interested in the pomp and splendor of his office. He is fixated on the poor.

Nations eye him with a mix of suspicion and hope. Is he an adversary or ally to their interests?

Am I talking about newly-elected Pope Francis? No, I am talking about the fictitious Pope Kiril from the novel (by Morris West) and movie titled “The Shoes of the Fisherman.”

It’s #13 on the list of my favorite movies for Lent (see sidebar on the right). I watched it again last night. It’s been twenty-some years since I watched it last. I enjoyed it more last night than I did the first time, perhaps because of some plot lines that parallel real life.

The Shoes of the Fisherman takes you behind closed doors of the Vatican during the election of a pope. In light of last week’s election of Pope Francis, you’ll find this film fresh and timely, although the Academy Award nominated film score is very 60s. It stars Anthony Quinn as the reluctant new Pope Kiril. It was released in 1968 and was nominated for two Academy Awards.

It is available on Netflix.


  1. Theresa Dowd on March 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Loved the book, haven’t seen the movie yet. Thanks for reminding me.

    • quinersdiner on March 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      I think you and Brian would really enjoy it.

  2. Minnesota Mary on April 16, 2015 at 12:42 am

    I just finished watching this movie, and it is clear to me that Pope Francis has seen this movie and has patterned himself after the Pope played by Anthony Quinn.

    • quinersdiner on April 16, 2015 at 6:31 am

      Good connection. Thanks for sharing your insight.