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.