Is the movie Johnny on Netflix based on a true story?

By Kieran Burt
Published: March 28, 2023

Is the movie Johnny on Netflix based on a true story? This article discusses whether the Netflix film is based on real-life events. There will be spoilers below. 

Johnny is a film that tells the joyous yet tragic tale of a priest who has dedicated his life to helping people. The narrative focuses on when the priest Jan Kaczkowski met ex-criminal Patryk Galewski and help him set his life straight.

The film provides an uplifting story, showing a man driven to do good in the world because of his faith.

The film has the simple message of being kind to those you meet and everyone, no matter who they are and what they’ve done in their past. This positivity has left others wondering if this story is true and asking about its inspiration.

What is the movie Johnny about?

Johnny is a Polish film on Netflix that follows the life of Jan Kaczkowski, or Father Jan and the positive effect he had on the world. It shows the priest striking an unlikely friendship with an ex-criminal, Patryk Galewski, as the court ordered him to do community service at Jan’s hospice.

Father Jan shows Patryk only empathy and kindness and helps Patryk see a different perspective on life.

The film is directed by Daniel Jaroszek and written by Maciej Kraszewski. Dawid Ogrodnik plays the titular priest and beautifully captures the noble nature of Jan, and Piotr Trojan plays Patryk Galewski.

Is the movie Johnny on Netflix based on a true story?

Yes, the film Johnny is based on a true story. Jan Kaczkowski was a real person, and he was born on July 19, 1977, in Gdynia, Poland. He was a priest of the Catholic Church and suffered from several health problems from birth, including a severe eyesight deficiency.

He visited numerous people with cancer, and viewing their agonies convinced him to start a hospice on wheels. Gaining the help of several doctors and nurses, extraordinary personal sacrifice, and community funding, he managed to found a stationary hospice called The Puck Hospice in 2009 and dedicated the organization the Saint Padre Pio, an Italian priest known for his charity.

Did Father Jan Kaczkowski write books?

Father Jan also wrote several books about living life to the full and living with terminal diseases. A notable work of his is titled The Art of Living Without Lies. 

Is Father Jan Kaczkowski still alive?

In 2012, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a brain tumor, and only given months to live. He defied this expectation and lived for four more years, dying on March 28, 2016, at 39.

Turning to Patryk, the movie also recreates a faithful adaptation of his life. He had been raised by an abusive father and fell into substance abuse.

Where is Patryk Galewski now?

Like in the film, Patryk was sent to work through his issues at the Puck Hospice and met Father Jan. Now Patryk is a changed man, with a thriving family, a successful chef, and is the founder of a non-profit organization called Fundacja Ks. Kaczkowskiego, which is dedicated to preserving the memory of Jan Kaczkowski.

Writer Maciej Kraszewski learned of the story from none other than Patryk himself and was so moved he not only created the film but also published a book about Jan Kaczkowski in September 2022 titled Johnny. This publication coincided with the film’s release in Polish cinemas.

You can watch Johnny with a subscription to Netflix.

Netflix, News, Streaming Service