Inundated with bad news from mainstream news, many mistakenly conclude that the world is going downhill in a hurry. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. Christ promises, “…on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:17-19) Christ’s Church will not be defending evil forces somewhere in a holed up corner of the world. “The gates of hell will not prevail against it”, implies that the church will go out and knock down the gates of hell and overcome evil and destruction in triumphant victory. By His power, through His faithful followers, The Lord “renews the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30).
A renewal is taking place through Christian film. According to the 2017 Movieguide Report to the Entertainment Industry, the “top 10 Movies in 2016 shows once again that movies reflecting high Christian, biblical, and moral standards and relatively conservative values do better at the box office than movies that violate those objective standards.” This is nothing new. There have been successful wonderful Christian movies since the inception of film. What greater medium with a wider audience could Christ have? It is our duty to patronize these movies to promote and support what is good and builds up community. It is difficult to identify a good Christian film, if you do not know what to look for. I have created a list of 7 great Christian films you may not have heard about.
The King of Kings (silent) Rated G
The greatest classic movie about Jesus Christ is the 1927 Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings. H.B. Warner plays a moving and powerful Jesus. The King of Kings is the ultimate Christian film because it shows the political and religious oppression and persecution that Jesus faces during His mission of salvation. The silence adds to the movie because there are no words to describe what Jesus has done for mankind.
The Lilies of the Field (1963) Rated G
Sydney Poitier was the first black actor ever to win the Academy Award (www.oscars.org) in his portrayal as a traveling handyman in this uplifting comedy Directed by Ralph Nelson. After being transplanted to Southwest America, a small group of Roman Catholic German nuns convince a young African American man to help them construct a church, for free. The young man teaches the nuns about Pentecostal worship. This is a movie that unites Christians by sharing the joys of worship.
Pride and Prejudice (2005) Rated PG
This adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, is a comedy about finding love and marriage for 5 sisters in a class-conscious England at the turn of the 18th century. The story focuses on Elizabeth, the second eldest of the five Bennet sisters. The battle of the sexes ensues as the seemingly snobbish Mr. Darcy and willful Elizabeth try to overcome their pride and prejudice in order to find true love.
Spider Man 1, 2 and 3: (2002, 2004 and 2008) Rated PG-13
If you’re looking for a good superhero/action movie, these three movies are the best of all time. We follow Peter Parker in his action packed adventures as he defends the innocent and fights evil. The trilogy includes overtly Christian content. There is also powerful imagery that alludes to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ.
The Tree of the Wooden Clogs (1978) Rated G
Italian Filmmaker Olmi’s Italian masterpiece (winner of the top Cannes Film Festival) follows the peasant life of three families in Northern Italy at the turn of the century. This Christian film does a wonderful job as it showcases the realism of peasant life and the presence of God in their everyday existence. The Tree of the Wooden Clogs is endearing, funny and beautiful.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Rated R
Directed by Mel Gibson, Andrew Garfield stars as Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector in WWII. A believer, Doss carries only his bible and grit onto one of the bloodiest battlefields in WWII, Hacksaw Ridge. Caution is advised because Hacksaw Ridge is one of the most graphically violent war stories. However, it is also one of the most Christian. Doss follows God’s will for his life as he acts according to conscience. He turns the other cheek as he is persecuted by his peers and superiors for refusing to carry a weapon. Against insurmountable odds, Doss prays for grace and risks his life to save 75 men.
Finding Nemo (2003) Rated G
Though there may be a few frightening elements for small children, Finding Nemo is a wonderful tale of a father’s love for his son. This animated movie is full of adventure, humor and delightful images, while keeping strong morality and the meaning of love at the center. Finding Nemo is a win for the whole family.
A movie that does not mention the name Jesus may still be a Christian film because it upholds and extols Christian virtues, such as faith, hope and love. Many films contain characters who exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galations 5:22) Jesus Himself is a great storyteller. He speaks often in parables, or short stories, that illustrate an ethical point. Movies are a platform for stories that exhibit Christian values. As Dr. Ted Baehr, Founder and Publisher of Movieguide(r), states, “Christians must uphold and support the good and the beautiful, while rejecting the bad.” For more information on how you and your family can use discernment in selecting entertainment, visit www.movieguide.org, or download the Movieguide App on your smartphone.
How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul) by Dr. Ted Baehr
Movieguide All Time Best Movies by Dr. Ted Baehr
Photo: Pat Boone at the 2017 25th Annual Movieguide Awards, Hollywood CA, taken by Mary Driscoll
Mary Driscoll is the mother of four children. She edits scripts for major Hollywood Studios. She has been published in Movieguide(r) and writes for various outlets. Please check out her blog The Coffee Shop at www.marydriscollcom.blog.
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