My Musings

Top 10 Faith-Building Films

Top 10 Faith-Building  Films

One man’s opinions, in reverse order:

 
Luther
10. Luther (2003 – Directed by Eric Till), starring Joseph Fiennes (as Luther), Claire Cox, Alfred Molina and Peter Ustinov. Martin Luther (1483-1546) sparked the Protestant Reformation when he refused to disclaim his convictions. Made in Germany, this film covers the years of Luther’s life from 1507 to 1530. Luther challenged the Catholic practices of his day and translated the Bible into German thereby changing the Western world forever.
 
 
Shadowlands
9. Shadowlands (1993 – Dir. Richard Attenborough), starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. Based on the true story of C. S. Lewis’ late-in-life marriage to an American widow with a son. Love and grief cannot escape each other.
 
 
 
 
End of the Spear
8. End of the Spear (2005 – Dir. Jim Hanon), starring Louie Leonardo, Chad Allen, Jack Guzman and Christina Souza. True story of a group of Christian missionaries (including Jim Elliot and Nate Saint) in Ecuador who set out to reach the Wadani tribe (a violent Ecuadorian tribe defined by revenge killing). After they are speared to death, their wives and children make an amazing graceful decision.
 
 
The Hiding Place
7. The Hiding Place (1975 – Dir. James F. Collier), starring Jeanette Clift, Cyril Shaps and Julie Harris. Faith endures not only a pesky lice infestation but the horrific trials and losses of life in a Nazi concentration camp.
 
 
 
 
 
A Man For All Seasons
6. A Man For All Seasons (1966 – Dir. Fred Zinnemann), starring Paul Scofield, Susannah York, Robert Shaw, Orsen Wells and John Hurt. Based on the 16th century true story (sanitized by Hollywood) of Sir Thomas More who faces injustice with a passion for justice that brooks no double standard. Set against love of family, king and country, More’s courage in the face of opportunistic and self-serving politics is realistic and profound. Tremendous dialogue.
 
 
Amazing Grace
5. Amazing Grace (2006 – Dir. Michael Apted), starring Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon and Romola Garai. Based on the true story of William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and his longsuffering pursuit to end the British slave trade. He fights public indifference and moneyed opposition determined to keep their exploitation legal. This cause was inspired by his Christian faith and the encouragement of his mentor, John Newton (author of the hymn; Amazing Grace).
 
 
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
4. Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1973 – Dir. Franco Zeffirelli), starring Graham Faulkner, Judy Bowker and Alec Guiness. Dramatization of events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi from his youth through his audience with the pope, including the founding of the Franciscan order and his friendship with St. Clare. Disillusioned with war and materialism, Frances surrenders all. Soon, other conversions follow. This film had a powerful impact on me as a young man and it still separates the cynic from the sentimentalist in me. It is a beautiful sermon on film combining devotional verse, biblical exhortation, lyrical folk songs, spectacular Italian scenery, picturesque medieval architecture, colorful costuming, and themes of idealism throughout.
 
 
Stars in My Crown
3. Stars in My Crown (1950 – Dir. es Tourneur). Joel McCrea, Ellen Drew, Alan Hale, Dean Stockwell, Juano Hernandez and James Arness. A Lincolnesque post Civil War parson has one foot in heaven and the other planted in the real world of a small town in America. His practical faith stands up to hostile skepticism, false accusations, greed and racism; showing the power in trusting in God and loving people. The parson is humble enough about his calling to scrutinize his methods and bold enough to stand up to a senseless mob bringing God’s will to bear.
 
 
Fireproof
2. Fireproof (2008 – Dir. Alex Kendrick), starring Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea and Ken Bevel. In Albany, the marriage of Caleb end Catherine Holt is in crisis and they decide to divorce. However, Caleb’s father, John, proposes that his son delay their separation process for forty days and follow a procedure called “The Love Dare” to make them love each other again. Tagline: “Never Leave Your Partner Behind.”
 
 
Courageous
1. Courageous (2011 – Dir. Alex Kendrick), starring Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Ben Davies, Robert Amaya, Renee Jewell and Elanor Brown. Excellent film about faith, family and fatherhood. More to the point, it’s about courage applied to love. It was produced by Sherwood Pictures (the creators of Fireproof) with many volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church as cast members. “Just good enough” is not good enough for fatherhood.
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Honorable Mentions:

Chariots of Fire (1981 – Dir. Hugh Hudson).
Ben Hur (1959 – Dir. William Wyler) with Charlton Heston.
Sergeant York (1941 – Dir. Howard Hawks).
Tender Mercies (1983 – Dir. Bruce Beresford).
Gods and Generals (2003 – Dir. Ronald F. Maxwell).
Quo Vadis? (1951 – Dir. Mervin LeRoy).
The Robe (1953 – Dir. Henry Koster).
Going My Way (1944 – Dir. Leo McCarey).
The Sign of the Cross (1932 – Dir. C. B. DeMille).

 

The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.
  • Claire

    Thank you, Joel! That’s a very useful list. I saw _A Man for All Seasons_ this week and did find it edifying.

  • RR

    Where would you place the Mission with Deniro? I thot it was good.

  • Anonymous

    It’s true. “The Mission” was a fine movie, powerful plot with good music too. It has been a long time since I had seen it though. It might be one of those movies that if I saw it again, it would break into that top ten!

    One thing I like about top ten lists is that they are a good set up for posturing with others about what they like too. Thanks for the reminder.
    Joel

  • Tina H.

    Joel, we watched the 2011 movie “There Be Dragons.” The critical reviews of it were not bad, but we thought it left a lot to discuss and think about regarding faith and revolution. Have you seen it?

  • Tina H.

    Sorry, I meant to say that the critical reviews of it were bad.

  • Joelsolliday

    I have not seen it. Your comment makes me want to look for it. It’s fun and healthy to discuss meaningful movies, isn’t it?

  • Christ follower

    Very good list. But I would add “Faith Like Potatoes”. It is a great story.