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LISTING 100 Essential "Christian" Films

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Over on the Literature forum, BethR points us to an IMAGE Journal listing of 100 Great Books "that grapple in a serious way with religious faith." Alan suggested that we ought to put together our own such list of films and, listophile that I am, I'm taking his suggestion.

For starters, I'm going to ask people to post as many "nominees" as they can come up with. Once we've got us a real big list, I'm going to come up with some sort of ballot for everyone to vote for various films, to see if we can come up with some sort of ranking. (May end up deciding it's best just to list the 100 films chronologically or alphabetically or something, but it would be good to have a way to settle on which films should make the cut, and which not.)

I'm sure many of you will want to know a bit more about parameters and definitions here: what sort of films are we specifically after? Explicitly religious films? Specifically "Christian" films? What's a Christian film? Films with Christian characters? Films with "Christian themes"? Films with Christ figures? Films that Christian movie fans just seem to especially love, for no good reason? Films made by Christians? I'll start a separate thread where we can hash over those questions, in order eventually to come up with a title for our list. But for the purposes of this thread, though, let's keep the category as absolutely wide open as we can, and let later balloting narrow things.

To prime the pump, here's a wide array of films that quickly come to mind;

THE MISSION

AU HASARD BALTHAZAR

JESUS OF MONTREAL

SISTER ACT

STEVIE

HELL HOUSE

ORDET

BABETTE'S FEAST

BRUCE ALMIGHTY

IKIRU

DEKALOG

JOSHUA

THE HIDING PLACE

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

LEFT BEHIND

COTTON PATCH GOSPEL

BAD LIEUTENANT

etc....

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It occurs to me that something very like this topic was recently launched on the Most Spiritual Film Of All Time thread. So I went through and compiled a list of the films that were mentioned there...

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

THE ADVENTURES OF BARON VON MUNCHAUSEN

AMERICAN BEAUTY

AMISTAD

ANDREI ROUBLEV

ANGEL HEART

BABETTE'S FEAST

BAD LIEUTENANT

BLADE RUNNER

BREAKING THE WAVES

CHARIOTS OF FIRE

DEKALOG

FEARLESS

FIELD OF DREAMS

FIGHT CLUB

THE FOUNTAINHEAD

GROUNDHOG DAY

IKIRU

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE

JACOB'S LADDER

JESUS OF MONTREAL

JESUS OF NAZARETH

LORD OF THE RINGS (Peter Jackson_

MAGNOLIA

A MAN ESCAPED

MASTER & COMMANDER

THE MATRIX

THE MISSION

ORDET

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

THE SACRIFICE

SECRETS & LIES

SOLARIS (Tarkovsky)

THE SON (Le fils)

TENDER MERCIES

THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS

THE TRUMAN SHOW

VANYA ON 42nd STREET

WINGS OF DESIRE

THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

"Any film by Ozu..."

"Eric Rohmer's films..."

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Can I add Son of Man? I know technically its not a film, its a filmed play, but its challengingly awesome, and er... Yancey & Chattaway like it too.

Also can we add Les mIserables (the Neeson version), Changing Lanes. Il VAngelo Secondo Matteo, Miracle Maker, Signs, Life is Beautiful &

Waking Life

Matt

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The Big Kahuna

The Robe

Ben-Hur

Get On the Bus

The Spitfire Grill

The Passion of Joan of Arc

A Man For All Seasons

Caligula

That last one is a joke, folks...

Nick

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There was a brief discussion similar to this in the PFCC section that not all have access to. It was a bit different; it was what we'd recommend as best rentals.

There I listed

Babette's Feast - Gabriel Axel - 1987

Jesus de Montreal - Denys Arcand - 1989

Rollerball - Norman Jewison - 1975 (not the 2002 abomination)

Last Temptation of Christ - Martin Scorcese - 1988

Cool Hand Luke - Stuart Rosenberg -1967

(is it becoming obvious that I'm old?)

Pleasantville (let the stones fly!) - Gary Ross - 1998

Quills - Philip Kaufman - 2000

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Robert Wise - 1951

Bedazzled - Stanley Donen - 1967

Shawshank Redemption - Frank Darabont - 1994

Romero - John Duigan - 1989

Brother Sun, Sister Moon - Franco Zeffirelli - 1972

Field of Dreams - Phil Alden Robinson - 1989

Places in the Heart - Robert Benton - 1984

Do the Right Thing - Spike Lee - 1989

Malcolm X- Spike Lee - 1992

Matewan - John Sayles - 1987

The Widow of St. Pierre - Patrice Leconte - 2000

Perhaps one of the Admins will move that discussion here.

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Most of the titles that come to my mind have already been listed, except maybe:

Savior (1998)

Barcelona (1994)

Metropolitan (1990)

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Diary Of A Country Priest

The Gospel According To St Matthew

The Last Temptation Of Christ

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BethR wrote:

: Barcelona (1994)

: Metropolitan (1990)

You can't possibly mention those films without also mentioning the hymn-obsessed The Last Days of Disco (1998).

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There was a brief discussion similar to this in the PFCC section that not all have access to.  It was a bit different; it was what we'd recommend as best rentals.

Thanks, Darrel! One question: would those all be films that you would see fitting into this (intentionally broad) category? Or are some of them just "Great Flicks" but without a particular resonance with spiritual or Christian themes? Not a rhetorical question, and not intending to nit pick: I just want to be sure which ones transfer from that list to this.

Perhaps one of the Admins will move that discussion here.

I second that motion. For motion. So moved. So, move?

:roll:

Most of the titles that come to my mind have already been listed, except maybe:

Savior (1998)

Barcelona (1994)

Metropolitan (1990)

Not LAST DAYS OF DISCO? (Later interpolation: "Oh, Peter beat me to it...") And what is this SAVIOR of which you speak?

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Ron invited me to contribute to this thread, so I'll toss in some titles that haven't been mentioned that you've all probably heard me recommend plenty of times:

Day of Wrath

A Man Escaped or The Wind Blows Where It Wills

Andrei Rublev

Solaris (1974)

Stalker

Nostalghia

Open City

Europa '51

The Flowers of St. Francis

Stromboli

Blaise Pascal

The Night of the Hunter

My Night at Maud's

Perceval

many of Stan Brakhage's short films

Wild Strawberries

Winter Light

Nazarin

The Milky Way

Bedazzled (1967)

The Wrong Man

Therese

Strange Cargo

Stars in My Crown

The Blood of Jesus

Waking Life

Blue (1993)

Ponette

---more general spiritual themes

Pickpocket

L'Argent

Blade Runner

Umberto D.

Secrets and Lies

The Music Room (Jalsagar)

Red Beard

Dersu Uzala

The Idiot

Tokyo Story

Sansho Dayu

The Life of Oharu

The Nights of Cabiria

Days of Heaven

The Last Laugh

Sunrise

Eureka (2000)

Faces

Gertrud

Close-Up

The Sacrifice

The Wind Will Carry Us

La Promesse

...Nice sig, SoNowThen!

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Thanks!

I guess if we can mention some that are vaguely spiritual / redemption based, then, uh, how about Raging Bull?

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BethR wrote:

: Barcelona (1994)

: Metropolitan (1990)

You can't possibly mention those films without also mentioning the hymn-obsessed The Last Days of Disco (1998).

You're right. What was I thinking? Or not thinking?

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Thanks, Darrel!  One question: would those all be films that you would see fitting into this (intentionally broad) category?  Or are some of them just \"Great Flicks\" but without a particular resonance with spiritual or Christian themes?  Not a rhetorical question, and not intending to nit pick: I just want to be sure which ones transfer from that list to this.

On my list (and I think most of the ones there) there is a spiritual component. For example Quills certainly is not Christian in outlook, but it does allow us to think about the nature of evil.

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THE PROMONTORY 100: Nominees

(as of February 18, 2004 - Keep 'em comin'!)

1. 13 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING (2002) P02

2. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

3. THE ADVENTURES OF BARON VON MUNCHAUSEN

4. AMERICAN BEAUTY

5. AMISTAD

6. L'AMORE ("Ways of Love," Roberto Rossellini, 1948) M

7. ANDREI ROUBLEV (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1969) M VR

8. ANGEL HEART

9. L'ARGENT

10. AU HASARD BALTHAZAR (Robert Bresson, 1966) M

11. AU REVOIR, LES ENFANTS (Louis Malle, 1987) VV

12. BABETTE'S FEAST ("Babettes Gaestebud", Gabriel Axel, 1987) M VR

13. BAD LIEUTENANT (Abel Ferrara, 1992) M

14. BARCELONA (Whit Stillman, 1994)

15. BEDAZZLED (1967)

16. BEN-HUR (William Wyler, 1959) VR

17. THE BICYCLE THIEF (Vittorio de Sica, 1948) VV

18. THE BIG KAHUNA

19. BLADE RUNNER

20. BLAISE PASCAL

21. THE BLOOD OF JESUS

22. BREAKING THE WAVES (Lars von Trier, 1996) M

23. BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON

24. BRUCE ALMIGHTY

25. THE BURMESE HARP (Kon Ichikawa, 1956) VV

26. CHANGING LANES (2002) P02

27. CHARIOTS OF FIRE (Hugh Hudson, 1981) VV

28. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (Steven Spielberg, 1977) M

29. CLOSE-UP

30. COOL HAND LUKE

31. COTTON PATCH GOSPEL

32. CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS (Woody Allen, 1989) M

33. DAY OF WRATH ("Vredens dag," Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1943) M

34. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

35. DAYS OF HEAVEN

36. DEKALOG (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994) VV

37. DERSU UZALA (Kurosawa, 1974) VV

38. THE DEVIL PROBABLY (Robert Bresson, 1977) M

39. DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST

40. DO THE RIGHT THING

41. DOGMA

42. DONNIE DARKO

43. EUREKA (2000)

44. EUROPA '51

45. FACES

46. FEARLESS

47. FIELD OF DREAMS

48. FIGHT CLUB

49. THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS (Roberto Rossellini, 1950) M VR

50. THE FOUNTAINHEAD

51. FRANCESCO (Liliana Cavani, 1989) VR

52. GANDHI (Richard Attenborough, 1982) VV

53. GATES OF HEAVEN

54. GERTRUD

55. GET ON THE BUS

56. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964) VR

57. THE GREEN RAY ("Le rayon vert", Eric Rohmer, 1986) M

58. THE GREEN ROOM ("Le chambre verte," Francois Truffaut, 1978) M

59. GROUNDHOG DAY (Harold Ramis, 1993) M

60. HELL HOUSE (2002) P02

61. THE HIDING PLACE

62. THE IDIOT

63. IKIRU

64. INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE

65. INTOLERANCE (D.W. Griffith, 1916) VV

66. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Frank Capra, 1946) VV

67. ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS

68. JACOB'S LADDER

69. JESUS OF MONTREAL

70. JESUS OF NAZARETH

71. JOSHUA

72. THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO (Whit Stillman, 1998)

73. THE LAST LAUGH

74. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST

75. LEFT BEHIND

76. THE LIFE & PASSION OF CHRIST (Ferdinand Zecca, 1903) VR

77. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

78. THE LIFE OF OHARU

79. LORD OF THE RINGS (Peter Jackson, 2001-2003) P02 P03

80. LOVE AFFAIR (Leo McCarey, 1939) M

81. LUTHER (2003) P03

82. MAGNOLIA (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999) M

83. MALCOLM X

84. A MAN ESCAPED

85. A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (Fred Zinnemann, 1966) VR

86. THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (John Huston, 1975) M

87. THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST

88. MASTER & COMMANDER

89. MATEWAN

90. THE MATRIX

91. METROPOLITAN (Whit Stillman, 1990)

92. THE MILKY WAY

93. MIRACLE MAKER

94. LES MISERABLES (Bille August)

95. LES MISERABLES DU VINGTIEME SIECLE (Claude LeLouche)

96. THE MISSION (Roland Joffe, 1986) VR

97. MONSIEUR VINCENT (Maurice Cloche, 1947) VR

98. THE MUSIC ROOM (Jalsagar)

99. NAZARIN (Luis Bunuel, 1958) VR

100. MY NIGHT AT MAUD'S

101. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Charles Laughton, 1955) M

102. THE NIGHTS OF CABIRIA

103. NOSTALGHIA

104. NOT OF THIS WORLD

105. ON THE WATERFRONT (Elia Kazan, 1954) VV

106. OPEN CITY ("Roma, citta apperta," Roberto Rossellini, 1946) VV

107. ORDET ("The Word," Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955) M VR

108. THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) VR

109. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

110. PERCEVAL

111. PICKPOCKET

112. PLACES IN THE HEART

113. PLEASANTVILLE

114. PONETTE

115. LA PROMESSE

116. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

117. QUILLS

118. RAGING BULL

119. THE RAPTURE

120. RED BEARD ("Akahige," Akira Kurosawa, 1965) M

121. RITE OF SPRING ("Acto da primavera," Manoel de Oliveira, 1963) M

122. RIVERS & TIDES (2003) P03

123. THE ROBE

124. ROLLERBALL (Norman Jewison)

125. ROMERO

126. THE SACRIFICE ("Ofret," Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986) VR

127. SANSHO DAYU

128. SAVIOR

129. SCHINDLER'S LIST (Steven Spielberg, 1992) VV

130. SECRETS & LIES

131. THE SEVENTH SEAL (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) VV

132. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

133. SIGNS (2002) P02

134. THE SILENCE ("Tystnaden," Ingmar Bergman, 1963) M

135. SIMON OF THE DESERT (Luis Bunuel, 1965) M

136. SISTER ACT

137. SOLARIS (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974)

138. THE SON ("Le fils," Dardennes Brothers) P03

139. SON OF MAN

140. SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR (2002) P02

141. THE SPITFIRE GRILL

142. STALKER

143. STARS IN MY CROWN

144. STEVIE (2003) P03

145. STRANGE CARGO

146. STROMBOLI

147. SUNRISE

148. TENDER MERCIES

149. THERESE (Alain Cavalier, 1986) VR

150. THREE COLOURS: BLUE (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993)

151. THREE COLOURS: WHITE (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994) M

152. TILAI ("The Law," Idrissa Ouedraogo, 1990) M

153. TOKYO STORY

154. THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS (Ermanno Olmi, 1978) VV

155. THE TRUMAN SHOW

156. UMBERTO D

157. UTAMARO & HIS FIVE WOMEN (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1946) M

158. UNFORGIVEN (Clint Eastwood, 1992) M

159. VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) M

160. VANYA ON 42nd STREET

161. VOYAGE TO ITALY ("Viaggio in Italia," Roberto Rossellini, 1953) M

162. WAKING LIFE

163. THE WIDOW OF ST. PIERRE

164. WILD STRAWBERRIES (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) VV

165. THE WIND WILL CARRY US (Abbas Kiarostami, 1999) M

166. WINGS OF DESIRE

167. WINTER LIGHT ("Nattvardsgasterna," Ingmar Bergman, 1963) M

168. THE WRONG MAN

169. THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

170. "Many of Stan Brakhage's shorts..."

171. "Any film by Ozu..."

172. "Eric Rohmer's films..."

P02: PFCC Most Significant Exploration of Spiritual Themes nominee (2002)

P03: PFCC Most Significant Exploration of Spiritual Themes nominee (2003)

M: Museum of Modern Art exhibition, "The Hidden God: Faith & Film" (2003)

VR: The Vatican Film List: Religion (1995)

VV: The Vatican Film List: Values (1995)

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Am I missing it, or has "The Apostle" not been mentioned yet? Or how about "Unbreakable," a nifty meditation on vocation?

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ALSO--I question calling this a top-100 \"Christian\" films list, but instead the Top 100 list from Christian Film Lovers...

I like this distinction, but maybe we should insert a hyphen -- "Christian Film-Lovers," so the new wording isn't mistakenly read as "Christian-Film Lovers," which, just to be clear, might mean we love only "Christian films."

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Whale Rider and the X-men franchise.

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Ron wrote:

what is this SAVIOR of which you speak?

"In the beginning was the Word..."--oh, you mean the movie Savior? :wink:

ImdB says: 1998 movie, dir. Predrag Antonijevic, written by Robert Orr, starring Dennis Quaid as an American mercenary in Bosnia. Summary & review here:

http://www.mediacircus.net/savior.html

This account just hints at the Christian symbolism implied by the title. I put this movie on par with The Bad Lieutenant for unsparingly showing an individual reduced to the depths, and then redeemed by grace and acting on it.

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Jean de Florette

and

Manon des Sources

both deal with fallenness very effectively.

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I'll post here in the next day or two---we should keep the nominations open until...3/1?

Yeah, that sounds like a good target.

ALSO--I question calling this a top-100 \"Christian\" films list, but instead the Top 100 list from Christian Film Lovers...

Yes, a good question to engage. Personally, I'm convinced that "Christian" makes an excellent noun but an appalling adjective, and am pretty sure that's the last thing we want to actually title our list. I kinda just slapped it on there as shorthand. In any case, may I encourage you to pursue these questions in the separate thread set up for that discussion? Thanks!

Ron

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Where....is Shadowlands...?

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Here're ten more in addition to Shadowlands for consideration--I left out titles that have already been listed above...

Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984)

American History X (Tony Kaye, 1998)

Cry Freedom (Richard Attenborough, 1987)

Jeremiah Johnson (Syndey Pollack, 1972)

Peter and Paul (Robert Day, 1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)

Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)

A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford, 1992)

The Seventh Sign (Carl Schultz, 1988)

Yentl (Barbra Streisand, 1983)

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Agnes of God

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I don't think anyone has yet mentioned the films of Hal Hartley, some of which -- Amateur, Henry Fool, Book of Life -- may be pertinent here.

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