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LISTING 100 Essential "Christian" Films


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#1 Ron Reed

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 01:53 AM

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....

#2 Ron Reed

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 02:48 AM

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..."

#3 MattPage

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 03:36 AM

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


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#4 Nick Alexander

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 09:00 AM

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...

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#5 Darrel Manson

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 10:23 AM

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
QUOTE
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.

#6 BethR

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 12:08 PM

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

Savior (1998)
Barcelona (1994)
Metropolitan (1990)

#7 SoNowThen

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 12:26 PM

Diary Of A Country Priest
The Gospel According To St Matthew
The Last Temptation Of Christ

#8 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 01:00 PM

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).

#9 Ron Reed

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 01:01 PM

QUOTE
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.

QUOTE
Perhaps one of the Admins will move that discussion here.

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

:roll:

QUOTE
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?

#10 Doug C

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 02:39 PM

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!

#11 SoNowThen

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 02:46 PM

Thanks!




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

#12 BethR

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE
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?

#13 Darrel Manson

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 05:22 PM

QUOTE

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.

#14 Ron Reed

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 03:18 AM

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)


#15 Andrew

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 10:00 AM

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

#16 Christian

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 10:27 AM

QUOTE
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."

#17 Darrel Manson

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 10:40 AM

Whale Rider and the X-men franchise.

#18 kebbie

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 11:42 AM

i mentioned this in another thread, but it fits here, too--i refer you to the work of my friend seth, who explores the idea of "christian" cinema and reviews "christian" films. be sure to read his introduction.

#19 BethR

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 12:00 PM

Ron wrote:
QUOTE
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.

#20 BethR

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 12:17 PM

Jean de Florette
and
Manon des Sources

both deal with fallenness very effectively.