Movies about Christ or Christ-related themes

by on August 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm in Film, Religion | Permalink

1. Of Gods and Men.

2. Simon of the Desert.

3. The Last Temptation of Christ.

4. Apocalypto, and more here.

5. Black Narcissus (the most secular of the lot, and it’s about nuns).

6. Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew.

7. Léon Morin, Priest, by Jean-Pierre Melville.

All of these movies are underwatched these days.  There is also Winter Light.

Jarek August 28, 2011 at 8:03 am

You should also try this one: http://www.diegrossestille.de/english/. I have never thought that I can so immensely enjoy a three-hour long movie with no dialogues whatsoever.

alkali August 28, 2011 at 8:03 am

Also: Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand, dir., Canada, 1988 or so)

matt August 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

simon of the desert is brilliant. as is the majority of bunuel’s work.

karl August 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

So it is (or so they are), but within a Christ-driven list a better choice might be Nazarin.

Leonardo August 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

Life of Brian?

liberalarts August 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Definitely needs Life of Brian.

dearieme August 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

And certainly not “Brian’s Life”. Splitters!

Buck Wild August 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Robert Downey Sr.’s Greaser’s Palace.

Roy August 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Monsieur Vincent, an amazing 1947 French biopic

Mike August 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

You mention The Passion of the Christ in Apocalypto, but it certainly deserves mention by itself.

The Greatest Story Ever Told
Ben Hur
The Matrix
The Messiah

LemmusLemmus August 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm

There’s also Dreyer’s Ordet? And of course his eternal masterpiece La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc is also Christ-related, at least a little.

Here’s Matthew Desseem raving about the latter:

http://criterioncollection.blogspot.com/2006/11/62-passion-of-joan-of-arc.html

TomHynes August 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Related, one of my favorite trivia questions:

What language is used in the highest grossing foreign language movie of all time?

A hint is in a previous comment.

Schweiz August 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

“It’s called RADIOACTIVE FLESH. The LATEST and the LAST.”

Bunuel really was something.

Tom Hynes: Aramaic?

Dave McDougall August 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Carlos Reygadas’ Stellet Licht (Silent Light)

Tyler Cowen August 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Excellent pick.

ricardo August 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Valhalla Rising!

Cal August 29, 2011 at 12:53 am

Black Narcissus isn’t a movie about Christ or anything really related to religion. It’s an excellent movie about a failed management policy. Or, if you like, isolation and cultural repression. But really, it’s about management. Not much religion to be found.

georgesdelatour August 29, 2011 at 3:57 am

“Heavens Above!” – a 1963 British film starring Peter Sellers. A new vicar comes to town and tries to implement the actual teachings of Jesus…

Tom August 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

As a pastor I love this movie. It also points out the tension between capitalism and true biblical principles. Can they co-exist?

dan1111 August 29, 2011 at 4:04 am

I just watched #1 last night. Very good.

rinkjustice August 29, 2011 at 6:25 am

I think I’m going to take up the challenge and (re)watch these movies. It’s a great list Tyler.

But there’s one movie that is surprisingly amiss: Jesus of Nazareth with Robert Powell as Jesus. It’s not perfect (as He is) but it’s widely considered the best Jesus film made.

kalevala August 29, 2011 at 6:58 am

Also Wim Wender’s sequel to Wings of Desire, “Faraway So Close”.
#1 is one of my favorite movies.

Ted Craig August 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

Godspell. If no other reason than the trippy scene with the Pharisees.

Scott Cunningham August 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

Don’t forget:

1. Cool Hand Luke (a retelling of the gospel narratives as a reluctant savior who inspires his fellow prisoners through what he shows them about themselves, their violence, and the performance of miracles (as everyone knows no one can eat 50 eggs.)
2. Lars and the Real Girl
3. Babbette’s Feast

The last two are more Christian themed but open to many interpretations (as is #1).

dan1111 August 29, 2011 at 10:13 am

Cool Hand Luke is a much better movie if not interpreted in this way.

Komori August 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

You forgot Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

Dan O'Huiginn August 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm

This. The most entertaining film Christ you’ll ever encounter, at least.

Jim August 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

So you left off the highest-grossing movie of all time about Jesus Christ… why, exactly?

If you made a list of movies about sharks, would you leave off Jaws?

dcous August 30, 2011 at 10:29 am

Tyler did mention at the bottom that all of the films on his list are “underwatched.” I guess maybe the highest-grossing film about Christ (and a recent film, at that) probably isn’t as easily considered underwatched, although he didn’t explicitly state that this was a criterion for inclusion on the list.

Todd August 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

Cool Hand Luke

B.B. August 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

This may seem odd, but the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still” centers on a Christ-like figure. The alien descends from Heaven, is misunderstood and persecuted, eventually betrayed and killed, is rescued by a woman, comes back to life, delivers a stern warning to humanity to reform its morals or be destroyed by fire, and then ascends into Heaven. In one scene, there is a shadow of barbed wire across the spaceman’s forehead, looking like a crown of thorns.

Warren August 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

Are there any movies with a Mohammed or Muslim theme?

Hasdrubal August 29, 2011 at 10:17 am

“Andrei Rubliev” is another good one from the silent movie era that’s well worth watching and definitely Christian-themed.

Todd August 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Do you mean Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev”? It was released in 1966.

Hasdrubal August 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Yeah, you’re right. Been way too long since I watched it, I keep remembering it as black and white and associating it with Battleship Potemkin for some reason that I forgot it was a more modern movie.

caseynshan August 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

seems to be a recent uptick in christian/religious themed movies

of gods and men
soul surfer
incendies (haven’t seen yet)
higher ground

hmm. thought there was another one.. can’t remember..

KenF August 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Eric August 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

DOGMA!

merci August 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Jesus Christ Superstar.

Ted Craig August 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm

By the way, it doesn’t fit the underwatched criteria, but when I was watching E.T. with my kids the other day, I noticed all the blatant Christian imagery that I missed when I was 12.

Dewey August 29, 2011 at 8:10 pm

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Tom August 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm

The 2002 movie “Joshua” ought to be on the list. It’s not as good as the book but it’s still worth watching.

Jan August 30, 2011 at 6:09 am

Diary of a Country Priest

Au Hazard Balthazar

dcous August 30, 2011 at 10:33 am

Did anyone see the film version of Graham Greene’s “The Power and The Glory”? I really liked the novel, but Greene didn’t seem to care much for the film (in the foreward to the edition I read).

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