my top five favorite christian movies

Christian movies.  They get a pretty bad rap these days, don’t they?  It’s understandable, certainly, with all the problem elements – cheesy acting, thin/idiot plots, and a heavy-handed message – that seem to plague almost every faith-based film these days.  I’ve seen my share of bad Christian movies over the past few years, with only a few gems managing to shine through here and there in my quest for The Best Christian Movie of All Time.  And with the DVD release of Pureflix’s I’m Not Ashamed (which I’m sure will be amazing) just around the corner, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite Christian films with you.

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~Courageous – This was the first Christian movie I ever watched, so it’s always been special to me for that reason.  Even though they don’t always hit their mark, the Kendrick brothers have a way of making their films warm and comforting, sort of like a bowl of chicken noodle soup.  There are five different dads in this movie and each one of them has their own set of struggles, temptations, and trials.  David was my favorite when I was younger, mainly because he was young and cute (wow, Eva) and while I still really like him, I find myself appreciating Nathan and Javier much more.  Best part of the movie?  When (spoilers) Adam and the gang find out that Shane has been pilfering drugs from the evidence room + the subsequent fall-out.  That subplot went where Christian movies seldom go and it’s powerful stuff.

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~The Ultimate Gift – This film was recommended to me by Ashley, I believe, and it’s remained one of my favorite movies ever, not just one of my favorite Christian movies.  All the old actors (James Garner, Lee Merriweather, and Bill Cobbs) are super, and Jason melts my heart every time with his dramatic (yet believable) change in character and his sass and sweetness…I have quite the soft spot for him. (He reminds me a little of Lightning McQueen, actually.  So, duh, of course I’m going to love him.)  There’s humor, there’s heartbreak, and there’s triumph in this film.  Seriously awesome. (Don’t bother with the sequel, though.)  Best part of the movie?  The Thanksgiving dinner.  And Jason’s attitude at the beginning, ’cause you just know he’s Going Down.

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~The Prince of Egypt & Joseph: King of Dreams – I haven’t seen either of these films terribly recently (though I’ll probably be watching Prince of Egypt tonight) but THE MUSIC, you guys.  THE. MUSIC. (In case you’re wondering, I’m mashing these two together, because they both need to be on this list and they’re really similar and it just works, y’know?)  The music, the songs, for both of these films is incredible.  Particularly ‘Deliver Us’ and ‘Better Than I’.  Both films stay true to the biblical accounts (though, of course, there’s a little bit of creative license, too) – they’re awesome for introducing children to biblical history without them having to sit through an epic like The Ten Commandments.  Best part of the movie(s)?  Again, the music.  Also, the way God is presented in Prince of Egypt is incredibly respectful, especially for a secular film company.  Gives me chills every time.

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~Fireproof – Again, I haven’t seen this for a long time, so I don’t have all that much to say about it, but I do remember really enjoying the story.  I know Kirk Cameron is pretty much under constant ridicule these days, but I didn’t know that when I first watched this film, and I thought he was great.  The conversion scene always makes me cry.  Best part of the movie?  The kiss in the fire station.  WIN.

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~Mom’s Night Out – Okay.  I know that this film is groan-worthy to most people.  And I’m not going to deny that it’s full of over-acting and “this would never happen in real life” situations, but it’s just plain FUN.  It really is.  The characters, even if they are a little hyper-realistic, are unique and memorable.  The story follows a logical point-to-point-to-point procession, which is nice – unlike most Christian movies, Mom’s Night Out isn’t filled with billions of characters and unrelated vignettes.  And, like I said, it’s a lot of fun.  Also, it’s the only movie I’ve seen where Sean Astin doesn’t annoy the fire out of me – I actually like him here, for a change.  Best part of the movie?  Izzy’s peach & denim ensemble.

Have you seen any of these movies?  What are some of your favorite Christian films?  Thoughts on the genre?  And do you think I’m Not Ashamed is going to be the best one yet?

Eva

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25 thoughts on “my top five favorite christian movies

  1. Love your list! I’ve seen all of these and love all of them dearly. (And I do think I recommended “The Ultimate Gift” to you sooo long ago.) I’m not sure about I’m Not Ashamed, but I’ll probably watch it because I’m such a fan of Christian movies (as cheesy as they get).

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    • I’m Not Ashamed was FANTASTIC. It wasn’t preachy or heavy-handed at all, but it still got its message across so powerfully. The non-Christian characters weren’t portrayed as pure evil, but instead were just real, three-dimensional people (who did, of course, need Jesus, but they weren’t awful). The acting was great (with just a couple exceptions)…overall, it was the best Christian film I’ve seen so far. Definitely.

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  2. I’ve seen all those, I think. BUT I LOVE PRINCE OF EGYPT SO MUCH! It’s not a very accurate movie, but still great, and YES! The music! (sorry, in case you can’t tell, I’m a little fond of it :P) And Mom’s Night Out was a perty good one too!

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  3. Of these, I’ve only seen Prince of Egypt and King of Dreams. Have you seen Risen yet? I’ve probably mentioned it like 500 times around the internet, but I’ll mention it again. It’s amazing!!! And being a noir fan, you’ll enjoy how it’s basically “Biblical noir.”

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      • I think it would be fine without VidAngel for you, your parents, and your next couple of siblings. Not for the tiny ones — it’s PG-13. Here’s my rundown on the content, and I’ll try to be thorough without being spoil-y. (Is there such a thing as spoilage about a movie based on Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? I mean, we know what happened.)(Anyway.)

        VIOLENCE — Yes, there’s violence, especially the very opening scenes, which are about Roman soldiers putting down an insurrection. That has swords slashing and thrusting, but not a lot of blood or gore — mostly it’s implied or vague. There’s also the crucifixion, with the breaking of legs and dying of thieves and so on. And there are some tense scenes with Roman soldiers bashing in doors and menacing or roughing up Israelites, though those aren’t bloody.

        LANGUAGE — None.

        SEXUAL CONTENT — A bit of mild innuendo in two instances. One, a Roman asks another Roman what he needs to help him relax and unwind, and lists off some options, including “a woman.” That discussion doesn’t pursue that option. The other, a female character (with no historical basis for this, only some unsubstantiated tradition) is referred to as being “of the street.” That’s the exact phrase. Lots of soldiers know her because of her profession, but that’s all that’s said about it. No scenes of a sensual nature at all. The protagonist treats her politely.

        It’s an amazing movie — I thought that there was absolutely no way to tell the story of Christ’s death and resurrection in a fresh, inventive, original way, and I was stone cold wrong. This is some incredibly good storytelling that sticks with the facts, but frames it in such a cool way — I call it an “unmurder mystery” because it’s about a Roman officer who has to investigate the disappearance of Jesus’ body. And I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Cowboy and I plan to watch it again together at Easter — and you know he rarely wants to rewatch movies, so that tells you something right there. I think you and your mom would totally dig it. I can’t speak for your dad, because I don’t know his tastes. But my own pastor dad thinks it’s really well done.

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      • Thanks so much! Dad actually got Risen from a DVD rental place just a couple of days ago, so I’m looking forward to seeing it if he decides it’s okay. (He and Mom still like to preview things before I + my siblings watch them.) Mom takes issue with portrayals of Jesus in movies, so I don’t think she’ll watch it, but I’ll be sure to let you know what I think if I see it. 🙂

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  4. My favorite faith-based movie is “Bernadette” . . . okay, who am I kidding here, it’s my favorite movie EVER 😉 I love it so much.

    It’s not, like, the greatest film I’ve ever watched, in an artistic sense–although it’s still pretty darn good–but it just feels so RIGHT. It’s peaceful and simple and beautiful, and I could watch it over and over again. (I do, actually . . .)

    “Prince of Egypt” is wonderful. One of the best soundtracks for any animated movie ever, I do believe.

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    • Does that star Ingrid Bergman? If it does, I’d like to see it. 🙂 ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’ (also starring her) is great, too, all about a woman who becomes a missionary to China.

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      • No, actually . . . It was made in 1988, and it stars a young Sydney Penny. There WAS a 1940s movie about the same story, “The Song of Bernadette,” where Jennifer Jones starred as Bernadette and won an Oscar for it. HOWEVER I don’t really like that movie because I feel like it plays with the historical facts too much . . . Definitely a classic, though, so maybe you’d want to check it out anyway?

        (Fun fact: it came out the same year as “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and Jennifer Jones won the Oscar instead of Ingrid Bergman; but Ingrid told her “it’s okay, you deserved it,” which is really sweet of her, I think 🙂 )

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  5. There are a lot of really bad Christian movies out there, whether they’re poorly made despite their strong concepts, or they sacrifice storytelling to preach the word to an audience that’s most likely already Christian. And there’s the occasional movie that’s even problematic from a theological standpoint or unintentionally disturbing in other ways.

    But there are definitely some good ones out there. Prince of Egypt is really good – I’d probably put it in my top 10 for non-Disney animated movies. Risen is great (not sure if you saw it, but I did notice you talking about it with an earlier commenter). I do remember Fireproof surprising me in a good way (Kirk Cameron can be a bit of a nutcase sometimes). And while I haven’t seen Courageous, I kind of want to.

    If you’re looking for a hilariously bad Christian movie, there’s Second Glance. It’s super cheesy, and this scene that went viral is a good example of what you’re getting into.

    I also remember Under The Big Top, which is a bizarre musical comedy starring the Newsboys from way back in the mid-90’s. I’m pretty sure that entire movie is on YouTube. As someone who grew up on the Newsboys and I was introduced to them through Under The Big Top, I have a bit of a soft spot for the movie. By no means am I saying it’s good.

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    • You’re right. I recently watched ‘The Case for Christ’ and found it to be boring, uninspiring, and with several instances of bad theology (though the book the movie is based on was interesting, inspiring, and theologically sound). So I totally get what you mean.

      Yes, I’ve seen Risen and really enjoyed it. One of the best Christian movies I’ve ever seen, definitely. Those others you mentioned sound awful (in that hilarious way). 🙂

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