The greatest moments in Christian movie history.
Easter is just around the corner and we have been reminiscing about our favorite Christian movies which we would watch in our childhood during this time of year. The discussion then turned to Hollywood”s portrayal of Christians in film and whether or not it had ever been done well but also we wanted to know who was the most inspiring movie-Christian of all time?
This is a more overwhelming task than it would appear to be. To organize our research, we needed rules. They are as follows:
Rule 1 You can’t pick anyone who is an actual person in the Bible. That’s not really fair. The history has already been written. Then the question actually becomes What Is the Best Jesus movie of all time. This is The Jesus Rule.
Rule 2. If anyone has played a Christian in more than one movie you can only pick one of his or her roles. For example Charlton Heston who played Judah Ben Hur in Ben Hur and Michelangelo in The Agony and The Ecstasy. We call this The Charlton Heston Rule. It could also be called the Kirk Cameron Rule.
Rule 3. There is no restriction on the type of movie reference. It doesn’t have to be described as a “Christian movie”; it only needs to contain a character who is known to be a Christian.
Rule 4. This is not a Who Was the Most Inspiring Christian thing? This is a Who Was the Most Inspiring Christian Movie-character thing?
But before we get to the top 10, we need to make some honorable mentions. They are as follows:
Best Visual Effects: Chronicles of Narnia. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Best Theme Song: Chariots of Fire
Best Pregame Speech: Facing the Giants
Best Portrayal of a Christian Mother: Blindside
The top 10 Most Inspiring Movie-Christians:
- Elliott (played by Larry the Cucumber). We were actually torn between this role in the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie and Bob the Asparagus’ portrayal of Jonah in Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie. But Bob the Asparagus was disqualified by The Jesus Rule as Jonah was an actual Bible prophet.
- Sonny Dewey. His character was played by Robert Duvall in the movie The Apostle. We cheated here. This character is not inspiring at all. Sorry! It’s just that if we have an opportunity to talk about a Christian character who fails miserably – a Southern Baptist preacher who commits a terrible crime – and then begs for forgiveness, we should. This character reminds us that the worst of us can be forgiven. Regardless of the shocking nature of the story, Sonny Dewey presents a very thought-provoking depiction of faith and it’s coexistence with carnality. Whether he demonstrates the requirements for forgiveness is another matter. So we are sorry. Sorry!
- Bethany Hamilton. Soul Surfer is a movie about a young teenage girl who loses her arm to a Tigershark while surfing and then boldly returns to the water. Not only does she surf again but, through her Christian conviction, went on to become a global heroine and top surfing professional. This is a great movie to inspire Christian teens.
- Maria. In The Sound of Music, a young nun in an Austrian convent, who sometimes misses her morning mass because she prefers going to the hills to sing, is relocated to be governess for the children of the widowed Captain Von Trapp . . . you know the rest. The movie does have a high fructose and syrupy quality but it also retains a sense of Christian purpose that warms the hardest heart.
- Mendoza. After killing his brother, Mendoza, a part-time slave trader, converts to Christianity and seeks forgiveness and calls on a missionary, Gabriel, to assist him. Later when European governors order the mission to be burned to the ground, Mendoza and Gabriel fight for the mission to continue. A visually stunning and remarkably moving drama about redemption and the transforming power of Christ’s love.
Best quote of the movie, “So, your Holiness, now your priests are dead, and I am left alive. But in truth it is I who am dead, and they who live. For as always, your Holiness, the spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living.”
- Demetrius. This is the main character in the epic film Demetrius and The Gladiators. Thrown in jail for helping an elderly merchant escape from a sadistic Roman soldier, Demetrius is forced to become a gladiator and fight in the arena to entertain the debauched and deranged emperor Caligula. Just before abandoning his faith, he is counseled and encouraged by the apostle Peter. Besides being an inspiration to Christians feeling beaten by the world, it is and old-time gladiator epic with all the sweatiness that the name implies.
- William Wilberforce. Amazing Grace. In 1784, 21-year-old William Wilberforce, a Christian, was elected to the British House of Common. And as soon as he established himself as a politician he began his long struggle to lead a nation to abolish slavery. It is an inspiring reminder of how God wants to use your career to accomplish His divine work.
- Eric Liddell. In The Chariots of Fire a serious Christian Scotsman believes that he has to succeed as a testament to his undying religious faith. Along with the help of a stirring theme song, this character is sure to raise the Christian’s spirits to new heights.
- Judah Ben Hur. Record-breaking winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Score, this masterpiece centers on the title character, a rebellious Israelite Jew, who takes on the Roman Empire during the time of Christ. The movie ends in Christian redemption. It is the best sword and sandal movie ever made.
- Louis Zamperini. Unbroken follows the incredible life of an Olympian and war hero who survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. Although not mentioned in the movie, the book, Captured By Grace, tells the full story of how through the power of the Gospel Zamperini overcame alcoholism, night terrors and a failing marriage. This movie will inspire Christians of every background to live a full and joyous Christ-centered life.
Louis Zamperini. Louis is the Most Inspiring Movie-Christian Of All Time.
Feel free to disagree or post your own favorites!