Jump to content

Genre: Religious Movies


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.

42 replies to this topic

#1

TWoP Dietrich

TWoP Dietrich

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle

Posted Feb 4, 2009 @ 2:02 AM

You know, like Left Behind and Ben Hur. And of course we're talking about movies here, not just arguing about religion, right?

#2

NoWillToResist

NoWillToResist

    Stalker

Posted Feb 4, 2009 @ 12:56 PM

How about Religulous? I saw that and enjoyed it, though I thought that Bill Maher was a bit of a smug jerk occasionally.

Questioning why people believe what they do or poking holes in dogma(?) is one thing, but mocking and laughing at people is a bit over the line IMO. Not to mention rude!

My favourite interviewee was the Vatican astronomer guy. First, I was floored to discover that the Vatican had their own scientists, but then to have him be so...rational and science-y? Awesome. Wonder if he got fired afterwards? ;)

Edited by NoWillToResist, Feb 4, 2009 @ 12:59 PM.


#3

bimbo du jour

bimbo du jour

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 4, 2009 @ 6:47 PM

I'll just toss something out and then slink away ... When I come to the Genre forums, I think there's an awful lot of crossover between categories. For example, The Omen is kind of a religious movie, but it's also horror. We have Constantine, which is sort of religious, horror, action, and comic book.

I feel better now.

#4

AimingforYoko

AimingforYoko

    Stalker

  • Gender:Male

Posted Feb 4, 2009 @ 8:07 PM

Of course the king of the religious horror movie is The Exorcist.

#5

zelmia

zelmia

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 5, 2009 @ 1:59 AM

I honestly can't think of a single film in this genre that really made an impact on me. Am I doing something wrong?

#6

bimbo du jour

bimbo du jour

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 5, 2009 @ 12:47 PM

I have friends who say Passion of the Christ had an impact on them, but I haven't seen it myself. I was waiting for it to come to cable, but don't recall if it ever did.

My favorite would have to be the Ten Commandments. Charlton Heston as Moses is iconic. I like Jesus Christ Superstar for the soundtrack, but not so much for the film.

It's curious that I can think of very few straight religious films. Apparently, the devil is a more fascinating character, I guess. I think of Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate and Jack Nicholson in Witches of Eastwick, and their rants against God. Maybe filmmakers assume we all know the Bible stories, and it's more fun to write something else?

Edited by bimbo du jour, Feb 5, 2009 @ 5:10 PM.


#7

QAF Rocks

QAF Rocks

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted Feb 5, 2009 @ 6:15 PM

Is there a difference between a religious movie and a movie about religion? I assume the first would probably try to promote a particular religious viewpoint, while the latter could conceivably just be an exploration of various religious topics.

How about Religulous? I saw that and enjoyed it, though I thought that Bill Maher was a bit of a smug jerk occasionally.


Yeah, that's Bill Maher's shtick. I liked Religulous, but it wasn't as funny as I was expecting. I did think he managed to be fairly respectful most of the time, though. If you're interested in other movies along these lines, documentaries like Root of All Evil? and The God Who Wasn't There are pretty good. Those lean more toward debunking, but there are also movies like Jesus Camp, Friends of God, and Devil's Playground that don't take any particular stance on the people being depicted.

One interesting religious movie is The Rapture from 1991. It's about a woman who becomes a born-again Christian and is convinced the world is going to come to an end. I'm still not sure what the filmmakers were trying to say with that one! Does anyone who's seen it have any theories?

#8

GeoBQn

GeoBQn

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 5, 2009 @ 8:30 PM

Is there a difference between a religious movie and a movie about religion? I assume the first would probably try to promote a particular religious viewpoint, while the latter could conceivably just be an exploration of various religious topics.


When I suggested the thread I was thinking of movies put out by religious production companies with the intent that the movies would be shown in mainstream theaters. (But talking about religious-themed movies is cool). Some of these in recent years have included the Left Behind movies, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, One Night with the King, and Amazing Grace. Passion of the Christ would also probably count since it also marketed to church groups, though the film-making was on a much larger scale.

I've only seen a clip from Left Behind in a class I took on Evangelical America. It was laughable, but apparently Christian movie companies have stepped up their game since then and are trying to make movies of better quality. One Night With the King, about the Queen Esther story, even managed to snag John Rhys Davies and Peter O'Toole as actors. And yet, they just keep missing the mark in terms of writing and acting, with plenty of scenery-chewing and incredibly broad themes. I wonder if the people who make these movies really want to put out good movies, or if they think a the movie is good as long as it gets people to Christianity? That's a debate going on in Christian pop culture, I highly recommend the book Rapture Ready by Daniel Radosh if you're interested in the subject.

I also want to know how Fireproof managed to be a Top 10 movie one weekend. Where was it playing, and were people going out in droves to see it? The official website has a clip of the entire movie in 60 seconds that's pretty funny.

Edited by GeoBQn, Feb 5, 2009 @ 8:32 PM.


#9

TDoc72

TDoc72

    Couch Potato

Posted Feb 6, 2009 @ 1:40 AM

bringing over my quote from the Duggar thread:

I rented Fireproof this weeked based on Josh&Anna's recomendation (and the fact that it was in the RedBox for $1). In the courtship episode, they said they had to get someone over 18 to go, but this was the most PG rated movie ever. Actually, I'd give it a G but they did say the word 'pornography.' Kirk did a good job, especially the parts when he was yelling at the wife & I thought he was going to punch her or kill her. He could play a good serial killer! So the movie was a little preachy (I think 'God did the work in your heart' was said.), but overall I really enjoyed it & it made me cry. It did have some snarky moments. At the beginning he was such an ass to his wife & mother, that I really thought he just hated women. He was a fireman & his wife was a hospital admin but he was freakin' out because there were no groceries & that she wouldn't take his shirt to the cleaners, even though he just had 2 days off. I was yelling 'jerk' at the tv. If she said anything to him, he would just scream that she didn't 'respect' him. The wife told him he loved his computer more than her & she was humiliated that he looked at porn. When he got to the point where he decided to not look at porn, he smashes the computer w/a bat. Not, you know, get some popup blockers or clean the hard drive.

I thought it was worth a rental, if you can find it.


QAF, thanks for the link to this thread. I was looking for someplace/someone to share the snark!

Edited by TDoc72, Feb 6, 2009 @ 1:41 AM.


#10

bimbo du jour

bimbo du jour

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 6, 2009 @ 3:53 PM

Has anyone seen The Jesus Film? It's biblically accurate (based on the book of Luke), and since being picked up by Campus Crusade it's been shown all over the world by missionaries. Some of the people it's shown to have never seen a film, which I would imagine has a lot to do with its effectiveness as a conversion tool. I had never heard of it, until I heard it mentioned on one of the History channels. It's likely the most-watched film of all time.

#11

QAF Rocks

QAF Rocks

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted Feb 7, 2009 @ 3:34 PM

When I suggested the thread I was thinking of movies put out by religious production companies with the intent that the movies would be shown in mainstream theaters.


Oh, I see. That was my initial thought too, only I don't think I've ever actually seen a movie that fits this description. I'm honestly not sure I could stomach sitting through one, LOL.

They do seem to be getting more popular, though. I live in the super-liberal San Francisco Bay Area, and just recently I noticed that one of our Cinemark multiplexes was showing the faith-based Not Easily Broken. It didn't show for long, but it was there. I'd never noticed a specifically evangelical movie at one of our theaters before, unless you count The Passion of the Christ and The Nativity Story.

I highly recommend the book Rapture Ready by Daniel Radosh if you're interested in the subject.


Excellent book! I read that one last year. God's Harvard by Hanna Rosin is another good one. One of the students profiled wants to have a career in Christian filmmaking.

Has anyone seen The Jesus Film?


Heard of it, but not seen it. Another religious movie that was used as a conversion tool (especially in the 70s and 80s) was the A Thief in the Night series. It was basically in the "let's traumatize the kids to get them to convert" genre. Bad, bad, bad acting, but I suppose for children being brought to fundie churches in the first place, it would have scared the hell (literally) out of them. You can see various clips on the 'Tube.

#12

absolutqt

absolutqt

    Fanatic

  • Location:city of brotherly love

Posted Feb 10, 2009 @ 10:12 AM

I honestly can't think of a single film in this genre that really made an impact on me. Am I doing something wrong?


The one that has always stayed with me is, Agnes of God. I've seen that movie probably half a dozen times and I'm still not sure what to believe happened to Agnes. And I thought all of the performances were really strong.

#13

QAF Rocks

QAF Rocks

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted Feb 17, 2009 @ 4:22 PM

I really enjoyed Agnes of God, although I'm not sure it was a "religious movie" in the sense that it was promoting any particular religious viewpoint. Still a fascinating film, though.

#14

GeoBQn

GeoBQn

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 18, 2009 @ 1:04 AM

The AV Club just did Fireproof for their "Commentary Tracks of the Damned" feature. The producers talk about G-d so much that S/He should have been listed as a producer. They also talk about symbolism. "In this scene, the wife is lighting candles because she's trying to start romantic fires. And the husband is putting out the candles, because he's a fireman, he puts out fires." Also, a major metaphor used is taping a salt shaker and pepper shaker together to represent a perfect marriage--Which makes no sense at all. How are you supposed to season your food properly? What if you have high blood pressure and like pepper? They work best separately, but I guess that would be a metaphor for divorce.

Edited by GeoBQn, Feb 18, 2009 @ 1:06 AM.


#15

lz1982

lz1982

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Quincy, MA

Posted Feb 19, 2009 @ 4:19 PM

How about The Apostle? Robert Duvall is great in that, and it's respectful of evangelicals (I'm not one, but it was a nice change). Many of the smaller parts were cast with non-actors.

#16

CantThinkUpName

CantThinkUpName

    Stalker

Posted Feb 19, 2009 @ 5:17 PM

How about Religulous? I saw that and enjoyed it, though I thought that Bill Maher was a bit of a smug jerk occasionally.

Of course he's a smug jerk. That's what makes him both entertaining and despised. I liked the film but I also like Bill Maher.

My favorite movie about Jesus is Last Temptation of Christ, since I felt that was the movie that made him the most complex and interesting. Does Joan of Arc count as religion? I'm talking about the 1920s silent movie not the Milla Jovovich one.

As for man, religion, and faith there's so many great Bergman movies tacking the subject- the most obvious being The Seventh Seal.

But best religion movie of all time: Life of Brian.

#17

zelmia

zelmia

    Fanatic

Posted Mar 2, 2009 @ 12:08 AM

Does Joan of Arc count as religion? I'm talking about the 1920s silent movie not the Milla Jovovich one.

That's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" - and it's absolutely amazing!

I would say it does count since it's about someone who became a religious (and national) icon, and who was pro/per-secuted and executed by the Church itself, despite her profound fidelity to it.

Edited by zelmia, Mar 2, 2009 @ 12:12 AM.


#18

Rinaldo

Rinaldo

    Stalker

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Newark, DE 19702
  • Interests:Music, theater (musical but also other), reading

Posted Mar 3, 2009 @ 7:01 PM

One interesting religious movie is The Rapture from 1991. It's about a woman who becomes a born-again Christian and is convinced the world is going to come to an end. I'm still not sure what the filmmakers were trying to say with that one! Does anyone who's seen it have any theories?

Maybe I'm shallow, but I took its story quite literally. The woman (Mimi Rogers, in a role that re-defines her talent as an actress) becomes seriously committed to her belief that the Rapture is coming. She's so certain of the time and what she must do about it that she takes her young daughter out to a certain spot in the desert (it's been a while, I don't remember why that place) to await the end of the world. But it doesn't come, the daughter suffers more and more agonies with the heat and thirst, and finally Rogers ends her daughter's life in order to end her suffering. And still no Rapture. So she sullenly goes back to civilization. And then, in a truly cosmic irony, the Rapture does arrive. And because God didn't help her when her daughter was being tortured so, Rogers refuses to take the step into eternal bliss; she'd rather stand in darkness for all eternity. The end.

I just took it as the story of someone who finds faith, is (she thinks) forced into something horrible because of it, and then even when it proves to be true can't re-accept it because of how she feels it betrayed her. Maybe others see more in it; I'd like to know. It's certainly an odd and unique movie premise.

#19

GeoBQn

GeoBQn

    Fanatic

Posted Mar 4, 2009 @ 2:19 PM

I picked up a copy of "1001 Movies You Must See Before you Die" and The Rapture was in there, so my curiosity is piqued. Into the Netflix queue it goes.

There isn't a "Jewish film industry" the way there is a "Christian film industry," but I've been thinking about the way more religious Jews are portrayed in films. I've been writing my thesis about how the Ultra-Orthodox community is portrayed in Israeli theatre, and they are mostly stereotyped as backwards, unfeeling hypocrites especially where women are concerned. The same goes for the film industry there. It's mainly due to complex feelings that secular Israeli Jews have about the Ultra-Orthodox who, despite being a drastic minority, control all of the religious matters in the country including marriage and burial. Because they know that UO Jews will never set foot in a movie theatre, they can say whatever they want. I realized this after seeing the Amos Gitai movie Kadosh. It's about two sisters who are Ultra-Orthodox and completely screwed over by their community. One is forced into an arranged marriage with an abusive zealot, the other is forced to get a divorce from her loving husband because they've been married for 10 years without having children. (She goes to a doctor and finds out that her husband is the one who is infertile, meaning that the same thing is going to happen to the next woman he marries). The ending of the movie angered me, and at some point I realized that the Ultra-Orthodox aren't the ones making the movies where they are portrayed badly. I have a LOT of disagreements with their lifestyle, but there's got to be a way to portray them in a more nuanced way. Most of the community must be content at least or they wouldn't continue to live that way.

There was some success with Ushpizin, a comedy about an ultra-orthodox couple who must contend with some unusual holiday guests. It was based on something that really happened to an Israeli actor who became religious and it was the first movie to be made in cooperation with the community. There's also a nice American movie, Arranged, about an Orthodox girl and a Muslim girl who become friends while they are each going through the process of arranged marriage. They strike a balance between exerting autonomy and remaining true to their traditional lifestyles, as well as asserting themselves to both their families and their secular coworkers who think they know what's best.

#20

GeoBQn

GeoBQn

    Fanatic

Posted Jun 26, 2009 @ 5:37 PM

For kicks and giggles (and because I love making fun of bad movies) I rented Left Behind from my library. I thought I knew what I was in for since I had to read the book for a college class. I acknowledge that I brought this on myself since it was my choice to rent the movie, but the first 2 minutes alone made me physically ill. I'm Jewish, I studied abroad in Jerusalem and the city remains close to my heart. The intro was a bunch of shots of Jerusalem, places I had been to, and it makes me so angry to see it exploited by Christian fundies. I will never understand why we Jews and Israel have to factor into the Christian apocalypse. Can't both groups just do their own thing?

I also wanted to strangle the movie's fact checker, if they even have one. There was a shot labeled "Israeli-Syrian Border" with tanks driving over desert terrain. In reality, that area is mountainous and green.

#21

swtrgrl

swtrgrl

    Stalker

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Dade City, FL

Posted Dec 23, 2010 @ 8:59 AM

I read the entire Left Behind series (I'm atheist) and liked it...but have no desire to watch Kirk Cameron preach to me.

I liked the Passion of the Christ but goodness gracious...that was some violent stuff. Gory violent. The Romans and Jews were not portrayed as good people, huh?

I really liked The Seventh Seal, too. Good stuff.

#22

lastdaughterfk

lastdaughterfk

    Fanatic

Posted Dec 23, 2010 @ 4:24 PM

I would say it does count since it's about someone who became a religious (and national) icon, and who was pro/per-secuted and executed by the Church itself, despite her profound fidelity to it.


To clarify she was fighting for the Church of France and burned under the Church of England, it was more a political trial than a religious one.

My favorite would have to be the Ten Commandments. Charlton Heston as Moses is iconic. I like Jesus Christ Superstar for the soundtrack, but not so much for the film.



I think the tenth commandments is by far my favorite religious movies about the tenth plagues at least. Ben Kingsley made a more historical accurate one in the late 90's, but I think it lacked grandeur. I adored Jesus Christ superstar both songs and story. I think Jesus is the most difficult one to capture on movies that stayed with you, at least on American productions. My favorite one is A Child named Jesus made in Italy about Jesus Christ as a kid from the moment he ran to Egypt to the moment he comes back to his land. It was beautiful well acted and he was holy without stopping being human. I recommend it specially for Christmas and Eastern week.

Edited by lastdaughterfk, Dec 23, 2010 @ 4:31 PM.


#23

Colonel Green

Colonel Green

    Stalker

Posted Dec 23, 2010 @ 8:47 PM

I quite liked The Passion of the Christ when I saw it; violent, to be sure, but violent with a real artistic purpose (something that people calling it "Christian torture porn" or whatever completely miss; it's not remotely comparable to the stuff Eli Roth does basically just for the hell of it). I do wonder if Gibson might not have produced a more 'traditional' account of Christ's life with equal success, but whatever, it's his money.

#24

Constantinople

Constantinople

    Fanatic

Posted Dec 27, 2010 @ 7:44 PM

It's curious that I can think of very few straight religious films. Apparently, the devil is a more fascinating character, I guess. I think of Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate and Jack Nicholson in Witches of Eastwick, and their rants against God. Maybe filmmakers assume we all know the Bible stories, and it's more fun to write something else?


I don't think the devil is necessarily a more fascinating character, but a much easier character to portray. Jesus, IMO, is much more difficult and I've never particularly liked any movie Jesus where Jesus had the bulk of the airtime; it's a little like casting Helen in a movie about the Trojan War. There's inevitably a let down.

Thus, I think movies like Quo Vadis or Ben Hur are much better since, aside from having a lot of great action scenes, the story is primarily about the person's relationship with Jesus.

#25

Colonel Green

Colonel Green

    Stalker

Posted Dec 27, 2010 @ 8:39 PM

God the Father is a terrific god, but he's a horrible dramatic character, and virtually impossible to work with as your lead, or even in a really significant supporting role (he's omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent). God the Son/Jesus is somewhat better, particularly given the human phase where there's some sense of vulnerability, but he's still meant to be, in essence, perfect. Satan, whether as pure evil or in his more ambiguous form, is easier to write as a character, and can be given easily comprehensible limits.

#26

Limbonaut

Limbonaut

    Stalker

Posted Dec 28, 2010 @ 1:43 AM

The Song of Bernadette starring Jennifer Jones. I know about it because my mother was named after the French town it's set in, Lourdes.


That's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" - and it's absolutely amazing!


That movie is incredible. It feels like real footage recorded in the 15th century to me when I first saw it years ago.

Edited by Limbonaut, Dec 28, 2010 @ 1:45 AM.


#27

Corporal Agarn

Corporal Agarn

    Fanatic

  • Location:Pennsylvania, USA
  • Interests:baseball (Phillies!!), cleaning up after the husband, my cat, lasagna, antique cars, folklore, theology, antique clocks, nerdy history stuff, Joseph Cotten films

Posted Jan 5, 2011 @ 8:46 AM

I saw the first part of The Passion of Joan of Arc a few months ago. And I have yet to see the end. I think about that film everyday. It is so powerful and haunting, and I just need to suck it up and pay the $30 to buy the dvd and finish it.

I also like The Passion of the Christ and am befuddled by some of the "it's too violent" claims launched against it. Wasn't that the point? That a man who preached peace was met with such horrific violence?

I also agree with the love for The Apostle brought up earlier. Robert Duvall is an underrated actor and brings dignity to every role. I really enjoy his character in this because he committed a pretty heinous act, but part of me doesn't totally blame him, and everything else he does in the film is selfless. He's just a really interesting guy. Somebody who just snapped one day, probably because his whole life he's been holding everything inside in an attempt to be a godly person.

What about films about missionaries in the New World? I especially like Black Robe. Don't know if it's really about religion as much as it is about a man of the cloth.

Confession time: the absolute best religious movie, IMHO, is Oh, God! with George Burns and John Denver. I am a pretty conservative (not fundamentalist), smells-and-bells kind of Lutheran, but this film so wonderfully encapsulates my feelings on God and religion in general. This movie has a heart without being schmaltzy or nauseating. George Burns makes for a pretty awesome God and John Denver is really perfectly cast. He just looks like a hapless grocery store manager, ya know?

#28

lastdaughterfk

lastdaughterfk

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 6, 2011 @ 4:26 AM

Confession time: the absolute best religious movie, IMHO, is Oh, God! with George Burns and John Denver. I am a pretty conservative (not fundamentalist), smells-and-bells kind of Lutheran, but this film so wonderfully encapsulates my feelings on God and religion in general. This movie has a heart without being schmaltzy or nauseating. George Burns makes for a pretty awesome God and John Denver is really perfectly cast. He just looks like a hapless grocery store manager, ya know?



Oh I adore that movie.

Talking about that...How about Bruce Almighty does it fits into this category?

Edited by lastdaughterfk, Jan 6, 2011 @ 4:47 AM.


#29

zelmia

zelmia

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 8, 2011 @ 11:54 PM

How about Bruce Almighty does it fits into this category?

Well, it's certainly preachy - though about what, precisely it's kinda hard to tell. "Be grateful for what you have"? Anyway, personally I would say no it doesn't. It's just another really dumb excuse for Jim Carrey to do whatever it is he does at excessive length. It just happens to also have Morgan Freeman as God.

#30

Limbonaut

Limbonaut

    Stalker

Posted Jan 9, 2011 @ 5:51 PM

Okay I'm going to admit this but I cried during the scene where Bruce(after he gets God's powers) secretly sees his girlfriend played by Jennifer Aniston pray to God that she's stops being in love with Bruce so she wouldn't hurt anymore. There I said it! And it was in a theater so it was even more embarassing!