What makes a great Christian movie?

I recently turned 50, and to mark the occasion I ranked my all time top 50 movies. Every guy has a list of his favorite five or ten movies. I wanted to go all the way to 50 baby!

It turned out to be a worthy challenge because there are so many great movies. In the end, I listed 100 movies (my top 50 + 50 honorable mentions). You can check out the list on Facebook.

My list has an eclectic mix of genres and languages. There’s something for everyone and a whole lot for me. I could watch all 100 films again and again.

But when I reviewed my list I realized it included no great Christian movies. How could I have missed this fast-growing genre? But then I googled “great Christian movies” and discovered that there aren’t any.

Sure, there are good Christian movies, but no great ones. And by great, I mean good enough to make my top 100 list of all time movies. The only movie that comes close is Prince of Egypt (#48 on my list), but that’s as much a Jewish story as a Christian one. You could say the same for The Ten Commandments.

(Why didn’t I consider the ultra-violent The Passion of the Christ? Because that’s a movie you only watch once.)

Why are there no great Christian movies?

It’s not as though we are short of great Christian artists. Christians have featured prominently in many artistic fields for centuries – architecture, music, painting, writing, poetry, etc. The top two authors of the 20th century were both Christian. (Tolkien and Lewis, of course.)

But in the world of moviemakers, there’s no one who reaches the heights of say, a Bach a Rembrandt or a Bono. Why not? Is it because talented Christian moviemakers don’t make overtly Christian films? Or is it because overtly Christian films tend to suck?

I suspect it may be a bit of both.

You don’t need me to tell you that many Christian movies are unwatchable schlock. They hit you over the head with hamfisted messages delivered by one-dimensional characters spouting platitudes. Many are unashamedly tribal, right down to their marketing. “If you are a Christian, you should support this Christian movie; if you are not, we hope you watch it with an open mind and allow us to convince you to change sides.”

I’m not saying it’s wrong to use art to evangelize. I am saying that dramatized sermons don’t make great movies. They just don’t.

In a recent article entitled “Why Christian movies are so terrible,” Jared Wilson says Christian movies are not made by artists but propagandists. They are vehicles for conveying a Christian message, such as the power of prayer, rather than artworks telling a human story.

What’s wrong with that?

It’s dishonest, says Andrew Barber in his article “The problem with Christian films.” You can make great art or you can go for the evangelistic pitch, but you can’t do both without invoking a sense of a bait-and-switch.

And yet…

By the same token, there are many “non-Christian” movies that do a superb job of conveying Christian themes such redemption and sacrifice. The Book of Eli (#13 on my list) comes to mind, as does Les Miserables (#20), Babette’s Feast (#23). When The Matrix (#12) came out in 1999, every pastor and his dog mined it for sermon illustrations. Full disclosure: I have done this too. I’ve done the same for Tomorrowland and the climactic Avengers movie.

There are also stunning films that tell Christian stories (eg: Amazing Grace, The Mission) or stories about Christians (Chariots of Fire, Shadowlands). But although Chariots of Fire is a great film (#17 on my list), I don’t know if it qualifies as a Christian film. It’s a sports film.

When I was young and idealistic and the world was black and white, movies were either sacred or secular. It would have been inconceivable for me to say a secular movie had elements of the sacred. Now that I’m older, I find the lines are blurred.

Imagine if someone made a movie about the parable of the shrewd manager. Would that be a Christian movie? Of course it would. It comes straight from the mouth of Jesus. Yet it would look nothing like most Christian movies today. There’d be no mention of God, no praying, and an awful lot of deception and duplicity. With that in mind, we might ask…

What makes a great Christian movie?

How would we recognize one if we saw one? Let me offer some signposts:

1. A great Christian movie conveys a great truth

It doesn’t shove religion down our throats, but nor does it glorify the deeds of darkness in a desire to be edgy. Instead it fills our minds with things that are good, pure, and noble (Php. 4:8). It may not mention Jesus, but it smells like Jesus.

2. A great Christian movie tells a great story

Movies are universally recognized as story-telling platforms, so a great movie, by definition, tells a great story. It doesn’t preach or pontificate, but it fires our imagination and makes us feel something. It might make us think or fill us with wonder, but the main thing is it speaks to the human condition in a way that entertains.

3. A great Christian movie has flawed but relatable heroes dealing with real problems

We relate best to characters who are imperfect (like us) and who are facing challenges that we understand. Look at the characters in the stories Jesus told and you will find fools, misfits, villains, prodigals. Even the good guys make mistakes. What problems do they face? They come from fractured families (prodigal son), they’re about to get fired (the shrewd manager), they’ve suffered a misfortune (the good Samaritan), and they have annoying friends (the midnight friend). Jesus’ stories have endured for 2000 years because they convey a great truth (point 1), they entertain while making us think (point 2), and they are thoroughly relatable (point 3).

4. A great Christian movie masters the artform

Give us brilliant dialogue and subtext delivered by talented actors playing memorable characters. Put them in visually arresting sets or landscapes, and deliver pitch perfect sound. Leave the garbage on the cutting room floor and go easy on the CGI.

If these are the standards for a great Christian movie, it seems to me that many non-Christian movies are, in fact, great Christian movies. They tick all the boxes.

But what boxes have I missed? What do you think makes for a great Christian movie?

Paul’s new 20-page study note, “What is the baptism that saves?”, is now available on Patreon.

71 Comments on What makes a great Christian movie?

  1. megagenius // May 27, 2020 at 8:55 pm // Reply

    There are no great Christian movies because Paul Ellis is not in any of the Christian films.

    • Haha! Any movie that casted me would win the Oscar for “What were they thinking?” It’d be like putting Colin Farrell in Alexander or George Clooney in Batman. Big mistake.

      • megagenius // May 29, 2020 at 7:16 pm //

        You would get the “And There Was Great Grace Upon Paul Award”.The movie world would admit that Grace is truly a Great Mystery.

  2. Nicholas Griffiths // May 27, 2020 at 9:41 pm // Reply

    What about “The Shack”? Not a fan Paul?

    • I haven’t seen it. As a father of 3 girls, I’m not fond of movies where little girls are harmed. I know it’s essential to the story, but I don’t think I would be able to bear it.

      • jason b // May 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm //

        For what it’s worth concerning The Shack, the author, Paul Young, has stated that the story is a parable of sorts that reflects on an 11 year anguishing journey he went through that reconstructed his understanding of God. The death of the main character’s daughter early on in the story is representative of the death of the author’s innocence stolen from him through severe abuse when he was a child. Paul Young is an amazing speaker and communicator of all things Grace. There’s lots of his stuff online. I would highly recommend to anyone to first listening to his testimony, THEN go watch The Shack. It makes a big difference.

  3. So does that mean you don’t consider ‘Fireproof’ and ‘Overcomer’ great Christian movies?

    • They are not in my all time top 100 movies, so no.

    • skolvikings // May 28, 2020 at 9:30 am // Reply

      I love the Kendrick Brothers’ movies “Courageous” and “Facing the Giants.” When my kids (including my 14 year old) have access to every movie ever made through Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and now HBO Max, but they ask to watch “Courageous” or “Facing the Giants” yet again, I know we’re on to something. They’re not $100 million big budget Hollywood blockbusters, but the stories are very compelling. I haven’t met a pastor who hasn’t used the death crawl scene from Facing the Giants in a sermon at one point or another.

  4. I’d say ‘The Shack’ is a great movie. It’s not ‘great’ in the sense of the criteria you lay down here, but it gets across a timeless message, it’s thought-provoking, and it brings massive freedom to those with ears to hear.

    Let’s just say I didn’t take enough tissues when I saw it in the cinema… 😉

    It’s also interesting in that while it is clearly a ‘Christian’ movie, it isn’t really held up as being necessarily ‘mainline’ because so many Christians think it’s heretical. But then these are the people who are clearly determined to not accept the Good News of Grace for what it is, so it’s no wonder 😉

  5. The best one I have ever seen is: “The Shack.” Full of what grace is and wisdom to boot, that many a religion do not like, because God shows up as a Woman A must watch to determine if it is God’s love or not.Another one, I saw is called “Glory Glory” And a Thief in the night series, that is not in print any longer that I know of. For me I do this, I take all in, and trust to hear truth from God not myself or anyone else, unless God says yes to that or not, in his timing not mine or this world’s. There is much to be learned about the gift of new life given us in beleif to Jesus is risen for us to get that new life given us from Father.

  6. Paul, as always good stuff. I still think your comparative work of the movie “X-Men: Days of Future Past” “The X-Men Gospel” is a great piece of work. I have heard Joseph Prince many times mention his desire for a great Christian movie.
    I could recommend some Christian based movies that I feel convey a better message although not perfect. “Facing the Giants,” “Courageous” and “Fireproof” I feel are very well done although they miss the mark as far as the message of Grace is concerned. There is a slightly older movie called “The Ride” that is pretty good. Jefferson Moore has got a series that is fairly well done. “The Perfect Stranger,” “Another Perfect Stranger,” followed by “Nikki and the Perfect Stranger.” The last one, IMO, seems Jefferson got hold of the real Grace message. And lastly, although I never read the book, the movie “The Shack” is a good one. YMMV

    • Thanks Felix, I’m glad you liked The X-Men Gospel. I haven’t seen The Ride. My thoughts on The Shack are above.

    • The shack touched My wife and I very deeply. We both cried through the whole movie. I was not familiar with it because when it came out it was the rage and everybody was reading it so I kind of discounted it. I was very surprised.

  7. Peter vanzyl // May 28, 2020 at 12:00 am // Reply

    There is one in production – you can watch the first 10 youtube episodes on “The Chosen” shooting has been halted due to Lockdown.Its really going to be one the great Christian movies when completed!

  8. georgelegomovie // May 28, 2020 at 12:25 am // Reply

    Here comes the boom is a movie we watched in church when we did a church movie night.

  9. I don’t know how you define great but I know it’s subjective. “Miracles from Heaven” is a movie I’ve watched several times and I suspect will watch several more. The mom is like a David. The enemy is robbing her child’s health and she refuses to accept that. She fights for her daughter until a miracle happens. I’m a sucker for a sappy movie and I get a little dust in my eyes every time I see it.

  10. I agree with you about Christian movies, but I have just recently finished watching the first series of “The Chosen,” Yes, I know that it is not a movie, but I just loved it! It ticks all the boxes that you mentioned above. You just can’t help falling in love with Jesus!

  11. Not sure you would call it a Christian movie, but I really enjoyed The Shack.

  12. Hi Paul, as usual, I enjoyed this blog! I agree with your signposts for a great Christian movie, your points covered it well. Also I love your movie list… most are on my favorites, except for The Godfather series and anything to do with zombies. 🤭 By the way, Happy Birthday to you!! 😁🙏🎂 🍰 🎁 🎉 🎈

  13. Love this post!!! Although being at Church is awesome in many ways, a lot of what we’ve heard in Church has steered us wrong all our lives. Whether stated directly or implied, the message dolled out is dualistic. The separation of Sacred and Secular ends up dominating our thinking so that everything is evaluated in religious terms in our minds. This is not a good thing. It robs us of potential joys and friends and growth opportunities. I no longer think there is any such distinction. It’s all Sacred! There are only degrees of being in congruence with the Spirit of Christ – which is related to what’s going on inside us not the things around us. I’ve watched “Christian movies” and very not at all “Christian movies” and been blessed, challenged, moved, motivated etc. by both – I’m sure we all have. That’s what happens when realistic and relatable stories confront us. But our dualistic mind jumps in and says we should not be engaging with the Secular. Rubbish! There is no Secular. Christ is at work through all things as all times. The Church really needs to recognize the Sacred presence (not absence) of the Father, Son and Spirit in every person, every place, at every moment. Then we can begin to participate in the eternal life, the living water Christ offers. That’s what we are getting a taste of from these movies and from Jesus’s parables.

    • Thank you, Jason. I’ve had friends refuse to watch something they define as secular and as far as I’m concerned, they’re missing out. To the pure, all things are pure. As long as a story passes the Php 4:8 test, I’ll watch it.

    • jason, may I respond, that actually the “dualistic mind jumps in” when compromising the word such as; 1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 5:11,12, James 1:27, 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
      And if “we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness” 1 John 5:19, should we really allow the “getting a taste of from these movies…”. When we do, they notice this approval and just keep pumping it out. The pastor is right, whatsoever things are “not” true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report; and thus lack both virtue and praise, can effect our thinking. Only thing Hollywood response to is ticket sales (1 Timothy 6:10), so why support and encourage them?
      Before 1968 movies were under the earlier moral censorship guidelines, known as the Hays Code, but a new precautionary warnings to families about a movie’s content with the “rating system” had to replace it, as I suspect, because the flood gate was opened, Revelation 12:12.

      • jason b // May 31, 2020 at 1:13 pm //

        Thomas, my friend. We are all on a journey. I can’t blame you for standing firm on how you see things. There was a time when I would have agreed with your points. These days, I see things more from a point of view of victory, with gratitude as one saved from a fallen perception that generated my slavery. I simply can’t go back to thinking that way. Things (and people) the religious me used to think detestable, I now find delight in. You say when we do this or that we are “compromising the word” and then point to this verse and that verse. Don’t you see brother, the Word is Jesus! And he can’t be compromised! The evil one has been defeated for us. And on top of that, the thief never became an owner in the first place, but we couldn’t see that. Christ came to redeem our innocence, to tell us and show us who we truly are – it is only our unbelief that stands in the way. God’s faith, his belief about us, is on display in Jesus. We continue to try to define ourselves by our obedience to a standard, diligently studying “the word”. But our acceptance and union with God is defined 100% by something totally outside of ourselves – the work of Christ and his eternal relationship with his Father. This renders our own righteousness of no value and that’s hard for us to cope with. But when we get it, it becomes the gospel that frees us to live from Gods perspective and belief about us, to live loved, to enjoy creation, other people, and the creativity that flows through us – often in the form of movie productions. I would even put it this way: the fact that me and others are drawn to movies does not originate in us, but in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit. We have been freed from the tyranny of the evil one, he has no claim to anything. The more we live resting in the light of Grace, the more diminished our blindness to our true identity will become. Our battle is not against the evil one anymore, he’s beaten already. The battle is to learn to walk on our grace legs.

        Thanks for the response, Thomas. I mean no disrespect brother.

      • Hey, Thomas, I see your thinking on what you said.
        I see this as well, to take it all captive, as I see good and bad, to focus on God the one and only one that is Good, according to Jesus in Matthew 19, so I did get caught up in that to not allow this and or that, and I got worse and became the Judge over God’s lead through me.

        I got taught to take it all in whether good or bad: to God at the end of each day, for him to separate truth from error. I have been on a long journey, to discern, and yet remain harmless

        Matt. 10:16-20, still learning, putting everything else behind me, using past to learn from not continue to accuse me

        Thanks, we are seriously set free in the risen Jesus, only 100% forgiven in the dead one first, made alive in the risen Jesus, from Father’s gift to us, to be our Father now too

        The Movie “The Shack” was a big pert in setting me free to be new in Spirit and Truth, being dead to first birth, that has not stopped to try to take hold of me in me judging stuff, I stopped, came to a halt and started searching for God’s Grace in Jesus the risen one

    • All my “points” are from “all scripture, given… for instruction in righteousness” as such instruction is needful and is actually the true “view of victory”, otherwise, why be concerned about “whatsoever we do”, if all we do is to his Glory?
      And why “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them”. if we have been freed from the tyranny of the evil one? Why bother to keep ones self “unspotted from the world”, since Our battle is not against the evil one anymore?
      And why, in this world, are we to “abstain from all appearance of evil” if there is none?.
      Your right, as the “light of Grace” does free us, but it is more of a freedom to learning,such things as that of “denying ungodliness and worldly lust”, the very things we are to abstain from and expose. Thanks

      • jason b // June 1, 2020 at 6:12 pm //

        Thomas. I guess perspective is everything. I’m just saying, I see Jesus as triumphant and that we can live FROM victory (his victory) rather than fighting for it. You have great knowledge of scripture and that’s a good thing. Soldier on brother! Hey, do you have a favorite Christian movie? What made it great? I have to say the ones that do it for me are the ones that show damaged relationships being restored. Like a son and father that don’t know how to talk to each other and have all kinds of resentment built up. Then somehow, something in the movie happens and they realize how wrong they’ve been and their desire to have a relationship overpowers their grudges, the dam breaks, and all the sudden they are able to talk to each other, embrace each other, and express love freely. That always gets me. There was a story line of that nature in Star Trek II : The Wrath of Kahn between captain Kirk and his son David. At the end of the movie I still get chocked up when David, who spent the whole movie hating his father, Kirk, comes around and finds out he had misunderstood and underestimated his dad all this time. He went from being resentful and angry with his father to being, and telling his father, he’s “proud, very proud, to be his son”. That was a great Christian movie. Nothing like some good revelation to change one’s perspective.

      • I remember the first Star trek, 1969 (that dates me) and I was enthralled as we all where, but especially while living next to Cape Canaveral where Spacex just began its pioneer venture in a big way into the stars again. Sure perspective is everything, and that flick you shared, showed it well, as did Star Trek in general, steeped in spiritual themes. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Spock’s sealed room is found to have been forced open, even though it’s under guard. His burial robe is found at his grave site. It turns out Spock has been resurrected! Where did I hear that before?
        In Star Trek IV: The Final Voyage, humanity is about to be destroyed because of its sins against the earth, but Spock returns and salvation comes. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Captain Kirk and his crew go on a search for God. They find an evil alien instead! Really?
        Can God use secular humanist outlooks that come from an avid atheist as Rodenberry?
        Ultimately, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Yet many Christians became “trekkie’s”
        So that you don’t have to respond, I will respond for you and answer (convenient huh) with; “Who are you to say God is not free to speak using whatever media God chooses, even a secular science fiction show.” Who, just a solder, but God only knows what effect, as he is truly “ longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.

      • jason b // June 2, 2020 at 9:04 am //

        Great points on the Star Trek movie themes! Hadn’t thought much about those before now. The one where they go on a search for God and find an impostor alien instead is so spot on. The antichrist spirit is all about subverting and replacing the true Christ – although only within our perception, Christ obviously cannot be overthrown or replaced in reality. The Shack showed that theme as well: when the main character went to meet the tyrannical God of his imagination in the ugly, old, worn down shack, nobody showed up, revealing to him and us, the audience, that that God didn’t exist and never did. When he was done venting and get’s feed up and walks away angry at the ‘no show’ God of his imagination, then the setting turns beautiful and the real God shows up, and Mack begins his journey of discovery and healing.

        I know there is a ton of ‘bad’ movie content out there. I think it’s just that my faith is in God’s passion and commitment to use all things to reach people in the mist of our delusional state, not the devil’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy. Indeed, as you point out, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. That is the problem God was faced with. How does he reach his beloved creation that has become blind, lost, twisted, corrupted, alienated in their minds, dead in sin, and absolutely self-destructive? Jesus says “I am the light of the world” not as an invitation, but as a declaration of reality. Yet we love the dark and will not come to the light. My point is that, for God to win us back, he had to come into the framework of our fallen minds, stooping into our darkness, to lead us toward a true understanding of who he is from the inside of our obsessively religious darkened understanding. We wouldn’t and couldn’t come to him, so he came to us and spoke our fallen alienated language to move us in the direction of revelation. The whole of the Old Testament is about God giving our minds some ‘furniture’ to begin to grasp him. God didn’t need the cross to happen, WE DID. We needed a definitive revelation of the self-giving, self-sacrificing, other-centered God who is Love. All of our imaginations of God are idols. He reserves the right to self-revelation, and he has done that through Jesus.

  14. Good post as usual, Paul.

    Franky Schaeffer (son of Francis Schaeffer) discussed this in his 1981 book “Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts”. It influenced my perspective on “Christian” films. I’m still waiting for the “great one” to be produced.

  15. Marjorie Keenan // May 28, 2020 at 4:32 am // Reply

    The greatest Christian movie ever made is “THE SHACK”. The GRACE of God was portrayed beautifully. The full nature of God was displayed throughout as Mack was brought from the darkness of his pain and suffering into the light and Unconditional LOVE of His DADDY GOD! The portrayal of the Trinity was awesome!! I have watched it about 6 times and will watch it again.

  16. If you haven’t watched it yet I’d be interested to see if The Chosen series by Dallas Jenkins would make your list!

  17. Randy Knutson // May 28, 2020 at 4:54 am // Reply

    Have you watch The Chosen TV Series? Fresh view of people encountering Jesus. It’s the first TV series on Christ.

  18. I recommend watching Ben Hur (the Charlton Heston one). It’s a powerful Christian story. The subtitle of the book Ben Hur is: a tale of the Christ. Seriously, it’s a very powerful story.

    • Ben Hur is one of my favorite movies – it would definitely be in my second 100 list. And yes, Heston’s version is the best. The modern remake doesn’t deserve to bear the same title.

  19. I watch The Passion every year, but that’s just me. Also you don’t dispel a movies greatness by removing it if you wouldn’t watch it a second time.
    Finally i think its fair to say every great movie is a Christian movie because for the Christian minded you see Jesus in the movie and that is what makes it great. Not 100%, but certainly there is an element of truth in that. Just looking at the top 5 on your list I would venture to say Jesus is there in some form or another. (and no i didn’t look at your list)

  20. I would consider the 2015 war drama movie, “Little Boy,” one of my all time favorite Christian movies. How and where do you rank it?

  21. “…it seems to me that many non-Christian movies are, in fact, great Christian movies.” Exactly! I have long said that many Pixar movies are great Christian movies. They have mastered the art form, they have flawed but relatable heroes, they teach great truths, and, of course, they have fabulous stories. Plus, they’re fun! To that last point, that may be why I don’t enjoy “Christian” movies very much; they’re really not very fun to watch, which is sad.

  22. Sarah Harris // May 28, 2020 at 7:59 am // Reply

    Hey there! Have you ever watched Ben Hur? I think it qualifies. Also, the new series (granted, not a movie), The Chosen, has a superb portrayal of Jesus. Definitely the best ever, in my opinion.

    • Hi Sarah, yes I love Ben Hur (Heston’s version). It’s a classic. I just couldn’t find room for it in my top 100. I have also been enjoying The Chosen.

  23. You have Shawshank redemption at #4. Respect. That’s my favorite movie of all time.

  24. I haven’t seen the modern Ben Hur. The Heston one is amazing on so many levels. A lot of non-Christians think of the chariot race as the apex of the story (and it is pretty spectacular, the way it was done). But I love all of the “God moments” Judah has on his journey towards redemption. They feel so authentic to me. I also like that they don’t ever show Jesus’s face. I think portraying Jesus well on film is a bit of an impossible task. Ben-Hur tells a remarkable story of what it’s like to encounter God without making a cheesy portrayal of Jesus. It’s in my top 5 movies of all time. Anyways, that’s my endorsement to see it for those who haven’t! I had a film buff pal in university (like a film studies student who wasn’t a believer) say it was one of his faves. I think it’s a successful example of a Christian story elegantly told.

    • Well said, Regan. I too love the way Jesus is never fully revealed, yet his impact on those around him is obvious.

    • My wife and I talk about a good movie idea sometimes. We talk about a pack of friends in a hard hitting drama. One of the friends is paralyzed but such a good guy and his buddies love him so they try their best to not leave him out of things they do even though it’s often quite a chore. One day they hear rumors about a healer and they debate the concept of healings but eventually head off together to seek the healer out, taking their paralyzed friend with them. It ends up being quite a journey to get to the healer, with encounters, discoveries, heartaches, and adventure along the way that draw us, the audience, into seeing who these guys really are and we find out they are just like all of us – flawed, broken, and in need of each other. Then when they get there, they are cut off due to large crowds around the healer. In their determination to not have gone through all they did to get there and then not find out if it was worth it, they form a plan to bypass the crowd and get to the roof and lower their friend through the ceiling. Then and only then, the audience would find out they’ve been watching the story of Luke 5:17-26. And the story that seemed to be about the determination to find healing for their paralyzed friend ends up being about the life changing mighty power of forgiveness. And Jesus would never be shown.

  25. I’ve always wanted to see a movie of the everyday people whose lives were radically transformed in the gospels by Jesus. Where we get just the smallest glimpses of their stories. I think it would be profoundly wonderful.

  26. The movie Joshua probably does not reach the level of great by the definition given, but I have watched it several times when I usually do not watch a movie more than once and it does a pretty good job of checking off these boxes. It reveals the practical side of Jesus and there are a few scenes where I can feel life overflowing in my heart.

    • I own Joshua on DVD and love it. It’s a real gem. But then, there are lots of very good movies that didn’t make my top 100 list.

      • megagenius // May 29, 2020 at 7:12 pm //

        Paul, just pour in more grace into your top 100 movies and it will grow to 150, and the saints will rejoice evermore.Selah

  27. I remember watching some Christian movies way back. Although interesting, they didn’t really pull at my heartstrings, maybe because they were more religious base. Christian movies based more on grace would appeal to me more but I did love the Passion of Christ and word has it – the man that acted Christ was warned, you do this, you will never act again. Someone must have prayed for that to go through. After all, Satan is the God of this world so not surprising. There is an area to pray for then. It’s a stronghold and worth praying for. Many Christian know the true nature of the industry, many other Christians don’t. Satan is the God of the media – for now, and it’s very demonic. For Christians that don’t like watching anything other than Christian movies, I guess it’s not a bad thing, but their conscious may not allow them to do so, just like their conscious may not allow them to drink wine. We can’t criticize them for that. I love many worldly films, my conscious allows me to watch, depending on what it is and also drink occasionally. There are some great films that to me depict, Christianity or they have some form of Christianity.

  28. Rea Paquette // May 29, 2020 at 12:16 am // Reply

    Here’s a couple of good Christian movies that i like and recommend: The note, and The perfect Stanger.

  29. Didn’t know about The Chosen episodes until reading these comments. Thanks everyone. I watched them all over the last 2 days. WOW!! I’ve imagined those scenes and conversations a hundred times, but maybe never as well as they portrayed them. Bravo to the makers of The Chosen!

  30. “Leave the garbage on the cutting room floor”, Right, but this is not what these film makers do, as they have to show their god (of this world) influence. As in one movie you mention, The Matrix, in which pastor’s mined for sermon illustrations. Really? I remember well Christians swore by this so called “Christian” flick.
    But all they are doing is feeding and applauding (through ticket sales) tinsel towns spewing their lack of moral perspective. As I read about the character “mouse” a digital pimp, who told Neo to have virtual sex with a digital woman. Mouse tells Neo. “To deny our impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.” No, the bible tells us just opposite, to rather deny such Titus 2:12. slew foot is still at it, as he was with Eve, mixing truth with error.

  31. ashleybess // May 30, 2020 at 3:44 am // Reply

    I was going to bring up The Shack, but read your comments on it. Having a young daughter, I felt the same way at first…. but reading the book and watching the movie ended up being incredibly nourishing to me, reinforcing the truth that God’s love reaches into and redeems even the darkest evil I can fathom (and something like that happening to my child or any child is indeed that darkest evil to me. I have trouble even living with the reality that it has happened at all to any child).

    My husband and I have often talked about how the VERY Christian theme of one person laying down his or her life for others shows up in pretty much EVERY great movie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Avengers: Endgame immediately come to mind.

    I do enjoy what some might call “cheesy” Christian movies such as Overcomer because we can watch them with our kids and they love them. I thought “Risen” with Joseph Fiennes from a few years back was very well done. We just watched and enjoyed “I Still Believe” and “I Can Only Imagine”. I also love “Ragamuffin” about Rich Mullins. Do some digging – great authentic Christian movies ARE out there.

    • Hi Ashley, I have seen pretty much all of the Christian movies mentioned on this thread (except The Shack). I have enjoyed most of them and shown some them at church. As I say above, there are many good Christian movies. But to qualify as great a movie has to make the top 100 list of all movies. It can’t merely be great within a genre.

  32. Update: Hi guys, I have renamed this article to steer the discussion back into the direction I originally wanted to go. I want to know, what are the elements of a great Christian movie? Or, how would we recognize a great Christian movie?

    Please don’t write and tell me your favorite Christian movie. Don’t ask me if I’ve seen The Shack (I haven’t) or The Chosen (I have). Got a list of favorite movies? Put it on Facebook, like I did. Here’s what we really want to know: If you have a Christian movie in your list of all-time great movies, what makes it great? Why does it succeed where others fail? A lot of Christian movies are mediocre. What makes your choice different? What do they get right? I look forward to hearing from you!

    • A great Christian movie points us to Christ and the so-good-to-be-true gospel of Grace, unveiling His character in a way we could all relate to especially in times of great trials.
      I can compare “The Shack” to your article that answers the question: ‘what happens to Christians who committed suicide?’ – in a way that others may not like it, but the Truth that sets you free is there. The way Christ was unveiled in the movie was far greater than the pain in the story. And that was a great movie, Christ and His Love magnified over men’s suffering.

  33. Hi Paul, this is a great topic to discuss and I’ve been thinking around it since I read the post. I guess I could say the scene in Frozen 2 where Elsa was trying to cross the dark sea and had to overcome the resident spirit there was one of my favorites in recent memory. The idea of being so focused on getting to her destination that she didn’t let the water spirit faze her was awesome for me. I’ve watched a lot of Disney movies, and it’s not often that young female characters are given the kind of strength Elsa has in this film. To me it represented how Christ gives us this determination that says, ‘I’m not going to be fazed, I’m not going to panic, this is doable;this is possible.’ It was incredibly fun to watch and I’m glad something like that was made. Even the score did its bit to pass along the same message of facing challenges and overcoming them in a beautiful way. Peace to you my friend, keep writing these great articles! 🙂

  34. Lol. How do you mean?

    • A horse running on the ocean? I guess my capacity for imaginative fantasy, which is normally pretty big, just hit the wall. I was tired that day. 🙂

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