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Newsmax's Top 15 Christian Movies in Recent History

Image: Newsmax's Top 15 Christian Movies in Recent History

By    |   Monday, 21 May 2018 09:24 AM

When Movieguide originated in 1985, the major studios in Hollywood released few movies with any positive Christian content or values at all — less than 1 percent! By the time the annual Movieguide Faith and Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry began in 1992, however, there were 27 such movies, or about 10.38 percent of the market share. Incredibly, 26 years later, in 2018, 62 percent of the major movies released theatrically by the movie industry contained at least some positive Christian, redemptive content.

Also, when Movieguide started in 1985, less than 6 percent of the major movies were aimed at families. In the past 10 years, movies marketed to families have increased to nearly 40 percent of the top movies released in your local movie theaters.

The former chairman of a major Hollywood studio once attributed all these positive shifts in the movie industry directly to Movieguide’s influence as well as the Christian Film and Television Commission’s box office analysis in its Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry.

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Other industry leaders have said similar things. In fact, many major movie studios now have a Christian, faith-based film division, and several studios are doing major movies with strong and overt Christian or biblical content. Also, now, all the major studios, and most of the major independent studios (not just Disney) are doing movies for young children and families.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that the studios aren’t doing bad or horrible movies anymore. However, it does mean there are fewer and fewer bad movies, and an increasing number of good ones. It’s Movieguide’s prayer that the movie industry will make more and more commendable movies, and remove all offensive elements from them.

Clearly, however, the work of Movieguide and the Christian Film and Television Commission ministry, especially its annual Faith and Values Awards Gala and Report to Hollywood, has helped significantly to redeem the values of the entertainment industry. Movieguide has shown Hollywood that family-friendly movies with little or no foul language, no explicit content, and strong Christian, biblical content and values have a huge potential audience and are extremely popular, especially when made well using the artistic and entertainment standards that Movieguide has developed and teaches in its filmmaking classes, workshops, and written and video materials.

That said, movies about Jesus Christ and movies with strong Christian and biblical moral content dominate 90 percent of the top-grossing movies worldwide, not just in Christian countries, because people have hard lives and are looking for the good, the true, and the beautiful to triumph, which usually leads them to want a savior, whether allegorical or Christological.

Here, the editors of Movieguide and its publisher, Ted Baehr, have compiled for Newsmax a list of what they feel are the top 15 Christian movies in recent history.

The list is meant as a conversation starter, and not necessarily meant as a definitive list. The list considers the Christological, biblical content of each movie, combined with the movie’s aesthetic and entertainment value, its visual or cinematic quality, its dramatic power, the cohesion and energy behind its narrative structure, its moral and spiritual acceptability for family audiences, and the moral and spiritual depth of its message and themes.

1. “The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (2005)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +1
“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” based on C. S. Lewis’s popular Christian fable, tells the story of four English children who enter through a magical wardrobe the land of Narnia where they meet Aslan, the son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, who rescues the land from the evil White Witch. Despite some minor changes from the source material, the film retains most of the book’s Christian focus and is tremendously exciting, thrilling, and redemptive.

2. “The Star” (2017)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“The Star” is a wonderful, hilarious, and deeply reverential animated family movie centered on the birth of Jesus, but from the perspective of a lowly donkey named Bo. “The Star” is tremendous fun, with great moral, spiritual lessons along the way. It’s a must-see Christmas movie for every family.

3. “The Case For Christ” (2017)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“The Case For Christ” is an important video being released in Walmart and other major retailers that re-creates award-winning journalist Lee Strobel’s investigation into New Testament claims about Jesus Christ. This is one of the most powerful conversion stories ever presented, full of tremendous information confirming the reliability of the New Testament for every believer, skeptic, and nonbeliever.

4. “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: -2 (For Mature Audiences)
Mel Gibson’s masterpiece “The Passion of the Christ” covers the time period of Jesus’ life from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Cross and beyond. The movie goes beyond most Passion plays to highlight in stark, dark, and intense terms the spiritual warfare raging around Jesus Christ during His Passion. It is a must-see movie that is beautifully directed and powerfully acted.

5. “Les Misérables” (2012)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: -1 (For Mature Audiences)
“Les Misérables” is a movie version of the beloved musical play of Victor Hugo’s novel about an ex-convict whose life is redeemed but is hounded anyway by a legalistic policeman. “Les Misérables” is a brilliant adaptation of this inspiring, spiritually uplifting Christian story that beautifully depicts God’s transformational powers though the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it contains some harsh scenes showing the brokenness of humanity without God.

6. “Hacksaw Ridge” (2016)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: -2 (For Mature Audiences)
“Hacksaw Ridge” is a great Christian war movie superbly directed by Mel Gibson about Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. The entire movie is a call to faith in Jesus Christ about uncompromising faith and miraculous courage that will make you laugh and cry; however, the war violence is gruesome and lighter obscenities pepper the movie.

7. “The 33” (2015)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: -2 (For Mature Audiences)
“The 33” is an extremely powerful movie based on the true story of the 33 miners trapped in an old San José mine in the middle of the formidable Atacama Desert in northern Chile in 2010. “The 33” is extremely well plotted, with great jeopardy and inspiring, overt evangelical Christian content set in a light Roman Catholic context.

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8. “God’s Not Dead” (2014)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“God’s Not Dead” is an entertaining, profound, and powerful Christian movie about a college student who stands up for his faith when bullied by an atheist professor. Despite some of the smartest dialogue ever, “God’s Not Dead” entertains viewers as well as enlightens and inspires them. The ending is terrific.

9. “The Blind Side” (2009)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: -1
“The Blind Side” is a compelling, feel-great drama that tells the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless black teenager who is welcomed into a caring Christian family. Though there are unnecessary elements requiring caution, this wonderful drama is a faith-filled, truly inspiring movie with overt Christian values.

10. “The Secret of Kells” (2009)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“The Secret of Kells” is an absolutely fabulous, delightful, and fanciful animated movie about young Brendan in the Abbey of Kells, where he becomes the great illuminator of the Book of Kells, a famous illuminated Latin manuscript containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. “The Secret of Kells” is one of the most uniquely animated movies of all time, informed by a full-orbed, inspiring Christian orthodoxy.

11. “Black Nativity” (2013)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“Black Nativity” is a Christmas musical drama about a struggling single mother forced to send her teenage son to stay with her estranged parents. “Black Nativity” is a powerful, inspiring, well-acted drama with beautiful music and an uplifting message of God’s grace, faith, family, and forgiveness that holds everything together.

12. “War Room” (2015)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“War Room” is a very emotional, compelling Christian movie about spiritual warfare in a story about a married couple having problems. Although the topic of prayer seems to be elusive as a major plot, the filmmakers of “War Room” do a great job of making prayer very exciting.

13. “All Saints” (2017)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“All Saints” is a powerful story, very heartrending and entertaining, about a pastor who hears from God and does the right thing in spite of opposition. “All Saints” is one of Sony Affirm’s best movies and is based on a Kairos Prize finalist script.

14. “The Young Messiah” (2016)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“The Young Messiah” is about the young Jesus living in Egypt with Mary and Joseph and then returning to Israel. It is extremely powerful and emotional, and represents all the elements of who Jesus was in an allegorical, dramatic way.

15. “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” (2005)
Quality: 4 stars
Acceptability: +4
“Sophie Scholl” is a marvelous German movie about a young woman who challenges Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist regime in 1943. “Sophie Scholl” is a tremendously compelling foreign film about a very strong Christian confronting human evil.

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Ted Baehr is publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, a family guide to entertainment, and the chairman of The Christian Film & Television Commission™. An award-winning media authority, he is used by God to redeem the mass media and teach families to be media-wise. His many books include "How To Succeed In Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul)" and "The Culture-Wise Family," among many others. For more information, please visit: www.movieguide.org.

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When Movieguide originated in 1985, the major studios in Hollywood released few movies with any positive Christian content or values at all. Incredibly, 26 years later, in 2018, 62 percent of the major movies released contained at least some positive Christian, redemptive content.
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Monday, 21 May 2018 09:24 AM
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