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January 11, 2010

The 50 Most Important Religion Films of All Time

Film Snobbery has compiled what it believes is the ultimate list

The Ten Commandments and The Passion of the Christ are no-brainers for anybody compiling a list of The 50 Most Important Religion Films of All Time, as Film Snobbery recently did on its website. Both are appropriate in their top 10.

But Fiddler on the Roof, Life of Brian, and The Blues Brothers are also near the top of their list. Seriously. Check it out. And let us know in the comment below what you think of the list.


Wonder how they define "important"? Apparently "makes a serious, coherent statement about religion" is not a criterion in their definition. Some of these films are about religion in the same way that a fire engine is like the Soviet Union: They're both red, and both rushin'. Most glaring omission, especially for a site that claims to promote indie films: "To End All Wars." Another inexplicabale omission: "A Man For All Seasons."

I wonder why "Fireproof" was left of the list (as well as "The Mission" as some of the comments mentioned). I understand that "Fireproof" was the highest box-office earner for independent "indie" films in 2008 with over $35 million in total earnings. How did Film Snobbery's "voice for indie films" miss that?
Also, the "Jesus" film that has been seen by over 2 billion people around the world through Campus Crusade for Christ and many other missiona agencies. And the older "Thief in the Night" movies from Gospel Films made a big impact in the 1970s and 1980s. And the "Jesus of Nazereth" movie with Robert Powell, Laurence Olivier, etc. is a standard for many images of the life of Christ: Olivia Hussey as the young virgen Mary, Powell as Jesus, Anne Bancroft as Mary Magdalene, Anthony Quinn as Caiphas, etc.
How did they miss that as one of the top 50?

"Important" doesn't mean "good," either morally or aesthetically. "Monsieur Vincent," a film rarely seen in the US, is supposed to be morally good and well-made.

Three of my all-time favorite religious movies aren't on the list:

- The Mission
- Shadowlands
- Brother Sun, Sister Moon
- Dead Man Walking
- Entertaining Angels (The Dorothy Day Story)

I'd even say 'Fight Club' is more important as far as religion goes than most of the movies on that list. Fight Club laid bare the nihilism at the heart of my generation, the bankruptcy of capitalism, and the idea that us white guys with divorced parents have to come to grips with whether or not God actually likes us.

For my soul, give me Magnolia or Punch Drunk Love over a lot of those 'religious' films.

At least "The Da Vinci Code" wasn't listed. At the time of it's release a lot of people were up in arms about how inaccurate it is. Maybe everyone saw it for entertainment instead of fact about religion and the life of Christ.