My top 10 Movies for Lent Part II (5 to 1)

As we approach Holy Week here are my top 5 movies for Lent. I really appreciate Debbie recommendations and the reminder that 1) there are great Christian films out there (like Diary of Country Priest, Courageous, For Greater Glory, Unbroken, The Ten Commandments, The Son of God, Fire Proof and Spielberg monumental classic Schindler’s list among many other) and 2) that this is just a humble and insular list of some of my favorites movie with Christian themes.

For my Top 10 (10 to 5) list clear here.

5. Ben Hur

The sheer epic scale of this movie is worth watching considering that it was made in the pre-digital effect era. I really like how this film intertwines the story of Ben Hur (play by Charlton Heston) and the life of Christ. Although not perfect it’s a movie worth watching….

4. A Man for all Seasons

This movie from the 60’s tells the story of the martyrdom St. Thomas More. It has one of the most beautifully crafted screenplays of all time. One of my favorite dialogues is between The Duke of Norfolk and St. Thomas More:

The Duke of Norfolk:

Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

St. Thomas More:

And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

This is brilliant writing! It not only shows the integrity of St. Thomas More’s moral character but also shows the great reverence that this man of faith had for reason and the importance of following once conscience.

Coincidently Robert Bold, an agnostic, wrote the screenplay for this great Christian movie.

3. Into a Great Silence

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

-Mother Teresa of Calcutta (St. Teresa of Calcutta)

This German documentary is a meditation of God’s love reflected in the life of monks and priest of the Carthusian Order. For more than 900 years men and woman have joined this order to dedicate their life to a life of austerity, silence, contemplation and prayer. The introduction to their order website says it all:

(http://www.chartreux.org/en/)

“Whoever you are, whatever led you to this site, welcome. You will not find anything fashionable, not even a concern for being different”.

“The Carthusians consecrate their lives entirely to prayer and seeking God in the secret of their hearts. They intercede for the Church and for the salvation of the whole world”.

21 years in the making this documentary welcome people from all walks of life to have a look inside this faith filled monastery and walk right into a great silence.

2. Of Gods and Men

What does it means to give your life for others? What does it means to risk martyrdom in order to give witness of Christ love? Most of us will never have to confront these questions but sadly many Christian around the world know very well the answer to these questions. This powerful movie tells the story of French Trappist monks who were martyred in Algeria by Islamic terrorist for not abandoning their community that they served.

1. The Passion of the Christ

Words are not needed to describe Mel Gibson masterpiece. It is simple the greatest movie ever made.

Look at how salvation was nailed to the Cross… How can you keep from crying?

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7 thoughts on “My top 10 Movies for Lent Part II (5 to 1)”

  1. Great list! “Of Gods and Men” and “A Man for All Seasons” are especially excellent. As artwork, “Into Great Silence” is outstanding, but patience is required to say the least. I was bummed to discover that “The Ten Commandments” listed the 10 commandments protestant-style, so I can’t recommend it as much as I’d like, but it’s still a movie worth appreciating. “Ben-Hur” is so cool, and its portrayal of Christ is masterful. Having read the book (which is not easy… it’s from the 1800’s) I can say that the movie does a good job of telling the story.

    If you like Cecil B. DeMille, check out “The Sign of the Cross”, but watch out, it’s pre-code! 🙂

    I’ve been discovering a ton of great Catholic-themed movies. I’m compiling a list that I might share after a few more months of “research”. In the mean time, I should make sure that you’ve seen “The Mission” (1986), “The Agony and the Ecstasy” (1965, Charlton Heston does it again!), “The Way” (2011), “There Be Dragons” (2011), “The Reluctant Saint” (1962), and yeah I’ll go ahead and recommend “On the Waterfront” (1954).

    -Ben

    1. Just noticed you got “The Mission” on your other list!

      While I’m here, I also want to be sure to share my agreement with your selection of “The Passion” in the #1 spot, although I find it hard to recommend across the board because of the graphic extent of the violence. Excellent movie though. Have you seen “Jesus of Nazareth” from 1977? It’s long, but it’s really a great epic story well-told. The actors that played Mary, Joseph, Peter, John the Baptist and many others were very well-selected. Also, the portrayal of Jesus with more of an emphasis on His divinity helps us to better comprehend verses like Mark 10:32 in describing how the disciples were “amazed and afraid” of Him.

      -Ben

      1. Yeah! The Mission probably should have been in the top 5! Again another movie that I watch so long ago that I forgot about is “Jesus of Nazareth”! That one should have definitively made my list.

        The Passion is incredibly hard to watch and many devout Christian friends can’t really watch it but I think it does a good job in presenting what really happen. As one of my prayer books says on the Dying on the Cross rosary decade: it was the last extreme of human cruelty.

        Thanks for dropping by and for all your recommendations.

        Caleb

    2. Thank you for your comment!

      Yes, you are absolutely right patience is required while watching Into Great Silence!!! I guess I really didn’t noticed because I watched on a Good Friday a few years ago so I was on my best behavior and I though of the experience more of a mini retreat.

      The more I think about my list the more I realized that I needed to do far more research and that putting together such a list mostly out of my memory was going to be unfair to many other great movies…

      I haven’t see: The sign of the Cross, The Agony and Ecstasy, The Way, the Reluctant Saint and On the Waterfront…but now I will have to check them out.

      Let there be dragon was really good and I completely forgot about it. There are so many other great films that deserve the spot light. Hopefully you will do them justice! I look forward to your list!!!

      Have a blessed Holy Week and joyful Easter!

      Caleb

  2. Caleb,what a great list!!! I am excited,for I haven’t seen A Man For All Seasons, Into Great silence, Of Gods and Men. Such a great thing to bring forward in our memories the movies of the past.. greatness is so soon forgotten. Thank you

    1. I strongly recommend a Man for all Season. Its a 1960’s movie but it is great. Of Gods and Men is artistically superb and tells the story of modern day martyrs. It is very moving…now Into a Great Silence is not for everyone…although I think is brilliant it really has a unique slow pace that reflects the contemplative life of these monks. I have friends who told me that the movie tested their patience!!! Nevertheless I was in no hurry when I first saw it!

      Thank you for the kind words!!!!!!!

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