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I Corinthians 2:5- "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
Inspiring Movies

by Art Manning

So often people spend time watching videos and movies which, though exciting, entertaining, or even inspiring, have aspects which are undesirable. Some watch these films, regardless, and just wish the undesirable elements were not there. Sometimes there are feelings of guilt which have to be dealt with after watching such a film. Others refuse to watch them and sometimes feel left out or at least sad because they feel deprived of the opportunity to see what otherwise would have been a good film. These feelings are particularly acute in the case of our youth. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of decent movies being made nowadays. There is a serious problem with the film making industry when in the years 1994 - 1998, according to an article in Premier Magazine ( a magazine about movies), 34 G-rated films were made, 156 PG-rated films were made, 222 PG-13 films were made, and 346 R rated films were made. However, there is an alternative to the garbage being served by Hollywood. That is the many great films of the past which are available on videotape. I personally like to visit "Hollywood Video"to rent such films because they seem to have a broad selection of them in their "classics" section. Also, there is sometimes a good selection of inspiring videos at Christian bookstores. And if you havenít yet checked out the Christian Library of Lancaster, youíre in for a treat. In addition to their fine selection of videos, etc. they also have a number of great books and audio tape sets of Christian seminars. To contact them for directions and hours ( theyíre on the east side of Lancaster near the intersection where rt. 340 and Lampeter Rd. meet) call 394-8871. Also, a valuable resource for those with access to the Internet is Christian Answers Net. This excellent site has a large selection of current films that you can read reviews about. You can even write your own review of a film if you like. They also have an abundance of information about Creation / Evolution, Archaeology and the Bible, government and social issues, religions and cults, family and marriage, and Christian theology. Their address is www.ChristianAnswers.Net Below is a list of films which I feel are inspiring yet have little or no objectionable aspects. It is by no means complete. If some of your favorites were left off, I apologize. If you would like to see your favorite(s) on a future list, please give me a call (393-1031). Some have a strong Christian element; whereas others are, like the story of the "good Samaritan", secular in nature, yet can teach us valuable lessons. Some can even teach us lessons when they show us the fruit of wrong choices. Even though I feel that these are worthwhile films, some of them are not for children, because of the adult situations that are dealt with (though without explicit scenes or language). Also, a film that one person is comfortable with, another might find offensive. If you view one of these films and find it offensive, you can turn it off. But do not blame the writer of this article for your unpleasant experience. These films that I think are inspiring, yet decent, are on this list because of my opinion. I make no claim to be speaking for God in this matter. In addition, I believe that each parent is responsible for what their children watch. An excellent way to introduce your children to a film is to view it yourself first, then, if you find it acceptable, view it with your children. Since it is a video, you can stop it any time you like to discuss the actions, decisions, etc. being portrayed. When you preview it, make note of places that you may wish to do this. Do not show them a video just because it is on this list. This is not an official church list of acceptable films, itís just a list of films which, in my opinion, are inspiring alternatives to the hordes of corrupt films being watched by our culture, including many Christians. The films are in alphabetical order.

1. The Agony and the Ecstacy - the story of Michelangelo.

2. All About Eve - Bette Davis in an intense drama about sowing and reaping (in the negative sense).

3. All This and Heaven Too - a powerful film about a virtuous woman retaining her honor amidst madness and murder. Stars Bette Davis.

4. Anastasia (1956) - a true story. One of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century - starring Ingrid Bergman as the woman who tried to get recognized as the daughter of the last Czar of Russia, who was supposedly murdered with the rest of her family by the communists. I recommend seeing the film, "Nicholas and Alexandra" first.

5. Anna Karenina - Greta Garbo stars in Tolstoyís classic tale of a beautiful woman reaping the wages of the sin of adultery. Of course, since it was made in 1935, there is no foul language nor sex scenes.

6. Anna and the King - Jody Foster in the 1999 version of the story of Anna Leonowens, a Christian widow who agreed to teach the children of the king of Siam in the mid 1800s. This is based on her diaries, which, unfortunately, are not viewed as totally reliable, since there are historical inaccuracies in them. It is certain that she did teach the king of Siamís children. She accepted this position, knowing that she was not allowed to try to convert the kingís children. If she had, she would have been replaced by a non-Christian. She had to be a witness with her life or there would be no witness at all. However, she did teach Bible stories to the children, but this is not in the film.

7. The Bear - an interesting and well done story of two bears and some hunters.

8. Beauty and the Beast - outstanding animated musical.

9. Ben Hur - an outstanding Christian film. Won eleven Oscars.

10. Billy Budd - Melvilleís classic story of good and evil, justice and law.

11. Birdman of Alcatraz - a remarkable, true story of how a prisoner became rehabilitated by caring for birds.

12. Black Beauty - a great horse story.

13. Call Northside 777 - outstanding, true story of a motherís love and sacrifice for her son and the efforts to exonerate him from an undeserved prison sentence. Stars Jimmy Stewart.

14. Captains Courageous - Kiplingís story of the transformation of a brat on a fishing boat.

15. Chariots of Fire - the true story of an Olympic runner who put his religious convictions before his love of running.

16. A Christmas Carol - Dickensí classic tale. The 1951 version is probably the most famous, but there are a surprising number of different film versions available.

17. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewisí classic allegory.

18. City Lights - in this classic silent comedy by Charlie Chaplain youíll both laugh and cry.

19. The Cross and the Switchblade - the true story of David Wilkerson and Nicki Cruz.

20. Cry the Beloved Country - a powerful film about a pastor in South Africa during Apartheid. Includes adult situations.

21. Disraeli - an outstanding portrayal of the British politician in this early talkie.

22. A Dog of Flanders - a touching story with a lot of love. Very wholesome.

23. E.T. - an endearing story about an extra-terrestrial.

24. Exodus - the story of the Jewís return to Israel in 1947.

25. Firstfruits - a powerful account of the Moravian missionary movement.

26. The Fountainhead - highlights the virtues of integrity, determination, and the refusal to compromise.

27. The Fourth Wise Man - based on a novel about a wise man who seeks Jesus for 33 years.

28. Gifted Hands - the amazing story of Ben Carson - a Christian neuro-surgeon.

29. God Bless the Child - a mother and daughter struggle against homelessness.

30. The Gold Rush - Charlie Chaplainís classic silent comedy with a theme of redemption.

31. Goodbye Mr. Chips - the inspiring story of a teacher, starring Robert Donat.

32. The Good Earth - classic Pearl Buck story of life in China.

33. The Greatest Story Ever Told - the story of our Lord.

34. Greyfriarís Bobby - the touching, true story of a faithful dog.

35. The Hiding Place - the true story of Corrie Ten Boomís family who hid Jews from the Nazis.

36. I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang - remarkable true story of manís inhumanity to man and one manís determination to overcome enormous obstacles.

37. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness - a somewhat modified version of the amazing, true story of Gladys Aylward, a British maid who sent herself to China as a missionary. In reality she was actually much stronger spiritually - in the film she gave a very poor witness to a nobleman. Also, in reality she was much weaker physically - after the trek over the mountains she was practically dead and took quite a while to regain her physical and mental abilities; whereas in the film she was quite triumphant after her trek. Still a great film. Her true story is in the book, "The Small Woman."

38. Itís a Wonderful Life - the classic story of how important each one of us is.

39. The Jackie Robinson Story - the first baseball player to break the color barrier. There is definitely a Christian aspect to this film. Jackie Robinson plays himself.

40. The Jazz Singer - Al Jolsonís classic film (the first talkie ever!) of a Jewish manís dilemma about whether to sing for the Lord, or for his culture, or for his family, or for the world. A good film for discussion.

41. Journey to the Center of the Earth - a fun, adventure-filled tale. When the heroes are in danger they pray, and praise the Lord when delivered.

42. Juarez - biography of the great Benito Juarez - a man of courage and conviction.

43. Keys of the Kingdom - a very uplifting novel about a catholic missionary in China. However, there are a couple of instances of praying to saints.

44. The Kid - Charlie Chaplinís silent classic comedy.

45. The Killing - this is not about a murder, but a robbery attempt. It teaches the lesson that crime doesnít pay since thereís always the possibility that something can upset the most carefully laid plans.

46. Knute Rockne - All American - a great biography of a great, moral, innovative coach. Includes "the Gipper" (Ronald Reagan).

47. Lassie Come Home - endearing story of a collie traveling hundreds of miles to get home.

48. The Last Days of Pompeii - a gladiator movie with a Christian element.

49. Les Miserables - outstanding Victor Hugo classic about forgiveness.

50. Life of Emile Zola - a true story of courage as Zola defends the unjustly convicted Dreyfus.

51. Little Women - Louisa May Alcottís classic of four sisters growing up with different gifts and personalities.

52. Madame Curie - a wonderful, true story of love and devotion between two scientists.

53. A Man Called Peter - the life of Peter Marshall, chaplain to the U.S. Senate.

54. A Man for All Seasons - the outstanding, true story of Sir Thomas More, who suffered martyrdom rather than compromise his beliefs.

55. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town - a normal guy keeps his head when he inherits a fortune in this comedy with Gary Cooper.

56. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - classic comedy-drama with Jimmy Stewart as the idealistic senator.

57. The Miracle Worker - the true story of Helen Keller being brought out of her solitude.

58. The Mission - a powerful account of Jesuit missionaries to South American Indians in the late 1700's.

59. Moby Dick - Herman Melvilleís classic.

60. National Velvet - a good family film about a girl and her horse.

61. Nicholas and Alexandra - the last days of the last Czar of Russia. This is not very inspiring, but is the historical record of the events that happened when the communists took over Russia. A good film to see before "Anastasia."

62. Old Yeller - the Disney classic about a frontier family and their dog.

63. The Oxbow Incident - outstanding classic western with Henry Fonda about vigilantism. Some violence, but no gore. Not recommended for children.

64. Peace Child - an amazing, true story showing the power of the gospel.

65. Quo Vadis - Christians show faith and courage during the days of the Roman Empire.

66. The Radicals - the true story of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. A few instances of bad language and some gruesome scenes, including martyrdom.

67. Rebel Without a Cause - after the early scene in which the high school students hear the evolutionary tale, presented as fact, about how the universe came into being without God, you see the result in their empty lives.

68. Repeat Performance - illustrates the power of forgiveness.

69. The Robe - a Roman soldier who was involved in Christís crucifixion becomes converted. A classic Christian film.

70. Sarah, Plain and Tall - a wholesome film, the first of a series.

71. Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winterís End - a good family movie ( see the film, "Skylark" first).

72. The Scarlet and the Black - based on the true story of a priest in World War II who hides escaped P.O.W.ís from the Nazis. An astounding ending!

73. The Search - a touching tale of a lost child in post-World War II Germany and his mother who searches for him.

74. Sergeant York - outstanding, true story of this Christianís conversion and heart for God walked out in the context of World War I. York wanted no glory for himself and wanted there to be no film about his exploits in the War until, with the approach of World War II, he believed it could be used to inspire others to fight the menace of Nazism.

75. Shadowlands - inspiring story of C. S. Lewis.

76. Showboat - a moving story with some great dancing and songs.

77. The Silver Chalice - a Christian novel, featuring Luke, Joseph of Arimathea, Peter, Simon the Sorcerer, etc. Paul Newmanís first film.

78. The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn - a great family movie, although some mild language.

79. Skylark - the middle film in the Sarah, Plain and Tall Trilogy.

80. The Sound of Music - inspiring story of a familyís escape from Nazi Germany.

81. Sparrows - A very moving silent film with a strong Christian perspective. Stars Mary Pickford.

82. Spirit of St. Louis - account of Lindberghís historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Starring Jimmy Stewart.

83. Spitfire Grill - a powerful drama with Christian themes and lessons; but contains a few profanities. Not recommended for children because of adult situations.

84. Story of Louis Pasteur - an excellent biography of the great scientist.

85. The Straight Story - a moving, true story of forgiveness.

86. The Ten Commandments - epic film of the Exodus story.

87. Titanic - the 1953 version is clean and shows how a tragedy can bring out the best in people.

88. The Three Lives of Thomasina - a great story of a man who has turned away from God and learns that God still loves Him.

89. Through Gates of Splendor - the story of the evangelization of the Auca Indians by Jim Eliot, Nate Saint, etc. Caution - includes some original footage of naked Indians.

90. To Kill a Mockingbird - a moving story against racism. Not for children.

91. Treasure of the Sierra Madre - a great Bogart film showing how insidious greed can be.

92. Treasures of the Snow - outstanding film dealing with forgiveness. Great for the whole family.

93. Truce in the Forest - based on the true story of a womanís courage and love during World War II.

94. Uncle Tomís Cabin - a film version of the tremendously significant novel.

95. The Visitor - a contemporary adaptation of Tolstoyís classic short story, "Where Love Is."

96. Viva Zapata - the true story of the noble revolutionary in early 20th century Mexico.

97. A Vow to Cherish - a story of love and commitment.

98. Wilson - the story of the highly moral, idealistic president.

99. The Winslow Boy - virtuous family members try to exonerate a boy expelled from prep school.

100. The Yearling - the moving story of a boy becoming a man in the Southern swamps.

In addition, the following biographies of Christians are available:

101. Brother Sun, Sister Moon - the story of St. Francis of Assisi. Rated P.G.

102. China Cry - the true story of Nora Lam.

103. Godís Outlaw - the story of William Tyndale, Bible translator and martyr.

104. Jan Amos Comenius - education reformer - Not suitable for young children because of some gruesome scenes.

105. John Hus - reformer and martyr.

106. John Wycliffe - Bible translator and reformer.

107. Mama Luka Comes Home - a missionary forgives her rapists.

108. Martin Luther - reformer

109. William Carey - missionary to India

110. William Wilberforce - this Christianís long battle against slavery.

111. John Wesley - the life story of the great man of God. Made in 1953.

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