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More great Catholic movies to watch while quarantined


New Line Productions, Inc. | Warner Bros. | Century Fox Home Entertainment

Andrew Fowler - published on 05/08/20

A new list of movies with inspiring messages and themes.

With the coronavirus pandemic keeping us out home, it leaves more time to catch up on movie suggestions. The previous list was initially written for the College Knights of Columbus’ movie program. But here are 12 more movies to watch, one for every apostle — and for different genres!

Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

Is this one cheating? Yes, but it’s possible to watch them all in one sitting (this author has done it). But in all seriousness, J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, once called the Blessed Sacrament “the one great thing to love on earth.” His books and the movies are rich with Catholic symbolism and deal with epic themes of love and sacrifice in the face of the ultimate evil. 

The trilogy received enormous critical acclaim. The third installment, Return of the King, won 11 Academy Awards, tying for the most of any film, along with Titanic and the next film on our list.

*Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

Ben-Hur (1959)

Believe it or not, Ben-Hur — starring Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd — is a remake. At a time when movie theaters and MGM were struggling, this epic movie saved the day, becoming one of the highest grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation). It concurrently follows not only the story of protagonist Judah Ben-Hur and his quest for revenge against his former friend Messala, but also that of Christ. It’s a story of redemption and the power of God’s mercy.

*Where to watch: Amazon

Groundhog Day (1993)

Feel like you’re reliving the same day over and over again? Well then you’re like Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors, a cantankerous TV weatherman who loathes the titular holiday, in this romantic comedy. But it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity to discuss philosophy and theology as we see Murray explore fate, faith, death and love in his own purgatory.

*Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The third installment of the Indiana Jones franchise is one of the series’ best. It’s fun, action-packed, but also filled with Catholic symbolism and themes. Harrison Ford and Sean Connery star as son and father, both of whom are searching for the Holy Grail. The titular character not only finds a new appreciation for his estranged father, but he also has to take (literal) leaps of faith in his adventure. Plus, you find out why he got his nickname, Indiana.

*Where to watch: Netflix

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

This one is for film buffs. This silent movie depicts the trial of St. Joan of Arc. Many film historians and critics call it a landmark, not only for its cinematography and production, but also for Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s performance as the French saint. It’s a must-see.

*Where to watch: Amazon

The Lion King (1994)

Not the derivative “live-action” remake. The original Disney cartoon may not totally incorporate Catholic imagery, but it’s a story reminiscent of the Prodigal Son parable and contains a scene similar to Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Plus, it’s a fun movie-musical. 

*Where to watch: Disney+

Going My Way (1944)

The majority of Knightline readers who commented on our previous movie list asked why this 1944 classic was left off. That is now being remedied. Going My Way stars Bing Crosby — who performed at a Knights of Columbus War Bond drive during WWII — and Barry Fitzgerald as priests, with the former taking over a NYC parish from the latter. It’s a touching, light-hearted movie that was not only a box-office smash but also critically acclaimed, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also spawned a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary’s.

*Where to watch: Amazon

Superman: The Movie (1978)

The grandfather of all comic-book movies, Superman: The Movie had a tumultuous production, but through adversity comes art, right? The filmmakers were conscious of the obvious biblical connections in the origins of Superman: a baby sent from another planet to help save the world. Initially, the comic mirrored Exodus, but overtime, Superman has become the Christ-like figure in comic-book medium. 

But all that aside, the movie is clean fun with a charismatic Christopher Reeve as the hero. And after watching it, you’ll believe a man can fly.

*Where to watch: Amazon

The Fugitive (1947)

Not that one with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. This version stars Henry Fonda in an adaption of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, directed by Catholic filmmaker John Ford. The movie is about a priest on the run from Mexican authorities during the Cristero War —a time of Catholic persecution in which Knights fought and were martyred for the faith. It’s a story about what makes a saint a saint. 

*Where to watch: Amazon

The Princess Bride (1987)

Really? What’s Catholic about this endearingly, quotable movie? St. John Paul II had some ideas. According to Cary Elwes — who stars in the movie as Wesley/Dread Pirate Roberts — the late pontiff told him that it was a “Very good film. Very funny.” If this fun, classic film is good enough for a saint, it’s good enough to make this list.

*Where to watch: Amazon

Shawshank Redemption (1994) or Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Bishop Robert Barron

Shawshank Redemption a “beautiful retelling of the Christ story,” while Paul Newman’s titular Luke has been called a Christ-like figure (he even is poses as a crucified Jesus at one point). The former is more suited for adults, while the latter can be appreciated by early teenagers and above. Either way, both films were critically acclaimed upon release and nominated for Best Picture.

*Where to watch: Amazon, Netflix

The Sound of Music (1965)

Family-friendly? Check. Great songs? Check. Beautiful cinematography? Check. Great movie? Check. Positive Catholic message? Check. You can’t go wrong with this movie. Julie Andrews stars as a postulant wanting to become a nun, who then finds her true vocation when she’s sent to serve as governess to a widower’s seven children. The film is an Easter favorite for TV broadcasts, but now it can be a favorite whenever you want! 

*Where to watch: Disney+

Now where is The Passion of the Christ? Or TheSong of Bernadette? Or The Scarlet and the Black? They’re all great movies. And all Catholic movies. So those are worth watching as well if you haven’t already.

I hope every reader stays safe! And send in more suggestions. Stream away and up your movie-game.

Christian MoviesKnights of ColumbusMovies
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