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The 15 greatest movies about religion, according to the Vatican

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Cineriz | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. | Gaumont

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 06/17/22

Calling all film buffs! Did you know the Vatican actually has a recommended list of top movies about religion?

I love to watch and discuss good movies, and it’s even more fun with a great Catholic film. So imagine my delight when I discovered the Vatican actually has a recommended list of top movies about religion!

In 1995, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of cinema, the Vatican compiled a list of 45 “great films” of all time. The list is made up of three categories: “Religion,” “Values,” and “Art,” with 15 films listed in each of the three categories. 

The 15 films recommended in the “Religion” category include the following:

  • Andrei Rublev (1966)
  • Babette’s Feast (1987)
  • Ben-Hur (1959)
  • The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)
  • Francesco (1989)
  • The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
  • La Passion de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ (1905)
  • A Man for All Seasons (1966)
  • The Mission (1986)
  • Monsieur Vincent (1947)
  • Nazarin (1958)
  • Ordet (1955)
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  • The Sacrifice (1986)
  • Therese (1986)

You can read a really helpful explanation of the films over at Decent Films by Steven Greydanus. I always enjoy his entertaining commentary and thought-provoking insights!

I was surprised to find that I’d only seen a handful of these movies. I’m looking forward to adding the rest of them to my list.

Have you seen any of these? Which was your favorite?

If you’d like a few more ideas of compelling Catholic movies, you’ve got to check out the Top 100 “Proudly Catholic Movies” compiled by the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College. 

There are so many classic greats on the list. Watching all 100 will certainly keep your film club busy for a while!

Happy watching!

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