I’m always on the hunt for an inspiring film, especially during a reflective time like the season of Lent. There are hundreds of beautiful movies out there, and I have put together a list of 20 of my favorites. Some are more religious in nature and some are more secular. Some are recent releases and some were made before I was born! But, regardless of your age or genre preference, I bet you’ll find something on this list that will intrigue you! So, unless you gave up TV for Lent, pull together some friends or family and plan a movie night! Pop some popcorn, get comfy and watch a good flick. And then, be sure to have everyone stick around for some discussion.
Because these are all movies that will make you think….
(These are not necessarily movies for children. Please, if you plan to watch one of these with your family, do your own research to determine if the movie is appropriate.)
Be sure to share your favorite inspirational movies in comments!
I am David (2003) David, a 12-year-old, escapes from a Communist concentration camp with little more than a compass, a sealed letter, a loaf of bread, and instructions to carry the letter to Copenhagen…
The Mission (1986) 18th century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.
The Way (2010) A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.
October Baby (2011) A college freshman’s world is rocked when she learns she is the adopted survivor of an attempted abortion.
Life is Beautiful (1997) A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.
Schindler’s List (1993) In Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.
Clare and Francis (2008) Clare, the daughter of a patrician family, and Francis, the son of a rich merchant, leave it all to follow Christ. Francis renounces his inheritance to live the Gospel in poverty. Clare reads deep into his heart and decides to follow him, leaving her home and family to give herself as the bride of Christ. Both found major religious orders and together they inspired many to follow their radical call to live the Gospel, and their impact has reached across the centuries to change the world.
Bella (2006) Sooner or later every one of us will face an irreversible moment that will change our lives forever. If it hasn’t happened to you yet…it will. BELLA is a true love story about how one day in New York City changed three people forever.
Shadowlands (1993) C.S. Lewis, a world-renowned writer and professor, leads a passionless life until he meets spirited poet Joy Gresham.
For Greater Glory (2012) A chronicle of the Cristeros War (1926-1929); a war by the people of Mexico against the atheistic Mexican government.
Of Gods and Men (2010) Under threat by fundamentalist terrorists, a group of Trappist monks stationed with an impoverished Algerian community must decide whether to leave or stay.
The Song of Bernadette (1943) In 1858 France, Bernadette, an adolescent peasant girl, has a vision of “a beautiful lady” in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all assume it to be the virgin Mary. The pompous government officials think she is nuts, and do their best to suppress the girl and her followers, and the church wants nothing to do with the whole matter. But as Bernadette attracts wider and wider attention, the phenomenon overtakes everyone in the the town, and transforms their lives.
The Scarlet and the Black (1983) Fr. Hugh O’Flaherty is a Vatican official in 1943-45 who has been hiding downed pilots, escaped prisoners of war, and Italian Resistance families. His diplomatic status in a Catholic country prevents Colonel Kappler from openly arresting him, but O’Flaherty’s activities become so large that the Nazis decide to assassinate him the next time he leaves the Vatican. O’Flaherty continues his work in a variety of disguises.
Amazing Grace (2006) The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.
God is the Bigger Elvis (2012) This Academy Award nominated documentary tells the remarkable story of Dolores Hart, a beautiful young Hollywood actress who appeared in ten films starting in 1957, acting with the big stars like Elvis Presley, Montgomery Clift, and Anthony Quinn, but abandoned her blossoming career-and cut off her engagement to a young architect-to become a cloistered Benedictine nun in 1963.
Henry Poole Is Here (2008) Henry Poole moves in to a house in his old neighborhood, to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a “miracle” by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life.
The Family Man (2000) A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife.
Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996) Popular stars and important themes combine in this compelling true story of the “American Mother Teresa,” filmed by Paulist Pictures (Romero) from a script by ER writer and executive producer John Wells. Moira Kelly plays Day, the impassioned New York journalist who launched the activist newspaper “Catholic Worker” and put the words she wrote into controversial action. Martin Sheen, Melinda Dillon and Brian Keith join Kelly in this moving saga of a faith not just believed, but lived.
Romero (1989) The life and work of Archbishop Oscar Romero who opposed, at great personal risk, the tyrannical repression in El Salvador.
A Man for All Seasons (1966) The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage.
(you can check here for a list of fun, family friendly films)