There have been many great Christian movies made since the beginning of motion pictures on film, around 1896. Since 2000, the creation of Christian movies has increased. Many movies carrying a faith-based plotline have been released in the last two decades, and some of them stand out as great Christian movies.
Christy: Return to Cutter Gap (or Christy: The Movie) was based on the novel by Catherine Marshall. The film chronicles a young woman’s return to a mountain community and the troubles through which she lived there with grace and faith.
Left Behind: The Movie is another that was based on a book, which was written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Starring Kirk Cameron, this film imagines what the world might be like after the rapture of the church, at the beginning of the tribulation period described in the Biblical book of Revelation.
Christmas Child (or The Christmas Child: A Story of Coming Home) is based on a story by Max Lucado and stars Steven Curtis Chapman as the pastor of a church who aids a journalist in discovering his family – and his faith.
Luther is a biographical film, though not completely accurate historically, based on the life of Martin Luther. Covering a large portion of Luther’s life, the movie touches on indulgences, the Diet of Worms, and the translation of the Bible into German, among other things.
The Passion of the Christ directed by Mel Gibson was surrounded by much controversy. Portraying the last days of Christ including the Garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, the film draws from the Bible as well as historical works. A variety of scenes are not in the accounts in the Gospels, but were meant to be symbolic.
Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) is based on the December 1914 Christmas truce between the warring French, British, and German soldiers during World War I. While the account is fiction, the truce actually happened.
Facing the Giants by the Kendrick brothers, starring Alex Kendrick, follows a sports team that has a losing streak and the coach that taught them that God’s guidance was the most important thing. It shows how the coach came through some difficult struggles, both with the team and his personal life, through his faith in God.
Faith Like Potatoes is based on the book of the same name by Angus Buchan. During a severe drought, the farmers are advised to refrain from planting, in order to preserve their seed rather than waste it. One farmer, believing God is leading him, chooses to plant potatoes, despite the massive risk of loss. When harvest comes, his faith is rewarded.
One Night with the King is a dramatization of the Biblical story of Esther, based on Hadassah: One Night with the King, a novel by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen. It mostly follows the Biblical account, with only minor additions (such as other people in the palace; such people certainly existed, though they are not mentioned in the Biblical story).
Saving Sarah Cain was based on the novel The Redemption of Sarah Cain. After the death of both parents of five Amish children, Sarah (who is not Amish) is called to take care of the children. After exploiting them for her newspaper career, Sarah is brought to realize the children need her, not fame, and she changes things – including where she lives.
Fireproof is another film brought to us by the Kendrick brothers and starring Kirk Cameron, who plays a firefighter whose marriage is falling apart. His journey to rekindle the love between himself and his wife has been an inspiration to many to strengthen their own marriages.
The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith is a dramatization of the Biblical book of Ruth, which follows Ruth as she leaves her homeland with her mother-in-law after the death of her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law, and her discovery of love and God.
The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry is about an elderly gentleman and the young teens that he mentors with Bible study and service for others. After Sperry’s death, something of his background is revealed, showing the depth of his forgiveness. The boys go on to follow the Biblical principles they were introduced to by Sperry.
Letters to God was based on a true story, in which a young boy was diagnosed with cancer and begins sending letters to Jesus, because he loves to write. The movie shows the impact of those letters on those who receive them, at the post office, as well as the impact of young Tyler through his life and faith.
No Greater Love is an amazing story of loss and reconciliation, touching on depression, hope, and faith. When Heather, who left her husband and son due to deep depression, reappears in their lives unexpectedly, Jeff begins a time of discovery, culminating in rebuilding a relationship important to him.
Courageous features four men whose lives have challenges – as we all do – and how reality sets in after a tragedy and the resulting life changes that the four implement after beginning Bible studies, and the Resolution that they agree to follow to help ensure they do right in all areas of life. The changes have good results as the men become a Godly influence both to their families and others around them.
Soul Surfer is based on a true story, about a young girl who lost an arm to a shark but continued to press on. She learned she was able to help others more after her accident and not only lived after her injury, but thrived.
The Grace Card begins after Mac’s son dies in an accident, leaving him angry and bitter. His career as a police officer was negatively affected by his rage, and his relationship with his new partner who was a part-time pastor was strained. Their struggle to learn to join forces encompasses a variety of difficulties and differences, and their attempts to overcome them.
October Baby is a story about a young woman who survived an attempt to abort her, and was inspired by Gianna Jessen’s true life experience. Hannah’s experiences after discovering she was adopted instead of aborted, meeting a nurse who worked at the hospital, and her meeting with her biological mother are emotionally charged, but her discovery of faith results in forgiveness.
Grace Unplugged follows a teen who loves to sing, but not just the church songs her father prefers. She heads to Hollywood to forge her own way. She eventually meets a young Christian man who helps her to find her way back home.
Home Run addresses alcohol addiction and its results, as well as the hope that rehabilitation can bring. This movie is the story of a pro baseball player who caused injury due to his use of alcohol and his life as he overcomes the addiction and moves on into faith and hope.
A Matter of Faith deals with the opposition faith faces in public educational institutions of higher learning, and the debate between secular beliefs and religious beliefs. The young college student, Rachel, is in the middle of the controversy, and a literal debate is held between her father and her professor.
God’s Not Dead is another movie in which a debate occurs between science and religion, with the evidence displayed by both sides examined and the conclusions reached are not surprising, and the background experiences of the secular professor (played by Kevin Sorbo) which play into his opinion is something that may resonate with some viewers. Themes of creation, evolution, and God’s existence thread through the film.
Heaven is For Real chronicles the story of a four-year-old’s near-death experiences in which he visited Heaven and saw relatives who died before he was born and that he did not know about prior, as well as Jesus Himself. The film is based on events that happened to real-life Colton Burpo.
War Room is an excellent exemplification of the power of prayer. The Jordan family looks successful from the outside, but behind the scenes, there is trouble in paradise. A strained marriage and less than pleasant relationship between father and daughter are turned around after Elizabeth learns Miss Clara’s secret of her “war room” prayer closet and begins to make use of her own.
Woodlawn is about a football team in Birmingham, Alabama, and the racial tensions that exist between the players. After the coach’s friend speaks to the players about how his faith changed his life, they begin to follow Christ themselves, with a profound change that affects the entire community.
Hacksaw Ridge follows the only conscientious objector to ever receive a Medal of Honor. Having grown up as a Seventh-day Adventist who strongly believed “thou shalt not kill” applies universally, Desmond Doss joined the Army with the intention to become a medic. Though he refused to carry a weapon, Doss was sent to the war where he rescued wounded soldiers by the dozens, finally escaping himself in the morning.