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Old 7th May 2007, 09:04 PM
Brother Brother is offline
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Default Movie Reviews

Hi everyone,

Since most of the movies out there in modern society promote things that are contrary to our faith or darkens the holiness of a person, I think it would be nice to share between us a list of movies Catholics should watch and don’t watch.

What I particularly do with movies that I feel starts keeping me await of the faith is simply stop watching even if the movie is not finish yet. As an example, I could not go to Mass to accept the Body of Christ after watching a movie with too much curse and bad behavior, but this is just me.

I’m going to give a review of movies which, in my opinion, are acceptable to watch or not and why. Feel free to agree or disagree with me on this and also give your particular recommendations and reviews.

Also bear in mind that even films based on true stories or events, necessarily have some fictional material to fit a given screen play so we can learn from them and have a basic knowledge of the events but it is mainly entertainment.

I begin the reviews with films based on the life of Jesus:

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Starring: Robert Powell, Anne Bancroft Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Epic, powerful film on the Life of Jesus, faithful to the Gospel, except that the Sermon at the Mount was shown as it were different sermons on different places but, other than that, it is still one of the best films based on the life of Jesus I have seen so far. This one goes even before the start of the Gospels until His resurrection.

Talking about production terms, it was well done.

I would Highly Recommend it.

The Jesus Film (1979)
Starring: Brian Deacon, Rivka Neuman Director: John Krish, Peter Sykes

This film was production wise cheaper than Jesus of Nazareth; however, it contains materials that are truthful to the Gospels, I think even closer than the previous mentioned film. For a person who wants to know who Jesus was, this movie it the one.

I would highly recommend it.

The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Starring: James Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern Director: Mel Gibson

This is perhaps the most accurate movie made about our Lord’s Passion (as it title says) so far. Inspired by the writings of the revelations given to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich on this subject.

Well directed and produced as well.

This film is a good company to the two previous films mentioned above.

Highly recommended.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Starring: Max von Sydow, Michael Anderson Jr. Director: Jean Negulesco

Another well done movie, faithful to the Gospels even though I found the fate of Judas portrayed in a different manner here, I may think it is just a matter of a different interpretation which doesn’t lead the audience await of the faith though. Inspiring and moving as well.

Highly recommended.

The Gospel of John (2003)
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Henry Ian Cusick

This movie supposedly follows the entire Gospel of John step by step; however, I found in it some ideas that do not go with the true sense of the Gospel and in some way even heretical.

It gives the impression to the audience that Jesus had blood brothers by not specifying that in the original Hebrew, the word brother have other meanings such as a close relative such as a cousin or brother in the faith only.

It shows Mary Magdalene present inside the room where Jesus was having His Last Supper with the Apostles when the Gospel say that He was with the 12 Apostles as a private moment between them only, not anybody else {Matthew 26:20} and {Mark 14:17}.

It shows Mary Magdalene going along with Jesus and the 12 Apostles to different places were they are alone; giving the impression that Magdalene perhaps was something more than a disciple of Jesus. This following of Mary Magdalene even when Jesus is supposed to be alone with the twelve is not documented in the Gospels.

This movie may seem harmless and good to a person who doesn’t know well about the life of Jesus and wants to know about the Lord; however, I think that this movie may be misguiding.

For these reasons, I would not recommend this movie.

The Nativity Story (2006)
Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac Director: Catherine Hardwicke.

This movie presented our Mother Mary’s Magnificat; however, it deliberately took away this verse:

{1:48} For he has looked with favor on the humility of his handmaid. For behold, from this time, all generations shall call me blessed.

Which is a very important one and for that reason alone this movie should not be recommended. Heed the words of St. John in Revelations to those who take away or add words to the Scripture. If the producers did not want to share with the world that specific verse from the Magnificat, I think they should not have shown it at all.

This movie also presented Mary as any regular sort of rebel woman who did not want to marry Joseph at the begining, with average parents, nothing of holiness are showed to them, and this has nothing to do with the real story. If you want to get a better story of the Nativity, better watch the beginning of Jesus of Nazareth which is, at least, more truthful to the events.

This movie was pre screened at the Vatican, but the Pope was not present, I suppose most of the priest who were present at this event, didn’t see this movie previously.

Not recommended.

More reviews on another opportunity…
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Old 8th May 2007, 12:01 AM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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I saw "The Gospel of John" on a whim. I agree with your review of it, but it didnt bother me in anyway. Basically I enjoyed the concept of it taking the Gospel word for word and framing a movie around that. Plus I love the acting of Henry Ian Cusick. I enjoyed it.

I wouldnt recommend it to a scrupulous Catholic or a tender conscienced Catholic or maybe a more ignorant Catholic. Still I think the movie can do good cause its almost like having the Bible read to you out loud.
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Old 8th May 2007, 01:48 AM
js1975 js1975 is offline
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Location: West Chester, PA
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Not sure if anyone saw this movie or not:

Barabbas (1962)
Director:Richard Fleischer

The movie is completely fictional, but it is an interesting movie. For me, it was like seeing the behind the scenes of the growth of Catholicism during the first 40-50 years. I am not sure what Catholic teaching are or what was documented on Barabbas. In the movie, which again was fictional, Barabbas was haunted as to why Jesus died instead of him and it slowly led him to convert to Christianity and die a martyrs death along side St. Peter. Interesting movie to meditate on and consider what the early persecutions may have been like.

I recommend it, but after most of the movies already posted.
2cor 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, most beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.
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Old 8th May 2007, 01:05 PM
Brother Brother is offline
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Thumbs up

Thank you my brothers for sharing your reviews, this is what this topic is all about.

I haven't seen Barabbas yet, but I'll be looking for it now.

More reviews later...
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Old 8th May 2007, 07:11 PM
Brother Brother is offline
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Francis of Assisi (1961)
Starring: Bradford Dillman, Dolores Hart Director: Michael Curtiz.

Excellent movie for conversion, inspirational to leave everything of this world for our Lord. It shows how anyone with great faith in God, even during difficult times (it was a difficult time for our Church during the period of the Crusades) can make a difference with the little things we can offer. Great performances by Bradford Dillman as St. Francis and Dolores Hart (who, by the way, became a nun in real life after making this movie) as St. Claire.

Highly Recommended.

A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Starring: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller Director: Fred Zinnemann.

It tells the story of St. Thomas Moore and show us how we are servants of our leaders and that we should respect them for that since all authority in the world is because God has allowed it, but more important, that we are servants of our Lord first and foremost. Great cast, very good performance by Paul Scofield as Moore. Winner of Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor. In this movie also appears Orson Wells as Cardinal Wosley.

Recommended too.

Therese (2003)
Starring: Lindsay Younce

Beautiful and inspirational movie of how we can be great doing little things. I particularly didn't know too much or in detail of the personal life of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (I'm learning now thanks to Padraig ); however, if you are interested in knowing a little bit about her life, this movie is for you, it will teach you to grow spiritually and you can learn.


Mother Teresa (2003)
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Sebastiano Somma Director: Fabrizio Costa.

Olivia Hussey gave a great performance in 1977 portraying the Mother of God, Mary in “Jesus of Nazareth”; now she repeats the sense of that roll portraying the life of Mother Theresa. It gives us a great example and realization of how Jesus is present in the poorest of the poor and how we can do something about it no matter the location and opposition. Many lessons of life can be learned by watching this film.

Highly Recommended.

Pope John Paul II (2007)
Starring: Jon Voight; Cary Elwes; Ben Gazzara; Christopher Lee and James Cromwell Director: John Kent Harrison.

Very informative movie regarding the life of the late Pope John Paul II, it shows his personal struggles and of his country, Poland, because of the Nazi occupation as a young man and how destiny, or better yet, Divine Providence had in store for him. A man of great devotion and responsibility which can be described by looking at his eyes, he was sincere. John Voight gives a pretty good performance as the Pope.

I think the director of this movie could have done a better work with this movie since it had very good source of information, script and cast but, to me, he didn’t pull it off. Despite this, I still recommend it.

More reviews on another occasion…

Last edited by Brother : 8th May 2007 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 13th May 2007, 07:46 PM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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Are we just reviewing Catholic movies or any?
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Old 14th May 2007, 12:47 AM
Brother Brother is offline
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Hi Climacus,

I think any movie can be reviewed and said why itís recommended for us Catholics and why not.

Here are more reviews:

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Michael Sheen Directed by: Ridley Scott.

This is the story of a knight who fights for his peopleís rights and Catholic Christian beliefs in Jerusalem during the time of the crusades.

Recommended (it has violence, watch out minors).

Gladiator (2000)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix Director: Ridley Scott.

This is the story of a man who became a Gladiator after being a powerful Roman general. The question is, does his destiny shall depend on his fighting skills or more that?

Recommended. (it has strong violence, watch out minors).

Ben-Hur (1959)
Starring: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins Director: William Wyler.

Epic motion picture for all ages and generations. Judah Ben Hur, a Jewish wealthy man, is happy to meet his old ďfriendĒ Melassa, a Roman commander, after many years but their different beliefs separate them; still, would a brick which falls from Ben Hurís house be the reason of the unfolding of a series of events which shall take these two men own destiny? Find out by watching this film. Winner of many Oscars including best actor and picture.

Highly Recommended.

Braveheart (1995)
Starring: Mel Gibson, James Robinson Director: Mel Gibson.

Scotland has been fighting for its freedom for a long time until one of this countryís own is born, grown until becoming a Braveheart. A directorial debut for Mel Gibson which earned him Oscars, among them, best director.

Recommended (it has strong violence, watch out minors).

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Starring: Jon Heder, Jon Gries Director: Jared Hess.

Nice comedy, which tell us not to underestimate anybody because the person who we least expect can do great things.


The following is my personal list of forbidden movies, (not only non-recommended, but totally forbidden) because it has a blasphemous word next to the word Jesus, Christ or God which, to me, crosses the line and for that alone should not be watched by any Christian no matter how good the movie plot is.

Pulp Fiction. Forbidden.

Crank. Forbidden.

The Departed. Forbidden.

PS: There may be more of this type of movies with that blasphemous expression, but thank God I havenít seen them.

More reviews another day.
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Old 14th May 2007, 02:21 AM
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Here is a list I put together last year:

Note: "The Third Miracle" would be on your forbidden list Brother, and it almost kept it off my list of picks, but I felt the movie's positive points overcame it. I do wish they would have not used the profanity of God's name.

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Old 14th May 2007, 03:08 PM
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Thumbs up

I have to highly recommend "the Gospel of John", but I guess for grounded Catholics. It's a great movie, the actor is outstanding, and it is word-for-word according to the gospel of John.
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Old 14th May 2007, 11:25 PM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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Default The New World

The New World

Directed by Terrence Mallick. Starring Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, and Christian Bale.

This movie is my self proclaimed greatest ever. It is the coming of age story of Pocahantas back in Jamestown in the 17th century. The cinematogrophy is some of the most gorgeous I have ever seen. It is a slow movie with little plot, but the poetry and meditations and scenery more than make up for it. The soundtrack is excellant. It is a part romance, part adventure, part a haunting meditation on the mystery of life. Purity, love, savages verse cultured world. I couldnt ask for more.

Highly recommened.
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