Top 50 Religious Films

Here is a list of the top 50 religious films as put together by the Church Times. These are classified as religious films, not necessarily Christian films.

I have seen eighteen of these. Some of my favorites from the list are: The Mission; On the Waterfront; The Apostle; Chariots of Fire; Witness; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; and Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Another favorite that is not on the list is Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth.

What are some of your favorite films on the list? Any favorites missing? Any titles that should be removed? Continue reading for the complete list.

Top 50 List
1 The Mission
2 The Gospel According to St Matthew
3 It’s a Wonderful Life
4 The Last Temptation of Christ
5 On the Waterfront
6 Babette’s Feast
7 Gandhi
8 The Apostle
9 The Passion of the Christ
10 The Crucible
11 A Man for All Seasons
12 Priest
13 Ben Hur
14 Chariots of Fire
15 Jesus of Montreal
16 Witness
17 The Sound of Music
18 Spartacus
19 The Name of the Rose
20 A Christmas Carol
21 The Cross and the Switchblade
22 Signs
23 Field of Dreams
24 The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
25 The Exorcist
26 Afterlife
27 The Greatest Story Ever Told
28 The Prince of Egypt
29 A Matter of Life and Death
30 Intolerance
31 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
32 The Seventh Seal
33 The Ten Commandments
34 Jesus Christ Superstar
35 Wings of Desire
36 Ikiru
37 Whistle Down the Wind
38 Scrooged
39 Au Hasard, Balthazar
40 King of Kings
41 Brother Sun, Sister Moon
42 The Prodigal
43 Samson and Delilah
44 Nazarin
45 The Sacrifice
46 Wise Blood
47 The Robe
48 The Passion of Joan of Arc
49 Into Great Silence
50 The Bishop’s Wife

HT: Between Two Worlds


  1. DAVID says:

    Interesting list. I haven’t seen most of these.

    I especially like movies that are based on books; even so, many movies based on books can be disappointing in that they rarely measure up to the original story that was in book form.

    Anyone have a clue which of these movies were based on books that were written before the movie was made?

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    I count seven that were based on books already written before the movie was made:

    #10 The Crucible (play by Arthur Miller)
    #11 A Man for All Seasons (play by Robert Bolt)
    #19 The Name of the Rose (novel by Umberto Eco)
    #20 A Christmas Carol (novel by Charles Dickens)
    #24 The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (biographical account of missionary Glady Aylward, by Alan Burgess)
    #31 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (novel by C.S. Lewis)
    #47 Wise Blood (novel by Flannery O’Connor)

    Of course, many of them are based on The Book (the Bible), but I don’t think that is what you were asking. 🙂

  3. DAVID says:

    Thanks, Ray.

    I remember reading The Crucible in high school and I’ve also seen the movie. Ditto for LWW. I don’t recall reading (or seeing) any of the others on this book list, though.

  4. michael schirmacher says:

    “The Last Temptation of Christ” was based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ book of the same name. “The Exorcist” was based on a book by William P. Blatty. I highly recommend the Kazantzakis book, the movie not so much. Never read or saw the Exorcist…Michael

  5. lie soei po says:

    Lost and Found 2016 story of Parable of the Lost Son from Luke 15 : 11- 32

  6. filmguy says:

    They left off Quo Vadis, a classic. I recommend Lilies of the Field as well.

  7. Tod Johnson says:

    Ben Hur was a book before it was a movie. It was considered “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.” The book originated the field of Biblical times historic novels. In fact the author of Ben Hur, Lew Wallace, is the only author that has a statue in the U.S. capital building. Each U.S. state can choose two statues to put in the U.S. capital. One statue is of the author of Ben Hur. Unfortunately, not because he is an author, he was also a politician.

  8. Ray Fowler says:

    Tod – Very cool information – thank you for sharing!

  9. Clare Daly says:

    I find this very interesting. My email:

  10. justin says:

    some under the radar christian themed films are John Ford’s (1953) “the sun shines bright.” It’s a remake of his own 1930’s film “judge Priest.” Also Jacques Tourneur’s 1950 film “star in my crown.” both films present what it means to live out a christian life brilliantly and are masterpieces in my opinion. in particular, “the sun shines bright” powerfully shows what a life of grace means; a life quick to forgive and slow to morally judge (unless being a judge is your job as in the film;)
    highly recommended.
    also, quickly, “black narcissus” and “diary of a country priest” are great.
    i co-sign the following as very-good to great:
    #3, 4, 5, 11, 29, 35, 36, 39, 48
    and lastly, wise blood is some kind of sui generis masterpiece. and it’s funny as hell.

Leave a Reply