Film thoughts by the late Roger Ebert…

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SISKEL  EBERTAgree with him or frustrated by him, Roger Ebert made a living offering his perspectives on films.  To the uninitiated who see films as mere entertainment, Ebert’s insights and choices of films to review may not have made much sense.  But in a culture shaped in a substantial ways by the entertainment industry, it is perhaps important to understand something of the power of film to impact thinking and behavior.

I seldom saw, read or availed myself of Ebert’s opinions–and when I did seldom agree with what he valued or applauded in the films he reviewed.  However, he had 10 favorite films with Christian themes (although some could hardly be described as ‘Christian films’!).  Many of them I have not seen, and know enough about some of them not to waste my time!  But The Gospel Coalition website offered the following article highlighting what he thought were some of the best.

Be forewarned!  I am not recommending that you watch some of them!  But it is an interesting summary of what his top ten were.

Sadly, many Christian films have been done with low budgets, poor acting and screenwriting, and without much of a literary flair.  But there are some new folks moving into the industry to try to change that and make excellent films worthy of the greatest message, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you were to put together a list of your top ten, what would you include?  Send your list in the “leave a comment” tab below!

6 thoughts on “Film thoughts by the late Roger Ebert…

    Michael March said:
    April 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I could not limit it to 10. So here goes.

    Gold Medal:
    The Passion (as the Pope said, “it is as it was”).

    The Disciples: The Next 12
    1) The Gospel of John (my fave of the Gospel epics, though nobody can beat Chuck Heston
    as JTB in Greatest Story Ever Told)
    2) Luther (surprisingly, a recent Hollywood portrayal of Martin Luther that’s truthful)
    3) Ben Hur (few know the subtitle of Civil War Gen Wallace’s book: “A Story of the
    4) Ten Commandments (yes, I love Charleton Heston)
    5) The Nativity Story (a very nice Christmas tradition to watch).
    6) The Robe (primo Hollywood actors in great story of Christ’s power in the heart of the
    Centurion who crucified Christ. They could do this in 1950’s Hollywood …
    shamefully not in the past 35 years.)
    7) Khartoum (not just b/c I love Chuck Heston; his part, Gen. “Chinese” Gordon, was a
    great Christian of the 19th Century. Excellent movie that doesn’t do justice to
    Gen Gordon’s walk with Christ. His love of Christ prompted him to free
    the Sudan of slavery. Much more of north and west Africa was enslaved by
    Arab Muslims than by the West, and the British army freed much of Africa
    of Arabic slavery. Absent the West, slavery persists, very often against
    Christians, in modern Sudan even today. This movie is a visually-good entry
    into this subject).
    8) Saints and Soldiers (embedded in this Band of Brothers-worthy indie film is a
    vital story of an American soldier and a German Soldier, enemies in
    battle but previously known in mission work. Watch how Christ makes
    them both worthy in a bigger cause).
    9) God and Generals (This wonderful portrayal of Gen Stonewall Jackson portrays
    the heart of a devoted patriot and son of Christ powerfully).
    10) Narnia (you go CS !)
    11) Left Behind (striving-to-be Hollywood budget, but still quality version of Revelation)
    12) A Charlie Brown Christmas
    (a public school recently banned its showing to students b/c
    it was “too religious”; so it must belong on this list!)

    Kids Section:
    The Animated Passion (For the Whole Family)
    Veggie Tales Star of Christmas
    Birth of Jesus: Visual Bible for Kids (Kirk Cameron)-cheesy but on message.

    Sherwood Baptist Church gets their own section for Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous. Some of the acting is primo, some makes one cringe, but all a shiny testimony to the power of Christ. I’m Ohio State and Wake Forest, but Mark Richt makes a nice appearance.

      davidhhorner responded:
      April 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Wow! You’ve got a great memory for movies! Some of the ones you mentioned I had long since forgotten. Thanks Michael!

    dnew061562 said:
    April 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I would choose Les Miserables for its portrayal of the battle between grace and the law. The 1935 version with Charles Laughton and the 1998 version with Liam Neeson are two of my (non-musical) favorites.

      davidhhorner responded:
      April 6, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Hard to see Les Mis without the powerful message of grace hitting home. The scene with the priest giving him the candlesticks he “forgot” to take is priceless! Thanks David!

    Ken McCurdy said:
    April 5, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    1) Soul Surfer (my young girls love this movie!!! even with us fast-forwarding past the shark attack.
    They always finish the verse..through God who strengthens me..because that’s the
    MOST important part of the verse. We love that our girls look up to Bethany Hamilton)
    2) Fireproof (Kendrick brothers)
    3) Courageous (Kendrick brothers again)
    4) Facing the Giants (Kendrick brothers third time with an SEC football coach…BONUS)
    5) Chariots of Fire (an Award winner with a great score)
    6) Saint Nicholas (yes, Veggie Tales)
    7) The Hiding Place (powerful biography during the Holocaust)
    8) The Ten Commandments (I still find myself watching parts of it when it comes on)
    9) The Passion of the Christ (Powerful)
    & 10) A Walk to Remember (Nicholas Sparks movie. While this is NOT a Christian movie, the depiction of the lead character’s Christian faith is one of the best/strongest I’ve seen of a teenager in a SECULAR film. CAUTION: You may want to watch the ‘family-edited version’ which removes about twenty curse words & some crass behavior meant to show the bad boy before he gains redemption.)

      davidhhorner responded:
      April 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Ken, This is great! Thanks for putting this together. Others will benefit greatly!

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