Movies for Reflection

by dchozenwan | created - 03 Apr 2011 | updated - 20 Apr 2011 | Public

recommended viewing for the Lenten Season

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1. Diary of a Country Priest (1951)

Approved | 95 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young priest taking over the parish at Ambricourt tries to fulfill his duties even as he fights a mysterious stomach ailment.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Claude Laydu, Nicole Ladmiral, Jean Riveyre, Adrien Borel

Votes: 7,552

A priest's spiritual struggle as his corporal and spiritual strength weakens.

2. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

R | 127 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
47 Metascore

Depicts the final twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern, Christo Jivkov

Votes: 190,886 | Gross: $370.78M

One of the previous decade's most controversial movies. Violent (and realistic?) depiction of Jesus Christ's final moments.

3. The King of Kings (1927)

Not Rated | 155 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence, Joseph Schildkraut

Votes: 1,544

A lavish MGM production from the silent era. The film stars H.B. Warner as Jesus Christ.

4. King of Kings (1961)

PG-13 | 168 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The temporary physical life of everyone's Savior, Jesus Christ.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, Hurd Hatfield, Ron Randell

Votes: 5,525 | Gross: $14.48M

Remake of the 1927 similarly-titled film.

5. The Ten Commandments (1923)

Passed | 136 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Estelle Taylor, Julia Faye

Votes: 1,507 | Gross: $2.46M

Events in the Exodus interpersed with modern contemporary (1923) depictions of the Ten Commandments.

6. The Ten Commandments (1956)

G | 220 min | Adventure, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson

Votes: 52,824 | Gross: $93.74M

Version of the 1923 film, with the modern contemporary time frame omitted.

7. Ben-Hur (1959)

G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
90 Metascore

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet

Votes: 182,250 | Gross: $74.70M

Famous for the widely-imitated chariot race scene

8. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

Not Rated | 143 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

8.0
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A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned.

Directors: Fred Niblo, Charles Brabin, Christy Cabanne, J.J. Cohn, Rex Ingram | Stars: Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, Betty Bronson

Votes: 6,481 | Gross: $12.45M

Earlier version of the 1959 Charlton Heston starrer.

9. The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966)

Unrated | 174 min | Drama

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Extravagant production of the first part of the book of Genesis. Covers Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood and Abraham and Isaac.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Michael Parks, Ulla Bergryd, Richard Harris, John Huston

Votes: 3,829 | Gross: $34.90M

Chronicles significant events in the Old Testament; from the Creation of Man to Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac.

10. Life of Brian (1979)

R | 94 min | Comedy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
75 Metascore

Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

Director: Terry Jones | Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 302,353 | Gross: $20.05M

Rib-tickling, hilarious attack on religious fanaticism that prevails to this day

11. The Mission (1986)

PG | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, History

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn

Votes: 48,368 | Gross: $17.22M

Jesuit missionaries' struggle for the rights on indigenous people. The scene showing the symbolic absolution of Rodrigo Mendoza's (Robert de Niro) transgressions is a remarkable one to me.

12. A Man for All Seasons (1966)

G | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Leo McKern

Votes: 25,859 | Gross: $28.35M

Sir Thomas More stood by his moral and religious views in view of stringent royal pressure.

13. The Song of Bernadette (1943)

Approved | 156 min | Biography, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Henry King | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Charles Bickford, William Eythe, Vincent Price

Votes: 5,040

14. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.2
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In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

Votes: 31,711 | Gross: $0.02M

15. The Burmese Harp (1956)

Not Rated | 116 min | Drama, Music, War

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk.

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Shôji Yasui, Tatsuya Mihashi, Jun Hamamura

Votes: 4,534

16. The Sign of the Cross (1932)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, History

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Elissa Landi, Charles Laughton

Votes: 1,649

17. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
59 Metascore

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni | Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano

Votes: 489,786 | Gross: $57.60M

18. La Strada (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

Director: Federico Fellini | Stars: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani

Votes: 49,974

19. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)

R | 103 min | Drama, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
85 Metascore

A boy is raised by a Buddhist monk on an isolated floating temple where the years pass like the seasons.

Director: Ki-duk Kim | Stars: Ki-duk Kim, Yeong-su Oh, Jong-ho Kim, Young-min Kim

Votes: 67,645 | Gross: $2.38M

20. The Truman Show (1998)

PG | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
90 Metascore

An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a television show.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich

Votes: 758,929 | Gross: $125.62M

21. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

R | 164 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
80 Metascore

The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Paul Greco

Votes: 43,369 | Gross: $7.63M

22. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan

Votes: 17,224

23. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
82 Metascore

When a girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 309,373 | Gross: $232.91M

24. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

PG-13 | 149 min | Mystery, Thriller

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
46 Metascore

A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Ian McKellen

Votes: 350,454 | Gross: $217.54M

25. Angels & Demons (2009)

PG-13 | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
48 Metascore

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works with a nuclear physicist to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican during one of the significant events within the church.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 236,897 | Gross: $133.38M

26. Dead Man Walking (1995)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
80 Metascore

A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim's families.

Director: Tim Robbins | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry

Votes: 78,296 | Gross: $39.39M

27. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Celeste Holm

Votes: 12,301

28. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 979,689 | Gross: $96.07M

29. The Seventh Seal (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe

Votes: 126,763

30. Wild Strawberries (1957)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand

Votes: 72,114

31. Andrei Rublev (1966)

Not Rated | 205 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolay Grinko, Nikolay Sergeev

Votes: 29,503

32. Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
78 Metascore

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers

Votes: 45,215 | Gross: $58.97M

33. Gandhi (1982)

PG | 191 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
79 Metascore

Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox

Votes: 190,950 | Gross: $52.77M

34. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 318,321 | Gross: $7.27M

35. Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)

Not Rated | 197 min | Drama, History

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh, F.A. Turner

Votes: 11,837 | Gross: $2.18M

36. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
86 Metascore

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 485,855 | Gross: $56.95M

37. There Will Be Blood (2007)

R | 158 min | Drama

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
93 Metascore

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds, Martin Stringer

Votes: 422,129 | Gross: $40.22M

38. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan

Votes: 17,224

39. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
61 Metascore

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Votes: 903,070 | Gross: $136.80M

40. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Crime, Drama

9.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 1,903,920 | Gross: $28.34M