Movies of Great Spiritual Power

by HardSteelMill | created - 23 Dec 2016 | updated - 23 Dec 2016 | Public

Some of these films are Christian-based. Others simply have a spiritual foundation, and some are not particularly spiritual in their content at all. All have one thing in common, though: they moved me to want to become a better person in some way.

Not everything on this list will appeal to everyone, but hopefully everyone can find something they can appreciate. Some of the films are flawed, but they all have something to offer. Enjoy!

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1. Ben-Hur (1959)

G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History

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: 201,814 | Gross: $74.70M

The definitive biblical epic, spiritually powerful, reverent, moving, and visually astounding, with possibly the best scene in the history of cinema.

2. The Ten Commandments (1956)

G | 220 min | Adventure, Drama

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: 57,664 | Gross: $93.74M

Probably depicts the power of God and His devotion to His people better than any other film.

3. A Man for All Seasons (1966)

G | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of Sir Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarry.

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

Votes: 28,256 | Gross: $28.35M

A movie that really does challenge you to stand up for what you believe in, regardless of the consequences.

4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 180 min | Drama, Fantasy

An elderly amusement park maintenance man, Eddie, is trapped in purgatory and the only way out is to confront five people from his past. Unfortunately, dark secrets from his service in the Philippines begin to haunt him.

Director: Lloyd Kramer | Stars: Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn, Jeff Daniels, Dagmara Dominczyk

Votes: 5,458

You may not matter to yourself, but chances are you probably matter to someone else.

5. Pope John Paul II (2005– )

201 min | Biography, Drama

Following the premature death of his mother, Karol Wojtyla is brought up by his father in the Polish city of Krakow during the first half of the 20th century. An outstanding student with a ... See full summary »

Stars: Christopher Lee, Ben Gazzara, Daniele Pecci, Vittoria Belvedere

Votes: 1,080

"When it seems that the whole world is sinking into an abyss of hate, all I can respond with is an abyss of love."

6. Invictus (2009)

PG-13 | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

74 Metascore

Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng

Votes: 141,010 | Gross: $37.49M

Peace and reconciliation between groups that held each other in contempt. "How do you spend thirty years in a cell and come out ready to forgive the people that put you there?"

7. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,615,461 | Gross: $330.25M

As others have observed, moral clarity is more important than intellectual capacity.

8. A Christmas Carol (1938)

Not Rated | 69 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was in his lifetime as mean and miserly as Scrooge ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin L. Marin | Stars: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn

Votes: 5,497

Any legitimate adaptation will do, but the 1938 version is my favorite. A character who comes out of darkness into light. A classic story, with imagination to spare.

9. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

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: 358,510

Considered one of the most inspirational movies of all time, for good reason. It's impossible to appreciate light without having seen darkness.

10. King of Kings (1961)

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

The temporary physical life of the Biblical Savior, Jesus Christ.

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

Votes: 6,267 | Gross: $14.48M

Very reverent adaptation of the life of Jesus Christ, with interesting perspectives from secondary characters.

11. Courageous (2011)

PG-13 | 129 min | Drama

42 Metascore

When a tragedy strikes close to home, four police officers struggle with their faith and their roles as husbands and fathers; together they make a decision that will change all of their lives.

Director: Alex Kendrick | Stars: Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Kevin Downes, Renee Jewell

Votes: 17,598 | Gross: $34.52M

The best film from Sherwood Pictures. More emotionally honest than most independent Christian films, and deals with the pervasive problem of absent fathers.

12. The Scarlet and the Black (1983 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama, History, War

Vatican efforts, lead by Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, to save Allied P.O.W.s and downed Allied airmen as the Nazis invade Rome.

Director: Jerry London | Stars: Gregory Peck, Christopher Plummer, John Gielgud, Raf Vallone

Votes: 2,349

A truly great film that deserves to be better known. Great performances from Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer, and one of the most powerful endings I've ever seen.

13. Regarding Henry (1991)

PG-13 | 108 min | Drama, Romance

47 Metascore

After being shot, a man loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility, but he has a loving family to support him.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, Michael Haley, Stanley Swerdlow

Votes: 27,328 | Gross: $43.00M

A man becomes a better person through very unlikely means, changing his life and that of his family.

14. Gandhi (1982)

PG | 191 min | Biography, Drama, History

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, Rohini Hattangadi, Roshan Seth

Votes: 207,582 | Gross: $52.77M

A biography of a great man who valued peace even in the face of violence. "Show them that you mean them no harm, but neither are you going to submit to them."

15. Joyeux Noel (2005)

PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, History, Music

70 Metascore

In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other's way of life.

Director: Christian Carion | Stars: Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet, Natalie Dessay

Votes: 25,640 | Gross: $1.05M

The true story of the WWI Christmas truce has captured a lot of imaginations over the years, but never like this. An absolute must for any believer in the power of religion, Christmas, or music.

16. The Sacrifice (1986)

PG | 149 min | Drama

At the dawn of World War III, a man searches for a way to restore peace to the world and finds he must give something in return.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Allan Edwall, Guðrún Gísladóttir

Votes: 20,220 | Gross: $0.30M

The ending will polarize people, but it's part of the point of the story. Regardless, the first half is among the most spiritually powerful pieces of cinema I have ever seen.

17. The Way (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 123 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

64 Metascore

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

Director: Emilio Estevez | Stars: Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Deborah Kara Unger, Yorick van Wageningen

Votes: 27,842 | Gross: $4.43M

The filmmakers said it was their goal to create a film that was "pro-life, pro-people, not anti-anything," and they certainly succeeded.

18. After Life (1998)

118 min | Drama, Fantasy

91 Metascore

After death, people have just one week to choose only a memory to keep for eternity.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda | Stars: Arata Iura, Erika Oda, Susumu Terajima, Takashi Naitô

Votes: 8,793 | Gross: $0.80M

Very imaginative, gentle, and meditative, this film beautifully explores the impact others have on us, as well as what truly matters to us.

19. Ordet (1955)

Not Rated | 126 min | Drama, Fantasy

Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Preben Lerdorff Rye, Hanne Aagesen

Votes: 12,227

Regardless of how spiritual or religious people may say they are, most of them really don't believe in miracles. A very deep exploration of faith.

20. The Island (2006)

PG-13 | 112 min | Drama

Somewhere in Northern Russia in a small Russian Orthodox monastery lives an unusual man whose bizarre conduct confuses his fellow monks, while others who visit the island believe that the man has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future.

Director: Pavel Lungin | Stars: Pyotr Mamonov, Viktor Sukhorukov, Dmitriy Dyuzhev, Yuriy Kuznetsov

Votes: 10,112

Living a life of piety is about constantly working to be better. God gives out grace, but He also expects us to give something in return.

21. Let the Church Say, Amen (2002)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

In Washington D.C., one church becomes the symbol of a local community dedicated to one another.

Director: David Petersen | Stars: Darlene Duncan, JoAnn Perkins

Votes: 56

Very refreshing to see a community of people dedicated to the Lord and to each other, who really do mean what they say.

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