• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films (2006)

    Members of the Arts and Faith Discussion Forum have just announced our third incarnation of their list of the Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films.

    Many thanks to Alan Thomas of Movies Matter for collating nominations, devising and executing the voting procedure, determining final positions, and creating the excellent webpage version of the list, replete with a myriad of images and links.

    Sadly the number of films I've seen on the list drops each year, such that I've only seen 47 of the films thus far. There are a number I have lined up to see, which should at least see me into the fifties, but until I sign up for online DVD rental I'm going to struggle to make much headway.

    There are a number of Bible Films on the list. Surprisingly, The Miracle Maker turned in at number three closely followed by Pasolini's Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo. One of the interesting things about re-doing the list annually is that it churns it over bringing fresh and surprising films to the surface, which then gain a wider audience amongst the group, often resulting in a particular film taking a number of years to stabilise. For example last year's number 1, the excellent Dardenne brothers' film Rosetta has slipped to number 33, which is perhaps a little more realistic. I suspect The Miracle Maker will fare similarly next year. As much as I love it, it didn't really deserve quite such a lofty position, and it is unlikely to achieve it again.

    Other bible films on the list are Jesus of Nazareth (#18), Jesus of Montreal (#19), The Passion of the Christ (#20), Last Temptation of Christ (#63), The Gospel of John (#64) and Peter and Paul (#80). It's noticeable that there are no Old Testament Films (not even The Ten Commandments!), and that Peter and Paul is the only Roman Christian / Later New Testament film, and the lowest placed of all the bible films. That makes a total of 8 Bible films, and strangely there are 3 places where there are two bible films next to each other. The number one film on the list is Carl Dreyer's Ordet (pictured at the top), which is listed in Kinnard and Davis's "Divine Images", but is not really a Jesus film per se.

    It's good to see Peter Weir re-appear on the list as well. He had more films on the 2004 list than practically any other director, but then none of his films made the cut last year. The film I would love to see on the list that hasn't made it is Field of Dreams. I reviewed it last year in a bid to get it on their, but alas, my colleagues don't seem to share my high opinion of it!

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