Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Essential films for theologians

I asked Tyler Williams to come up with a list of essential films for theologians. Here's what Tyler says:

Ben asked me to contribute an entry on film to his “Essential Lists for Theologians” series. I was honoured to be asked and have spent some time formulating my list. I submit it with some trepidation, knowing that I have omitted a number of significant religious films—especially older classics that many such lists include (see, for instance, the Faith & Art Top 100 list here).

I have tried to be representative of different film genres and have included some “art house” and foreign films as well as films that are more popular fare. I wasn't too concerned with a film's box office success, though there are some successful films in my list. And, of course, I readily admit to including some of my personal favourites.

That's enough caveats—drumroll please.... My “Top Ten Essential Films for Theologians” (in alphabetical order) are:

  • The Apostle (Robert Duvall, 1997; IMDb).
  • Balthazar (Au hasard Balthazar; Robert Bresson, 1966; IMDb).
  • The Big Kahuna (John Swanbeck, 1999; IMDb).
  • Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982; IMDb).
  • The Decalogue (Dekalog; Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1989; IMDb)
  • Jesus of Montreal (Jésus De Montréal; Denys Arcand, 1989; IMDb).
  • Magnolia (P.T. Anderson, 1999; IMDb).
  • The Mission (Roland Joffé, 1986; IMDb).
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979; IMDb).
  • Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin; Wim Wenders, 1987; IMDb).

    For a more detailed discussion of the films on this list, please see the extended post on my Codex Blogspot; and see also the alternative lists at, Pontifications, Connexions, and The Confessing Reader.

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