There’s an old saying, “An uncut diamond is still a diamond.” Roughly translated, it means something can still retain value even if its appearance might suggest otherwise. As a writer who’s spent years traversing the realm of pop culture, I believe this statement can also apply to Christian movies. The world of faith-based media is teeming with uncut diamonds that rarely get admired. Whether it’s because they didn’t star anyone famous, or the films themselves just never caught enough attention, it’s surprising how many great stories of get lost in our culture’s collective rubble.
So, in the spirit of fairness, it’s time these films were given their due. We’ve all heard of movies like God’s Not Dead and Fireproof, but has anyone else missed these five amazing Christian films?
Faith and football go together in movies like peanut butter and jelly. With the Christian market already saturated by films such as The Blind Side, Facing the Giants, and When the Game Stands Tall, it’s easy to see why Woodlawn didn’t get the recognition it deserves. Taking place during the desegregation of Birmingham schools in 1973, Woodlawn chronicles the true events surrounding the Woodlawn high school football team. When a stranger comes to town and speaks with the players amidst a storm of racial tension, his message of forgiveness prompts a spiritual awakening among the players. Under the banner of Christ, the teammates learn to overcome their fear and hatred, and together they lead their community toward victory.
With believers in our culture facing similar challenges today, Woodlawn stands as an important reminder of God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The life of a Christian is messy, and no one knew that better than Rich Mullins. Though he earned a place in history as the author behind such hits as “Awesome God” and “Elijah”, this talented musician carried a heavy burden within his music. Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins is a demonstration of God’s deep and abiding love for His lost children. Audiences are exposed to Mullins’ humble upbringing, his tumultuous relationship with his father, and continued struggle with both faith and alcohol. Though his life was far from perfect, the story of Rich Mullins still resonates with authentic notes of hope and redemption.
Honest and bittersweet, Ragamuffin takes its viewers of a journey with a man who wrestled with God’s grace.
To End All Wars
Some might call To End All Wars the Christian movie Unbroken was supposed to be. Set during the events of WWII, the story follows a group of Allied soldiers who become imprisoned in a Japanese labor camp. Forced to endure brutal treatment at the hands of their captors, two factions begin to grow within the prisoner’s ranks. The first is bent on escape and revenge, while the second seeks to forgive their enemies. To End All Wars is not for the faint of heart, but those who can endure this ruthless tale will discover a haunting message of grace, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
There are few movies that so effectively capture the overwhelming pain and purity of Christ’s message.
Pass the Light
Even when compared to other Christian films, Pass the Light doesn’t appear to be anything special. The plot, which centers on a Christian teen running for mayor, is something you’d expect to find in a family-friendly movie. The acting, though valiant, is sub-par, and the rest of the film traces a rather predictable line toward the inevitable conclusion. Yet, just when viewers think they have the movie pegged, Pass the Light delivers a series of candid, simple reflections on issues ranging from poverty to homosexuality. It’s rare to see any movie tackle these subjects with such grace and poise, let alone a modest Christian film.
Pass the Light dares to tread down paths most believers would avoid, and viewers will be grateful it did so. With a focus on perseverance, grace, and choosing actions over words, this inspiring film will lead Christians to questions they’ve never thought to ask.
The Prince of Egypt
With breathtaking animation, solid voice-acting, and an incredible score produced by none other than Hans Zimmerman, it’s a wonder The Prince of Egypt is so frequently overlooked by Christians. The film chronicles the events of Exodus, beginning with Moses’ adoption into Pharaoh’s house, to God’s call for him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Though the film does take a few liberties with the story, its fidelity to scripture is impressive, especially when viewers consider this movie was made for a younger audience. Thanks to its excellent craftsmanship, The Prince of Egypt serves as a prime example of a Christian movie done right. It’s a film people of all ages can enjoy, and the gospel message remains a strong facet of the story to this day.
What about you? What unknown Christian movies do you believe should make our list?