Holy Movies

Holy Movies

Books are not the only way to experience the lives of the saints! Movies can be a great way to increase our devotion.

These are generally safe, approved movies, although some may have caveats. Read the description carefully before watching.

The movies listed below are recommended in rough order of highest on the list being the best or most recommended movies.


Passion of the Christ

This isn’t quite a movie, it’s more of a devotion. Don’t watch this for entertainment, watch this prayerfully and with humility, and you will grow in love for God. Some parts could be skipped over safely without harm to devotion, such as the final Judas scene and the demonic scenes and jump-scares. In general, not appropriate for anyone younger than teenagers.


A Man For All Seasons

Amazing movie about St. Thomas More that does justice to his life, principles, integrity, understanding of conscience, of law, and of religion. Takes good portions of its dialogue straight from official sources, and takes very few liberties, but ones that seem very true to his spirit. Generally family friendly, although some of the ending parts may be too emotional for younger viewers.


Bernadette

Excellent and very faithful retelling of the story of St. Bernadette’s vision of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes. Much more faithful to the original stories than the earlier movie “Song of Bernadette”. Shows her persecutions very well, and is generally very family friendly.


Ignatius of Loyola

Intense movie that captures the life and spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola perfectly. Based very closely on his autobiography and other reliable sources, this film takes very few liberties, and much of the events and dialogue are verbatim. The few scenes where the filmmakers had no choice but to guess are very well chosen, and fit the overall spirit of this saint extremely accurately. Overall extremely inspiring and powerful movie. But not appropriate for young children! Deals with mature themes such as prostitution, suicide, and had two gory scenes involving his leg.


Reluctant Saint: The Story of St. Joseph Cupertino

Very excellent and very family friendly film about St. Joseph of Cupertino, which features his devotion to the Blessed Virgin and his miraculous levitations. The movie doesn’t explain very well that he was often lost in deep contemplation, causing people to think he was unintelligent. It also doesn’t explain that he preferred being in the stables because he felt himself unworthy to lived among the friars and more suited to the animals. This movie portrays his mother as a very evil woman, which doesn’t appear to actually be true. The funny way he passes the priesthood examination is generally true, although with a different verse.


Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception

Very inspiring and interesting movie about this saint. Very theological throughout. Has a love story intertwined which emphasizes the importance of discernment of vocation. Excellent score, really really great music throughout. It also goes through a history of how he went from idiot to scholar.

One scene has bits of reenacted passion of the Christ interspersed, which starts off with the scourging. This scene is low-quality and not very scary for older viewers, but comes out of nowhere and can be startling for all, and confusing/scary for younger viewers. It starts when Scotus’s student William is discussing with him his confusion about the day’s lessons.

“Got the best theme song in the world” - Samantha

“He must be removed from this university” - David quoting the movie

“A wonderful movie, about a prophesying, levitating friar. In the 14th century. He didn’t sign the papers.” - Daniel


Don Bosco: The True Story of the Apostle of Youth

A very well made movie that tells the basic story of St. Don Bosco and his compassion for the abandoned youth of Turin, Italy. Shows his courage and virtues, some of his persecutions, some miracles of God’s Divine Providence, and mentions his dreams. Overall very well done. Very family friendly, but with some rough language near the middle, and some splashing in a river that goes on too long.


Miracle of Saint Therese (1959)

Good and wholesome family film about the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux. The film admits in the beginning that it has to take certain liberties to get the same point across on screen as the book makes, but that you ought to read the Story of a Soul for the pure facts. Either way, it does a great job at showing the spirit of this great Saint and Doctor of the Church. Nothing questionable in this film, although there is a storm scene near the end that could be too much for very young viewers, and the death of her mother near the beginning can be a bit much too, though it is dealt with quickly and reverently.


Restless Heart: The Confessions of St. Augustine

It’s nearly impossible to do St. Augustine’s Confessions justice in movie form, but this movie does a surprisingly good job of capturing the thought and heart of this saint, in a basic biographical form. Touches on his sinful life, his philosophy, search for truth, gradual conversion, and life as a Bishop, fighting heresies and helping his flock through raids. Shows St. Monica and St. Ambrose, who offers a very powerful performance. Not very family friendly due to much highly emotional content and some violence. Several scenes near the beginning are too sensual and not appropriate for all.


Passion of Bernadette

Interesting film about St. Bernadetter after she becomes a nun, all the way until her death. Seems to be accurate based on what we have learned about her. There is a graphic scene near the end that shows her treating a woman with breast cancer. Other mature themes make this movie inappropriate for viewers younger than teenagers.


Padre Pio: Between Heaven and Earth

Interesting movie about St. Padre Pio. Seems to be accurate, from what we can find in our books and online about this saint. A few scenes might be inappropriate for children younger than teenagers. Padre Pio exorcizes a possessed woman. Shortly afterwards, he’s physically attacked by invisible demons. Later, a man admits to a plot to commit murder.


John XXIII: Pope of Peace

Caveat: I have absolutely no idea how accurate any of this movie is, and if it’s mostly fiction, or rewritten history, then that would be bad at worst, or useless at best.

Very good movie about St. John XXIII, which shows his kind heart, his humility, and his sense of humor. Explains the context of his papacy very well. Overall good, and family friendly.


Paul VI: Pope in the Tempest

Caveat: I have absolutely no idea how accurate any of this movie is, and if it’s mostly fiction, or rewritten history, then that would be bad at worst, or useless at best.

Good movie that shows the life of Pope Paul VI. Generally good, but not suitable for children. Also, only available in Italian, but has English subtitles.


Pope John Paul II

Caveat: I have absolutely no idea how accurate any of this movie is, and if it’s mostly fiction, or rewritten history, then that would be bad at worst, or useless at best.

The first half of this movie with young Karol is excellent. Touches on the important parts of his early life and character, leading up to his election as Pope John Paul II. Shows the persecutions he went through by the Nazis and Communists in Poland. Not family friendly though! Has some serious violence including some cold-blooded murders.

The second part is also generally great. However, there is one scene in which John Paul II’s childhood friend tells a story of how young Karol said that it doesn’t matter whether a person is Jewish or Catholic, a conversation may not have actually happened, and could lead to serious indifferentism in impressionable viewers.


Saint John Baptist de la Salle: Patron Saint of Teachers

Excellent movie about this saint, but I cannot yet attest to the accuracy of it, since I know very little about his actual life. However, the movie was inspiring and enjoyable, and I hope to find that it is very accurate, too. It’s very family friendly, except for one scene with a few men hanging from trees as the saint is traveling on a road near the end of the movie.


The Gospel of John

Very well made movie that is literally the gospel of John (Good News Bible translation) narrated, with actors saying their parts, and narration interposed between.

It seems to be a Protestant movie which strays from Christian tradition in a few ways, such as not connecting St. Mary Magdalene with the woman caught in adultery in chapter 8, and makes the Blessed Virgin out to be like 65 when she’d actually be around 44. But most of the movie is very realistic and takes good guesses as to how to portray it.

The first half is the safest in terms of general accuracy and ability to inspire. The music is great. The acting is generally good.

It’s overall good for inspiring devotion if watched prayerfully. Most of it is very family friendly, but around the Crucifixion it obviously is not.


Saints and Heroes Collection

This collection of kids movies are actually very faithful to the events and the spirit of each saint, except for the 1980s-style banter and jokes that necessarily had to find their way into each episode.