Friday, March 30, 2018

Nine Movies For Holy Week

Last year, I was asked to compile a list of movies for each day of Holy Week for a friend of mine. I told him I could do that, but none would be a movie straight from the Bible, as I tend to not find those very inspirational nor are they done well, especially the more modern productions. He agreed, and the list below is what I came up with. I re-watched them all, too, and thought this year to share with everyone else. Personally, I think it is a good list, though many other movies can be added. I replaced one movie from last year's list, because I told him that every Holy Saturday, before the midnight service, I had a tradition of going to the movies at the theater, to make sure I kept awake, so I added a movie that can only be seen in the theaters this year, which I think is the best of the bunch of faith-based films. Not wanting to only have older films on the list, I also added a few newer ones. I tend to not like the newer faith-based films, but the other one I chose is my second favorite one of the newer ones. Most of the others are classics that most have seen, but should be re-watched in the context of Holy Week, if you watch any movies during Holy Week. Most of these can be found somewhere online or streaming or On Demand. Enjoy!

Lazarus Saturday

The Egyptian (1954) - On Lazarus Saturday, I thought it good to enter Old Testament times for an inspirational story. It takes place in ancient Egypt, where a poor orphan becomes a genial physician and is eventually appointed at the Pharaoh's court where he witnesses palace intrigues and learns dangerous royal secrets. Wait till the end and see how it anticipates the coming of Christ.

See movie here.

Palm Sunday

The Fourth Wise Man (1985) - The story is an addition and expansion of the account of the Biblical Magi, recounted in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. It tells about a "fourth" wise man (accepting the tradition that the Magi numbered three), a priest of the Magi named Artaban, one of the Medes from Persia. Like the other Magi, he sees signs in the heavens proclaiming that a King had been born among the Jews. Like them, he sets out to see the newborn ruler, carrying treasures to give as gifts to the child. Unlike the Magi, he loses one opportunity after another in meeting the newborn King, being diverted for 33 years. It is the story of a journey to find Christ and make an offering to Him of ourselves, just like Holy Week.

See movie here.

Holy Monday

Ben-Hur (1959) - Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption amid the backdrop of the Passion of Christ. (Warning: Avoid the newest version. Stick to the 1959 version.)

See trailer here.

Holy Tuesday

The Robe (1953) – A Roman official named Demetrius who was present at Christ’s crucifixion wins Jesus’ garment as the soldiers cast lots for it. He becomes tormented at the memory of the man and his death on the cross. He eventually goes on a quest to relieve his torment but finds he can only find peace in the gospel of Jesus.

See trailer here.

Holy Wednesday

Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) - In this sequel to The Robe, the corrupt emperor Caligula believes that the sacred robe of Christ has magical powers, and will stop at nothing to obtain it. When Demetrius refuses to help Caligula find the holy object, Caligula has him arrested and forces him to fight in the arena in battles to the death. As Demetrius faces trial after trial, his faith in Christ is pushed to its limits, as he sees no point in the endless suffering he is forced to endure. In the middle Holy Week, such a film can inspire us to push on through to the end.

See trailer here.

Holy Thursday

The Silver Chalice (1954) - A Greek slave, Basil, trained as an artisan, is on the path to a better life when his owners discover his talent for sculpting. After marrying the lovely Deborra, Basil receives an important opportunity when he is asked to cast and engrave Jesus Christ's cup from the Last Supper in silver. Meanwhile, his path crosses with that of the scheming magician Simon and his sultry assistant, Helena (Virginia Mayo), which leads to trouble.

See trailer here.

Good Friday

Miracles from Heaven (2016) - This film is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. Anna Beam lives with a rare, incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food. Despite the dire diagnosis, devoted mom Christy relentlessly searches for a way to save her beloved daughter. Everything changes in an instant when Anna tells an amazing story of a visit to heaven after surviving a headlong tumble into a tree. Her family and doctors become even more baffled when the young girl begins to show signs of recovering from her fatal condition.

See trailer here.

Holy Saturday

I Can Only Imagine (2018) - Based on the incredible true-life story that inspired the beloved, chart-topping song, I Can Only Imagine as a song that brings ultimate hope to so many - often in the midst of life's most challenging moments. The song was written in mere minutes by MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard. In reality, those lyrics took a lifetime to craft. It is a modern classic redemption story, whether you like Christian music or not (I lean towards the not, but still loved the movie.).

See trailer here.

Easter Sunday

Cast Away (2000) - I know what you're thinking, but trust me, if you see this movie in light of the Death, Descent into Hades, and Resurrection of Christ, the payoff will be something special. If you haven't seen it already, it is about a FedEx executive who must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island. Everyone else thinks he is dead, but he is very much alive.

See trailer here.