Movies, Videos & DVDs

Steve & Janet Ray’s Favorite Movies
(Last updated 1/12/09)

Christian Videos/DVDs can be bought from Ignatius Press, others from Amazon.com. We have been using Netflix.com which is a marvelous service for renting DVDs through the mail. Their website also has reviews and much information. Blockbuster now has the same service. Also see my Favorite Links for good sites for finding and reviewing wholesome entertainment.

Steve’s Catholic Family Series: (all on DVD with Bloopers, Behind the Scenes & and Interviews)

Apostolic Fathers: Handing on the Faith New!
David & Solomon: Expanding the Kingdom
Moses: Signs, Sacraments, and Salvation
Mary: Mother of God
Jesus: the Word Became Flesh
Peter: Keeper of the Keys
Paul: Contending for the Faith

These can be purchased on my On-Line Bookstore.

The Ray Family’s Favorite Movies (in no particular order)

For Decent Films.com, click here.
US Bishops’ Movie reviews, click here. (excellent)
For my friend Ed Peter’s list, click here.
Crises Magazine Editorial: 17 Movies not to Miss.


Faith and Family Magazines Top 100 Catholic Movies
  1. Passion of the Christ                          2004    v
  2. Sound of Music                                 1985
  3. A Man for All Seasons                      1966
  4. Song of Bernadette                            1943
  5. It’s a Wonderful Life                          1946
  6. Ten Commandments                          1956
  7. Scarlet and the Black                         1983
  8. Jesus of Nazareth                              1977
  9. Schindler’s List                                  1993    v, n, s
  10. Bell’s of St. Mary’s                           1945
  11. Therese                                             2004
  12. Braveheart                                         1995    v, s
  13. Miracle of our Lady of Fatima            1952
  14. Mission                                             1986    v, n
  15. Lilies of the Field                               1963
  16. Les Miserables                                  1998    n, p
  17. Miracle of Marcelino                         1998    n, p
  18. Quiet Man                                         1952
  19. Ben Hur                                            1959
  20. Rudy                                                 1993    p
  21. Robe                                                 1953
  22. Return to Me                                     2000    p
  23. We Were Soldiers                             2002    v, p
  24. Becket                                              1964    v, p, s
  25. Going My Way                                  1944
  26. Romero                                             1989
  27. Sister Act                                          1992    p, s
  28. Pope John Paul II                              1984
  29. Jonah: Veggie Tales Movie                2002
  30. Shoes of the Fisherman                      1986
  31. Brideshead Revisited                         1981    p, n, s
  32. Keys of the Kingdom                         1944
  33. On the Waterfront                             1954
  34. I Confess                                           1953
  35. Boy’s Town                                      1938
  36. Molokai: Story of Fr. Damien            1999    p
  37. Qua Vadis                                         1951
  38. Trouble with Angels                           1956
  39. Babette’s Feast                                 1987
  40. Rookie                                              2002    s
  41. Reluctant Saint                                   1962
  42. One Man’s Hero                               1999
  43. Brother Sun, Sister Moon                  1972
  44. Exorcist                                             1973    v, p, s
  45. Dead Men Walking                           1995    v,s
  46. Joan of Arc                                       1948
  47. Agony and the Ecstasy                       1965
  48. Passion of Joan of Arc                       1928    n, v
  49. Angels in the Outfield                         1951
  50. Moonstruck                                       1987    p, s
  51. Miracle Maker: Story of Jesus           2000
  52. Henry V                                            1989    p, v
  53. Heaven Knows Mr. Allison                1957
  54. Entertaining Angels: Dorothy Day       1996
  55. Knute Rockne: All American              1940
  56. Greatest Story ever Told                    1965
  57. Singing Nun                                       1966
  58. Marty                                                1955
  59. Monsieur Vincent                              1948
  60. Assisi Underground                           1985
  61. Au Revoir Infants                               1987    p, s
  62. Come to the Stable                            1949
  63. Diary of a Country Priest                   1951
  64. In this House of Brede                       1975
  65. Jeweller’s Shop                                 1988
  66. Miracle of the Bells                            1948
  67. Fighting Sullivans                               1944
  68. Fourth Wisemen                                1985
  69. Juggler of Notre Dame                       1970
  70. Barabbas                                           1962
  71. King of Kings                                    1961
  72. Francis of Assisi                                1961
  73. Adventures of Robin Hood                1937
  74. Decalogue                                         1987    v, s
  75. Gospel according to Saint Matthew    1966
  76. Angels with Dirty Faces                     1938
  77. Fugitive                                             1947
  78. Longest Day                                      1962
  79. Therese                                             1986
  80. Gospel of John                                  2003
  81. A.D.                                                  1985
  82. Faustyna                                            1995
  83. The Son                                            2002
  84. Francesco                                         1989    n
  85. Flowers of St. Francis                       1950
  86. Brother Orchid                                  1940
  87. Demetrius and the Gladiators             1954
  88. Nazarin                                             1958
  89. Silver Chalice                                    1954
  90. When in Rome                                   1952
  91. Not of this World                              1999
  92. Open City                                         1945    v, s
  93. 3 Godfathers                                     1948
  94. Don Bosco                                        1988
  95. Abraham                                           1994
  96. Detective                                           1954
  97. Hoodlum Saint                                   1946
  98. Sign of the Cross                               1932
  99. Wrong Man                                       1956
  100. Padre on Horseback                       1977
USCCB’s Best Movies of 2006
TOP TEN:

Akeelah & the Bee – Irresistible story about a South Los Angeles 11-year-old loner who reluctantly agrees to compete in a national spelling bee – under the tutelage of an emotionally fragile English professor. There are inspiring messages about conquering fears, winning by honest means, the strength of community, and, above all, the beauty and potency of words. A-I

Babel – Quietly powerful film charting three interconnected stories: an American couple stranded in Morocco; the deaf-mute teenage daughter of a widower father in Tokyo who achingly longs for love; and a Mexican governess and her nephew who take her two young charges across the border with disastrous results. Conveys an admirable message about a shared global humanity and the senselessness of violence. L

Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima – It wouldn’t be fair to separate these companion World War II dramas that tell the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the American and Japanese perspectives respectively. “Flags” recounts the story of the iconic flag-raising photograph, while exploring heroism and the power of images to exploit and inspire. “Iwo Jima” illustrates our shared humanity and shows ignorance as a root of international conflict, by focusing on Japanese soldiers on the island as they prepare for the U.S. invasion. A-III

Joyeux Noel – Moving World War I tale of soldiers – Scottish, French and German – who spontaneously agree to a cease-fire on Christmas Eve, intermingle and bond on a human level, to the eventual disdain of superiors. Tells a powerful message about the senselessness of war, A-II

Little Miss Sunshine – Immensely likable film about an Albuquerque, N.M., family who trek to Los Angeles in a creaky van so their daughter can compete in a beauty pageant. A refreshingly offbeat tale that, underneath the zaniness and some troubling elements, comes over as an extremely positive validation of family and genuine values. L

Miss Potter – Beautifully crafted story of “Peter Rabbit” author Beatrix Potter and her bittersweet romance with her awkward young publisher, despite the disapproval of her class-conscious parents in turn-of-the-century England. The kind of quality film that’s all too rare. A-I

The Pursuit of Happyness – Feel-good tale based on the true story of a selfless medical supply salesman who raises his 5-year-old son on his own while pursuing a new career path as a stockbroker while enduring financial struggles, homelessness and other vicissitudes. The protagonist nurtures his son under trying circumstances with admirable decency throughout. A-II

Sophie Scholl – Gripping true-life drama chronicling the final six days of a 21-year-old German college student executed by the Nazis in 1943 for distributing anti-war leaflets at her university, resulting in a quietly powerful testament to bravery while examining themes of freedom of conscience and peaceful resistance to tyranny and imparting a strong anti-war message. A-II

The Painted Veil – Excellent adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham novel set in the 1920s about an English doctor who vengefully takes his adulterous wife to a remote Chinese village during a dangerous cholera epidemic there, and how, over time, they establish an abiding love. The love story, spiritual journey and final redemption of its heroine, are movingly conveyed. A-III

United 93 – Tense, well-acted documentary-style drama about the hijacking of an aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, when passengers fought back, downing the plane in the ensuing melee and preventing destruction of a probable Washington target. A testament to heroism and a vivid cautionary tale, sensitively handled. A-III

Honorable Mention:

Blood Diamond (A-III), Bobby (A-III), Children of Men (L), Death of Mr. Lazarescu (A-III) Fateless (A-III), Little Children (L), Pan’s Labyrinth (A-III), Prairie Home Companion (A-III, Rocky Balboa (A-II), The Queen (A-II), Tsotsi (L), Volver (L), Water (A-III), and We Are Marshall (A-II).

TOP TEN FAMILY:

Aquamarine – Modern-day fairy tale about 13-year-old best friends who help a mermaid washed ashore during a storm find true love in the hopes that the magic wish rewarded them will undo one girl’s impending move to Australia. With a mix of fantasy, comedy and romance, the film scores points for showing that authentic love can express itself in varied ways. A-II)

Cars – Delightful computer-animated movie set in a world of anthropomorphic autos about a cocky hot-rod which, while en route cross-country to compete in a prestigious championship, is unexpectedly detained in a neglected desert town, where his growing friendship with the town’s four-wheeled residents effects a change of heart regarding fame in the fast lane. Imparts a charming message about taking the time to appreciate what really matters in life. A-I

Charlotte’s Web – Charming live-action adaptation of E.B. White’s beloved children’s classic about a runt pig who is saved from slaughter by the love of a young girl, a barnyard of computer- enhanced talking animals, and the fancy web work of a wise spider. Presents simple, timeless themes of friendship and the bittersweet cycle of life. A-I

Eight Below – Winning family-friendly adventure inspired by real events about a team of sled dogs left behind at a remote Antarctic research station who struggle to survive in the inhospitable environment. The film balances action and heart-tugging emotion in telling its captivating tale of friendship and canine courage A-II

Everyone’s Hero – Charming Depression-era animated tale about a young boy who sets out – with the help of a magical talking baseball – to recover the stolen lucky bat of his idol Babe Ruth during the 1932 World Series. Visually delightful fable with heart and a simple but winning message about familial love and perseverance. A-I

Flicka – Warmhearted story set in contemporary Wyoming about a strong-willed teen who, defying her tough but loving dad, determines to tame a spirited wild mustang, ultimately bringing father and daughter closer together. A sentimental message about family bonds, youthful ambition, and the passing of the American West. A-I

Happy Feet – Computer-animated fable set in the Antarctic about a young emperor penguin whose inability to carry a tune and propensity for tap dancing gets him banished by the puritanical elders who blame him for the colony’s dwindling fish supply. Commendable themes of love, family and self-worth. A-II

Lassie – Handsome adaptation of Eric Knight’s novel, “Lassie Come Home,” about a poor Yorkshire mining family in the 1940’s that reluctantly sells its beloved dog to a rich nobleman who takes the dog to Scotland where the collie escapes and attempts the long trek back home. The scenic vistas are breathtaking and the story appealing, making this fine family viewing. A-I

The Nativity Story – Dramatization of the Biblical birth narratives from the Annunciation to the birth of Jesus gets the prestige treatment in an artful, reverent and affecting retelling, focusing on Mary and Joseph’s relationship, illustrating the humanity beneath the halos. A-I

Opal Dream – Gently charming tale set in an Australian opal mining colony about an 8-year-old girl heartsick over the disappearance of her two imaginary friends, the search for whom causes unintended consequences resulting in the locals turning against her father. Celebrates themes of family, community and the value of childlike faith. A-II

Leave a Comment