The Arts and Faith Top 100

Film critics and cinephiles at the Arts and Faith Conversation have revised their list of 100 Spiritually Significant Films, and the picture has changed dramatically.

Michael Leary offers a fantastic commentary on the list over at The Matthews House Project.

How many of the Top 100 have you seen? What inclusions are you most pleased to see there? What’s missing from the list?

I didn’t participate in the voting for this year’s list, partly out of frustration over understanding the definition of a “spiritually significant film.” Many films that I think are spiritually significant do not deal blatantly with religious material. Many are spiritually significant particularly through their aesthetics, rather than their narrative.

Still, the films on this list are indeed profound pieces of work, and while I’m still not sure exactly what the list is, I appreciate a great many of the titles included.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • BethR

    One film I hoped would make the 2005 list (because it also somehow missed the 2004 list!) is Places in the Heart. I suspect people dismiss this movie simply because they recall Sally Field’s Oscar speech, but they should go back and watch the film. There’s so much more to it than her performance (which certainly deserved an award)–not only the actors, but the theme of community. It may not have subtitles, but I’ve come to rank it with Babette’s Feast as a dramatic portrayal of the Body of Christ.

  • Anonymous


    The latter is exactly what I meant. The movie has recently been released on dvd. If you have not seen it yet, give it a chance. I think you will enjoy it. Maybe seeing life through the eyes of the followers of Francis can speak to you in similar ways then the angels from Der Himmel ueber Berlin. I know they did for me…

    By the way…I discovered your site while doing some research on violence in movies and came across your views on Kill Bill. I was instantly intrigued and started reading a lot of the other reviews on the site. I find it always far more interesting to read other points of view then my own. What struck me most was how you tackled with almost brutal honesty from a Christian perspective the movies you reviewed and were able to communicate what you found in such remarkable eloquent words. Respect from a Dutch non-believer!


  • Anonymous

    I have seen twenty seven off this new list, which is disappointing considering on the last list I had seen about half of them.

    A lot of the others though are on my to see list.

    Can’t say that to many of those films have been spiritually significant in my life though. Artistically significant but not spiritually, the closest would be Lord of the Rings, but that is only because the book was spiritually significant to me. The movies I found lacked a lot of what made the book so significant. Hollywood seemed to suck the virtue from it.

    Adam Hildebrandt

  • Chris Durnell

    I ‘ve seen 19, which is a lot more than I’d thought it’d be. I know that a lot of people in my generation (including me) think of Fight Club as being incredibly profound and spiritual although many people do not seem to get it.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet


    I’d love to hear more about your experience, especially concerning what you mean by “the softer caring side of the church.” After all, where the church ceases to be caring, it ceases to be the church and becomes something incongruous. “Softer” … I’m not sure what that means. Christ was uncompromising on issues of God’s love, and could be harsh on that point, just as a parent must be harsh with a child who misbehaves. Likewise, Christians must not wimp out when it comes to representing the truth. But the church, to be the church, must not be hard-hearted, and must be characterized by a spirit of gentleness, meekness, and humility, so if that is what you mean by “soft,” then I’m with you.

  • Anonymous

    I have seen most of them. Which might be surpising for an atheist like me :)

    In religious terms my favorite movie from the list is Francesco, giullare di Dio because it expresses so well the softer caring side of the church that I found most inspiring in my catholic upbringing.