It is finished: Happy Easter with religious movies

WordPress offers several awesome features for it’s users.  My favorite is “Site Stats” where you can see how many views you got that day, where they are coming from, links clicked and keywords searched that brought people to my blog.

Today when I looked at the site stats and keyword searches, I just shook my head.  One of the searches was “Is Easter biblical?” Why yes, yes it is. It’s the most important holiday in the Christian faith. Here are some of my favorite religious movies (as promised yesterday) that show this.

Barbara Stanwyck and David Manners in “Miracle Woman”

The Miracle Woman (1931): Barbara Stanwyck is the daughter of a minister whose fatal heart attack is caused by his ungrateful congregation.  Stanwyck loses her faith and takes up with a con man who hires her to heal the blind and crippled in his evangelical road shows.  A blind man (played by attractive David Manners) is about to commit suicide but stops when he hears The Miracle Woman on the radio.  Manners seeks her out and they fall in love, helping each other to restore their faith in God and humanity. This is actually one of my favorite Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Capra movies.  It has a really good story and several intense moments.

•One Foot in Heaven (1941): This movie takes place in America during the turn of the century until the 1940s. It isn’t set in Biblical times, but it shows the sacrifices a minister and his family makes for their parish and faith. From having to put up with roofs with 16 leaks, hand me downs from the women in the church and rumors about your children, Fredric March’s character and his wife Martha Scott never yield to the temptation of giving up the parish. “One Foot in Heaven” is a really heartwarming story and is actually one of my favorites. March’s character is human and does feel downtrodden by a greedy congregation, but he never completely loses sight of what is important.

The Song of Bernadette (1943): This movie isn’t based in Biblical times, but has to do with the sacrifices a French peasant girl sees a vision of the Virgin Mary. Officials think she is crazy, she gains followers in the town and the church denounces her. However, Bernadette (played by the beautiful Jennifer Jones) overcomes it all and becomes a nun. This isn’t directly related to Easter but is inspiring none the less.  Miss Jones won her Oscar for this movie and she did a wonderful job.

Ben-Hur, his mother and sister watch as Jesus carries the cross.

Ben-Hur (1959): This is an all around beautiful movie. Not just because of the elaborate sets, outstanding Technicolor and Charlton Heston’s good looks, but because of the over all message. The movie mainly focuses on the journey that begins when Juda Ben-Hur has the misfortune of being wrongly accused for murder. However,  Jesus has a large role in Ben-Hur’s journey. Jesus gives Ben-Hur water while he is on a chain with other prisoners and dying of thirst.  Later Ben-Hur has gained his high status again and sees Jesus being sentenced by Pontius Pilate. He watched as Jesus carries the cross and when Jesus stumbles, Ben-Hur tries to help him (which of course gets him in a bit of trouble). After Jesus dyes, there is a terrible storm (which symbolizes God’s anger). Ben-Hur’s mother and sister who were lepers, have their skin washed clean. The film is very moving and I don’t really see how either “Titanic” or “The Lord of the Rings” measures up Oscar wise (they both seem a bit frivolous in comparison).

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4 thoughts on “It is finished: Happy Easter with religious movies

  1. Great list! I really want to see some of these now. The only ones I’ve seen are Ben Hur and The Song of Bernadette (a long time ago).


    • It’s actually been awhile for me as well since seeing all of these movies.

      “One Foot in Heaven” and “Miracle Woman” are both reaaaally good though. I highly suggest them 🙂 I just looked it up on TCM and it doesn’t look like they are showing either one very soon, but hopefully you can catch it soon!


  2. Boy, I’m really late with this one, but I’m just getting to know your site — I love those movies. The Song of Bernadette is just a beautiful film, and quite true to life — transcripts of the actual interviews of Bernadette and townspeople were the inspiration for the book on which the movie is based. Don’t worry about religious movies having anything to do with the actual holiday — every Easter I watch The 10 Commandments, which has absolutely nothing to do with Easter!

    I completely agree with you about the quality of Ben-Hur vs. Titanic (which I did not like) and Lord of the Rings (which I did like, but it’s not a great movie, in my humble opinion). I have a cute story to share with you about Ben-Hur. My sister was watching it with her little boy — he was about 5. As he watched the movie, he asked my sister “Why don’t they show Jesus’ face?” My sister tried to explain about mystery, everyone’s personal vision of Jesus. The my little nephew said, very seriously, “Maybe they could just put that blob over his face, like they do in Cops.” My sister said it was so hard not to laugh — he was so serious.


    • I’m so glad you agree about Ben-Hur being more deserving than the rest.
      That story about your nephew is hilarious!
      Song of Bernadette is really really beautiful. Jennifer Jones did a really great job in it.


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