There aren't a lot of Christian films nowadays, but most every single movie has some sort of symbolism in it. You might've already heard or read the symbolism in these movies: Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia. But do you know any others? Below are 10 films you probably didn't know had anything to do with the Bible! Enjoy!
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Stanley Kubrick may have been an atheist, but several of his films entertain elements of Christianity. Much of his masterpiece is satirical towards Christianity, whether it’s the prisoners being forced to sing hymns, or Alex imagining himself as a Roman soldier, beating Christ on the road to Golgotha. But in his last scene, the chaplain stands up for the condemned men, arguing for their right to choose between right and wrong, even if it leads them to choose wrongly. The film both indicts organized religion and suggests that faith, or at least belief in a higher power, can have a purpose.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated movie ever made by Disney, and the film has actually held up pretty well over the years. True, it’s not as coherent or empowering as new works like Frozen, but it is the only Disney movie to feature an openly Christian princess. Some viewers may recall that halfway through the story line there’s a brief scene where Snow White is shown praying. With head bowed and hands clasped together, she asks God to bless the seven little men who have been so kind to her. It’s a short, but nonetheless poignant display of faith that you won’t find in most modern films.
Alien 3 (1992)
Before David Fincher was hired to direct, Alien 3, it was going to be helmed by Vincent Ward. He pitched the film to 20th Century Fox as “The Name of the Rose in Space”, with Ripley coming to the aid of monks on a wooden planet. Although a little messy in either of its versions, much of Ward’s vision survives, and is complimented by Fincher’s direction. Ripley is the Christ figure who falls from the heavens to help the prisoners, and at first they do not accept their Messiah. The final shot of Ripley falling into the molten steel with her arms out cements her symbolic position.
Blade Runner (1982)
Although Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is most prominently about what it means to be human, its approach to this is bound up in Christian notions of morality, sacrifice and love conquering all. The debate over whether or not Deckard as a replicant as secondary to the film’s main message – because, in the end, it is impossible to divide people, the only emotion that can prevail is pure, unconditional love. The tears in rain speech, famously improvised by Rutger Hauer, is a confession of Man’s humble place in the universe, and with it a desire to reach the heavens that lie beyond.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
The Christian elements of Tim Burton’s superior version of Roald Dahl’s classic tale lie in one of its most controversial creative decisions. The themes about materialism and excess are there in plain sight, as are the deification of Wonka as the man who can create absolutely anything. But beneath all that we have the scenes between Wonka and his dentist father (Sir Christopher Lee), which are an interesting retelling of the prodigal son.
In the opening of Disney’s Tangled, audiences learn that the main character, Rapunzel, was born a princess in an enchanted kingdom. However, one night she is kidnapped by an evil witch and taken to a tower far away from her mother and father. Hoping to find their missing daughter, the king and queen create a festival where every year lanterns are set off to light her way back home. There’s more to add to the story but you can probably see where this is going. In its own strange way, Tangled stands as a perfect allegory for the Gospel of Christ.
Rapunzel represents humanity, who has grown comfortable in her prison but can’t ignore the light that shines in the darkness. The devil is signified by the witch, who tries to convince Rapunzel to forget the lights and stay locked away in her tower. Lastly, God can be found in the parents, who without fail, continue to shine their light in the hopes of bringing their lost child back home.
Beginning and ending in the Elysian fields (the Roman conception of Heaven), Ridley Scott’s third masterpiece explores the nature of devotion and sacrifice, with Maximus willing to die in the name of not just what is right, but what he loves. The final confrontation between Maximus and Commodus is both a rip-roaring fight scene and a kinetic exploration of Man’s relationship with God, death and the earthly powers, whose presence distracts and obstructs us from our heavenly calling.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I & II (2010-11)
The last two films find the Christ figure, Harry, wandering the wilderness, encountering various temptations and trying to protect the people he loves. This first part is preparation for his equivalent of ministry, finally having the strength to confront Voldemort, appearing to die and then returning triumphant.
Superman: The Movie (1978)
Shooting from a script by Mario Puzo (The Godfather) and helmed by the director of The Omen, the first Superman film has rich Christian themes which are embedded in the original comics but which are mostly or completely absent from the sequels. In addition to Kal-El being sent to Earth to save mankind, the film (and to some extent Superman II) explores the troubled relationship between father and son within the Holy Trinity.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Andrew Dominik’s epic Western is a gripping retelling of the story of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Robert Ford is presented as a man utterly enthralled by the myth and potential of the Christ-like Jesse James, and who turns against his idol once the man starts to deviate from the myth. Having killed his messiah for his own short-lived fame, Ford descends into a place as dark as Judas’, and both characters are unable to live with what they have wrought.
Star Wars (1977-1983)
The war rages on between the forces of good and evil. Luke is
constantly tested to turn to the dark side of the force, much like Jesus
was tempted in the wilderness. Of course, Luke stays strong in the
midst of chaos and helps the rebellion overtake the Emperor and his
empire. The basic concept is that we all have a choice in life. You have
to choose whether you are going to do what is right or what is wrong.
You have to choose to fight for the good in life or aide in the
destruction of life through bad decisions.