Classic, foreign and Hollywood all feature on spiritually significant list

Top one hundred “spiritually significant” films

2005. First there were the Top 100 American films of the 20th century. Then followed the top one hundred cinematic comedies and thrillers. Recently, top movie songs were honoured. After lengthy discussion and debate among a group of web users, the Top 100 “spiritually significant” films ever made evolved and were announced in June this year.

Three-quarters of the films selected for the Top 100 were originally released since 1980 and included the recent Changing Lanes and Signs, (both 2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Lord of the Rings (pictured above), and The Passion of the Christ. Ranging between films made by classic Hollywood director Frank Capra (It’s A Wonderful Life) and Russian cinema (Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris and The Sacrifice) the films represent various genres – science fiction, adventure, foreign releases, and drama.

This is the first year that Arts & Faith has developed the Top100. The list will be revised every year. Board moderator Alan Thomas in an email interview that became a Q&A on the website explains that while there are many excellent films that did not make the list it is a terrific start and contains first-rate films.

Arts & Faith users implicitly or explicitly profess Christian faith. Mr Thomas says the only standard for debate was that the films must somehow be ‘spiritually significant’, although he says that phrase was deliberately left undefined.

“As a result, the list reflects some films that are straight adaptations from Scripture, whereas other films rest more firmly on the common ground we all share as created beings.”

Mr Thomas says films that are occupied with ‘ethereal’ considerations are more likely to focus on the supernatural or on the character’s internal lives so by that measure the list may contain such listings.

“That should not be taken to mean that their films on the list that are ‘flaky’, overly introspective, ‘new-agey’ or otherwise not solidly focused on things that matter.

“For example, the film What Dreams May Come did not make the list.”

Life of Brian and The Last Temptation of Christ did make the list.

Mr Thomas: “It was certainly difficult for some users of the board (to select these films), but not so much because these films are spiritually controversial but because they were seen as lesser films by some.

“Not so much with Life of Brian, but The Last Temptation of Christ was viewed by several as just being a bad film. Others saw it as a flawed but original treatment of the humanity of Jesus, and therefore ‘significant’. Still others saw that film as a regrettable, lamentable film, but nevertheless important.

“The inclusion of these films on the list represents the great diversity of opinions among Arts & Faith users, and one of the reasons the discussions on the website are varied and lively.”

By Peter Veugelaers

Published 2005, Challenge Weekly




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