Movies that matter

Posted by Patrice Tuohy
Friday 31, October 2008 | Category:   Prayer and Spirituality

For you political junkies wondering what to do once the election is over, or for all those preparing to settle into winter, you might consider making your way through the list of 45 “best films” chosen by the Vatican in 1995 in honor of the 100th anniversary of cinema. Although film buffs may argue with certain selections and omissions, overall it is an admirable compilation that shows a real appreciation for the art of movies and moviemaking.

In the months ahead I will offer some mini reviews and commentary as I delve into these film classics. I encourage you to offer your own reviews or comments. We can also begin to compile our own VISION list of Best Films that can include releases in the past decade as well.

As I look over the list, of the ones I’ve already viewed, I’d have to say Babette’s Feast and Stagecoach top my list. I was happily surprised to see It’s a Wonderful Life on the list—it probably is my favorite Frank Capra film although I do love Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It Happened One Night. But for all around entertaining Christmas films A Christmas Story is one I can and do watch over and over.

I look forward to your comments. Happy viewing!


The Vatican Best Films List (1885-1995)

Andrei Rublev * Andrei Tarkowsky (1969, USSR)
The Mission * Roland Joffé (1986, UK)
La passion de Jeanne d’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) *
Carl T. Dreyer (1928, France)
La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ (Life and Passion of Christ) * Ferdinand Zecca and Lucien Nonguet (1905, France) Identified on the Vatican film list as La Passion Pathé
Francesco, giullare di Dio (The Flowers of St. Francis / Francis, God’s Jester) * Roberto Rossellini (1950, Italy)
Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew) * Pier Paolo Pasolini (1964, France/Italy)
Thérèse * Alain Cavalier (1986, France)
Ordet (The Word) * Carl T. Dreyer (1955, Denmark)
Offret — Sacrificatio (The Sacrifice) * Andrei Tarkowsky (1986, Sweden/UK/France)
Francesco * Liliana Cavani (1989, Italy/Germany)
Ben-Hur [A Tale of the Christ] * William Wyler (1959, USA)
Babettes gæstebud (Babette’s Feast) * Gabriel Axel (1987, Denmark)
Nazarín * Luis Buñuel (1958, Mexico)
Monsieur Vincent * Maurice Cloche (1947, France)
A Man for All Seasons * Fred Zinnemann (1966, UK)

Gandhi * Richard Attenborough (1982, UK/USA/India)
Intolerance * D. W. Griffith (1916, USA)
Dekalog (The Decalogue) * Krzysztof Kieslowski (1987, Poland)
Identified on the Vatican film list as Il Decalogo
Au Revoir, Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children) * Louis Malle (1987, France)
Dersu Uzala * Akira Kurosawa (1974, Japan)
L’albero degli zoccoli (The Tree of the Wooden Clogs) * Ermanno Olmi (1978, Italy/France)
Roma, città aperta (Open City) * Roberto Rossellini (1946, Italy)
Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries) * Ingmar Bergman (1957, Sweden)
Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal) * Ingmar Bergman (1957, Sweden)
Chariots of Fire * Hugh Hudson (1981, UK)
Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief) * Vittorio de Sica (1948, Italy)
It’s a Wonderful Life * Frank Capra (1946, USA)
Schindler’s List * Steven Spielberg (1993, USA)
On the Waterfront * Elia Kazan (1954, USA)
Biruma No Tategoto (The Burmese Harp) * Kon Ichikawa (1956, Japan)

2001: A Space Odyssey * Stanley Kubrick (1968, UK/USA)
La Strada * Federico Fellini (1954, Italy)
Citizen Kane * Orson Welles (1941, USA)
Metropolis * Fritz Lang (1927, Germany)
Modern Times * Charlie Chaplin (1936, USA)
Napoléon * Abel Gance (1927, Italy)
* Federico Fellini (1963, Italy)
La grande illusion (Grand Illusion) * Jean Renoir (1937, France)
Nosferatu * F. W. Murnau (1922, Germany)
Stagecoach * John Ford (1939, USA)
Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) * Luchino Visconti (1963, Italy/France)
Fantasia * (1940, USA)
The Wizard of Oz * Victor Fleming (1939, USA)
The Lavender Hill Mob * Charles Crichton (1951, UK)
Little Women * George Cukor (1933, USA)

What would you add?
Films released prior to 1995?
Films released after 1995?

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