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Great Catholic Movies You May Not Have Seen

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Great Catholic Movies You May Not Have Seen

By: John Seiler

Summary: Seven great Catholic movies that are must-sees.

Keywords: Catholic Movies, Great Catholic Movies, Catholic Films, Great Catholic Films, Catholic Movie Classics, Hollywood, Motion Pictures, Cinema

You might have seen the incredible "The Passion of the Christ", Mel Gibson's movie about our Lord's suffering and crucifixion. Probably also "A Man for All Seasons", about St. Thomas More's persecution and execution by the horrible King Henry VIII. They're classics. But here are seven Catholic movies that are not as well known, but which you would gain much from seeing. They're great art - with a purpose.*

1. "The Fugitive", directed by the great Catholic director John Ford. It stars Henry Fonda as a Catholic priest in a Latin American country (probably Mexico during the Cristero War in the 1920's). He struggles with persecution and doubt while helping his flock. In 1948, it won the International Catholic Organization for Cinema's prize as the film "most capable of contributing to the revival of moral and spiritual values of humanity."

2. "The Informer", also directed by Ford, dramatizes the Irish rebellion against British rule in the 1920's. Victor McLaglen, who would play supporting roles in most of Ford's Westerns, stars as Gypo, an Irishman who informs to the British about an outlaw in the terrorist Irish Republican Army. It includes a lot of Catholic themes about sin and forgiveness.

3. "The Quiet Man", another John Ford production. This one stars John Wayne as a retired American boxer who returns to his family's native Ireland and woos the beautiful Maureen O'Hara, while fighting her father, played by McLaglen. It's Ford's paean to the Emerald Isles of his Catholic ancestors. By the way, after many prayers by his children, on his death bed Wayne converted to the Catholic Faith.

4. "The Wrong Man", directed by Alfred Hitchcock. My, we have some great Catholic directors. Along with Ford, Hitchcock commonly sits at the top, or near the top, of most people's favorite directors. This movie features another fine performance by Fonda, who plays a man falsely charged with a crime. It's based on a true story. Hitchcock is famous for making subtle cameos in his films, such as a man sitting in a train station reading a paper. Here, he overtly begins the film saying, "Every word is true."

5. "I Confess", also by Hitchcock, stars Montgomery Clift as a priest. A man wearing a priest's cassock commits a murder. The man then confesses to Fr. Logan (Clift). Then Fr. Logan is accused of committing a crime because, in his own cassock, he looks like the murderer a witness saw fleeing the scene! But Fr. Logan can't testify who the true murderer is, because that would break the confessional seal. That produces a lot of Hitchcock's classical tension. It's filmed in beautiful Quebec City in 1953 back when Quebec Province was one of the most devoutly Catholic places on earth.

6. "The Passion of St. Joan", directed by Carl Dreyer. Most of the movies made about St. Joan of Arc are garbage. This 1928 film, by contrast, is a classic. It's a silent film that somehow conveys the interior purity through suffering of the great saint as the English are putting her on trial.

7. "The Song of Bernadette", directed by Henry King, starring Jennifer Jones. It was based on the novel of Franz Werfel, but beautifully conveys the actual facts of what happened with Bernadette's visions of our Lady, who reveals herself as "the Immaculate Conception." As with all true apparitions, there are many doubters, including the clergy, because that's the way the Church clears away the false apparitions. But to bring us the true apparitions, the saints have to suffer.

Signature ImageSignature: John Seiler

John Seiler wrote editorials for The Orange County Register for 29 years. He now writes freelance. Email: writejohnseiler(at)gmail(dot)com

* Reminder: We do not endorse any movie, plot, actor, director, etc. Movies may require viewer discretion. View/use all items at your own risk.


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