New Pope in Horizon: Classic Films Captures the Spirit

A Latino favorite: The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) starring Anthony Quinn, Won 2 Oscars

By Elia Esparza

Shoes of FishermanPope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday when he announced he would stand down, the first pope to do so in 700 years, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on. That got me thinking about the best Catholic/Christian films of all time and began digging in the archives.

Maybe while Vatican church officials try to relay a climate of calm confidence in the running of a 2,000 year-old institution, maybe you will enjoy pulling the family together and watch some of the following classics:

(List is in order based on star ratings)

Passion of ChristThe Passion of the Christ (2004)
Director: Mel Gibson, Stars: Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern
Worldwide Gross: $604M (all time highest grossing inspirational movie)

The Song of Bernadette (1943)
Director: Henry King, Stars: Jennifer Jones, Vincent Price
Budget: $2M (Estimated), won 4 Oscars

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima(1952)
Director: John Brahm, Stars: Gilbert Roland, Angela Clarke, Frank Silvera
USA Gross: $3M

A Man for All Seasons (1966)Man for All Seasons
Director: Fred Zinnemann, Stars:Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw
Budget: $2M (Estimated), USA Gross: $12.8M
Won 6 Oscars

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Director: Carol Reed, Stars: Charlton Heston, Res Harrison Diane Cilento
Budget: $10M, Worldwide Gross: $8.2M

Joan of ArcJoan of Arc (1948)
Director: Victor Fleming, Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Jose Ferrer, Francis L. Sullivan
USA Gross: $4.1M
Won 2 Oscars


The Scarlet and the Black (1983 CBS TV Movie)
Director: Jerry London, Stars: Gregory Peck, Christopher Plummer, John Gielgud
Won 1 EMMY

Ben HurBen Hur (1959)
Director: William Wyler, Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet
Budget: $15.9 (Estimated)
USA Gross: $70M
Won 11 Oscars


The Ten Commandments (1956)
Director: Cecil B. de Mille, Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson
Budget: $13.3M
USA Gross: $80M
Won 1 Oscar, received 6 other Oscar nominations

Come To The Stable (1949)
Director: Henry Koster, Stars: Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Elsa Lanchester
USA Gross: $3M
7 Oscar nominations

The Miracle of Marcelino (1955/Spain)
Director: Ladislao Vajda, Stars: Rafael Rivelles, Antonio Vico, Juan Calvo, Jose Marco Davo
Cannes Film Festival winner that year

Quo Vadis (1951)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy, Stars: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, Peter Ustinov
Budget: $7.6M (Estimated)
USA Gross: $12.5M
8 Oscar nominations

BarabbasBarabbas (1961)
Director: Richard Fleischer, Stars: Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Arthur Kennedy, Katy Jurado

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
Director: Leo McCarey, Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers, William Gargan
USA Gross: $21.3M
1 Oscar won, 7 other Oscar nominations

I Confess (1953)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Stars: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden

The Keys of the Kingdom
Director: John M. Stahl, Stars: Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Rose Stradner
Budget: $3M
4 Oscar nominations

Francis of Assisi
Dolores Hart and Bradford Dillman

Francis of Assisi (1961)
Director: Michael Curtiz, Stars: Bradford Dillman, Dolores Hart, Stuart Whitman, Cecil Kellaway
Budget: $5M (Estimated)
USA Gross: $36M
Won 2 Oscars and Dolores Hart eventually left acting to become a nun.

The Robe (1953)
Director: Henry Koster, Stars: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie
Budget: $5M (Estimated)
USA Gross: $36M
Won 2 Oscars

Captain from Castile (1947)
Director: Henry King, Stars: Tyrone Power, Jean Peters, Cesar Romero, Lee J. Cobb
Budget: $4.5M
USA Gross: $3.7
Nominated for Oscar

ThereseTherese: The story of Saint Therese of Lisieux (2004)
Director: Leonardo Defilippis, Stars: Lindsay Younce, Leonardo Defilippis, Maggie Rose Fleck, Susan Funk
USA Opening Weekend: $357K
USA Gross: $2.61M

Conflict (1973)
Director: Jack Gold, Stars: Trevor Howard, Martin Sheen, Raf Vallone
Post Vatican II Catholic drama about changing the Latin Mass

Saintly Sinners (1962)
Director: Jean Yarbrough, Stars: Don Beddoe, Ellen Corby, Stanley Clements, Paul Bryar
A comedy about sin

Monsieur Vincent (1947)
Director: Maurice Cloche, Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Aime Clariond, Jean Debucourt, Lise Delamare
Won a Golden Globe

Reluctant Saint (1962)
Director: Edward Dmytryk, Stars: Maximilian Schell, Ricardo Montalban, Lea Padovani, Akim Tamiroff
Our beloved Ricardo Montalban is in this film

Prince of Foxes (1949)
Director: Henry King, Stars: Tyrone Power, Orson Welles, Wanda Hendrix, Marina Berti
2 Oscar nominations

The Prisoner (1955)
Director: Peter Glenville, Stars: Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Wilfrid Lawson, Kenneth Griffith

The Detective (1954)
Director: Robert Hamer, Stars: Alec Guinnes, Joan Greenwood, Peter Finch, Cecil Parker

Most of these films can be rented on Netflix or purchased at Which one is your all time favorite?


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Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).