my top five favorite christian films.

This is a much-requested blog post, and I haven’t gotten around to it because, if you know anything about me, you know that I freaking love Christian films.


I have an entire box in my room full of probably 25 indie Christian films, all ranging in various degrees of cheesiness and sappiness and just all-around awesomeness.  Whenever I need a fix, I’ll go through the box and find one to watch.  The other day, all of my family were gone on a Sunday morning, so I went to church with my best friend and then came home, changed into sweatpants and a hoodie, and cried over one of my favorites.

The thing is, whenever someone asks me to write this post, I always have a really hard time picking five favorites.  I love a lot of them, all for different reasons.  After a long debate with myself while watching one, I finally decided which are my top five.  (And this is my very first of my top favorite posts that’s in order.  I was finally able to rank them, guys!)

I’ve seen a lot of Christian films and can definitely say that these are the best I’ve seen.  (I’ve tried to pick lesser-known movies, too.  Not that God’s Not Dead and the Sherwood Pictures movies aren’t my favorite {actually, they’re not}, but everybody’s seen those.)  I haven’t seen every Christian film, though, so I can’t say that these are the best out there.  If you’ve seen any awesome Christian films that you think are as good or better than these, let me know!

(Note: Honorable mention goes to Woodlawn, which is just fantastic, but I’ve only seen it once so I can’t add it yet.  It’s a football movie, but it’s also about racial problems in the 50’s.  Here’s the trailer.  So good, you guys.)

5. Not TodayNotToday

Not Today is a new favorite.  I bought it when it was on sale at Family Christian last year and gave it to myself for Christmas (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this), but my family just got around to watching it.  And it was fantastic.

The story follows a typical rich kid, Caden, who goes to Hydrabad, India with some friends.  When he’s there, he watches a man sell his daughter so that she can have a better life.  (However, he’d unknowingly sold her into prostitution.)  During the rest of the film, Caden has to help this man find and rescue his daughter.

This movie is PG-13 for obvious reasons, and probably not for anyone who is overly sensitive about things like that.  However, it does shed light on areas that people in first-world countries (such as myself) don’t like to think about.  I tend to shut my eyes to stuff like this, and watching this movie was a very powerful experience for me.  Recommended 15+


4. Old FashionedOldFashioned

I watched this one earlier this year with my mom, then again with my family on Valentine’s Day.  We bought it soon after it came out, and a re-watch is definitely on my to-do list.

This one’s about a man and a woman who meet each other and fall in love, but they have to learn how to compromise their beliefs about love.  She’s not a Christian (spoiler alert: at the beginning of the story, that is) and is all about feelings and dating around, and he’s a very strict Christian who wants to do everything right and thinks that you shouldn’t date someone unless you’re going to marry them.  They’ve both made mistakes, though, and have to learn from them and how to change.

This movie really changed the way I think about relationships.  I reinforced what I knew about the fact that everyone makes mistakes that they’re not proud of, but it really showed me how easy (and hard) it is to move on from them.  I’d recommend this movie to anyone who’s looking for a potential (*wink*), and anyone who thinks that their mistakes are unforgivable.  (Old Fashioned is PG-13 for some “thematic material,” including a typical bachelor party that gets a little racy.)  Recommended 15+  (Note: The movie is better than the trailer lets on.)


3. October BabyOctoberBaby

Gah, these next two were so hard to pick between.  I have a longer history with October Baby and I think it’s a little better overall, but Grace Unplugged really spoke to me more, which is why they’re in this order.  (Both movies have a main guy character in them, though, that I’d like my future husband to be a cross between.  *wink*)

October Baby is about a young woman who suddenly finds out that her medical problems all relate back to one thing she didn’t know about until now – the fact that she’s an adopted survivor of an abortion.  She tells her friend, Jason (whom I love), about this, and he decides to take her on a roadtrip to help her find her birthmom.  Many tears ensue.

Because my family is so involved in adoption and crisis pregnancies, this movie really hit home with me and my family.  It’s a little intense for those who have a personal connection with abortion, but the subject is handled very tastefully.  This one’s definitely a favorite for multiple reasons (half of them being Jason, who is one of my favorite onscreen guys of all time).  It’s PG-13 for its subject, which is abortion.  It’s pretty clean, though.  Recommended 14+


2. Grace UnpluggedGraceUnplugged

This one is also relatively new, but I’ve seen it at least four times, and it’s one of my favorites to watch by myself.  Some parts of it are a little more cheesy than the rest of these films, but I connected with it so much that it’s soon become a favorite.

Grace Unplugged follows the story of Gracie Trey, the daughter of a popular singer who hit rock bottom and now leads worship at their church.  She feels constrained by his rules and wants to  branch out on her own, finally flying out to LA by herself and starting her career there, guided by his old agent.  There, she meets an intern named Quentin (aww yiss) who challenges her to think about why she’s really there.

Like I said before, I connected with this one a lot because, in all honesty, I feel limited by my parents’ rules (and sometimes my own rules, too).  I wish I could run away sometimes, too, and this movie helped me learn that sometimes what I want isn’t what’s best for me.  It challenged me to ask why I’m really pursuing a career in writing – is it for my own benefit, or is it for the glory of God?  Grace Unplugged is PG for thematic elements some teen drinking, but it’s fairly clean.  Recommended: 13+


1. To Save a LifeTo_Save_a_Life

This one’s my favorite, bar none.  I heard about it and was interested in it probably two years before I actually saw it, and I’m glad my parents made me wait (because it’s super intense).  One of my favorite things about it that it’s real and doesn’t shy away from hard problems such as teen pregnancy, bullying, suicide, cutting, alcoholism, and depression.

The story follows Jake Taylor, typical high schooler.  He’s got a beautiful girlfriend, he has an amazing future playing basketball, and he’s incredibly popular.  However, after a childhood friend commits suicide, he starts to think about everything he’s done wrong regarding this friendship and how he could have saved his friend’s life.  Soon after, everything begins to spin out of control.  He finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant with his child and that his dad is cheating on his mom.  He eventually turns to the only friend he thinks he has – a youth pastor he met at his friend’s funeral.

Like I said before, this one’s my favorite because it doesn’t shy away from hard issues.  A lot of Christian films tend to give you the assumption that if you become a Christian, your life will be perfect and you won’t have any problems.  To Save a Life proves that this is not the case.  It starts out like most Christian films, but everything changes about a third of the way through.  Whereas most Christian films paint the non-believers as the bad guys and the believers as the good guys, this one doesn’t.  (In fact, the pastor’s son is seen smoking pot behind the church one Sunday morning.)  Jake still has to live with the consequences of his actions after he gets saved, and he still makes mistakes (one almost leading to the death of another friend).  It always impacts me so much that I can only watch it like once a year.  (It’s rated PG-13 for “mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality,” which is pretty accurate.)  This is a movie I can’t stop recommending because it’ll literally change your life.  Watch it!  Recommended 17+

Like I said before, these are my absolute favorites of the ones I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot), but if you’ve seen some that aren’t on this list and you feel like I’d like them, let me know!  Have you seen any of these movies?