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Lonely are the Brave (1962)
When a drifter cowboy Jack Burns discovers that his best friend Paul Bondi is in prison, he decides to release him at any cost. He arranges a drunken brawl, and when the police officer does not want to put him in the overcrowded prison, Jack insults him. When he finally gets to prison, he discovers that his friend does not want to escape. Thus, he decides to escape alone. The main theological issue of the film is the loss of the individual values of a human. Society does not like freedom and individuality anymore. That is why Jack’s behavior is not acceptable for such a society. It is similar to the theological issue of contemporary society where every person must be a part of the system and obey its rules. In addition, the film presents a significant religious act of redemption. Paul understands that he must take the punishment for his trespasses. Only, in that case, he will unite with his family.
The action in the film takes place during World War II in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, which was under the control of France. The main theological issue of the film is the issue of moral duties. Ilsa loves her husband but she must seduce Rick to get documents for the visas for her and Victor. It is an example of sacrificing moral duties for a higher purpose. In addition, Casablanca focuses on the inner conflict of a man who has to choose between love and dignity. Rick has to choose between helping the woman he loves and her husband, the leader of the resistance movement, and escaping from Casablanca to continue the fight against the Nazis.
The film is about four friends. One of their pranks leads them to the Wilkinson Center, a correctional school where guards bully them. After a decade, they get a chance to revenge. Sleepers are full of dramatic human and religious issues. One of the four friends, who became a prosecutor, is going to lose the trial to acquit his friends in a murder. The priest who was a friend of the boys since their childhood made the sin of perjury to save his friends. These examples enable the viewers to understand the issues of suffering, friendship, revenge, and choice between friendship and religious laws.
The Apostle (1997)
This film talks about the life and problems of Sonny, the preacher from Texas. The Apostle is a very controversial film. The main character, like a biblical hero, commits a crime, runs, repents, finds God's forgiveness, and after such "rebirth" begins to lead people to God. The main theological issues revealed in the film are self-justifying, the sense of despair, and the wrong interpretation of God’s will. In addition, it is visible that the main conflicts of the film are very similar to conflicts presented in the Old Testament. These conflicts represent the issues of family relations, law, and the issue of justifying sin.
Blue Velvet (1986)
The film is about the history of Jeffrey Beaumont who was forced to leave college and go back to his hometown. There, he faced a series of mysterious and terrible events. Blue Velvet shows different theological and religious issues in its plot. At the first glance, a nice and quiet town is hiding its true face. It is full of debauchery and crime. This city resembles the Biblical cities Sodom and Gomorrah, which were full of sin. In addition, the history of the main character displays how a good and honest person became a pervert. The main idea of the film is that evil lives in every person, no matter how normal and respectable they may look.
The plot of the Sorcerer revolves around four desperate people who try to smuggle a couple of truckloads with nitroglycerin through the mountainous terrain. The scenes from the film show different theological issues connected with human life. The main issue of the film is fate and its influence. Fate united these four men, and if they had not cooperated, they would have failed to achieve their goal. Sorcerer demonstrates an eternal fight between a human being and fate. The scene of the film about the suspension bridge brightly demonstrates this eternal struggle.
The film tells the story of William Munni, a former cold-blooded killer who found the strength to end his dirty way of life, but everything goes wrong. This film demonstrates the great power of revenge and its consequences. In addition, the film shows the consequences of loss. When William lost his friend, he returned to drinking and killing people. He successfully revenged his friend, but after that, he became a killer again. Every transgression has its consequence. Thus, Unforgiven conveys eternal theological and religious issues.
In Darkness (2011)
The film is about Leopold Socha, who is a worker of the city collector in the Polish city of Lwow. He decided to help a group of Jews to hide in the collector. The movie is very tragic. In Darkness is full of essential religious issues. The woman, who had a baby in the drain, is strangling her son because he can reveal the hiding place. One of the inhabitants of the collector sleeps with his mistress in front of his wife and daughter. Leopold is constantly hesitating whether to bring Jews to the Germans for money or continue to supply the food and thus put himself and his family in danger. These scenes show the main religious issues of the film, which are sin, despair, moneymaking, and human relationships.
A Serious Man (2009)
The film is about Larry Gopnik, who is a professor at Hebrew College in the Midwest of America. The main themes are the influence of Judaism in modern society, the value, and consequences of being a respectable person, and the presence of God in human life. A black stripe in Larry’s life starts when his wife decides to leave him. He has problems with kids, who steal money from his wallet. To cup it all, he receives hostile anonymous notes that threaten his work and graduate students blackmail Larry to obtain the necessary evaluation. Larry begins to seek help from a rabbi, who tells him stories of morality. These scenes from the film show religious issues connected with looking for God’s help and His answers to essential life questions.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
The film is about the life of Jesus Christ. The story differs from the original text from the Holy Bible. Therefore, the movie is very controversial. The main theological issues of the movie are the great desire of a man to know God and himself. Jesus is an ordinary carpenter; he decides to go to a desert and to understand God’s will. Jesus wants God to hear him, and for many days does not leave the outlined circle, withstanding temptations of the devil. The Last Temptation of Christ allows reconsidering a theological issue such as God’s plan for people.
Of Gods and Men (2011)
The movie is about eight French Christian monks who live in peace and harmony with their Muslim neighbors for many years. The emergence of dangerous terrorists and invasion of the army confuses the monks. They face a choice to go to safe France or remain in Algeria to fulfill their duties. They are afraid of the future, suffer from loneliness and doubts, but as always they are gathering for the Holy Mass. The freedom of individual choice, attitude to Islam, faith, and doubt are the main theological and religious issues conveyed by the film Of Gods and Men.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
The film covers the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus, from the Agony in the Garden and to a brief description of His Resurrection. It is a significant religious story, which is full of religious and theological issues. The movie considers and conveys the main religious issues; these are sacrifice, forgiveness, trust, hope, faith, and love. Jesus was cruelly beaten to death and sentenced to crucifixion. People pledged him to bear his cross while throwing garbage and mocking Him. When they savagely nailed him with smiles on their faces, Jesus said, "Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they do".
Keeper of the Flame (1942)
Robert Forrest is a national American hero who died in a car accident. This news affected every American. The journalist begins to pursue the case. He meets with the wife of the hero and discovers that she holds a terrible secret. This film conveys the issue of ambition and its impact on people. The sin of pride and its consequences is the main religious issue of the film. Therefore, even the most worthy and valiant people are not always able to stand against the influence of power. Forrest’s wife reveals the truth about her husband. The national American hero became a fascist and planned to divide the country and use his huge national influence to control the United States. In addition, the behavior of the hero’s widow shows the consequences of hiding the sin (she let Forrest die).
The Music Man (1962)
Rascal Harold Hill arrives in a provincial town to fool its citizens in a standard way. He offers to organize and lead the orchestra, and when Harold receives money, he plans to get out of town. The main character brilliantly plays on the feelings of the majority of town residents. That is why he winds their trust easily. The film conveys religious issues about the great power of love. Love to Marian significantly changed Harold. He understood that he must stay in the city. Harold’s story is an example of the religious meaning of love, which positively changes people. Also, the love between Harold and Marian united the citizens of the town.
Peyton Place (1957)
This film tells about the inhabitants of an ordinary town. Peyton Place is a quiet, peaceful, nice, and cozy town. However, every family in the town has its problems, which they hide because they are afraid of being "different". The life and relations of Peyton’s citizens clearly demonstrate how people apply high moral and Christian standards to their kids and do not use these standards for themselves. This causes the rebellion of the young people and leads to serious and sad consequences. The religious issues about truth and moral values are shown in the film.
Elmer Gantry (1960)
The Salesman Elmer Gantry accidentally gets to a congregation of people and understands that he can earn good money on religion. He decides to become an Evangelical preacher to “lead” people to salvation. The film gives a good opportunity to consider not only the matters of faith but also whether faith is one of the goods to sell, just like a toaster or a vacuum cleaner. Elmer Gantry clearly shows the issue of faith and its value and proves that everything in this world can be bought and sold.
Leap of Faith (1992)
A former criminal Jonas Nightingale is a traveling evangelist whose sermons can be called religious and circus performances. Jonas is selling faith for money at his performances. The local sheriff, Will Braverman, thinks that Jonas is a rascal. Meanwhile, Boyd, a disabled boy believes that the performance of Nightingale is the last hope for his recovery. The strength of faith of this boy and other people who come to these meetings changed Jonas’s perception of faith, so he became faithful. The faith and transformation of a human are the main religious issues in the film.
Wages of Fear (1953)
The film is about four brave men who are stranded without any money in a tiny town somewhere in the heart of Latin America. They decide to take up dangerous work to earn money. In the movie, four people are combined in the group by the most important and most reliable criteria, which is behavior under the constant threat of death. The fear of death is the main theological issue of the film. The dangerous and fearful trip through the mountains on a truck full of nitroglycerin is the price for a better future.
High Noon (1952)
The film is about the resilience of a man to difficult conditions, like when closest friends are ready to turn away. This is the story of a human who does not want to run away from enemies and death. All the people in the town are praising the sheriff, but in difficult times they all show their cowardice, indifference, and hypocrisy. The only person who really comes at a difficult moment is a young wife. The film demonstrates human courage, duty, and honor issues. Sheriff's desire to help people is a manifestation of the religious issue about helping a neighbor.
The film tells a story about the life and choices Anna. She grew up in a monastery, and now she is preparing to become a nun. She found her real name (Ida) and decided to investigate the tragic fate of her Jewish parents. When she meets a young person, she decides to reconsider her choice to become a nun. The main idea of the film is the choice between the service of God and life in society. Choice, faith, and spiritual strength are the main religious issues of the film.