The entertainment industry gets its yearly dose of newbies – from onscreen to behind the screen participants, down to their productions and even fans. Admittedly, some of the works could be better described as cheesy, but there are many others that go beyond just being good and entertaining to greatly inspiring and leaving their viewers better than it had met them. More often than not, Christian movies over the years have continually fallen into the latter category.
That noted, movies with strong Christian, biblical content and values, especially about Jesus Christ, obviously get a huge audience and are extremely popular. They continue to dominate a high percentage of the top-grossing movies worldwide and interestingly, it’s not just in Christian countries. These works help to promote family values and has always been more than proper for the young and growing child to binge on.
Some of the Christian movies that have changed the narratives in the industry in the past decades include Visual Bible: Matthew (1993), C.S. Lewis’ Christian fable The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ (2004) that depicts the final twelve hours in the life of Jesus Christ as portrayed by Jim Caviezel, Facing the Giants (2006), the Kendrick Brothers’ Fireproof (2008), Saving God (2008), the animated movie, The Secret of Kells (2009), the Left Behind series, among other masterpieces. Amazingly, they only keep getting better as the sun rises and sets.
Beyond the entertainment part which these movies have amazingly kept up with, the producers are committed to serving viewers with high-quality films that not only honor God but also inspire their audiences to follow Him and serve others.
Here, we have compiled what we feel are the 10 best Christian movies produced in the last 10 years. This list is not necessarily meant to be definitive but rather a conversation starter. From God’s Not Dead to War Room, take a look at other films that made the cut.
10 Best Christian Movies Produced in the Last 10 Years
1. The Grace Card
The Grace Card is a heartfelt and inspirational drama about the healing power of grace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Released in 2011, it reveals how everything can change in a split second and could take a lifetime to unravel. Police officer Bill “Mac” McDonald’s 5-year-old son was killed in a tragic car accident by a fleeing African-American drug dealer. For the ensuing 17 years, Mac was filled with pain and bitterness which erodes his love for his family, damages his career and leaves him angry with God for his seemingly shattered life.
However, events escalated when Sam Wright joins the force as Mac’s new patrol partner. Sam happens to be everything Mac is not; an African-American, part-time pastor with a loving and supportive family. Despite their differences and the many obstacles standing in the way, the men gradually work toward overcoming them and helping each other.
The movie exposes us to the numerous opportunities we are given daily to love our neighbor, rebuild relationships and heal wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace. Drawing inspiration from the Bible verse Hebrews 4:16 “We will find grace to help us when we need it”, it provides this simple prescription: always offer The Grace Card and never underestimate the power of God’s love.
The film stars Louis Gossett, Jr., Michael Higgenbottom, Rob Ericksen, and Michael Joiner and was directed by David G. Evans.
When sorrows like sea billows roll, where will the waves of life find your faith? This was the question that faced Samantha Crawford (Lynn Collins) in the 2012 biographical film, Unconditional. The film, inspired by a true story, is centered on love and has the message of love and faith deeply entrenched in its scenes.
Sam’s storybook life: happily married on a ranch where she keeps her beloved horse, published books of stories she has told and illustrated since her childhood, was shattered when her husband, Billy was tragically killed. Consequently, she loses her faith and will to live.
Meanwhile, her closest friend from childhood, Joe Bradford (Michael Ealy), struck with kidney disease, care for and love the kids in his under-resourced neighborhood, with his wife Denise. After a death-defying encounter with two children, Sam reunites with Joe. As she watches him serve God and humanity by keeping the kids engaged and positive, it began to dawn on her that the love of God is always reaching out to her, and to you as well. Eventually, what she thought was a dead end led her to where she needed to go.
3. The Encounter
Have you ever thought about what you would do, tell or ask Jesus if you meet him face to face? Well, you could grab an idea from The Encounter (2011).
Five strangers: a former NFL player and arrogant businessman, Nick (Steve “Sting” Borden), a Christian single woman, Melissa (Jaci Velazquez) who’s on her way to visit her boyfriend (who is an atheist), a couple on the verge of divorce, Hank (Jamie Nieto) and Catherine (Danah Davis), and a youthful runaway (Madison Gibney), were all caught up in the middle of nowhere and find themselves marooned in a deserted roadside diner. They came face to face with the owner, a certain Nazarene (Bruce Marchiano) who serves them more than a temporal meal.
He discreetly reveals himself to be Jesus. Knowing all of their secrets and has the answers to all of their problems, he attempts to help each of them to face the truth in his or her life, particularly the dark side. If only they would trust the host, seek repentance and go for reconciliation, The Encounter would miraculously leave them all changed. Eventually, their lives were turned around with all but Nick, who went away with officer Deville (the Devil) being either born again or brought to a life-changing decision.
The 2011 film became the first installment of The Encounter franchise including the 2012 sequel film, The Encounter: Paradise Lost.
4. Grace Unplugged
Teens and young people can relate to this 2013 film. Grace Unplugged, inspired by the story of the prodigal son, is a family-themed movie and one of those Christian movies that mirror the early stages of one’s life and the challenges that come with it, especially that of running away from God, rebellion and a quest for freedom. It has also been described as very similar to the Miley Cyrus story, though with an ending that is more redemptive than what we’ve seen in real life so far.
It focuses on a teenager, Grace Trey (AJ Michalka) who felt like she was being held by her father from realizing her dream of a life of fame, she questioned God and struggled with life. She learned in the long run that God and family are truly more important than stardom.
5. What If…
In the race of life where everything is fast paced, we sometimes lose the vision of our true calling and purpose. What If… is a wake-up call to return to where we missed the step. It tells the story of a highly successful executive, Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo) who was shown a vision of what his life would have become had he followed his true calling.
As a young man, Ben steered off God’s original plan for him. He left his girlfriend, Wendy (Kristy Swanson) and his calling in his hometown church for a seemingly bigger business opportunity in the big city.
15 years later, with a high-paying job, a trophy fiancé, and a new Mercedes, Ben is now a big businessman who has no regard for anyone but himself. In all these years, he hasn’t considered a family nor even felt the need to attend a church service. Despite his now “perfect life,” God has other plans. He is visited by Mike (John Ratzenberger), who claims to be an angel. Mike gives Ben a glimpse of what his life would look like had he followed his true calling.
After that experience, he finds himself in the hospital, waking up from his coma, he gives up his flashy life to return to the original plan.
The focus of the 2010 film was kept on the family and their individual journeys. It would inspire anyone to cherish the priceless values of family, faith, love, and compassion. It was released by Pure Flix and directed by Dallas Jenkins.
6. God’s Not Dead
Kevin Sorbo pulled up another classic in this 2014 film as an atheist college professor. Viewed as an unforgettable film and one of the greatest religious movies of all time, God’s Not Dead centres on the simple power of focusing on the truth.
It follows a Christian college student, Josh Wheaton who, when his faith was challenged, went against all odds to prove his belief in the existence of God. It was a box office hit, grossing more than 30 times its budget of $2 million. Also, it spawned two sequels: God’s Not Dead 2 (2016) and the 2018 film God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness.
The Christian movie, Noah is a gripping tale of good overcoming evil. It was released in 2014 to rave critical acclaim and was also a commercial success, amassing more than $362 million worldwide. Noah is a Biblical epic based on the story of Noah’s ark in the Book of Genesis. Starring Emma Watson as Noah’s (Russell Crowe) adopted daughter, Ila, the rating puller was directed by Darren Aronofsky.
It is inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice, and hope and inspires the same in its viewers.
8. War Room
Appearance can be deceiving. Looking at Jordan’s family from the outside, you would conclude they have it all —great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house but on the inside, the walls of their world are actually crumbling. Tony flirts with temptation while his wife, Elizabeth becomes increasingly bitter, crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. Their daughter, on the other hand, comes in neglected.
However, their lives took an unanticipated turn for the better when Elizabeth, a realtor meets her newest client, Miss Clara who, sensing the stress she’s under, encourages her to fight for her family in prayer. Eventually, the couple found happiness through the ageless weapon, prayer.
The 2015 Christian movie was another classic from the Kendrick brothers. Though it was released to negative reviews, it went on to become a box office success and a sleeper hit, grossing $74 million worldwide and was the 7th highest-grossing Christian movie in the United States.
9. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Mel Gibson returned from his directorial hiatus in 2016 with Hacksaw Ridge after a decade since 2006’s Apocalypto. The gruesome, but enduring bio-war epic follows a World War II conscientious objector, Desmond Doss who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic duty as a medic in the Battle of Okinawa. Doss was raised in a rough but very religious background as a Seventh-Day Adventist.
After an incident at a young age that made him nearly kill his brother, he denounced violence. He decided instead to stay true to what he believes as a Christian and swore never to take another human being’s life. When he showed interest in the military, he opted to be a medic to save people’s lives rather than take them, vowing never to fire a weapon even when in the midst of a battle.
Did he stay true to his beliefs? He did and although others saw his refusal to touch a weapon as cowardice, he manages to save the lives of 75 soldiers amidst a fire zone without firing a single weapon.
British actor, Andrew Garfield brought the medic to life on the screen. His tender and nuanced performance earned him an Oscar buzz. The film also costars Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, and Teresa Palmer.
With a cast that includes Topher Grace, Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, and hip-hop artist Lecrae, Breakthrough, released in 2019, centers on the power of prayer and a mother’s diehard faith. It is also based on a true life event.
After her son John falls through an icy Missouri lake, nearly losing his life, the devastated mother, Joyce, refuses to accept the medical reports but rather called on God to respond. Against every case history and scientific prediction, her prayers were answered and her son’s heart suddenly began to beat again. A few days after, he walked out of the hospital – completely healed.
The movie is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and most times, even a miracle.