Classic Catholic Films of the 40s and 50s

Hi all

My fiance and I are both fans of old movies and as she is new freshly minted Catholic this past Easter, she has expressed an interest in watching some of the classic Ctaholic films such as those that Hollywood isn’t brave enough to make these days. We have already watched Song of Bernadette, and wat to watch more such as Angels with Dirty Faces, and Going My Way.

Now I realise that some may see these movies as being well past their sell by date, but we thing that they are timeless. For one thing it is refreshing to see films that don’t portray Christians in generals, and Catholics and priests in particular, as with ridicule and scorn. Surely we need more films like this rather than Dan Brown’s DuhVinci rubbish and the Left Behind heresies.

So – to my point here – does anyone know of a list of classic Catholic (as opposed to general Christian) general release films from the 40s and 50s?

What’s your favourite? BTW – mine’s Angels With Dirty Faces – for a real treat you owe it to your iPod to search out the mp3 of the radio dramatisation on it that aired on Lux Radio Theatre (starring James Cagney there too!)

In Christ’s Peace


Hi Tony,

I have a website where I sell DVDs of Catholic movies that you may be interested in. I am always on the look out for new titles to add so if there is something that you can suggest, I would greatly appreciate it.


Mark Kern

‘Brother Orchid’ is one of my favorites. It’s the only movie Humphrey Bogart and Edward Robinson made in which one of them didn’t kill the other (not for lack of trying in this one, though!).

Robinson plays a mobster who squanders his wealth, has his position usurped by Bogart’s character, and ends up a refugee with a fictional order of monks based heavily on the Franciscans. It’s quite charming, and I highly recommend it :slight_smile:

I recommend the 1952, color, edition of The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima with Gilbert Roland…:thumbsup:

Hitchcock’s I Confess is a pretty interesting film about a guy who confesses murder to the priest and the priest becomes a suspect but refuses to break the confessional seal.

*Song of Bernadette *is a little cheesy, but has Vincent Price as the incurable skeptic who breaks down at the end.

Oh, I loved “Brother Orchid”! Another good one is “Keys of the Kingdom”, with Gregory Peck.
A very wondeful film is “Marcellino Pan et Vino”, which can be found dubbed or subtitled.

Yes, that’s also known as “The Miracle of Marcellino” in the English dubbed version. It’s about an orphan boy at a monastery that talks with Christ on the cross.

I think they were made in the '30’s, but I would suggest Bing Crosby’s movies “Going my Way” and “The Bells of St. Marys”.

Watched “A Man For All Seasons” a few weeks ago - make for a nice Sunday afternoon :slight_smile:

“In This House of Brede”
“The Sound of Music” (who hasn’t seen this???)
“The Trouble with Angels” (okay, corny but cute! This was probably required viewing when I was in high school!)

Make sure you see the original “A Man for all Seasons”!

I have seen Going My Way a few times and enjoy it and am still looking for it. I do also have Bells of St Mary’s on DVD (old rental movie) which is the sequel to Going My Way. It is just OK, but the plot was flat and seemed to be lacking the spirit of the first.

I forgot about those.

Trouble with Angles is good, but the sequel Where Angels Go Trouble Follows is really tough to watch (bad, bad, movie). Hally Mills was good in TWA.

Going My Way was made in 1944 and Bells of St Marys was made in 1945.

miracle of marcelino and also miracle of fatima

Welcome to CAF agp2176! A movie I like released the same year as “Angels With Dirty Faces” (1938) is “Boys Town” starring Spencer Tracy. Tracy beat out Cagney for the Best Actor Oscar and was terrific playing the real-life Father Flanagan.

One from the 30’s that’s really great (especially toward the end) is “Sign of the Cross”, with Fredric March and Elissa Landi.

Try to find “Come to the Stable” starring Loretta Young and Celeste Holm as a pair of nuns from France trying to found a childrens’ hospital in New England. It’s funny, but at the same time a beautiful portrayal of faith.

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