Films Approved by the Vatican?

Does anyone know where a list of Vatican approved films can be found at? Specifically films that are based around the Jesus, Exorcism or any Christian related issues...? I'm a fan of the following films below... but was interested if a website or if anyone has compiled what the vatican has to say about these, in terms of them approving them or not. I know they approve and disapprove things... point me where I could actually find it or a database of films or something... please. :shrug:

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (love it, one of my favourites!!)
Jesus of Nazareth Miniseries - starring Robert Powell as Jesus (1977)
Passion of the Christ
The Rite

...also what other films can anyone suggest to me to see? :)

I’d like to know as well.

I do know that Pier Paolo Pasolini dedicated The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) to Pope John XXIII (which remains my favorite movie of Jesus), but I’m not sure how it stands with the Vatican now or then.

[quote="Silent_Knight, post:1, topic:243906"]
Does anyone know where a list of Vatican approved films can be found at?

[/quote]

Well, the Vatican doesn't really judge or hand out approvals for particular films in the first place, AFAIK. :p There is a list of 45 films which the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications released in 1995 as an important reference point to Catholics interested in assessing the cinema’s "many worthwhile productions during the first hundred years of its existence," but the list is meant neither as a set of definitive or magisterial “top fifteen” lists nor to establish these particular films as definitely more worthwhile than any film that was not included.

[quote="Mark_David, post:2, topic:243906"]
I do know that Pier Paolo Pasolini dedicated The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) to Pope John XXIII (which remains my favorite movie of Jesus), but I'm not sure how it stands with the Vatican now or then.

[/quote]

Ah, Il Vangelo secondo Matteo is gotta be one of my favorite Jesus films. All the more remarkable given that Pasolini was an atheist and an outspoken homosexual, indeed a Marxist to boot. I don't know if I would call it my number one choice, but it is definitely on my personal top three Jesus films; it's one of the best of breed IMHO. :)

For the record, the 1995 Vatican Film List incidentally recognizes it as one 'important' film (under the heading Religion)! :)

Another work with some papal connections here.

Pope Paul VI was having an audience with British media mogul Sir Lew Grade to congratulate him on his TV series Moses the Lawgiver (1974) - in many ways Jesus of Nazareth’s forgotten elder brother - which Grade co-produced with Italy’s main TV channel RAI. The pope expressed his wish at the end of their meeting that Grade should do the life of Jesus next, at which he agreed. Of course he needed to have his wife remind him of it :D, but a fortnight after the meeting the head of RAI asked him what they should next do together. Grade then replied without hesitation that they were going to do ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. Franco Zeffirelli was slated as the director, and the rest, they say, is history.

The idea was to cast well-known actors in the supporting roles, while having an unknown play the role of Jesus. Grade was alerted by his wife to Robert Powell (who acted in a 1971 BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure) and his since-iconic (and anachronistic! ;)) blue eyes. The only problem after he had signed up in the project was how some of the tabloids reacted to it, since it it turned out he was living ‘in sin’ with his then-girlfriend, Pan’s People dancer Babs Lord. When Grade saw some of the headlines, he is said to have remarked, quite guilelessly, “What are they trying to do? Crucify the boy?” Powell and Lord eventually married in 1975 soon before filming started.

For the record, Grade is himself of Russian Jewish descent and born in 25 December 1906! :smiley:

[quote="patrick457, post:4, topic:243906"]
Ah, Il Vangelo secondo Matteo is gotta be one of my favorite Jesus films. All the more remarkable given that Pasolini was an atheist and an outspoken homosexual, indeed a Marxist to boot. I don't know if I would call it my number one choice, but it is definitely on my personal top three Jesus films; it's one of the best of breed IMHO. :)

For the record, the 1995 Vatican Film List incidentally recognizes it as one 'important' film (under the heading Religion)! :)

[/quote]

Thanks for the info, Patrick :)

Indeed, it is rather paradoxical that such a man could create so wonderful and unbiased a movie about the Christ; also considering some of the other movies he made :o In any case, an aesthetically-amazing filmmaker. I do hope he sincerely repented during the final moments of his life.

What are your other two favorites?

[quote="Mark_David, post:6, topic:243906"]
Thanks for the info, Patrick :)

Indeed, it is rather paradoxical that such a man could create so wonderful and unbiased a movie about the Christ; also considering some of the other movies he made :o In any case, an aesthetically-amazing filmmaker. I do hope he sincerely repented during the final moments of his life.

What are your other two favorites?

[/quote]

Tough choices really; if I'm asked to name my three favorite Jesus films I'd probably list ten. :blush: But I'd control myself and list just three at the top of my list, in no particular order:

BBC's The Passion (2008)
From the Manger to the Cross (1912)
The Miracle Maker (1999-2000)

Sometimes I find it rather paradoxical that while Pasolini proves that a non-believer can make one of the best films about Jesus (along with Roberto Rossellini and one of his last films, Il Messia), James Barden Jr.'s The Judas Project (1990) proves (to me at least) that believers could also make the worst. I don't know; perhaps the Force lightning at the Transfiguration and the lightning PLUS a giant fireball from Heaven at the death of modern-day Jesus (or Jesse here) just didn't cut it for me. :D A guy on the internet makes quite a funny review of the film here.

You could check usccb.org/movies/a/a.shtml. They review most movies (or at least the more popular ones) and give a Catholic review of the movie. For example, it will tell you "The Invention of Lying" is morally offensive and will offer a more thorough review if you want. That will give you a general idea of how movies you enjoy or are interested in viewing are looked upon by the Catholic Church. As others have said, I don't believe there is anything directly from the Vatican. I hope this kind of helps!

As far as I know, La Dolce Vita was despised by the Vatican upon its release, but now they celebrate it as one of the most spiritual films ever made.

[quote="Mark_David, post:2, topic:243906"]
I'd like to know as well.

I do know that Pier Paolo Pasolini dedicated The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) to Pope John XXIII (which remains my favorite movie of Jesus), but I'm not sure how it stands with the Vatican now or then.

[/quote]

It is on the Vatican's list of extraordinary films.

There is no official list of Vatican-approved films. And there probably never will be.

However, as Patrick already mentioned, there are some lists from Vatican offices that are not really "official" or definitive, but have been offered to give guidance in the area.

This is one of the best movies based on the Gospels ever made. When the Pope was visiting his city, he didn't want to see the Pope, so he stayed in his room and ended reading this Gospel. That is origin of the movie. Thanks another poster for letting me know about "Moses the Lawgiver." I was on a pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt and several weeks ago in Egypt was at mount Sinai and we also saw some of the places along Israel's route mentioned in the Pentateuch. I much look forward to see this film, which I just ordered from amazon in Britain.

[quote="patrick457, post:4, topic:243906"]
Ah, Il Vangelo secondo Matteo is gotta be one of my favorite Jesus films. All the more remarkable given that Pasolini was an atheist and an outspoken homosexual, indeed a Marxist to boot. I don't know if I would call it my number one choice, but it is definitely on my personal top three Jesus films; it's one of the best of breed IMHO. :)

For the record, the 1995 Vatican Film List incidentally recognizes it as one 'important' film (under the heading Religion)! :)

[/quote]

So, how about The Exorcist? Good for mature Catholics or not? What did the Vatican say about it - if anything? The least that can be said for The Exorcist is that it takes the topic of exorcism seriously, even if it is very sensational.

Oh yes, they did say one thing: Exorcist: The Beginning was bad. Nah, I’m just joking. :smiley:

But in all seriousness, no, the Holy See (which I believe is the term we should use, since “the Vatican” more correctly refers to a different entity: for one thing, the Vatican City State only came into existence in 1929!) has not issued anything about The Exorcist, or any other films which deal with demonic possession to my knowledge.

I mean, I’m still waiting for a verdict on the cheap - and unintentionally humorous - Turkish 1974 ripoff of the film called Şeytan. But if they’re not going to do the original, odds are they aren’t going to say anything about it either. :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote="patrick457, post:14, topic:243906"]
Oh yes, they did say one thing: Exorcist: The Beginning was bad. Nah, I'm just joking. :D

[/quote]

Couldn't agree more! A truly awful film. Paul Schrader's version, Dominion, was half-decent, though.

[quote="patrick457, post:14, topic:243906"]
... the Holy See (which I believe is the term we should use, since "the Vatican" more correctly refers to a different entity: for one thing, the Vatican City State only came into existence in 1929!)

[/quote]

Ah yes, I must keep that in mind!

[quote="patrick457, post:14, topic:243906"]
I mean, I'm still waiting for a verdict on the cheap - and unintentionally humorous - Turkish 1974 ripoff of the film called Şeytan. But if they're not going to do the original, odds are they aren't going to say anything about it either. :p

[/quote]

Ha! I'm supposing you've seen The Antichrist and Beyond the Door (both 1974) as well then...

I wonder if the holy see commenting on a film like the Exorcist is/was primarily avoided so as not to comprimise the very real exorcisms they, even "The Exorcist"(actually based on the Robbie Manheim incident), are often based on? After all, is it not against general practice to comment on the real exorcism incidents so as to preserve privacy for those involved?

[quote="colliric, post:16, topic:243906"]
I wonder if the holy see commenting on a film like the Exorcist is/was primarily avoided so as not to comprimise the very real exorcisms they, even "The Exorcist"(actually based on the Robbie Manheim incident), are often based on? After all, is it not against general practice to comment on the real exorcism incidents so as to preserve privacy for those involved?

[/quote]

I think it's probably just a matter of the Holy See not being in the business of film commentary.

Well that too I guess! lol!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.