How many of the 45 Vatican-approved ‘important films’ have you seen?

by Catholic News Agency

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Ever felt like there is nothing worthwhile to watch?

You might want to check out the Vatican’s list of ‘Some Important Films’.

In 1995, Pope John Paul II addressed the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications, on an important occasion: the 100th anniversary of cinematography.

“Since the first public audience in Paris viewed the moving pictures prepared by the Lumière brothers in December 1895, the film industry has become a universal medium exercising a profound influence on the development of people’s attitudes and choices, and possessing a remarkable ability to influence public opinion and culture across all social and political frontiers,” the Pope said.

“The Church’s overall judgment of this art form, as of all genuine art, is positive and hopeful,” he added.

In his message, the Pope encouraged filmmakers to produce films that strove for the highest ideals of art, rather than those that uncritically showcase immorality and dehumanizing behavior.

“Genuine art is about truth, goodness and beauty. Its purpose must be to serve the integral well-being and development of those to whom it is directed,” he said.

Later that year, the Vatican released a list of films humbly titled “Some Important Films”, which were chosen by a committee of 12 international movie scholars appointed by the head of the pontifical commission, Archbishop John Foley. At the time of the list’s release, Archbishop Foley stressed that it was not exhaustive.

The films were divided into three categories of “Religion,” “Values,” and “Art,” with 15 films in each.

The list includes well-known classics such as “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Citizen Kane” and “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as some more religious choices such as “Ben-Hur” and “A Man for All Seasons.”

Today, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano also occasionally issues film reviews.

Below is the full list from 1995. How many have you seen?

‘Some Important Films’ – the full list:

‘Religion’

• Andrei Rublev (1966)

• Babette’s Feast (1987)

• Ben-Hur (1959)

• The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

• Francesco (1989)

• The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1966)

• La Passion de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ (1905)

• A Man for All Seasons (1966)

• The Mission (1986)

• Monsieur Vincent (1947)

• Nazarin (1958)

• Ordet (1954)

• The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

• The Sacrifice (1986)

• Therese (1986)


‘Values’

• Au Revoir les Enfants (1988)

• The Bicycle Thief (1949)

• The Burmese Harp (1956)

• Chariots of Fire (1981)

• The Decalogue (1988)

• Dersu Uzala (1975)

• Gandhi (1982)

• Intolerance (1916)

• It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

• On the Waterfront (1954)

• Rome, Open City (1945)

• Schindler’s List (1993)

• The Seventh Seal (1956)

• The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)

• Wild Strawberries (1957)


‘Art’

• Citizen Kane (1941)

• 8½ (1963)

• Fantasia (1940)

• Grand Illusion (1937)

• La Strada (1954)

• The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

• The Leopard (1963)

• Little Women (1933)

• Metropolis (1927)

• Modern Times (1936)

• Napoleon (1927)

• Nosferatu (1922)

• Stagecoach (1939)

• 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

• The Wizard of Oz (1939)

For a brief description of each film, go to: http://archive.usccb.org/movies/vaticanfilms.shtml