100 Most Spiritually Significant Films

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Can you name the Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films According to Arts & Faith (2010)?

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Director and YearFilmDescription
Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955The story of Morten Borgen (Henrik Malberg), a prosperous farmer whose three sons have each laid a particular burden on their father’s shoulders.
Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988The ten episodes are linked by a common setting, a Warsaw high-rise apartment complex where all the characters live.
Gabriel Axel, 1987Two aging Danish sisters are helped by a wonderful cook.
Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928At the heart of this portrait is the haunting face of Maria Falconetti, whose transcendent evocation of the Maid of Orleans has been called the greatest performance ever filmed.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002Olivier Gourmet won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 for his role as a carpenter who takes on an apprentice.
Robert Bresson, 1966The main character is a donkey.
F.W. Murnau, 1927A husband and wife struggling through a very dark time in the marriage.
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966The life of a 15th-century monk who was Russia's greatest iconographer.
Yasujiro Ozu, 1951Noriko lives contentedly in an extended family household that includes her parents and her brother's family, but an uncle's visit prompts the family to find her a husband.
Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964According to atheist, Marxist Pasolini, 'John was too mystical, Mark too vulgar, and Luke too sentimental.'
Robert Bresson, 1951A sensitive new priest (Claude Laydu) moves into a parish in Northern France so he can serve a small village called Ambricourt, only to discover he is less than welcome.
Wim Wenders, 1987Two angels observing the people of a divided Berlin.
Ingmar Bergman, 1957Medieval drama where Death himself plays a role.
Akira Kurosawa, 1952A mumbling, staid bureaucrat in Tokyo discovers he is dying.
Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993-1994Three films that represent the colors of the French flag, and the values they represent: liberty, equality and fraternity.
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975No apparent plot, but the sections of the movie that most resemble a traditional narrative center on a boy named Ignat who is asked to choose if he wants to live with his mother or his father.
Satyajit Ray, 1955-1959Three films which follow a boy from his impoverished childhood in a small Bengali village through early adulthood, when he becomes a novelist, husband, and father.
Yasujiro Ozu, 1959A traveling theater arrives by ship at a small seaside town in Japan.
Lee Isaac Chung, 2007A film made with the help of Rwandans, informed by their own experiences, and performed in their own language.
Kon Ichawa, 1956Simple, almost fable-like narrative follows a division of exhausted Japanese soldiers stationed in Burma, who struggle to keep their spirits and humanity alive by singing.
Yasujiro Ozu, 1953An elderly couple—Shukichi and Tomi—drop in on their adult children in Tokyo, only to find that time and change have increased the cultural gap between generations.
Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009The story of physics professor Larry Gopnik, living in a Jewish enclave of Minnesota in Spring 1967.
Eric Rohmer, 1969A Catholic man must choose between the free-thinking Maud and the devout Francoise.
Philip Gröning, 2005An intimate documentary portrayal of the everyday lives of Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, high in the French Alps.
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1983Concerns a Russian poet named Andrei Gorchakov who has left his homeland in order to research a biography he is writing about an eighteenth century Russian composer named Sosnovsky.
Zhang Ke Jia, 2006Meditation on the effects—personal, societal, and environmental—that occur during the building of the magnificent Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River in central China.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2005Small-time criminal Bruno will sell anything if he can benefit from it—even his own newborn child.
Vittorio de Sica, 1948On his first day on the job, Antonio's bike is stolen.
Robert Bresson, 1956The film details the imprisonment of a Free French rebel in World War II.
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979In a dilapidated city lives the Stalker, a man called to guide people into the mysterious region known as the Zone.
Fred Zinnemann, 1966Paul Scofield won an Oscar for his portrayal as Saint Thomas More.
Robert Duvall, 1997A sensitive cultural ethnography of the exotic, much-maligned world of Southern Pentecostalism.
Pavel Lungin, 2006Russian film about an eccentric 20th century East Orthodox monk.
Abbas Kiarostami, 1990Retells the true story of the trial of Hossein Sabzian who fraudulently convinced a family that he was the famous film director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
Director and YearFilmDescription
Ingmar Bergman, 1957An elderly physician travels to an awards ceremony.
Terrence Malick, 1978Blast-furnace worker Bill (Richard Gere) gets in a fight with his foreman, then goes on the run with his girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) and little sister Linda.
Jacques Tati, 1967Hulot isn’t exactly a clown; often, he’s merely an awkward observer stumbling through a world fraught with hilarious, barely controlled chaos.
Ingmar Bergman, 1962Follows the pastor of a small rural Swedish church, as he questions the existence of God and his faith is replaced with doubt, apathy and anger.
Ingmar Bergman, 1961When a girl succumbs to schizophrenia, her father returns home to meet with her husband and brother.
Forough Farrokhzad, 1962Short documentary about the life and suffering on a leper colony in Iran.
Eric Rohmer, 1986At Biarritz train station Delphine meets a young man who is travelling to Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1943Set in a Danish village in 1623 where an old woman Herlof's Marte (Anna Svierkier) is accused of witchcraft.
Carlos Reygadas, 2007Set in a Mexican community of Old Order Mennonites, where Johan, an unfaithful husband, tries to rationalize his infidelity—with devastating consequences.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 1992Igor is the fifteen-year-old son of a slumlord who traffics in illegal immigrants.
Frank Capra, 1946The story is set in motion by the prayers of men and women all over town offered for George Bailey.
Fritz Lang, 1931Peter Lorre embodies and humanizes a child murderer.
Yasujiro Ozu, 1949The story concerns Noriko, who lives happily with her widowed father and seems in no hurry to get married. Her father, a professor, however, wants to see her settled and conspires with his sister to trick Noriko into pursuing an arranged marriage.
Charles Burnett, 1977A meditative tour of the Watts neighborhood in 1977, an L.A. ghetto where many barely have enough resources to feed themselves.
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972A psychodrama occurring mostly aboard a space station orbiting a new planet.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1987An Afghan refugee rides his bicycle without stopping for seven days and seven nights, with the aim of raising money for life-saving surgery.
Victor Erice, 1973Focuses on the young girl Ana and her fascination with the 1931 American horror film Frankenstein, as well as exploring her family life and schooling.
Ingmar Bergman, 1972A tormented, cancer-stricken woman, Agnes, who seems to rot away as we helplessly view her demise.
Jean-Luc Godard, 1962Subtitled 'A Film in Twelve Scenes,' presents a dozen moments in Nana's life.
David Lynch, 1999Richard Farnsworth travels across America on a tractor to visit his brother.
Roberto Rossellini, 1950Rossellini cast actual Franciscan monks in this neorealist portrait of the friar of Assisi.
Jacques Doillon, 1996A four-year-old girl struggling to understand her mother’s death in a car accident.
Abbas Kiarostami, 1999Apparently lost, some men who claim to be treasure hunters drive their jeep through rugged country in what seems like Middle of Nowhere, Iran.
Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999An odyssey of coincidence, absurdity, failure, and redemption one day in L.A.
F.W. Murnau, 1926Mephisto strikes a deal with a German doctor.
Ingmar Bergman, 1982Sprawling five-hour masterpiece that uses a local theatre and the large Swedish bourgeois family that runs it to explore the relationship between the creative world and the “real” world.
Wim Wenders, 1984Harry Dean Stanton is Travis, a gaunt, mysterious man trying to reconnect with his family.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996A semi-autobiographical account of Makmahlbaf's experience as a teenager when, as a seventeen-year-old, he stabbed a policeman at a protest rally and was jailed.
Robert Bresson, 1962Bresson's take on the famous martyrdom, based entirely on the minutes of Jeanne's trial.
Claire Denis, 1999The story of Galoup, an officer leading a troop of the French Foreign Legion in Djibouti, East Africa.
Hirokazu Koreeda, 1998Set in a kind of halfway house for the dead. In the film, the dead arrive at a school-like building where they will prepare themselves for eternity.
Stan Brakhage, 2001Collection of the experimental's filmmakers many short films.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2008In order to become the owner of a snack bar with her boyfriend, Lorna, a young Albanian woman living in Belgium, becomes an accomplice to a diabolical plan devised by mobster Fabio.
Hugh Hudson, 1981Stretches the boundaries of both the biopic and sports genres as it presents a series of vignettes from the lives of two runners in the years and months leading up to the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.
Director and YearFilmDescription
Akira Kurosawa, 1975A solitary, nomadic Mongolian hunter happens upon Arseniev’s surveying party in the Siberian wilderness.
Cristian Mungiu, 2007The film is set in 1987, in the last years of the Ceausescu regime, during which abortion was illegal.
Yasujiro Ozu, 1962Darker, more caustic comedy during the family scenes than Ozu usually filmed. Similar plot-- a father tries to get his daughter married.
Nicolas Klotz, 2007A human resources worker for the Paris branch of a German company must investiage the strange behavior of the CEO.
Bruce Beresford, 1983Robert Duvall won an Oscar for his performance as a former country music star. Written by Horton Foote.
Olivier Assayas, 2008Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother's succession.
Akira Kurosawa, 1950The most famous example of point-of-view storytelling in cinema, as four witnesses to the murder recount their wildly different, contradictory versions of the crime.
Peter Glenville, 1964Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton in the screen adaptation of Jean Anouilh's play about King Henry II's greatest friend and enemy.
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1947Follows five nuns, led by Sister Clodagh, into the Himalayas to start a hospital and school for the local villagers.
Shinji Aoyama, 2000A three and a half hour drama that begins with a girl and a boy who board a bus, which is then hijacked by a crazy killer.
Maya Deren and Alexander HammidMaya Deren's modernist masterpiece, a short film about a woman who walks around her neighborhood and home on a sunny afternoon, but is trapped, or enmeshed, in the domesticity of suburban life.
Roberto Rossellini, 1945Set during the nine-month Nazi occupation of Rome during WWII.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006A retelling of the moment that the director’s parents met at an occupational psychology interview in a Thai country hospital.
Jean-Pierre and Luc DardenneFollows a few days in the life of the titular character, a young woman determined to work for her living while stuck with the burden of caring for her alcoholic mother.
Edward Yang, 2000Painstakingly observant film about a couple of weeks in the life of a Taiwanese family.
Robert Bresson, 1959Follows Michel, a rootless Parisian man whose life seemingly consists of two things: thieving and brooding in his room.
Paul Thomas AndersonTwist on the romantic comedy, Adam Sandler plays a lonely small-time business owner with seven sisters.
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986Alexander (Erland Josephson) and his family are on a remote Swedish Island at the moment the world launches into nuclear war. Alexander begs God to spare humanity and, in exchange, he will sleep with a witch and burn all his worldly belongings.
Werner Herzog, 1977Bruno is an outcast wherever he lives, and both the German friends he leaves behind and his newfound community in Wisconsin judge him to be nothing more than an alcoholic ex-con.
Denys Arcand, 1989An actor, upon being hired to produce a passion play for one of Montreal's churches, decides to base the play not on the gospels per se but on his own reconstruction of the 'historical Jesus.'
Giddi Dar, 2004Inside an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, a married couple, Moshe and Mali, are preparing for the Jewish harvest holiday of Succoth.
David Di Sabatino, 2005Documentary about an evangelist preacher. Lonnie Frisbee, seeking euphoria in LSD, was tripping with friends in a California canyon painting pictures of Jesus on the rock walls when he claims he met Jesus and his life was changed forever.
Louis Malle, 1987During WWII, a Catholic headmaster at a private French school hides Jews in the student body.
Mark Dornford-May, 2006Working with the South African theater group Dimpho di Kopane, director Mark Dornford-May crafts a retelling of the life of Jesus that manages to incorporate many of the most familiar elements of the story, while at the same giving it a vividly modern setting.
Ingmar Bergman, 1960Set in medieval Sweden, it is a revenge tale about a father's merciless response to the rape and murder of his young daughter.
Jean-Luc Godard, 2001Edgar wants to make a movie about love, showing it from the perspectives of three different couples—one young, one adult, and one old. But he can't figure out what love actually is.
Woody Allen, 1989The film is set in New York City and follows Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a successful ophthalmologist, and Cliff Stern (Woody Allen), a struggling documentary filmmaker. The two men are each confronted with moral crises.
Terrence Malick, 2005The European settlement of Jamestown, the ensuing battles with furious natives, and a legendary cross-cultural love affair.
Jacques Tati, 1953Hulot travels to a French seaside town, and finds it incredibly difficult to obtain leisure.
Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2003Two brothers must decide whether to trust the stranger who suddenly arrives in their home claiming to be their father.
Lars von Trier, 1996When an accident sends Jan to the hospital, his bizarre, cruel requests to his wife show that his mental state has been compromised.
Henry King, 1943The story of Bernadette Soubirous—an illiterate teenager who in 1858 claimed to see visions of a beautiful lady who was later identified as the Blessed Virgin.

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