Just like husbands and fathers, Catholic priests have become the butt of the joke in most TV shows and films. As St. Jean-Marie Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests said, "When people want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest; for when there is no priest, there is no sacrifice: and when there is no sacrifice, there is no religion."
Even some potentially good films portray priests like wandering dummies, or oblivious buffoons, instead of the Alter Christus that they truly are. It is obnoxious and has become an old tired routine.
I would love to share with you a few of my favorite films that portray Catholic priests in a good light.
In no particular order:
Popieluszko: Freedom is Within Us // Father Jerzy
I LOVE Blessed Father Jerzy so much…. this movie is so beautiful and quite sad at the end.
This movie portrays some of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko’s life. It shows his fight against the Communist Regime, leading ultimately to his horrific, violent death by them. His body was almost unrecognizable after the beating and tortures he endured.
The Scarlet and the Black // Fr. O’Flaherty
This film is based on the true story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who worked in Rome hiding thousands of POW’s during Romes occupation of the Germans in World War II. He is played by Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer plays the Nazi Officer who tries desperately to take him down. It is an edge-of-your-seat film, very well done in my opinion.
The Miracle of the Bells // Father Paul
A cute film. I loved the character that Frank Sinatra plays – Father Paul. He’s not goofy, dumb, or obnoxious. He was also a "Latin Mass" priest because that's how the Mass was back then!
I couldn’t really take Frank Sinatra seriously as a priest to be honest, but I do love his character nonetheless.
The Detective 1954 // Father Brown
A detective film… lead by a priest! G.K. Chesterton’s “Father Brown”, played by Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi // Star Wars Trilogy). Father Brown is funny, witty and manages to solve the crime, catch the thief and save his soul as well. I highly recommend. It’s way better than the Father Brown TV series, which focus way too much on infidelity and so on. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The Miracle of Fatima 1952 / Father Ferreira
Despite two newer versions, this film remains my favorite. (At least they didn’t forget to make everything dry after the Miracle of the Sun in this version….) I love the innocence, and the … well traditionalism of it. The priest in this film that I am highlighting is the parish priest, Father Ferreira.
Can we talk about how beautiful the Traditions of the Church are!? This film shows many of them, so beautifully.
Imagine, how good and fatherly our parish priests are to be! How far have we come in our N.O. Churches…
This scene…. the Latin… the procession… the children… the vestments!
A shepherd looking after his flock.
The Song of Bernadette 1943 // Father Peyramale
Another CLASSIC. I love Father Peyramale. I love this film.
For Greater Glory // Father Christopher & Father Vega
If you have not seen this film, you NEED to watch it. Period. Its beautiful, heartbreaking and just so good. It is based on a true story about the Mexican Catholics having to rise up and defend themselves and their Faith against the Masonic government who suppresses them and martyrs many.
The two priests in this film I love are Father Christopher, who is martyred early in the film, and Father Vega, who fight the Freemasonic gunmen for their freedom to celebrate the Mass and practice the Catholic Faith.
May we all have the courage to stand up for our faith, even if it be necessary, to death.
Gimme Shelter // Father McCarthy
A surprisingly good film, despite the cringey title! This film focuses on a young girl who wants to keep her baby and has no where to turn and ends up at a (Catholic!) home for women in crisis. It is based on the true story of Catholic Kathy DiFiores work: Several Sources Shelter for pregnant teens in New Jersey.
Our main character is taken under the wing of (Catholic!) priest, Father McCarthy. Despite his non-traditional garb, I thought it a worthy mention, just because he’s actually portrayed positively and helpful. Not creepy, cringey, or dumb.
Boys Town 1938 // Father Flanagan
Based on the true story of Father Flanagan.
Karol the Man Who Became Pope & Karol, the Pope The Man // Fr. Karol Wojtyla
Two films that document the life of Pope John Paul II before his election as Pope and afterwards.
Molokai // Fr. Damien
The true story of St. Damien Molokai, the priest who lived on an island for lepers and who cared for them, preparing them for their deaths, until ultimately dying of leprosy himself.
There Be Dragons // Fr. Josemaría Escrivá
This film follows a man who researches his fathers past, finding that he knew Saint Josemaría Escrivá.
The Wizard of Heaven // Fr. Jean Marie Vianney (The Curé d’ars)
A very old (well, it only looks old, it was filmed in 1949!), French film depicting the life of St. John Vianney during his time in Ars.
Going My Way // Fr. Fitzgibbon
Yes, I love the older priest who is portrayed as sort of “grouchy when it comes to new fangled things” and good for him!
The Keys of the Kingdom // Father Chisholm
A priest becomes a Missionary in China.
Don Bosco (2004) // Fr. John Bosco
There is also a 1988 version that is awesome!
Padre Pio 2000 // Fr. Pio
How could I not include this movie?
The Assisi Underground 1985 // Fr. Rufino
This film shows the Catholic Church’s role in rescuing Italian Jews from the Nazis in Assisi. I especially love Padre Rufino. (Apparently there really was a Fr. Rufino?)
A Time To Remember 1988 // Father Walsh
A lovely Christmas movie about a young boy who has a beautiful voice and wants to sing but his dad thinks its girly. Father Walsh is awesome, mostly because he wears the full cassock haha.
Die Famille Von Trappe 1956 // Fr. Wasner
This film is really awesome, its the Von Trapp Family, before the “Sound of the Music” and follows the real story of the Trapp Family closer. Father Wasner was the priest who helped them sing more professionally and was allowed to go with them to America.
I Confess 1953 // Fr. Michael
A Hitchcock film!
I may have forgotten a few…
What film did you like that portrayed a priest with reverence ?