The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.


Top 100 Proudly Catholic Movies

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College surveyed 6,500 online readers to vote on their favorite “Proudly Catholic Movies.” The result is a Catholic Hall of Fame list of the top 100 movies, available to print out here.

The Passion of the Christ was the favorite, but two 2012 movies rated in the top 10: Les Miserables at No. 4 and For Greater Glory at No. 6.

The “Proudly Catholic Movies” poll was born when I high-fived my wife when soldiers knelt for a blessing during a big-budget production of Henry V. Great film is an art, and art is something we experience apart from any ulterior motive — apart from feeling any need to high five anybody, for instance. We encounter art in order to encounter beauty and humanity in a profound way.

But when we queue up for a movie like Noah, art isn’t our only motivation. We anticipate great filmmaking and acting, but we also want to see it because it’s about Noah. We love Noah, we love the story of Noah, we love what Noah’s life says about God, and we love what it says about us.

[Click here to see the “Top 100 Proudly Catholic Movies.”]

The Proudly Catholic Movies were rated by readers on both their artistic and their “high five your spouse” power, as part of the Gregorian Institute’s mission to promote Catholic identity in public life. In introducing the survey we asked, “What film inspires you with the Catholic deeds of priests, religious or lay people living their faith? What movie makes you proud to be Catholic?”

The list carries a disclaimer that not all of these films are family friendly. While Biblical epics and classics with Catholic elements were a staple on the list (as well as Ignatius Press’s recent string of saints stories), there were a number of surprises.

The action movies included Gran Torino, a Clint Eastwood movie about a tough guy living in a changing neighborhood, at No. 14, and two Mel Gibson action movies: Braveheart at No. 13 and We Were Soldiers at No. 52.

Several exorcism movies scored on the list, including The Exorcist (No. 28), The Rite (No. 37), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (No. 44) and The Conjuring (No. 83).

The Les Miserables story landed on the list in two versions: 2012’s version of the stage musical and 1998’s adaptation of the novel.

Comedies that may raise eyebrows made the list: Nacho Libre (No. 70), The Blues Brothers (No. 71) and Moonstruck (No. 75).

Click here to print out the “Top 100 Proudly Catholic Movies.

The Top 100 “Proudly Catholic” Movies

(Please note: Not all of these movies are family friendly. Preview films and check Parents Guides before sharing with children.)

1. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
2. A Man for all Seasons (1966)
3. The Sound of Music (1965)
4. Les Miserables (2012)
5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
6. For Greater Glory (2012)
7. The Scarlet and the Black (1983)
8. The Song of Bernadette (1943)
9. The Mission (1986)
10. Ben Hur (1959)
11. Beckett (1964)
12. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
13. Braveheart (1995)
14. Gran Torino (2008)
15. The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
16. Of Gods and Men (2010)
17. The Ten Commandments (1956)
18. Bella (2006)
19. I Confess (1951)
20. Going My Way (1944)
21. Rudy (1993)
22. Cinderella Man (2005)
23. The Way (2010)
24. October Baby (2011)
25. The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)
26. Babette’s Feast (1987)
27. The Trouble With Angels (1956)
28. The Exorcist (1973)
29. On the Waterfront (1954)
30. The Robe (1953)
31. The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)
32. Brideshead Revisited (1981)
33. The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
34. Return to Me (2000)
35. Les Miserables (1998)
36. Lilies of the Field (1963)
37. The Rite (2011)
38. The Miracle of Marcellino (1955)
39. There Be Dragons (2011)
40. The Cardinal (1963)
41. The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
42. Karol: A Man Who Became Pope (2005)
43. Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)
44. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
45. Tree of Life (2011)
46. The Reluctant Saint (1962)
47. Quo Vadis (1951)
48. Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999)
49. The Bible TV miniseries (2013)
50. Quo Vadis (2001)
51. Rocky II (1979)
52. We Were Soldiers (2002)
53. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
54. The Nativity Story (2006)
55. Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)
56. The Mighty Macs (2009)
57. Thérèse (1986)
58. Into Great Silence (2005)
59. The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
60. Come to the Stable (1949)
61. When in Rome (1952)
62. Pius XII (2010)
63. In This House of Brede (1975)
64. Don Bosco (2005)
65. Boys Town (1938)
66. Romero (1989)
67. Marty (1955)
68. The Island (2006)
69. The Power and the Glory
70. Nacho Libre (2006)
71. The Blues Brothers (1980)
72. The 13th Day (2009)
73. The Quiet Man (1952)
74. The Nun’s Story (1959)
75. Moonstruck (1987)
76. The Perfect Game (2009)
77. Millions (2004)
78. Henry Poole Is Here (2008)
79. The War of the Vendee (2012)
80. Father Brown (1954)
81. Bakita: From Slave to Saint
82. The Conjuring (2013)
83. Clare and Francis (2009)
84. I am David (2003)
85. Therese (2004)
86. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor (2007)
87. Saint Philip Neri: I Prefer Heaven (2011)
88. The Confession (2011)
89. Saint Ralph (2004)
90. 61* (2001)
91. The Singing Nun (1963)
92. Monsieur Vincent (1947)
93. The Maldonado Miracle (2003)
94. The Miracle Maker (2000)
95. Beyond the Gates (2005)
96. Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
97. The Wrong Man (1956)
98. A. D. (miniseries) (1985)
99. Barabbas (1961)
100. Katyn (2007)

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Tom Hoopes


Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II, The Fatima Family Handbook and What Pope Francis Really Said, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. He writes weekly for the National Catholic Register and Aleteia. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Catholic Digest. He lives in Atchison, Kansas, with his wife, April, and has nine children.