Friday Fives: Five Not-Necessarily-Christian Movies with Themes that Will Preach

It’s always tricky to write about non-Christian films on a website that I am determined will be centered on Jesus Christ. However, I think it can be helpful for church lay leaders, pastors, ministers and small group leaders to have access to fresh concepts and stories to use in support of leading and teaching. Sometimes, even movies that aren’t directly and explicitly Judeo-Christian in theme can be helpful in communicating how Truth is reflected in culture through the arts.

So, in this Friday Fives, I suggest five movies that fit that bill.

Be aware that there are R-rated movies on the list. Please use your wisdom in determining how or whether you could use these. Each has its own flaws. At the same time, each is a worthwhile study.

Finally, I do my best to avoid spoilers throughout.

#5 The Book of Eli (2010)

The gist: Denzel Washington is Eli in this post-apocalyptic story of a man on a 30-year journey walking westward across the United States. Kind of a Gideons-meet-Mad-Max tale.

Why here: Eli is carrying with him the secret of the survival of mankind – the last edition of the Bible on earth.

#4 The Game (1997)

The gist: Michael Douglas plays Nicholas Van Orton, a very wealthy and very lonely and bitter man tormented by his father’s suicide.

Why here: Van Orton’s brother Conrad (Sean Penn) buys him “The Game” for his birthday. But when things go wrong, Van Orton learns what really matters in life.

#3 Truman Show (1998)

The gist: Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a man whose life, unbeknownst to him, is on camera 24 hours a day – the most popular television show in America. He was born on TV and his “real” life unfolds like a soap opera continuously on national television. (This is Jim Carrey’s best movie.)

Why here: Ostensibly an ahead-of-its-time skewering of the reality TV genre, the movie is a well crafted depiction of the search for truth and the importance of free will.

 #2 – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

The gist. You know the story of Charlie Bucket don’t you? The poor boy wins a Wonka Golden ticket and a chance to get an inside look at the world’s most scrumptious candy factory. (I prefer Gene Wilder to Johnny Depp.)

Why here: Great lessons about materialism, self-centeredness, spoiling children and, perhaps most powerfully, honesty and repentance.

Before I get to #1 on the list, some honorable mentions:

The Secret Life of Walter MittySaving Private Ryan, Glory, Titanic, Crash

#1 The Incredibles (2004)

The gist. Superheroes have fallen on hard times. They begin this story forced into hiding. The world doesn’t want or need its heroes anymore.

Why here: The movie is a remarkably honest and funny account of the family, which, in the end, is the real hero. We also learn to use our individual gifts for the betterment of others – which sounds wonderfully New Testament. is an affiliate. When you click on a link in a post and make a purchase, receives a percentage.