Friday Fives: The Top Five Movies You Should See (But Probably Haven’t)

You’ve likely seen a bunch of them… Fireproof, Facing the Giants, Remember the Titans, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Blind Side, Schindler’s List, The Incredibles, etc. Most believers have their lists of favorite movies that have actually made a difference in their lives. Some are Christian, some secular, but they all hold true to values many of us share. And they’re great movies too.

This Friday Fives contains movies that fall in that category, but they’re ones you’re not likely to have seen, either because of their age or the marketing budget of the production company. Some you may not even have heard of. All are great films, though, worth your time.

If you have suggestions for a “part 2” of this Friday Fives, send an email.

#5 So Dear to My Heart, 1949

The Story: A Disney film not many have heard of, thus its presence on the list.  In it, Disney uses the same combination of live action and animation that had been so successful for Song of the South, produced 3 years earlier. Based on the Sterling North book Midnight and Jeremiah, its the story of a boy in Indiana who is raising a black wool lamb that has been rejected by its mother, even wanting to show the lamb in the county fair despite objections from many. The values and the message are powerful. I’ve never quite understood why it isn’t listed among the best Disney films ever.

#4 The Straight Story, 1999

The Story: It’s one of the most unusual and powerful stories of forgiveness I’ve ever seen. Directed by David Lynch, it’s based on the true story of Alvin Straight, who in 1994 made a trip from Iowa to Wisconsin on a riding lawnmower to see his estranged brother who had fallen ill. It’s so well acted, characters come off as both very real and very quirky at the same time. Richard Farnsworth, who plays the title character, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

#3 Ben Hur, 1959

The Story: This 1959 remake of a remake that is based on a book (and that will be remade again in 2016), is on the list because, while most know about it, relatively few have actually seen it start to end. In fact, it’s widely regarded as one of the greatest films in history. But it’s the subtitle,  A Tale of the Christ that will help explain its presence on this edition of Friday Fives. The highest grossing movie in 1959, it won 11 Academic Awards, still a record.  Yet, I’m guessing you haven’t seen it.

#2 Do You Believe, 2015

The Story: The newest film on the countdown, Do You Believe was recommended by my pastor, who spoke about it from the pulpit the Sunday of the weekend it debuted. Many of the stars will be familiar to you – Cybill Shepherd, Lee Majors, Sean Astin – but it’s a low budget Christian film that is well-produced, raw in a real way, and crafted around a compelling story. I’ve heard some compare it to a “Christian Crash.”

#1 Taking Chance, 2009

The Story: I realize that about a third of Leaderhelps readers don’t live in the United States, so please forgive a bit of nationalism here. I have stated multiple times and in multiple contexts that I believe every American citizen should see Taking Chance. It’s based on the true story of Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon) who escorts the body of a fallen Marine, Chance Phelps, to his home during the Iraq War. Very few films have made me as proud to be a Marine – so I make no claim of impartiality – or an American.


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