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A Man for All Seasons

Based on Robert Bolt's famous play, this 1966 movie starring Paul Scofield portrays the life and martyrdom of St. Thomas More, who refused to recognize Henry VIII's right to divorce Catherine of Aragon and rejected Henry's claim to be head of the Church in England. This is a superb portrayal of England in the early sixteenth century and an extraordinarily accurate portrayal of the issues of Faith and conscience which King Henry so thoroughly abused. Since he first saw the film at the age of eighteen, this has been Jeff Mirus' favorite movie—by a Tudor country mile. Rated G. Special edition DVD (also available to stream). 120 min.

Babette's Feast (English Subtitled)

Pope Francis's favorite movie. Babette, an exiled Paris chef, brings comfort, love and enlightenment to two aging sisters who have been deprived of so much (including marriage and family) in their late father's austere Protestant sect. Phil Lawler: "If you’re Catholic, you should recognize what this movie is really about." 1987. Rated G. Bluray, DVD or streaming. 102 min.

Calvary

Archbishop Chaput calls this "the best portrayal of a good priest in impossible circumstances I've seen in several decades." Martin McDonagh's serious yet savagely funny film (reviewed here) stars Brendan Gleeson as a priest in a little Irish village whose inhabitants, like so many in Ireland, are disillusioned with the faith. A man enters the confessional and informs Fr. James that because he was molested by a priest as a child, he will murder Fr. James in one week's time. During that time, Fr. James must decide how to respond to this threat while continuing to try to break through the indifference and contempt of his flock. 2014. Rated R. DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming. 101 min.

Catholicism (Robert Barron)

Bishop Barron is well known for his popular apologetics and commentary on Catholic faith and culture. His most famous documentary series, Catholicism, is a wide-ranging exploration of not just the faith itself, but the whole richness of the Catholic tradition, filmed in more than 50 locations around the world. 2011. Blu-ray, DVD. 500 min.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Narrated by the great Werner Herzog, this documentary takes viewers far, far away from the civilization and lifestyle we know to spend a year with trappers in a vast and isolated region of Siberia. We are immersed in the rhythm of the seasons as these men, more closely attuned to nature than we will ever be, prepare for the time of year when they leave their families to go trapping in the frozen wilderness. This film will speak to your soul. 2013. Not rated. DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming. 90 min.

Nicholas and Alexandra

This is a highly accurate, beautifully-rendered and intensely moving portrayal of the reign of the last of the czars in Russia, the problems faced by Nicholas II and his family, the inordinate influence of the monk Rasputin (who was very likely possessed and all but impossible to kill), and the ultimate collapse of the Romanovs in the face of the Communist Revolution, including the murder of the Czar and his entire family. Released by Sony in 1971, starring Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Laurence Olivier, and Michael Redgrave (among others). Rated PG. Blu-ray, DVD and streaming183 min.

Silence

A contemplative masterpiece. Based on the classic novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence (directed by Martin Scorsese) is the harrowing yet beautiful story of Portuguese Jesuit missionaries ministering to the persecuted Christians in 17th-century Japan. (Some may find the suffering portrayed in this movie to be disturbing. While we highly recommend the movie itself, some comments made by the filmmakers in the DVD extra features are problematic from a Catholic perspective.) 160 minutes. 2016. Rated R. DVD, Blu-Ray. 160 min.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Based on a true story. When a young Catholic girl, Emily Rose, dies of self-inflicted wounds and malnutrition after undergoing an exorcism, her exorcist is charged with negligent homicide and thrown under the bus by his archdiocese. The priest's lawyer (played by Laura Linney), an unbeliever, must find a way to defend him in a secular court which finds the idea of demonic possession preposterous—and in the process, she herself is forced to consider the possibility that the devil is real. 2005. Rated PG-13. DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming. 119 minutes.

The Scarlet and the Black

World War II drama based on a true story of Catholic courage in Nazi-occupied Rome, starring Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer. Vatican Msgr. Hugh O'Flaherty (Peck) rescues Allied refugees, including many Jews, from imprisonment and death at the hands of the Gestapo. Based on J. P. Gallagher's book, The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican. Filmed for TV in 1983; nominated for three Primetime Emmy awards. UK rating PG. DVD, streaming. 138 min.

VeggieTales: All the Shows Vol. 1

VeggieTales have been around for a long time now (remember VHS cassettes?), teaching kids Biblical values through entertaining characters who are, well, vegetables. (Some parents think this is a bad image for kids to have of key figures in salvation history, so give it some thought.) While this DVD is not really ALL the shows, it is a good way to get started, including ten shows from the early period, 1993-1999, which some parents think are the best: Where's God When I'm S-scared??; God Wants Me to Forgive Them?!?; Are You My Neighbor?; Rack, Shack, & Benny; Dave & The Giant Pickle; The Toy That Saved Christmas; LarryBoy and the Fib from Outer Space; Josh & The Big Wall; Madame Blueberry; and LarryBoy and the Rumor Weed. Includes silly songs, too. 2015. Not rated. DVD 322 min.

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