10 Best Religion Documentaries

Sunday, March 13 by James Jordan

Nothing gets people's emotions going like religion, and here is a list of 10 best religion documentaries. There are many famous ones, but for our purposes, we sought ones you perhaps have not heard of. These are among the best documentaries that explain various aspects of religion from the point of view of those in the documentary.

  1. "The Jesus Film" is the story of Jesu taken primarily from the Gospel of Luke. The documentary of Jesus was first released in 1979 and has been a major tool in spreading the gospel message worldwide. The film has been shown in almost every country of the world and has been translated into hundreds of languages.
  2. "The Life of Buddha," by the BBC. This documentary traces the life of the Buddha, from wealth to intentional poverty, and from there to enlightenment. Efforts are made to be historically accurate. Computer generated images are created based on archaeological discoveries. It was shot in Nepal and in India.
  3. "Ethics and the World Crisis: A dialogue with the Dalai Lama" is a documentary released in 2010. This documentary is based on interviews with the Dalai Lama and his conversations with leading activiists from around the world. The show has highlights from different panel discussions.
  4. "Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace," is a documentary that tells the story of this Lutheran priest who defied the Nazis and Hitler during World War II. he opposed what was happening to the Jews, and ultimately was executed because of the stands he took for justice. This documentary shows the final years of his life and details the German resistance to the Nazis.
  5. "Martin Luther: Reluctant Revolutionary" is the story of the monk who took on the Catholic Church and set in motion changes we still see today. He offered a new view of Christianity and man's relationship to God, and changed the face of modern religion. Luther marked the end of the Medieval world and the beginning of the modern world.
  6. "Hippie Masala," a documentary about American hippies in India seeking enlightenment. In the 1960's many self described hippies and flower children went to India seeking a pure life. India holy men saw it as a search for spirituality and offered help. Many returned to the states in a few months. Some stayed for good, and this documentary tells the story of those that stayed.
  7. "Visions and Miracles Out of the Land of Egypt" is the story of events that cannot easily be explained. Film make Paul Perry shows miracles that began at the Church of Zeitoun in Egypt in the 1960, including various images of Mary and Jesus on ceilings and walls.  The film's journey provides visual and material examination of visions and events that cannot be explained.
  8. "Amazing Grace: 5 Hymns That Changed the World," is the story of five classic hymns. The songs were all written in the 1800's, and there are stories behind each one. This documentary shows those stories of how the hymns were written, why they were written and any special meaning behind them. The Hymns are: Amazing Grace, It is Well with My Soul, What a Friend we have in Jesus, Silent Night and how Great Thou Art.
  9. "St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland," is the story of the man who became the patron saint of Ireland. He came to Ireland in the 5th century and brought the gospel message to the un-churched. As a result, a unique form of Celtic Christianity emerged.
  10. "The Jewish Americans" is the story of 350 years of Jews in America. The film was written by David Grubin and aired on PBS in three parts. The documentary focuses on the tension between identity and assimilation.