Ask us how many Christian movies topped the box office in the past few years and we’d be tempted to say “none.” But that was before we discovered that these hit movies had hidden Christian themes.
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis, the author of the novel The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, is famous for using Christian themes in his work. This film adaption is filled with them: Aslan is Jesus Christ, Jadis is Satan, and the plot of he movie follows the resurrection of Christ and the fall of Satan.
But those religious themes didn’t go over so well with everyone. When The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe came out in 2005, The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee criticized it, saying it was “invad[ing] children’s minds with Christian iconography… heavily laden with guilt, blame, sacrifice and a suffering that is dark with emotional sadism.”
The original script for Alien 3 features Ripley coming to the aid of monks on a wooden planet. That scene didn’t make it into the final cut, but Ripley’s other Christ-like attributes did: she falls from “the heavens” to help the prisoners; they deny her role as their savior; then she sacrifices her life to save theirs. She even does it with her arms out as if on a cross. Nothing subtle there.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
This one has it all: Willy Wonka’s issues with his estranged father is similar to the Parable of the Prodigal Son; the children are guilty of several of the seven deadly sins; and then there’s Wonka himself, who with his whimsical powers/abilities, is supposed to be like God.
Eyes Wide Shut
If you managed to make it through Kubrick’s last — and arguably most convoluted — film, you may have noticed a similarity between Bill and Alice at Victor Zeigler’s party and Adam and Eve lost in the wilderness after their expulsion from Eden.
Just with a lot more nudity.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Okay, so not every movie about a couple who winds up in a wacky mansion is about Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden. In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the wacky mansion is Eden and Brad and Janet are Adam and Eve — they don’t get expelled from the garden until the end of the movie.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
This movie — as well as the book series — ruffled more than a few conservative church feathers, and not just because of the witchcraft. After all, Harry doesn’t just do magic. He is the savior of his people, he wanders in the wilderness where he’s lured by temptation, and in the end [SPOILER ALERT] he dies to save those people — and is resurrected.
And don’t even get us started on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named: the wizard who fell from Dumbledore’s grace.
A hero with special abilities who’s sent down to earth by his father to save mankind? Jesus much?
The Lion King
This movie has so many Christian themes that it’s hard to pin it all down. Is Simba like Moses or Elijah coming out of the wilderness to defeat evil and free his people? Or is he Jesus who’s resurrected from death (exile in the jungle for PG purposes) to give his people new hope and please his father in heaven?
The Secret Garden
The author of this book and the 1993 movie that followed was a vocal member of the Christian Science Movement. So it’s not really shocking to find out that the garden in the film is Eden and the children are Adam and Eve.
When it comes to Total Recall‘s Christian themes, you have to throw out all of the animatromics and stop-motion animation that made this movie a hit and skip right to the end.
The moment where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rachel Ticotin land on a whole new oxygenated Mars? It’s the movie’s most striking Christian imagery and sets Schwarzenegger and Ticotin up to be the next Adam and Eve in the brave new martian-filled world.
The Truman Show
This movie is not so much borrowed straight from the bible as it is a story about the relationship between free will and God’s plan: the beautiful town of Seahaven, made just for Truman Burbank.
The Book of Eli
This underrated film’s plot is about the word of God being more powerful than any weapon — even after it appears that the world may be over.
One professor found himself in trouble for comparing the story of Frozen to the story of the fall of Satan. According to him, it was “the most Christian movie that I have seen this year.” In his analysis, Elsa craves freedom (“No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!”), is cast out and creates hell — just with ice instead of fire…
And her little sister Anna? She’s Elsa’s Christ-like redeemer who is wounded for Elsa’s sins, dies (or freezes) to save her sister and is resurrected.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Not all movies with Christian themes have positive Christian themes. Some feel that The Hunchback of Notre Dame shames organized religion by portraying the religious leaders in the movie as moral hypocrites.