Editor’s note: This monthly series, “5 Family-Friendly Things,” spotlights five family-friendly entertainment choices on film, DVDs, streaming or television.
Bible movies are a favorite in my household, but even the best ones leave me asking a series of critical questions, such as: Is that really in the Bible? Did they make that up? Why did they put that in there?
Thankfully, though, there are Bible movies that just stick to the text, and four of the best ones are now on Netflix. They have simple titles – The Gospel of Matthew, The Gospel of Mark, The Gospel of Luke and The Gospel of John – and use only the text of Scripture as their script.
This means you can pull your Bible off the shelf (filmmakers used the New International Version) and follow along as the movie progresses. It also means you won’t be shutting it off in frustration, wondering why the text was changed.
These four movies share the No. 1 spot on this month’s list of “5 Family-Friendly Things.”
They are among the most inspiring and skillfully made movies I’ve ever watched.
Documentarian David Batty directed them.
“It’s the greatest story ever told,” Batty told me. “I wanted to try and be as authentic as possible.”
The movies were filmed in Morocco – which looks a lot like biblical Israel – and used actors and actresses from the region. Thus, the characters look like the people of the New Testament.
You don’t hear the characters speak, though. Instead, you see their lips move and hear a narrator read the biblical text. It’s a unique filmmaking technique that works wonderfully.
The movies aren’t short. Matthew and Luke span more than three hours, John about two and a half hours, and Mark right at two hours flat.
Also worth watching this month:
2. ‘Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers’ – If you’re searching for an easy and historically accurate way to teach your children about Thanksgiving, then look no further. In The Mayflower Voyagers – which is free on Amazon Prime – Charlie Brown and his companions board the Mayflower and make their way across the Atlantic with the Pilgrims. God is given credit for the safe journey, and prayers are said. I show it to my children every year.
3. ‘Drive Thru History: Acts to Revelation’ – Documentarian and historian Dave Stotts travels across the Mediterranean region to explore the locations and cities in the New Testament. Stotts has filmed five Drive Thru History series – including ones based on the Gospels and American history – but his Acts to Revelation 18-episode series is streaming for free through TBN’s website (TBN.com). Others can be purchased at DriveThruHistory.com. It will entertain you and encourage you in your faith.
4. ‘Christopher Robin’ – This 2018 Disney film releases on DVD Nov. 6 and tells the story of a stressed-out man – Christopher Robin – who has lost his joy in life. Thankfully, his childhood friends Winnie The Pooh, Tigger and Piglet help him rediscover the simple pleasures. It is rated PG, contains no coarse language, and is one of the cleanest movies you’ll ever find. It has lots of great lessons, too.
5. ‘If I Were An Animal’ – In this cute, 13-episode Netflix series, two children teach other kids about animals and insects, from birth to adulthood. The amazing cinematography will entertain adults, and the kid-friendly narration will keep young viewers engrossed. It’s appropriate for all ages.