February 23, 1996 in Nation/World

These Films Come Highly Recommended

David Briggs Associated Press

“Ben-Hur” made it. “The 10 Commandments” didn’t. “Gandhi,” “The Bicycle Thief” and the “Wizard of Oz” all made the cut. But not “Casablanca” or any film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean Claude Van Damme.

Call it the Vatican’s guide to the greatest movies of all time.

In a document marking the centenary of film, a Vatican committee has selected 45 movies - from Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” to Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” - that represent the best film has to offer from the church’s perspective.

For those who view religious groups as unrelenting critics of Hollywood, there are a few surprises.

For example, the movies the Vatican gives two thumbs-up to include a number of films that take a critical look at religion, including Roland Joffe’s “The Mission” and Luis Bunel’s atheistic satire “Nazarin,” as well as the R-rated “Schindler’s List,” in which nudity and violence are integral to depicting the horrors of the Holocaust.

For pure enjoyment, the faithful are advised to scour their video stores for films ranging from “It’s a Wonderful Life” to “The Lavender Hill Mob.”

The Vatican list - modestly titled “Some Important Films” - was compiled as part of a larger effort during the 100th anniversary of filmmaking to encourage the faithful to be discriminating viewers of movies, according to Archbishop John Foley, head of the Pontifical Council on Social Communications.

“It was not an attempt to canonize films, but it was an attempt to indicate what some good films are,” Foley said.

The Vatican committee divided the films into three categories: religion, values and art.

Important films on religion, according to the Vatican list, included such familiar pictures as “Ben-Hur” and “A Man For All Seasons.”

In the values category, the committee selected works ranging from “Chariots of Fire” to “Schindler’s List.”

Finally, the committee included a third category composed of titles “which are, simply, masterpieces of cinematic language and art.”

These titles included films such as Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

xxxx Divine cinema The Vatican’s list of best movies, in three categories: Religion Andrei Roublev Mission La Passion De Jean D’Arc La Passion Pathe’ Francesco, Giullare Di Dio Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo Therese Ordet Sacrificio Francesco Ben Hur Babette’s Feast Nazarin Monsieur Vincent A Man for All Seasons

Values Gandhi Intolerance Il Decalogo Au Revoir Les Infants Dersu Uzala L’Albero Degli Zoccoli Roma Citta’ Aperta Smultronstallet Chariots of Fire Ladri Di Biciclette It’s a Wonderful Life Schindler’s List On the Waterfront Biruma No Tategoto

Art 2001: A Space Odyssey La Strada Citizen Kane Metropolis Modern Times Napoleon Otto e Mezzo La Grande Illusion Nosferatu Stagecoach Il Gattopardo Fantasia Wizard of Oz The Lavender Hill Mob Little Women

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