Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners

Article excerpt

CHRISTIANS IN THE MOVIES: A CENTURY OF SAINTS AND SINNERS by Peter E. Dans Rowman & Littlefield, 409 pages, $49.95

Dans, a professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School, wrote a wellreceived volume about Hollywood's portrayal of doctors from 1931 to 2000. As a serious Catholic and longtime film aficionado, he decided to do the same for Christians.

Dans selected over 200 Christianthemed films produced from 1905 to 2005 and organized them by decade, with a brief historical overview for each section. Although he likes most of the films, he also includes films that attack Christians. In this way he is able to trace the steady decline, with some notable exceptions, of the generally positive film portrayals of Christians until, as he puts it, "all orthodox clergy and believers were either vicious predators or narrowminded, mean spirited Pharisees. …

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