Whether you are sitting down with family on a Sunday evening or having a youth group movie night, there is no shortage of church-related movies for you to pick from. We’ve compiled a list of 20 movies or short films that we consider Latter-day Saint classics. Read through the list and then let us know how many of them you’ve seen!
Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration
This hour-long film, released in 2005, depicts the life and legacy of Joseph Smith. On YouTube alone it has over 3.7 million views. The film is also available in ASL, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese.
On the Lord’s Errand: The Life of Thomas S. Monson
This video biography of President Thomas S. Monson’s life highlights some of his great memories and experiences. Included in this video are interviews with President Monson, family members, and friends. Available to watch on the Church’s website.
Man’s Search for Happiness
This movie debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair to a viewership of over five million. The production has since been updated twice. Available to watch on the Church’s website.
Mr. Kruger’s Christmas
Mr. Kruger’s Christmas was produced in 1980 by Bonneville Communications, a Church entity. The film featured Hollywood leading man Jimmy Stewart. According to movie producer Michael McLean, Stewart, a Presbyterian, agreed to the role and fulfilled a lifelong dream of his by conducting the Tabernacle Choir as part of the film.
Johnny Lingo premiered in 1969. The short film was produced by the BYU Motion Picture Department and was based on a Woman’s Day magazine article called “Johnny Lingo’s Eight Cow Wife” by Patricia McGerr, a Catholic. Only two professional actors were brought in, Francis Urry to play Trader Harris, and Blaizdell MaKee for the title role of Johnny. Everyone else was played by locals in Hawaii where the film was shot. Mohana was played by BYU-Hawaii student Naomi Kahoilua. You can watch it now on Deseret Video+.
The Mountain of the Lord
This 75-minute film produced to commemorate the centennial of the Salt Lake Temple, which was dedicated April 6, 1893. The film aired between sessions of general conference on Saturday, April 3, 1993. Available to watch on Deseret Video+.
Also released in 1993, Legacy tells the epic pioneer history of the Church. Kieth Merrill, Legacy’s writer and director, said, “Legacy gives us the emotional dimension of Church history. Our goal was to capture the spirit of sacrifice, the spirit of faith, and the spirit of the people and make them real. Through Legacy we can be totally swept away in time and space as we meet early members of the Church—trek with them across the prairies, cry with them as they bury their dead, and rejoice with them as they marry and have children. These were real people who lived and breathed, who worried and cried, and who loved and laughed.”
The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd
Released in 2000, this film depicts events from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. The story culminates with a portrayal of the resurrected Savior's visit to the ancient Americas as seen through the eyes of a fictional family. It lasts approximately 65 minutes. The DVD is available at Deseret Book.
Meet the Mormons
Meet the Mormons, released in 2014, is the first movie in Church history to have a theatrical release. And it was created without a formal script, according to director Blair Treu.
“We wanted to tell our own stories, to get to know families from the rank and file of the Church and observe the impact of the gospel in their lives,” Treu told Newsroom at the time of the movie’s release. “We created free-flowing stories, keeping it authentic, to show who we are as a result of living our beliefs.”
Treu also said the movie was historic in the history of Church filmmaking: “It’s monumental! It’s a whole new direction we never thought would happen, and here it is.”
The full movie is available on YouTube.
As part of the Willie Handcart Company, Levi Savage (played by Jasen Wade) feared that leaving late in the season would lead to despair and death. What he came to find out is that for every tragedy, there is a multitude of miracles. Based on unbelievable actual events, 17 Miracles will open your eyes to the stories of the Mormon Pioneers as you have never seen them before. Available on Deseret Video+.
Ephraim’s Rescue tells the heroic true story of Ephraim Hanks, a simple man who was called to do the work of angels. The movie follows Ephraim as his adventures lead him to join the Church and to ultimately lead one of the most heroic rescues in American history. With a unique desire to help and strengthen others, Ephraim learns that each choice we make can prepare us for what lies ahead. He discovers, through it all, that decisions determine destiny. The DVD is available at Deseret Book.
The Cokeville Miracle
On May 16, 1986, in the small ranching community of Cokeville, Wyoming, David and Doris Young took an elementary school hostage for several hours before detonating a bomb inside a classroom that held every teacher and student in the school. In the wake of the madness, Ron Hartley, whose children were inside the classroom, must fight his skepticism and unbelief as he hears eyewitness accounts from the students about miraculous, heavenly intervention during the crisis. The DVD is available at Deseret Book.
The Saratov Approach
The Saratov Approach is the extraordinary, untold story of Elders Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst and their week-long abduction in Saratov, Russia. On what seemed like any other day during their two-year missions, Elders Tuttle and Propst are approached by Nikolai to meet a friend. But then the missionaries experience the unimaginable—kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom for nearly a week—on the other side of the world in Saratov, Russia. While their family, friends and the world pray for their safe return, Tuttle and Propst are tested physically, emotionally and—most of all—spiritually. Available on Deseret Video+.
The Best Two Years
Elder Rogers has only a couple of months to go on his mission, but his testimony and zeal for missionary work has suffered from hardships he experienced in letters from home. He is now only serving out his time with as little effort as possible when he is given a “greenie” from Oklahoma as a junior companion. Elder Calhoun has the enthusiasm, innocence, and naiveté of a new missionary. We follow the elders from the day of Elder Calhoun’s arrival to the day of Elder Rogers’ departure. The movie is humorous, but also heartfelt as we witness Elder Rogers rediscover his testimony through the simple but unshakable faith of Elder Calhoun. The DVD is available at Deseret Book.
The Errand of Angels
Set in the scenic mountains of Austria, The Errand of Angels is the story of Sister Rachel Taylor, an enthusiastic new missionary who faces the challenges of struggling to learn a different language, eat foreign cuisine, and find common ground with a difficult companion. Sister Taylor learns that sometimes the greatest change comes from within. Available on Deseret Video+.
The Other Side of Heaven
When John Groberg is sent on a three-year mission to Tonga, he has no idea what he is getting into. Not understanding the language and feeling lonely for the girl he left behind, Jean (played by Anne Hathaway), John faces suspicion, distress, typhoons, tidal waves, mosquitoes, and other perils of man and nature as he reaches out to the people of Tonga. Available on Deseret Video+.
The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith
Missionary John H. Groberg returns to Tonga in the 1960’s with his wife and their five young daughters. When their sixth child is born with a serious illness, the Grobergs face their ultimate test of faith, only to find themselves surrounded by the love and prayers of thousands of Tongans. Barriers of interreligious strife are soon broken down as all unite in hopes of a miracle that will save the baby’s life, as well as the life of a Tongan minister’s son. Available on Deseret Video+.
Emma Smith: My Story
Her legacy is forever linked to that of her husband, the Prophet Joseph Smith. But who really was Emma Hale Smith? Many years after the death of Joseph, Emma recounts to her daughter her experiences relating to the birth of the Church, from magnificent revelations to excruciating persecutions. The DVD is available at Deseret Book.
The Singles Ward
Frustrated and single again, Jonathan Jordan now finds himself faced with the uncomfortable task of returning to the local singles ward. In twist of fate, Jonathan’s car breaks down at a ward activity where he meets Cammie, the ward activities director. Jonathan’s life will never be the same. Available on Deseret Video+.
Jared Phelps finishes his mission with a promise from his mission president that he will be blessed for his service. But then Jared’s girlfriend breaks up with him, he loses his job, and he doesn’t get into BYU. As life gets worse and worse, Jared has to decide if choosing right is even worth it after all. Available on Deseret Video+.
So, how’d you do? Are you 20/20, or have you added a few movies to your watch list? As a bonus round, see how many of these seven newer gospel movies or TV shows you’ve seen:
Once I Was a Beehive
Lane Speer is a 16-year-old girl who spends her family vacations camping in the mountains. She takes the memories for granted until she loses her father to an unexpected bout with cancer. Only a year later, as Lane is still reeling from her father's death, her mother remarries a guy that Lane hardly knows. Worst of all, he is a Latter-day Saint. To top it off, while they are on their honeymoon, they arrange to have her stay with her Latter-day Saint step-aunt who takes her away to a Bible-themed girls camp with a bunch of young Latter-day Saint girls. Confronted with memories of camping with her family, she tries to find peace with her new surroundings and deal with the death of her father. DVD available at Deseret Book.
Once I Was Engaged
A stereotypical uber-planner, Carrie Carrington has her daughter’s entire life planned out. And the plan was working for Bree, too—that is until Thys Chesterfield (aka Mr. Perfect) comes on the scene and well …you know what they say about the best-laid plans. All too soon, Bree has a ring on her finger and Carrie is forced to abandon Plan A in order to plan the wedding of the century. She built an ark for girl’s camp—wait to see what she does when her daughter’s future is on the line! Available on Deseret Video+.
Trek follows a young teenager named Tom and his friends on their handcart journey. Along the way, they try to smuggle in unsanctioned food, battle sibling rivalry, encounter a “special ops” Young Men leader, and match wits with a Twinkie-loving skunk. When they encounter unexpected trouble, their faith is tested much like that of their pioneer ancestors. Whether you’ve been on a trek or not, your family will laugh along and ultimately be inspired as you enjoy this delightful film. Available on Deseret Video+.
The Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon all faced persecution, trials of faith, and even risk of death, but they never denied what they saw. Come to know the men who held a sure witness of the golden plates, and increase your own witness that the Book of Mormon is inspired scripture for our day. Available on Deseret Video+.
His Name Is Green Flake
Born into slavery and taken from his mother at age 10, Green Flake might have been lost to history like so many enslaved Black Americans before and after him. But when Green learned about the restored Church of Jesus Christ and its promise to reunite families forever in the next life, he made a choice that would take him on a wholly different trajectory. Green Flake played a critical role in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is his story. Available on Deseret Video+.
Lamb of God
Experience the power of the last week of Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry as told through the widely popular and sacred oratorio Lamb of God. This unique concert film brings composer Rob Gardner’s music to the big screen for the first time as audiences can see new orchestration and soloists perform a spectacular sacred work that has been compared to Handel’s Messiah and Mozart's Requiem. Available on Deseret Video+.
The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who knew him. No matter where you are at in your journey with Jesus Christ, this TV show is for you. The DVD is available at Deseret Book.
Jane and Emma
Sister Jane Manning, a free black woman and convert to Church, returns to Nauvoo to find that Joseph Smith, her prophet and friend, has been assassinated. Jane spends a ceaseless night with his widow, Emma Smith, sitting watch over the body of the Prophet, as a whirlwind of memory, loss, and confusion leaves them wondering how either one of them will be able to move forward. Through the long night, Jane wonders if the Prophet's promise to extend the blessings of eternity to her has died along with him. Join these two remarkable women of faith on an imagined night that reveals the essence of their complex, raw, and ultimately beautiful friendship. Available on Deseret Video+.
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