Finding movies to watch can be difficult. You sit down, flip through the movie list OnDemand or on your favorite streaming service, and next thing you know 30 minutes have passed. You can’t find a movie that seems worthy of your time. As a Christian who enjoys watching uplifting, inspiring, and motivational movies, I run into this problem a lot when trying to find a movie that represents Christianity in a positive light.
The movie industry today doesn’t exactly focus on Christianity, much less promote Christian athletes across the world, but Christianity in sports is such a widely discussed topic that it should be. People often ask why athletes feel the need to profess their Christian faith or why they play for God’s glory. Well, movies about Christian
athletes are a great way to shed some light on
these questions and maybe provide some
answers. The following five movies are all stories, some are true and some aren’t, based on Christians playing for God’s glory that all demonstrate the true essence of Christianity.
First up, The Blind Side (2009). This true story is about Michael Oher, a homeless teenage kid who has no father and whose mother is a drug addict. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy find him on the streets one night in the pouring rain and take him into their home. They are a Christian family with good moral values and want to help Michael succeed in life. The Tuohy’s send Michael to a Christian high school nearby where he expresses an interest in football. The movie follows along his academic and athletic journey to the NFL as it demonstrates hard work, determination, and overcoming life’s struggles through the love and care of the Tuohy family for Michael Oher.
When the Game Stands Tall (2014) tells the incredible true story of the journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur. Ladoucer took the De La Salle High School football team from a near collapse to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport. The team faced trials of adversity as Coach Ladoucer faces a heart attack and one of the teammates is tragically killed, but the movie follows along the team’s continued fight and perseverance to always keep trusting God’s plan. The film actively highlights biblical principles as Coach Ladoucer instills faith, humility, love, and integrity into all of his players.
The next Christian film is Woodlawn (2015). This movie is based on true events and is set at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama at a time when the school becomes controversially desegregated in 1973. The story focuses on Tony Nathan, a gifted African-
American football player who joins the school’s football team which is predominantly white. After the team struggles to accept Nathan on the field and riots begin breaking out, head coach Tandy Geralds invites a motivational speaker, Hank Erwin, to come and be with the team. Christianity is vividly demonstrated in this movie by almost all of the players on the Woodlawn team committing their lives to Jesus Christ after Erwin’s speech. This film shows hope for the Christian faith and portrays the transformed lives of athletes through Jesus Christ.
Greater (2016) tells the unbelievable true story of Brandon Burlsworth, arguably the greatest walk-ons in the history of college football. Brandon struggled with negativity toward his dreams, as people kept telling him that he was too short or overweight to play at Arkansas, his dream school. The first few years showed lots of rejection from the coaches and players, but Brandon stay determined and became an All-American player and the first Arkansas football player to graduate with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Just days after Brandon was drafted to the NFL, he died in a car accident. His family didn’t understand, but they knew it had to be part of a bigger plan. This film shows true perseverance, as Brandon stays devout in his Christian faith through the hardships of pursuing his athletic dreams.
The last Christian movie is Overcomer (2019). In this fiction film, Coach John Harrison is a high school basketball coach who is getting his team ready to play in the state championship game in a few weeks. Those dreams are crushed when a manufacturing plant shuts down in their home town and families flee to other nearby towns. After praying through a new job opportunity, Coach Harrison lands at a nearby high school as the new cross-country coach. He meets an inspiring Christian girl named Hannah Scott who is determined to win her biggest race of the year. This film shows the power of prayer and balancing life’s curveballs, as two unlikely people meet and share their Christian faith to pursue each other’s dreams.
These five films truly demonstrate the Christian faith and show what it really means to be a Christian athlete. These movies give hope and a voice to all those trying to understand a little more about Christianity in sports and the incredible impact that these Christian athletes have on not only their teams, but everyone around them. The stories are filled with hope, joy, peace, and love as the athletes take on challenges but rely on their faith to push them through.