Friday, July 18, 2014

200+ Ideas for Inspiring, Clean Movies and Documentaries

God's LDS standard of movies

I am picky about media. Period. I have studied about it and given presentations about it. It is a big deal to me.  God's standard of media is clear, as taken from For the Strength of Youth from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you're not LDS and just want a whopping list of good movie titles, scroll down. 

These are the kind of media God approves.
  1. Uplifting 
  2. Helps you feel the Spirit 
  3. Encourages you to live righteously and make good choices
These are the media God says to avoid. 
  1. Vulgarity 
  2. Immorality 
  3. Violence
  4. Pornographic in any way
  5. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable
  6. Anything that drives away the Spirit
  7. Media that makes it look like breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others

With that said, here are recommendations from me. Feel free to bookmark this list so you can come back for ideas any weekend you're ready for popcorn and a movie. 

Becky's Movie Recommendations

  1. Facing the Giants - faith-based football movie
  2. Fireproof - about strengthening marriage 
  3. Courageous - about becoming a great father (a couple intense scenes may scare younger children)
  4. Stand Strong - learning that family matters more than image, living within one's means, faith
  5. Forever Strong - rugby player who has a change of heart (immodesty at a pool party) 
  6. The Letter Writer 
  7. 17 Miracles - about LDS handcart pioneers 
  8. Ephriam's Rescue - about LDS handcart pioneers
  9. Emma Smith, My Story - about LDS prophet Joseph Smith's wife 
  10. Gifted Hands - about Ben Carson, famous pediatric neurosurgeon who pulled himself out of childhood poverty 
  11. The Testaments: of One Fold and One Shepherd 
  12. Little Women (1949 and Wynona Rider versions were both recommended) 
  13. Love Comes Softly - faith-based series of ten movies set in the 1800's
  14. Miracle Worker - about Hellen Keller 
  15. A More Perfect Union - about the Constitutional Convention, created by BYU
  16. The Other Side of Heaven - Disney about LDS missionary John Groberg in Tonga 
  17. God’s Not Dead - about Christian college student being persecuted for beliefs 
  18. Heaven is for Real - based on true story of boy's near-death-experience 
  19. Amazing Grace - about William Wilberforce ending the British slave trade (immodesty of time-period clothing.)
  20. Amish Grace - about forgiveness after a schoolhouse shooting
  21. Saving Sarah Cane 
  22. The Ultimate Gift (watch on Clearplay I think)
  23. The Ultimate Life (sequel to Ultimate Gift - I haven't seen this yet)
  24. Shadowlands - based on true story about C.S. Lewis, the author of Narnia series
  25. Courage Heart of Irena Sendler - about a woman who saved many children from concentration camps 
  26. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness - about an American woman missionary who saved many children at the beginning WWII
  27. The Chronicles of Narnia series - Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, etc. 
  28. Saratov Approach - based on true story of missionaries kidnapped in Russia, intensity 
  29. The Work and the Glory series - about the LDS Church forming 
  30. The Best Two Years - about LDS missionaries
  31. One Good Man - about a new LDS bishop (Funny story. This DVD came out about the time my husband, Mike, and I felt prompted that he was about to be called as an LDS bishop. We watched the movie with that in mind, and it was a bit painful to watch, although still uplifting and entertaining. Now that it's 4.5 years later, I'm sure we could watch it again and enjoy it more this time. Smile.) 
  32. Liberty's Kids - animated series about Revolutionary War. We bought all four seasons for $10 here.
  33. Living Scriptures - animated series about Bible, Book of Mormon, heroes in history, also documentaries about modern prophets and pioneers
  34. Liken the Scriptures - entertaining musical scripture stories
  35. 19 Kids and Counting - Watch full episodes here. This Christian family has inspired millions of viewers of the importance of faith and family. 
  36. The Hiding Place - of course the book is better (always, right?) but I just LOVE the Ten Boom family and feel inspired by their strength and faith every time I think about them

Movie Recommendations from Other People 

Note: I cannot vouch for the standards of these movies because they are recommended by others.

Sometimes we use our Clearplay DVD player to filter out swearing, sexuality, violence, etc. But keep in mind that Clearplay won't edit a dark theme or overall poor movie. My opinion is that if a movie isn't going to inspire and make me a better person in some way, it's not worth my time. Sometimes the most inspiring part of a movie is the family discussion you have afterward, looking for life lessons and principles.    

  1. The Human Experience
  2. Castaway
  3. Nim's Island
  4. The Sandlot - some swearing 
  5. Sound of Music
  6. A Little Princess
  7. Mary Poppins
  8. War horse
  9. Evan Almighty
  10. Letters to Juliet
  11. Charly
  12. Father of the bride, part 1 and 2
  13. Anne of Green Gables
  14. Anne of Avonlea
  15. The Man from Snowy River
  16. The Lake House
  17. Field of Dreams
  18. The Princess Bride
  19. My Fair Lady
  20. I.Q.
  21. Second Hand Lions
  22. Dolphin Tale
  23. Brave
  24. Confessions of a Shopaholic
  25. Seven Days in Utopia
  26. October Skies
  27. The Happiest Millionare (Disney) 
  28. Old Yeller
  29. Swiss Family Robinson
  30. Where the Red Rern Grows
  31. Star Wars
  32. Lord of the Rings
  33. Hobbit
  34. Lark Rise to Candleford
  35. A Man Called Peter 
  36. My Fair Lady
  37. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 
  38. The Music Man
  39. BBC Jane Austin movies
  40. BBC Elizabeth Gaskell movies
  41. BBC North and South 
  42. Call the Midwife
  43. Remember the Titans
  44. Glory Road 
  45. Cheaper by the Dozen - older version
  46. I Remember Mama
  47. Pollyanna - Disney or BBC version 
  48. Avengers
  49. Johnny Tremain - Revolutionary war time period
  50. The Swamp Fox - Revolutionary war time period 
  51. Harry's War 
  52. Little House on the Prairie series 
  53. Little Men
  54. Babette's Feast
  55. Sarah Plain and Tall series (Skylark, etc.)
  56. Akeelah and the Bee
  57. Miss Potter
  58. A Man for All Seasons
  59. October Baby
  60. Emma - the Gweneth Paltrow version
  61. Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House - Cary Grant -  HILARIOUS family movie about buying and renovating a home
  62. What's Up Doc? -  hilarious&wacky Barbara Streisand movie with a lot of quotable lines
  63. Singing in the Rain - Donald O'Conner, Gene Kelley, Debbie Reynolds
  64. The Bachelor and Bobbie Soxer - Cary Grant, Merna Loy, Shirley Temple
  65. Easter Parade -  Judy Garland and Fred Astaire
  66. Night at the Opera - best Marx Brothers movie EVER, very quotable
  67. To Kill a Mocking bird - Gregory Peck
  68. Jane Eyre
  69. Ball of Fire -  Gregory Peck and Barbara Stanwick, a night club dancer hides form the police with 7 professors writing an encyclopedia--HILARIOUS!
  70. The Absent Minded Professor - 161 version Red McMurray
  71. The Father on My Three Sons
  72. The Tooth Fairy - Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Jud, Julie Andrews
  73. Court Jester - Danny Kay
  74. White Christmas -  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye
  75. Dolphin Tale -  Ashley Jud Harry Connick Jr.
  76. Any of the Mr. Bean movies, Mr Bean Takes a Holiday, etc., very funny, he's a MASTER of physical comedy. 
  77. Bells on Their Toes -  the old version
  78. Yours, Mine Ours -  1968 version Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda
  79. Ben Hur - 1959 Charlton Heston
  80. Life is Beautiful -  Italian with subtitles, this should be viewed by older children since the thematic content is heavy, about the Holocaust
  81. The Happiest Millionaire
  82. Ever After
  83. Hans Christian Anderson -  Danny Kaye
  84. The Road Home
  85. My Name is David
  86. The Glenn miller story
  87. Victoria and Albert
  88. National Treasure
  89. Follow Me Boys
  90. All Jane Austen movies
  91. Time Changer
  92. LarkRise to Candleford - great family friendly and really interesting, set in village in England at turn of the century--three seasons
  93. Cranford - has some medical stuff--blood, accidents--that we zipped through, otherwise very sweet family stuff
  94. Passage to Zarahemla  - intense but great for older kids and teens--the DVD contains two versions, one for younger kids
  95. Fly Away Home 
  96. John Adams miniseries - has a few short scenes you'll want to skip, you can buy edited version
  97. Here Comes the Boom 
  98. Freedom Writers 
  99. The First Grader 
  100. Stand and Deliver 
  101. The Longest Yard 
  102. Green Mile 
  103. Black Beauty 
  104. Buttercream Gang 
  105. Miracle - about the 1980 US hockey team
  106. Follow Me Boys
  107. Prince of Egypt 
  108. The Mission - music by Ennio Morricone 
  109. In the Name of God's Poor - the true story of Mother Teresa
  110. Gandhi - the long version 
  111. Seven Alone 
  112. Bollywood
  113. Like Stars on Earth 
  114. Scamper the Penguin 
  115. The Rogue Stallion 
  116. Wild Hearts Can't be Broken 
  117. Grave of the Fireflies - animation showing how WWII affected Japanese people
  118. The Greatest Game Ever Played 
  119. Newsies 
  120. Chariots of Fire
  121. 42
  122. The Blind Side 
  123. Goal 
  124. Bridge on the River Kwai 
  125. Meet the Robinsons 
  126. Wizard of Oz 
  127. Mr. Holland's Opus 
  128. Annie 
  129. Tuesdays with Morrie 
  130. In Search of the Castaways 
  131. Parent Trap (old or new version) 
  132. Rigaletto 
  133. Mrs. Arris Goes to Paris 
  134. The Son of God 
  135. Pride and Prejudice - BBC long version and Colin Firth version recommended
  136. Perfect Harmony 
  137. Goodbye Miss Fourth of July 
  138. Front of the Class - Hallmark film
  139. An Affair to Remember 
  140. The Court Jester 
  141. The Robe 
  142. The Ten Commandments 
  143. Wives and Daughters 
  144. Little Shop Around the Corner 
  145. Uncle Tom's Cabin 
  146. Sense and Sensibility 
  147. Man of La Mancha 
  148. Hoosiers 
  149. We Bought a Zoo 
  150. The Bible in the Beginning 
  151. The Keys of the Kingdom 
  152. Brigadoon 
  153. Reminder: I cannot vouch for the standards of this list of movies because they are recommended by others.
  154. The Young Victoria
  155. Soul Surfer - beach attire
  156. Dreamer 
  157. Seabiscuit 
  158. Kung Fu Panda 
  159. Miracle on Ice 
  160. Surf's Up 
  161. Legend of the Guardians 
  162. Secret Millionaires Club 
  163. Going for the Gold 
  164. The King's Speech
  165. The Marva Collins Story
  166. Ruby Bridges
  167. Something the Lord Made
  168. Schindler’s List (about the Holocaust) 
  169. Mrs. Miniver
  170. Anna and the King
  171. Cross and the Switchblade
  172. Joseph (Ben Kingsley version)
  173. Joan of Arc (Ingrid Bergman version)
  174. Man for All Seasons
  175. Braveheart (violence) 
  176. Man in the Iron Mask
  177. Tale of Two Cities
  178. How the West Was Won
  179. Amistad
  180. The Elephant Man
  181. Les Miserables (Geoffrey Rush version)
  182. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
  183. Gettysburg
  184. Belles on Their Toes
  185. Christy
  186. Driving Miss Daisy
  187. I Remember Mamma
  188. Lean on Me
  189. My Side of the Mountain
  190. Paper Clips
  191. Born Free
  192. The African Queen
  193. Playing for Time
  194. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  195. Goodnight Mister Tom
  196. Journey for Margaret
  197. The Secret Garden
  198. A Little Princess (BBC version) 
  199. Little Lord Fauntleroy
  200. Godspell
  201. The Pride of the Yankees: The Lou Gehrig Story
  202. Brian’s Song
  203. Rascal
  204. The Spirit of St. Louis
  205. Charlotte’s Web
  206. National Velvet
  207. Madame Curie
  208. To Sir, With Love
  209. All Creatures Great and Small (BBC television series)
  210. David Copperfield (BBC version)
  211. Goodbye Mister Chips 
  212. The Prince and the Pauper
  213. The Red Pony
  214. Sounder
  215. The Yearling
  216. Lassie Come Home
  217. The First Olympics: Athens 1896
  218. Scarlett Pimpernell 
  219. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  220. You Can't Take it With You - James Stewart 
  221. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ( James Stewart)
  222. Shenandoah (James Stewart)*
  223. Sergeant York (Gary cooper)*
  224. Vivah 
  225. Secretariat - Great story of dream, struggle, victory
  226. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Imporium 
  227. The Fox and the Child 
  228. Lassie 
  229. Gravity - Sandra Bullock 
  230. My Neighbor Totoro 
  231. Kiki's Delivery Service 
  232. The Book Thief 
  233. The Vow 
  234. Pay it Forward 
  235. The Story of One 
  236. Twelve Angry Men 
  237. Spellbound 
  238. Hobart Shakespeareans 
  239. Alone Yet Not Alone 
  240. Irreplaceable 
  241. Mom's Night Out
  242. Bride and Prejudice
  243. Hatchi: A Dog's Tale
  244. Friendly Persuasion 
  245. Unconditional - based on a true story
  246. Molokia - based on true story of father of Damien who served in a leper colony 
  247. Money Masters 

Documentary Recommendations

Most of these ideas are from friends, which again means I can't verify whether they meet the LDS standards above.
  1. Agenda: Grinding America Down  - the documentary I recommend the most often to others. Watch it free here.
  2. America: Imagine the World without Her 
  3. For Our Day: Covenant on the Land info here
  4. Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure
  5. Runaway Slave: Why Growing Dependency on Big Government is Destroying America 
  6. Unstoppable - by Kirk Cameron, about people losing faith over "where is God during tragedy" 
  7. Fires of Faith (a three-part BYU series about Reformation and King James Bible)
  8. Why Christianity 
  9. Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture 
  10. Indoctrination: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America 
  11. Building the Machine – about Common Core. Watch it free here
  12. Waiting for Superman - very interesting documentary on public schools
  13. Privileged Planet
  14. Unlocking the Mystery of Life
  15. My Life as a Turkey -Joe Hutto mothered a bunch of wild turkeys from birth, then they recreated it as a documentary
  16. Nova episodes on PBS, I think our favorites though have been the "Making Stuff" series.  IE: Making stuff smaller, stronger, faster, etc. The host, David Pogue, does a great job.  Here's a link to one of them, It's the Making Stuff Wilder episode.
  17. American Experience and Nature on PBS 
  18. Anything by Ken Burns, he's awesome.  He goes into depth on whatever he's documenting.  We have his civil war, baseball and National Parks documentaries that we recorded off TV when they aired.  
  19. We have used videos from for the past couple of years. They send free DVDs once a year (you get to choose). They have teacher guides that come with them. The newer ones have the guides on the disc, but the older ones have booklets in the DVD case. Here are some that we have (the next six videos in this list): 
  20. Who Owns What (Property Rights and Regulations)
  21. Unintended Consequences: Eminent Domain
  22. The Road to Prosperity
  23. Yours and Mine- The Lesson of 1623
  24. 2081 - A short film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron"
  25. Unstoppable Solar Cycles
  26. Everyone's Space
  27. Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution 1, 2 and 3 - combats evolution 
  28. Forks Over Knives 
  29. The Story of US 
  30. PBS American Experience
  31. Ken Burns Civil War
  32. BYUtv American Ride
  33. Ken Burns The War (PBS) 
  34. The World at War
  35. American Presidents (available at the Davis County library)
  36. has many of their programs for you to stream for free: Nova, Frontline, Nova Science Now, American Experience, Masterpiece Theater, etc. 
  37. Terms and Conditions - how personal info is stored and used on the internet.  I seriously recommend watching this movie if you are wondering just exactly can google, fb, twitter, ebay, pintrest, etc save and share with corporations and with governmental agencies. Privacy is null in this Internet world. It's on Netflix.
  38. Between the Folds – documentary on origami 
  39. How the Universe Works (series)
  40. Secret Life of Bees
  41. Blue Planet
  42. March of the Penguins
  43. Documentary on solving the mystery of Titanic (Netflix 7-11 yr olds loved it) 
  44. Drive Through History DVD's 
  45. Moody Science videos are very good. They have a wide variety of topics. 
  46. The American Heritage series is excellent. We just bought the sequel and a collection of single DVDs. 
  47. Wild Horse and Wild Ride – I just watched a really interesting documentary on the Mustang Challenge. It followed several trainers from the time they picked up their wild mustangs to the Challenge in Ft. Worth (one of several in the nation) 100 days later. It was really fascinating. 
  48. Farmageddon – about the FDA
  49. Business of Being Born
  50. Civil War - by Ken Burns 
  51. National Geographic: Inside North Korea
  52. Mitt - about Mitt Romney 
  53. There's a great documentary about Albert Schweitzer on You Tube. Very inspiring, and was filmed while he was alive, with the understanding that it would only be released after his death. What a great man with a divinely inspired mission!
  54. God of Wonders - on Netflix 
  55. How the Universe Works - on Netflix
  56. The Rise of Global Governance 
  57. Agenda 21: How Will it Affect You?
  58. Rise and Fall of Rome - by history channel
  59. What the ancients knew 
  60. What the ancients did for us
  61. Age of empires
  62. Horrible Histories (BBC)
  63. "Make Things (Faster, Smarter, Colder, Safer...)" episodes on Nova

Series for younger children

Most of these ideas are from friends. 
Liberty’s Kids (animated series about American revolution) 
Magic School Bus 
Bill Nye the Science Guy 
Wild Krats
Bear Grylls 
Dinosaur Train (animation about dinosaurs) 
Living Scriptures 
Liken the Scriptures 

Sources to watch movies and documentaries 

Most of these ideas are from friends. 
  1. Zion Tube is a great movie resource with an LDS perspective. Find trailers, full movies, documentaries, Disneys, classics
  2. Christian Cinema, is a Netflix-type company that only carries family and faith promoting movies. 
  3. Christian Film Database - It appears that you can rent or watch movies using pay-per-view.  They promote films with a Christian message, and claim to be the most extensive database of Christian movies ever. 
  4. Netflix
  5. Your local library 
  6. Youtube
  7. Discovery education has a wonderful website (was known as united streaming) has a plethora of videos.  
  8. History channel has some good stuff...sometimes you can find a whole episodes on You tube. 
  9. National Geographic
  12. BBC
  14. BYUTV 
  18. Top Documentary Films 
  19. The YouTube channel "Disneytv4me" has some old, really fun Disney episodes that were on the weekly Sunday night TV called The Wonderful World of Disney. 
  20. I've been impressed with the list of recommendations at The Center for Social Leadership Oliver DeMille's site).
  21. Feature Films for Families
  22. I also like to watch Moody Science classics on youtube. Just do a search on youtube for that phrase. There are a little cheesy but hark back to a simpler time when life was cleaner, which makes me feel good. They focus on believing in God and science.
  23. Puritan Picks is a service like Netflix that only stocks family friendly movies. 
  24. A similar site is Faith and Family Flix
  25. Izzit
  26. Hallmark movies 
  27. Clearplay DVD player to filter out swearing, sexuality, violence, etc. But keep in mind that Clearplay won't edit a dark theme or overall poor movie. My opinion is that if a movie isn't going to inspire and make me a better person in some way, it's not worth my time. 
  28. Vid Angel -- an online version of Clearplay that lets you set filter standards for movies you watch online. 

Here's a cool testimonial about documentaries

I grew up watching documentaries with my dad. Documentaries were helpful in piquing interest and a slick visual way to learn concepts otherwise difficult to grasp. I learned more from documentaries on history and science at home than I did in school. 

Feel free to add more ideas for movies, documentaries, kids' series, or sources to watch movies by adding a comment below. 


Melinda said...

Thanks Becky! This will be a great resource to have. Now someone needs to "pin" it for me, so I can add it to my boards!!! I also have a few to add. Hopefully they are not repeats, I looked a couple times!
*unconditional- based on a true story. However now I've read the book, it's very different. I still HIGHLY recommend it.
*molokia another based on the true story of father Damien who served in a leper colony.
* if you want a great history or money and economics watch money masters. Tons of great history, and information. Though I'll warn you it's a very slow movie!

Tiff said...

Thanks for this list! I want to go through and see how many are on Netflix and Amazon prime!

Jane Steinagel said...

Thank you for the list of movies that are edifying to watch. I just scanned the list and was wondering if you had the family movie "Nicholas Nicholby". I think that's how to spell the last name. In a nutshell I would say it's about doing what's right even when you're down and things look bad. Hope you get a chance to watch it sometime.

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you for your ideas and comments! Melinda, I just pinned it to my Pinterest page.

Becky Edwards said...

Thanks for posting your ideas. I just added them to the movie list above.

Miriam M said...

I just found your site and this is one of the 1st pages I saw. I am really trying to make sure I am watching uplifting movies and putting other good media into my life right now so I can have the Spirit in my life more abundantly. I have even gotten my 7 year old sister involved in evaluating the media we are surrounding ourselves with. Many of the movies on your site I have seen and LOVE LOVE LOVE-especially the 1st few Kendrick Brothers films!-and would highly recommend many of them. I am excited to try watching some other ones that are on your list. I'm a home-schooler in my "late-teens" (although, in my family we don't have "teenagers" but rather "youth) and I have been having a focus on preparing to be a righteous wife and mother, lately, so your blog name caught my eye instantly. I love finding blogs and sites from other people who are doing their best to have Christ Centered homes and lives. Thanks for your inspirational site and thoughts! Keep it up!
-Deepnita M. L. M.

Becky Edwards said...

Hi Miriam! Thank you for your nice comments. I am glad you like the blog! We have "youth" at our home too. :) Good for you for preparing to be a righteous wife and mother in your teens. I'm so proud of you. I wish every young person in the world thought the way you do. There is a wonderful homeschooled young woman whom I greatly admire named Hannah Stoddard. She works tirelessly on her family's wonderful website called Joseph Smith Foundation. She is a great role model for young women like you. You may want to check out their site. Here is a bio on her site.

Here is a recent article she wrote that you might be interested in. It really makes you think about our current culture of dating.

I want to make sure you noticed my disclaimer that I can't vouch for the standards of the movies that others recommended on this list. The only ones I can vouch for are the movies in the very top list. I would feel awful if someone chose to see a movie because it's on my blog post and it was below the Lord's standards.

Diane said...

I am surprised no one has added Rudy to the list. Many great lessons in this movie. Thank you for your list; it reminded me of many good movies I had forgotten. I agree parents should be cautious with some of the movies added by friends. A few contain a lot of violence and Kings Speech would need to be watched with something that takes out the bad language. I second many of the others. One TV series I recommend is "Who do You Think You Are". Great show that encourages family history.

Bethany said...

I just found your blog this week and have been inspired by your post about having more purposeful prayers. I prayed with my 14 year old before he went to bed 2 nights ago and it was a great experience for both of us! Thank you for the wonderful suggestions! I was looking through this movie list (thank you for it, by the way!) and thought I would let you know that I have removed Father of the Bride part 1 from our family's video library (there is a scene with excessive kissing and an unmarried young man talks about leaving his shoes at the house as he slept over with the unmarried daughter the night before.) Part 2 shows a married couple kissing a lot in one scene and preparing to go further. I would NOT watch either of these movies with my family. Just wanted to let you know and thank you for all of the good you are doing!

Bethany said...

I thought I would also mention that movies can be searched for on (an internet movie database site.) Each movie has a section titled "Parents Guide" with a link to "View Content Advisory". I like to read this content advisory prior to watching any film with my young children. It lets you know if there is any profanity, nudity, etc. Just thought you might want to let your viewers know about this feature. Thank you again for all of the good you are doing!