The Best Spiritual-Awakening-Dharma Movies

This is a list of some of the best spiritual movies of our time…

Spiritual Movie BiographiesSmile B&W

 

Awake: The Life of Yogananda­ (2014)

Unique biopic about Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi. In the 1920s, he brought Hindu spirituality to the West. This tells the story of his life and influence on yoga, religion and science, combining re-enactment, interviews, and verité.

 

One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das (2012)

Krishna Das is on a journey to India to discover legendary spiritual teacher Neem Karoli Baba, through drug addiction and depression, to his eventual emergence as a world-famous Kirtan singer. (74 mins)

 

River of Love (1999)

Born in a poor country with parents who did not understand her Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) went on to gain their love and progress to a living saint, the embodiment of love, a Bodhisattva. This stirring and beautiful documentary features Amma’s life story. The first part of the film is an enacted biography of Amma’s early years, and the rest goes on to document Amma’s incredible work as she pours herself out to all like a river of love.

 

Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)

This is a dramatization of events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi from before his conversion experience through his audience with the pope, including his friendship with St. Clare. (121 mins.)

 

Ram Dass, Fierce Grace (2001)

Ram Dass was a student of Maharaji who became a popular spiritual teacher in the 1960’s. This film tells of his connection to Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary in his search for transcendence, and moves into new lessons in old age. ” – SpiritFilms (93 min)

 

The Prophet (2014)

This breathtaking animated feature, written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King), intersperses Gibran’s elegant poetry within stunning animated sequences by filmmakers Tomm Moore (The Secret of KellsSong of the Sea), Bill Plympton (Guide Dog), Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues), and a host of award-winning animators from around the world.

 

Gandhi (1982)

Biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule through his philosophy of nonviolent protest. (191 mins.)

 

Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979)

G.I. Gurdjieff is a spiritual teacher and mystic who, after a lifetime study, developed a form of meditation incorporating modern dance. (108 mins.)

 

Blessings (2009)

In Tibet, the word for woman translates as “lower rebirth.” In a remote eastern region of the country, the Tsoknyi Nangchen nuns defy this definition. Devoted to the ancient practices of Tibetan Buddhism – once primarily a male domain – over 3,000 nuns have attained elevated status. Director Victress Hitchcock honors them in this moving documentary, which follows the journey of a small group of Western women to remote mountain hermitages to meet these nuns. (104 mins)

 

Bernadette (1988)

In 1857, an unemployed miller moves his family into grim lodgings; his wife takes in laundry. In February of 1858, at the Massabielle grotto, their 14-year old asthmatic, illiterate daughter, Bernadette, sees a light she later distinguishes as a beautiful young woman. The girl converses with the woman over the next few months. Crowds follow her and people are cured by the waters from a spring Bernadette has cleared. Secular authorities are threatened by the popular gatherings and subject the girl to police inquiry and medical review. The local monsignor is also skeptical, then becomes Bernadette’s champion. She maintains her forthright simplicity and untutored wisdom throughout. (119 mins.)

 

Apparitions at Fatima (1992)

An outstanding drama on the story of Fatima filmed in the very places Our Lady appeared. Highly praised for its accurate portrayal of the Fatima story and Mary’s messages, as well as solid acting and beautiful cinematography. An inspirational film for all ages on the great events of Fatima produced by the acclaimed European producer Daniel Costelle.

 

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)

In 1917, three shepherd children living just outside Fatima, Portugal have visions of a lovely lady in a cloud. The anticlerical government wishes to squelch the Church; reports of religious experiences are cause for serious concern. Yet the children stand by their story, and the message of peace and hope the Lady brings. In the last vision, attended by thousands of people, the Lady proves her reality with a spectacular miracle that is seen by everyone present. Based on actual events at Fatima in the summer of 1917. (102 mins.)

 

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama (2006)

How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when faced with violence? Why do the poor often seem happier than the rich? Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future? These are some of the questions posed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by filmmaker and explorer Rick Ray. Ray examines some of the fundamental questions of our time by weaving together observations from his own journeys throughout India and the Middle East, and the wisdom of an extraordinary spiritual leader. (85 mins.)

 

Movies with a Spiritual Focus

 

Whale Rider (2002)

A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize. (101 mins.)

 

Groundhog Day (1993)

A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again. (101 mins.)

 

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial, object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (160 mins.)

 

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (2003)

On an isolated lake, an old monk lives on a small floating temple. The wise master has also a young boy with him who learns to become a monk. And we watch as seasons and years pass by. (103 mins.)

 

The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)

When a Mongolian nomadic family’s newest camel colt is rejected by its mother, a musician is needed for a ritual to change her mind. (93 mins.)

 

Baraka (1992)

A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion. (96 mins.)

 

Life is Beautiful (1997)

A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp. (116 mins.)

 

Kundun (1997)

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet’s fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems. (134 mins.)

 

I Am (2010)

Director Tom Shadyac speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what’s wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it. (78 mins.)

 

The Matrix (1999)

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. (136 mins.)

 

Amelie (2001)

Amelie, an innocent and naive girl in Paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love. (122 mins.)

 

Botso (2014)

A man from the Republic of Georgia who, against all odds, survives the horrors of World War II. He then goes on to transform a small coastal town in California through his passion for art, music and living. (82 mins.)

 

The Way (2010)

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself. (123 mins)

 

Happy (2011)

HAPPY takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion. (76 mins.)

 

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006)

A portrayal of the lives of the last great Inuit shaman, Avva, and his beautiful and headstrong daughter, Apak. Based on the journals of 1920s Danish ethnographer Knud Rasmussen. (112 mins.)

 

The Dhamma Brothers (2008)

East meets West in the Deep South. An overcrowded maximum-security prison-the end of the line in Alabama’s correctional system-is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence dwells a host of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days. The Dhamma Brothers tells a dramatic tale of human potential and transformation as it closely follows and documents the stories of the prison inmates at Donaldson Correction Facility who enter into this arduous and intensive program. (76 mins.)

 

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet. (136 mins.)

 

With One Voice (2009)

This illuminating documentary explores the unity of humanity, featuring mystics from around the world, whose lives have been dedicated to answering the mysteries of existence. (78 mins.)

 

Ayurveda: The Art of Being (2001)

Ayurveda is science of life and art of healing; where body, mind and spirit are given equal importance. This voyage of thousands of miles across India and abroad takes you on a unique poetic journey, where we encounter remarkable men of medicine or simply a villager who lives in harmony with nature. (102 mins.)

 

Samsara (2011)

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. (102 mins.)

 

Samsara (2001)

A spiritual love-story set in the majestic landscape of Ladakh, Himalayas. Samsara is a quest; one man’s… (145 mins.)

 

Peaceful Warrior (2006)

A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast. (120 mins.)

 

When the Iron Bird Flies: Tibetan Buddhism Arrives in the West (2012)

This is an up-close and personal journey, exploring the complex interactions between contemporary Tibetan Buddhism and western culture. The film creates a vivid and entertaining portrait of the world of Tibetan Buddhism, as it is manifesting in the West and asks the vital question – ‘In these increasingly chaotic modern times, can these age old teachings help us to find genuine happiness and create a saner, more compassionate 21st century world?’ (96 mins)

 

Shri Hanuman Chalisa (2013)

The film provides a metaphorical visual meaning to the verses of an ancient spiritual composition that has been sung and chanted across the globe. Our understanding of the divine has various manifestations but its true nature lies within the realization of one-self. Hanuman serves the highest expression of devotional values and is the purest embodiment seeking god. He is presented as a perfect and appropriate example of being a seeker, a sage, a das, a disciple, a ‘servant of greater man and cause’, a believer, a doer, a warrior and his greatness lies in using his strength for the service of others. The ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ (a devotional Hindu song) again underlies this belief system; this thought process, this devotion. (12 mins.)

 

Enlightenment Guaranteed (1999)

Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from… (109 mins.)

 

Waking Life (2001)

A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe. (99 mins.)

 

The Princess Bride (1987)

A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather). (98 mins.)

 

The Prince of Egypt (1998, animated)

An Egyptian prince learns of his identity as a Hebrew and, later his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people. (99 mins.)

 

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics. (124 mins.)

 

Of Gods and Men (2010)

Under threat by fundamentalist terrorists, a group of Trappist monks stationed with an impoverished Algerian community must decide whether to leave or stay. (122 mins.)

 

The Robe (with Richard Burton) (1953)

Marcellus is a tribune in the time of Christ. He is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus. Drunk, he wins Jesus’ homespun robe after the crucifixion. He is tormented by nightmares and delusions after the event. Hoping to find a way to live with what he has done, and still not believing in Jesus, he returns to Palestine to try and learn what he can of the man he killed.

 

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) (two scenes in particular)

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction. (132 mins.)

 

Star Wars (1977)

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

 

Into Great Silence (2005)

An examination of life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the reclusive Carthusian Order in France. (169 mins.)

 

Amongst White Clouds (2005)

A journey exploring the practices of Chinese hermits living in the Zhongnan Mountains. (86 mins.)

 

A Man Called Peter (1955)

The rise of Peter Marshall, from modest Scottish upbringing, to New York seminary, time in Atlanta churches, his marriage, appointment as chaplain of the US Senate, and early death at 46. Based on real events. (119 mins.)

 

Further Suggestions:

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls055295356/

http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/films/100%20Best%20Transformational%20Movies.pdf

http://www.decentfilms.com

 

Have any others to suggest? Send me an email so we can add to the list.