Good Movies for Catholic Families; Good Way to Start a New Year

by Steve Ray on January 17, 2011

notv-797953Janet and I got rid of television years ago. We called the cable company and canceled our service. We began reading more and renting movies for the family to watch together. It have been a huge life-changer and has had a noticeably positive effect on our family.

We put up a list of the Ray Family Favorite Movies on our website along with other resources for Catholic families. We have to admit that much of our culture is shaped by movies. But not only movies. Our kids are also shaped by what they watch on TV. As parents we have to protect and educate our children — preparing them for heaven.

And I don’t miss being insulted by stupid commercials and commentaries. TV aims at the status quo or lower, and helps shape peoples’ minds to be status quo or lower. Not for ME!

screen-capture-1Another great source for information is the Decent Films website. This is a goldmine of information for Catholic families who want to know what their kids are watching and what they should be viewing together in the home.

I strongly suggest that families cut the ties with the TV and start watching wholesome and wonderful movies together as a family. Netflix is one way our family has selected movies to watch.

There may be other rental services available as well (let us know in the Comments below if you know of any). [Thanks to Kevin Lay of Scepter Press another good site is]

It is smart to set up a movie night and make a family affair out of it. Kids love such family events and might not even realize that we are shaping their morals and values at the same time.

Popcorn anyone?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Krudup January 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM


Just a note to say that some of your readers may want to check out Faith and Family You rent movies through the mail just like you do from Netflix. They offer many, many wholesome movies, Catholic and otherwise. I have been a member for a few months and like the movies they offer.

Thank you.
C. Krudup

Pam Bercegeay January 8, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Steve and Janet,

Just wanted to recommend another great movie, The Trip to Bountiful!
Geraldine Paige won the academy award for this one.

God Bless,
Pam Bercegeay

STEVE RAY HERE: You are absolutely right. We have seen that movie and enjoyed it very much! Thanks.

theresa in Alberta January 17, 2011 at 6:46 PM

I think I have watched almosted all of the movies on your list.,,,
I stopped watching TV about 5 years ago,,,I DONOT miss it one bit. Another movie to add to your list is “Amish Grace” and one produced by Bollywood called “Bride and Prejudice”.
Seeing as this is MLK day in the US, another good movies is the “The long walk” with Cissy spacek and Whoopi Goldberg.

cable companies in my area June 25, 2011 at 4:13 AM

It always warms my heart to see Catholicism portrayed in the movies. One of my favorite movies in that respect is Bonnie Hunt’s “Return to Me”. Bonnie unashamedly portrayed a Catholic family praying and making reference to Catholic doctrine.

Zi Davis January 12, 2012 at 4:33 PM

I cancelled Netflix because of all the junk. I couldn’t let my 12 yr old daughter browse for a movie without “Gays & Lesbian” categories as an option and very risque movie posters popping up. We have cable ONLY to watch news (in the morning only), EWTN (has wonderful children’s programs), Animal Planet, and National Geographic. Besides a couple of other harmless channels, we have everything else blocked from viewing. I second! They have an excellent catalog of Catholic and family movies, I recommend them to everyone.

Anon June 26, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Don’t forget the 1998 film of Madeline.

A J August 6, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Netflix sells porn and other horrible mess in movie form. It is not a good idea to support them as they are pandering to anyone who wants to watch a movie whether it be for wholesome family fun or vile deviant behavior. We must remember that the moral responsibility is ours to support businesses that don’t sell the “corporate” soul for money. I was a member but then the darkness appeared in the selections that I could, if I wanted to, choose. I have no problem saying no, but what about the children who grow to think well of netflix cause ” Hey, my parents used it.” I’m just putting it out there as a fellow member of the church militant!

STEVE RAY HERE: AJ I agree with you completely. Do you recommend another service?

Monica October 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

We have been without television programming since 2007 (?) It’s hard to remember exactly when we shut the cable off, but it was during Lent about 7 years ago. We had Netflix for years, with me being heavily conflicted about it’s use. I spent hours being the Netflix Cop, trying to sift through trash and filth on their site trying to find something decent to watch. The main benefit was being able to watch dozens of old movies. But when I discovered that almost all of the 100 films I had in the cue were 1) old films, and 2) ones we’d already seen … I thought “enough is enough!” So, this Lent, we cancelled Netflix, and haven’t looked back. I am steadily adding to our DVD collection, all those tried and true classics from yesteryear. I am relieved of my duties as Netflix Cop and am grateful to be free of it’s wicked snares.

Jackie October 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I let my 11 years old son read your website and the comments. I told him that we are not alone! Many people are on the same boat – a wonderful boat :-)

One time I was sitting in a restaurant with my family, enjoying our talkative kids and I saw another family walked in. Each one had an IPad or a cell phone, except the elderly couple. I guess they must be the grandparents. The whole family sat down quietly. Mom, dad, two teenagers and a little baby about 2 years old continued to focus on those devices as the chef cooked their meal in front of them. The little one got excited a few times when the chef lighted fire on the cooking table or threw food up in the air. I barely saw them talk to one another. Once in a while they would smile but that was it. What a shame to see a family spending money on expensive Japanese food and barely receiving love from one another.

I still use my old flip phone but I know someday I will be forced to use a Smartphone for they will stop making flip phones.

My spiritual director once visited a poor family in Lao. The first visit was warm and fun because the parents gathered the kids around to talk and laugh with him. Then the second visit was different. They now had a TV and invited him to sit down and watched a movie with them. He felt something was missing because that TV began to eat away their lively communication. Hearing that story I realize that we do the same thing at home when guests come over. We are so used to it that we don’t see it is wrong anymore.

There were a few times my sister used credit card to shop at Victoria’s Secret and those few times ended up with bad ads sent to our home. I was so mad but she was able to stop those garbage mails and starts to pay only cash to those stores.

Many people cautiously avoid bad games and movies but they pay attention to the news and they do not realize that the news is deadlier than games and movies because they are real stuffs and we tend to spread terrible news faster than anything else. Today we shockingly hear the shooting of an elderly in a quiet neighborhood; next week we got tremble to hear a girl were abused, killed and dumped into the river; then we terrified to hear more shooting in an elementary school and children were dead. The number and the intense of the violence just get higher and higher every day. It becomes so common that when we hear a shooting of a few students in some college, we are sad and scared but no longer terrified or shocked. We unintentionally console ourselves with unsympathetic thought ‘Well, at least it didn’t happen at my town and not a hundred of people’. The society got immune with violence and sex!

I trust the news from EWTN and Catholic radio stations. It is accurate, just enough information, no lies, no garbage. When there is some news that the kids need to expand their knowledge, we search on the internet to find appropriate content for them and read it with them.

It is impossible to keep sex away from the kids like the old time but we do what we can. We teach them about sex in a more appropriate way at suitable time. The same with violence, we do not keep them in the rosy world. Our family sometimes watches violent movies that are based on true stories and history because it will help develop our sense of compassion and avoid hatred. Real story from the past always send an accurate message more than the imagination ones.

I never trust my instinct when I go on internet. I teach my kids to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to protect us from all harms on the internet. Before I open my laptop or cell phone, I make a short discernment to see if I really need to use it. We set up our computers in the family common area. No TV or computer is in bedrooms or hiding places. We limit time our kids watching TV and playing games. They are allowed to watch TV and play games only on Friday nights and in the weekends. Absolutely no violence or sexy figures are allowed on those games. If they complain when their time is up, I simply say to them that they can do something else and I will soon find them working or playing with other stuffs or lying on the floor singing , or even just sit there looking at the cars running by the house. This world is busy enough and they need some quiet time to rest their young mind. There is nothing wrong with that :-)

The worst thing in life is not about committing sin but about not knowing it is a sin. If it is wrong, I say it is wrong and there is no ground in between. There will be so much confusion if I have excuses, exceptions, favors or temporary permissions. I need to be consistent and firm but with much love. I always humble to my kids when I am wrong. Apologize and explain to them why I regret of letting them expose to bad things. It is not a shameful thing to do. Actually, my kids love me more, trust me more and respect me more. They will learn to do the same thing when they make mistakes. They will not be afraid to admit their faults and they will follow my footsteps to reconcile and make better choices. I believe that every time I admit my fault, I have just reinforced the moral standard and avoid confusion to others.

We also go to daily Mass and receive the sacraments as much as possible. Later on, I find out we are not alone either. One friend told me that she brings her boys to morning Mass and see other families doing the same thing. The whole family goes to church at 7am then parents go to work and kids go to school.

My 2 BIG cents :-)

Ruth February 4, 2016 at 2:05 PM

Someone recommended the movie “Return To Me” as family fare. I watched the trailer and I’m afraid that I would not want my grandchildren to think I approve of everything in it. There’s enough double entendre in it and questionable language that I wouldn’t want to see them repeating. It’s like the brownies with just a teaspoon of excrement in them. I realize it’s difficult to find something perfect, but is that any reason to lower your standards? Jesus didn’t compromise and neither should we.

STEVE RAY HERE: Ruth, thanks for your comments and for your caution with things in our modern culture. I agree that there are many things in our world that are dangerous and we should not expose our children too. I can completely agree with you on that. However, I might also add a few other comments.

sometimes we can be so careful that we end up hurting yourself on the other end. If we protect our kids so much with good intentions it can often backfire. I raised four kids who are now devoutly Catholic and they are raising our grand kids with exceptional care and love. We all loved movies like the ones mentioned here and if there was something unsavory we would always discuss it together. We did not watch it with them and they were five or six, but as a turn teenagers it was certainly appropriate and a fun movie to watch as a family.

I did not want my kids afraid of things – I would rather have them learn how to analyze and be intelligent about what is right and wrong. And watching a movie like this, if you think there something wrong you can stop the movie and discuss it intelligently, teaching your kids how to analyze every day life and what is right and wrong, good and bad. We shouldn’t avoid everything that may have one or two issues.

I may not know everything but I have raised four kids who are devoutly Catholic and now 12 grandchildren who are following in her stead. We did not give our kids television and they do not have television for their kids but we do watch movies together and we enjoy them and reuse them for instruction.

Phil April 7, 2016 at 3:06 PM

In regards to Nexflix and their porn, etc.; when you log into Nexflix via the web, you can set permissions which lock down what you & your kids have access to see.

Granted, it would be MUCH better if they didn’t offer that at all, but they do. But with Netflix, you can easily control what your kids can watch.

There is also Dove TV, which I’m considering trying out. I know it has a Protestant slant to it, but it also has some simply wholesome programs.

Finally, from a Catholic standpoint: I highly recommend

Amelia August 22, 2016 at 2:18 AM

As a kid myself I watch tv maybe a little more than I should. Although their are many horrible shows/movies for kids these days, their are many great ones. I would recommend Gods Not Dead 1 & 2. They’re the two of the best movies that I’ve ever watched. If your looking for a religious yet family fun movies, those are the ones for you. Just make sure your children are old enough to understand basic concepts and problems in life, other wise it might seem scary to them. Just know part 2 is newer and in paper back may cost a little. We purchased it for only 4$. Definitely one of the best decisions my parents have ever made! Hope this helped. God Bless.

Susan Mackewich April 28, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Dear Friends,

I’m Susan Mackewich, Executive Producer for BAM Media. I have been working with the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate this past year, planning and shooting this short program.

In the lead up to the 100 Anniversary of Fatima, the Friars and I thought you might enjoy watching, and possibly want to share with your audience. This episode about the Angel of Peace, who appeared to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco. The Angel was the first messenger of the Lord, who appears to the three little Shepherds in the months prior to Our Lady’s first visit on May 13th.

This is the fist of 3 programs, being created by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, to honor Our Lady of Fatima. Today on his first visit the Angel teaches them to pray.

I hope you’ll enjoy it and let us know if you think it is something you might want to share.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Susan Mackewich

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