Yale Divinity Library Missions and World Christianity Subject Guide

Missions and cinema

.... an informal listing of films in which missionaries are prominent characters or are portrayed in interesting ways. Please send additions/corrections to martha.smalley@yale.edu

Title Year Director Notes
Abuna Messias 1939 Alessandrini, Geoffredo Italian (trans. title: "Cardinal Messias"); based on Guglielmo Massaia, 1808-1889; IMDB13
The African Queen 1951 Hunston, John IMDB1
Always in the Way 1919 Dawley, J. Searle 5
The Amazing Mrs. Holliday 1943 Manning, Bruce IMDB1
Americanization: the Problem of the Hour 1919 Wilson, Alonzo E. 45
Angel in Green 1987 Chomsky, Marvin J. IMDB1
Apache Rifles 1964 Witney, William IMDB1
The Apostle 1997 Duvall, Robert IMDB1
The Arab 1924 Ingram, Rex 15
Arctic Manhunt 1949 Scott, Ewing IMDB1
At Play in the Fields of the Lord 1991 Babenco, Hector IMDB1
Bali 1970 Liberatore, Ugo IMDB1
Battle Hymn 1956 Sirk, Douglas based on Dean E. Hess, b. 1917; IMDB13
Bawa Duka 1997 Bandaranayake, Dharmasiri IMDB1
Behind the Sun 1995 Armstrong, Robin B. IMDB
The Beachcomber 1954 Box, Muriel *remake of The Vessel of Wrath; IMDB1
Belle of New York 1919 Steger, Julius see also The Belle of New York15
The Belle of New York 1952 Walters, Charles remake of Belle of New York; IMDB1
Bells of Innocence 2003 Bijan, Ali IMDB1
Beyond Mombasa 1956 Marshall, George IMDB1
Beyond the Gates of Splendor 2002 Hanon, Jim see also End of the Spear, which is based on the same story; IMDB13
Beyond the Next Mountain 1987 Collier, James F. and Forsberg, Rolf IMDB
The Bitter Tea of General Yen 1933 Capra, Frank IMDB1
The Black Bird 1926 Browning, Tod 15
The Black-Bearded Barbarian of Taiwan 2006 Papp, Susan based on George Leslie Mackay13
Black Narcissus 1947 Powell, Michael IMDB1
Black Robe 1991 Beresford, Bruce IMDB1
The Bowery Bishop 1924 Campbell, Colun 5
Breed of the Sea 1926 Ince, Ralph 15
By Divine Right 1924 Neill, Roy William 15
The Call 1938 Poirier, Léon based on Charles de Foucauld, 1858-1916; IMDB13
Candle in the Dark: The Story of William Carey 1998 Tew, Tony IMDB
Chariots of Fire 1981 Hudson, Hugh based on Eric Liddell; IMDB13
China 1919   5
China Sky 1945 Enright, Ray IMDB1
Choices of the Heart 1983 Sargent, Joseph based on Jean Donovan, d. 1980; (TV series); IMDB13
The Color Purple 1985 Spielberg, Steven IMDB1
Dancing at Lughnasa 1998 O’Connor, Pat IMDB1
A Daughter of the Congo 1930 Micheaux, Oscar 15
The Day of Faith 1923 Browning, Tod 15
David Livingstone 1936 Fitzpatrick, James A. based on Henry Morgan Stanley and David Livingstone; IMDB1
Dear John 2004 Lyde, John IMDB14
Declaring Christ as Lord in the City 1983   14
The Diamond Bandit 1924 Ford, Francis 15
A Distant Trumpet 1952 Fisher, Terence 1
Djungelaeventyret Campa Campa 1976 Anderburg, Torgny Swedish (trans. title: "Jungle Adventure Campa Campa"); IMDB1
Down Among the Sheltering Palms 1953 Goulding, Edmund IMDB1
A Dream Begun     Harvest Productions14
East of Borneo 1931 Melford, George IMDB1
Easy Street 1917 Chaplin, Charles IMDB15
Ee! Taow 1989   also titled: "EE-TAOW: The Mouk Story"4
Ee! Taow: The Next Chapter     also titled: "EE-TAOW: The Next Chapter"4
Elmer Gantry 1960 Brooks, Richard IMDB1
Encrucijada para una monja 1967 Fulci, Lucio Spanish (trans. title: "A Nun at the Crossroards"); IMDB lists Julio Buchs as the director1
End of the Spear 2005 Hanon, Jim see also Beyond the Gates of Splendor, which is based on the same story; IMDB13
Ethan 1964 DuPont, Michael IMDB1
Eve’s Leaves 1926 Sloane, Paul 15
Eversmile, New Jersey 1989 Sorin, Carlos IMDB1
Flammen im Paradies 1997 Imhoof, Markus (trans. title: "Fire in Paradise"); IMDB1
Fool 1925 Millarde, Henry 15
For Heaven’s Sake 1926 Taylor, Sam 15
Forbidden Territory: Stanley’s Search for Livingstone 1997 Langton, Simon based on Henry Morgan Stanley and David Livingstone; IMDB1
Gandhi 1982 Attenborough, Richard IMDB2
The Gift Supreme 1920 Sellers, Ollie L. 15
God Speaks Today 1965   1
Godless Men 1921 Barker, Reginald 15
Good Morning, Judge 1928 Seiter, William A. 15
The Good Seed 1986   14
Great Adventurers: David Livingstone, Journey to the Heart of Africa 1999 Corsini, Robert based on Henry Morgan Stanley and David Livingstone; IMDB1
Guys and Dolls 1955 Mankiewicz, Joseph L. IMDB1
Hawaii 1919 Wilson, Alonzo E. 45
Hawaii 1966 Hill, George Roy IMDB1
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison 1957 Huston, John see also The Nun and the Sergeant; IMDB1
Helen Roseveare: Motivation for Missions 1987   based on Helen Roseveare, b. 1925134
Hope for Cities 1990   14
Hope for Creative Access Countries 1990   14
Hope for Reconciliation in Mission 1990   14
Hudson Taylor 1981 Anderson, Ken based on James Hudson Taylor; IMDB13
I Heard the Owl Call My Name 1973 Duke, Daryl IMDB1
In the Land of the Setting Sun; or, Martyrs of Yesterday 1919 Wells, Raymond IMDB135
Infidel 1922 Young, James 15
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness 1958 Robson, Mark based on Gladys Aylward, 1902-1970; IMDB13
Jungle Drums of Africa 1953 Brannon, Fred C. see also U-238 and the Witch Doctor; IMDB1
Just Like a Woman 1923 Beal, Scott R., and McClung, Hugh IMDB1
The Keys of the Kingdom 1944 Stahl, John M. IMDB1
Kid in Africa 1932 Hays, Jack IMDB1
Klondike Annie 1936 Walsh, Raoul IMDB1
Land Beyond the Sunset 1912 Shaw, Harold M. 15
The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark 1980 Jarrott, Charles IMDB1
Last Flight Out 2003 Jameson, Jerry IMDB14
The Last King of Scotland 2006 Macdonald, Kevin IMDB
Laughing Sinners 1931 Beaumont, Harry IMDB1
The Law of Love 1989 Lee, Penelope based on Jackie Pullinger, b. 1943; (TV series); IMDB13
The Left Hand of God 1955 Dmytryk, Edward IMDB1
L’Élite noire de demain 1950 De Boe, Gérard French (trans. title: "The Black Elite of Tomorrow")13
Light in the Jungle 1990 Hofmeyer, Gray based in Albert Schweitzer; also titled: "Schweitzer"; IMDB gives director’s name as Hofmeyr13
The Lost World 2001 Orme, Stuart IMDB1
Love’s Wilderness 1924 Leonard, Robert Z. 15
Made in China 2007 Helde, John IMDB
Madonna of the Streets 1924 Carewe, Edwin 15
Madonna of the Streets 1930 Robertson, John S. IMDB1
Mama Luka Comes Home 1989 Telfer, Crawford based on Helen Roseveare, b. 192513
The Marriage Cheat 1924 Wray, John Griffith 15
Men Against the Sun 1953 Stafford, Brendan J. IMDB1
Methodism and Negro Immigration 1919 Wilson, Alonzo E. (TV series)45
Methodized Cannibals 1919 Wilson, Alonzo E. 45
The Miracle Woman 1931 Capra, Frank inspired by Aimee Semple McPherson; IMDB1
Miss Sadie Thompson 1953 Bernhardt, Curtis based on Sadie Thompson; bowdlerized version of Rain; see also Sadie Thompson; IMDB1
The Mission 1986 Joffé, Roland IMDB1
The Mission Father 1911   IMDB15
The Mission in the Desert 1911   IMDB15
Mission to Glory: A True Story 1977 Kennedy, Ken based on Francisco "Kino" Kin; also titled: "Kino, the Padre on Horseback"; IMDB13
The Mission Waif 1911   IMDB15
Missionaires intaliens aux Indes 1932 Algoet, Raphaël French (trans title: "Italian Missionaries in the Indies")13
The Missionary 1982 Loncraine, Richard IMDB1
Mister Moses 1965 Neame, Ronald IMDB1
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien 1999 Cox, Paul based on Damien de Veuster, 1840-1889; IMDB13
Molokai, la isla maldita 1959 Lucia, Luis based on Damien de Veuster, 1840-1889; IMDB13
Mongaga: Dr. Paul Carlson in the Heart of the Congo      
The Mosquito Coast 1986 Wier, Peter IMDB1
Mother Teresa 2003 Costa, Fabrizio based on Mother Teresa; IMDB13
The Mystery of the Poison Pool 1914 Gordon, James 15
Nate and Hayes 1983 Fairfax, Ferdinand IMDB1
The Nun and the Sergeant 1962 Adreon, Franklin see also Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; IMDB1
The Nun’s Story 1959 Zinnemann, Fred year uncertain; IMDB
Obstacle to Comfort: The Life of George Mueller 1997 Connolly, Ken based on George Mueller, 1805-189813
On the Isle of Samoa 1950 Berke, William A. IMDB1
Oscar and Lucinda 1997 Armstrong, Gillian IMDB1
The Other Side of Heaven 2002 Davis, Mitch based on John H. Groberg, b. 193413
Paradise Road 1997 Beresford, Bruce based on events in World War II; IMDB1
Peace Child     identification uncertain, possibly IMDB
Playthings of Passion 1919 Worsley, Wallace 15
The Ragged Edge 1923 Weight, F. Harmon 15
Rain 1932 Milestone, Lewis based on Sadie Thompson; remake of Sadie Thompson; see also Miss Sadie Thompson; IMDB1
The Rains Came 1939 Brown, Clarence IMDB1
The Reaping 2007 Hopkins, Stephen IMDB1
Recompense 1925 Beaumont, Harry 15
Red Lantern 1919 Capellani, Albert 15
Return to Paradise 1953 Robson, Mark IMDB1
The Right to Love 1930 Wallace, Richard IMDB1
The Rip-Tide 1926 Pratt, Jack 15
Road to Redemption 2001 Vernon, Richard IMDB14
Sadie Thompson 1928 Menzies, William Cameron and Walsh, Raoul based on Sadie Thompson; see also Miss Sadie Thompson and Rain; IMDB1
Saints and Soldiers 2003 Little, Ryan IMDB14
The Sand Pebbles 1966 Wise, Robert IMDB1
Satan Never Sleeps 1962 McCarey, Leo IMDB1
Seven Women 1966 Ford, John IMDB1
Shanghai Surprise 1986 Godard, Jim IMDB1
Shining Victory 1941 Rapper, Irving IMDB1
Shogun 1980 London, Jerry based on James Clavell’s novel Shogun; IMDB1
Shooting Dogs/Beyond the Gates 2005 Caton-Jones, Michael IMDB
The Sins of Rachel Cade 1961 Douglas, Gordon IMDB1
Sky Pilot 1921 Vidor, King IMDB15
So Evil My Love 1948 Allen, Lewis IMDB1
Soul of the Slums 1931 Strayer, Frank IMDB1
St. Patrick: The Irish Legend 2000 Hughes, Robert based on St. Patrick13
Stanley and Livingstone 1939 King, Henry and Brower, Otto based on Henry Morgan Stanley and David Livingstone; IMDB12
Streets of Shanghai 1927 Gasnier, Louis J. 15
Strongest in the Broken Places 1990   14
Students in World Mission 1990   14
Suits on the Loose 2005 Henson, Rodney IMDB14
The Supreme Secret 1958 Walker, Norman IMDB1
Susan Rocks the Boat 1916 Powell, Paul 15
The Taliabo Story: The Search for the River of Eternal Life 1997   14
Thunder in the East 1953 Vidor, Charles IMDB1
Thunder over Sangoland 1955 Newfield, Sam a combination of three episodes of Ramar of the Jungle, 1952; IMDB1
Tillie and Gus 1933 Martin, Francis IMDB1
To Him That Hath 1918 Apfel, Oscar 15
Trader Horn 1931 Van Dyke, S. W. IMDB1
U-238 and the Witch Doctor 1966 Brannon, Fred C. remake or edit of Jungle Drums of Africa; IMDB1
Valley of Mystery 1967 Lejtes, Joseph IMDB1
The Vessel of Wrath 1938 Cormack, Barlett and Pommer, Erich IMDB1
Virtuous Sinners 1919 Flynn, Emmett J. 15
The Waifs 1916 Sidney, Scott 15
West of Shanghai 1937 Farrow, John IMDB1
When Danger Calls 1927 Hutchinson, Charles 15
Where the Pavement Ends 1923 Ingram, Rex 15
White Hands 1922 Hillyer, Lambert 15
White Witch Doctor 1953 Hathaway, Henry IMDB1
White Zombie 1932 Halperin, Victor IMDB1
Wilson’s Reward 1980 O’Neal, Patrick IMDB1
A Woman There Was 1919 Edwards, J. Gordon IMDB15
Women of the Orient 1919 Wilson, Alonzo E.  
Worthy to Stand 1969 Whitaker, Judge IMDB14
Yes and Goodbye     14
Zamperini: Still Carrying the Torch 1992 Sajbel, Michael O. based on Louis S. Zamperini, b. 191713


  1. Missions and Film, by Jamie S. Scott (International Bulletin of Missionary Research. 32.3 (2008):115-120), has a brief synopsis of this piece.
  2. Minor missionary role
  3. Based on a real missionary story
  4. Produced by a missions-related organization
  5. Silent film