Films for Teaching Religion
30 Days: Muslims is a "fish out of water" film in which a Christian man from West Virginia commits to living like a Muslim with a Muslim family for 30 days. If you can only view/show one movie to introduce Islam, show this one. It is information and students will become more tolerant when it's over.
History of the Talmud is an engaging movie that explores all aspects of the Talmud including contemporary Talmudic study.
Inside the Koran examines a variety of issues (Hijab, marriage, the afterlife) using the Koran as the basis from which to explore a wide diversity of interpretations.
Inside Mecca follows the journey of several Muslims from different places around the globe as they complete the Hajj.
Jewish Law gives viewers a contemporary look inside an Orthodox Jewish family. The film can be viewed in its entirety or used to provide background to Jewish rituals/practices such as Shabbat, Kosher, Mikvah, Passover, Shi'vah etc.
Jesus of Nazareth is a classic depiction of the life of Jesus. Though likely too long to show in its entirety, the film can be used to accompany the teaching Christian concepts.
Kundun is a biographical account of the Dalai Lama by famed director Martin Scorcese.
Little Buddha is the fictional story of an American boy who has been identified as the potential reincarnation of an important Lama. Though this is definitely cut from the Hollywood cloth, for the right audience, the film provides a basic introduction of the Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism as well as the story of the Buddha.
Little Mosque one the Prairie is a Canadian sitcom written by a Muslim woman. Using humor as its primary vehicle, this series brings to surface issues that Muslims and non-Muslims alike struggle to grapple with. Used with care and context, these episodes are a rich resource teachers can use to discuss Islam, tolerance, and the struggles people face when they find themselves religious minorities.
The Legend of Prince Ram is an animated version of the Hindu Epic The Ramayana. Though an abridged version of the story, this depiction of the Ramayana exposes students to the epic in an engaging manner and can be shown in 2-3 class periods.
Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion is a short but rich film discussing the Hindu practice of Puja (worship). The film shows worship taking place in India as well as the United States and includes interviews with those performing puja.
Sita Sings the Blues is a modern iteration of the Hindu epic The Ramayana.
Power and the Glory is a survey of American Evangelicalism. Each episode chronicles a different church leaving the viewer with a sense of Evangelicalism's great diversity.
Principles and Practices of Zen documents a Zen monks on a rigorous retreat. Viewer witness Koans, walking meditation, Zazen (seated meditation) and much more. The film can be easily broken into segments for classroom use.
What Do You Believe is a documentary film that profiles a diverse group of teens as they share religious and spiritual beliefs. Because the film gives a rare look into teenage spirituality it is worthwhile just to view. More valuable however, is the accompanying resource guide, which features lessons on student-generated ground rules, personal belief writing, art assignments, and much more.