5 Great Films about Peace

Movies tend to speak to me more than any other form of art. These are 5 movies that I think of when I think “peace.”

1. The King of Hearts (starring Alan Bates and Genevieve Bujold; directed by Philippe de Broca)

A marvelous satire of the absurdity of war in which a village in the path of the Germans (in World War I) is abandoned to one British soldier and the escaped inhabitants of the local insane asylum. By the end it is clear that what we call “sane” (the war) is not sane at all—and perhaps the “insane,” who treat each other with kindness and love, have got it right after all. The ending is worth the price of admission.

2. Everything Is Illuminated (starring Elijah Wood; directed by Liev Schreiber)

A beautiful film about a young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of an eccentric local.

3. Weaving Life (EMU Visual and Communication Arts students)

American Dan Terry was among the ten humanitarian aid workers assassinated in Afghanistan in August 2010, after spending 40 years devoted to the people, the culture, and the landscapes of Afghanistan. Eastern Mennonite University film students, intrigued by Dan’s story of commitment and humility, embarked on their own journey to understand the man whose engagement with Afghanistan began when he was their age. Through interviews, Dan’s photography, and their own artwork and video journals, the students begin to discover the startling power of sustained commitment and what Dan called “fierce love.”

The group traveled to Nashville, Tenn. and Franklin, Va. to interview Terry’s family and friends, who painted a clear picture of a man who had gone to Afghanistan to walk with a people he felt the world had misunderstood and mistreated. The way Terry wove relationships, joy and understanding into life provides a new narrative for understanding Afghanistan, and a new model for the ways in which all of us can choose to live and serve.
3. Amazing Grace (starring Ioann Gruffudd; directed by Michael Apted)
 A film about the idealist William Wilberforce as he maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.
4. Amish Grace (starring Sylvia White, Teena Booth, and Matt Letscher; directed by Gregg Champion)
When a gunman killed five Amish children and injured five others in a Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania schoolhouse shooting in October of 2006, the world media attention rapidly turned from the tragic events to the extraordinary forgiveness demonstrated by the Amish community. Through the eyes of a grieving mother, Ida Graber, and other devastated families, this movie explores the Amish’s astonishing reaction to the horrific shootings – of forgiveness and compassion. 

 5. The Ultimate Gift (starring Drew Fuller, James Garner, and Abigail Breslin; directed by Michael O. Sajbel)

A movie about redemption, learning who you are, and finding peace within yourself. This movie explores the relationship between wealth and happiness with this spiritual-minded tale about a privileged young man who receives a most unexpected inheritance. Adapted from the best-selling book by author Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Gift opens as trust-fund baby Jason Stevens (Drew Fuller) prepares to receive a sizable inheritance from his late grandfather Red (James Garner). Though Jason is convinced that the money is about to come flowing in, he receives a sudden shock upon discovering that Red has instead decided to offer him something much more valuable than simple cash. Realizing that his spoiled grandson has lived a sheltered life in which he has always been handed the very best of everything, Red has devised a crash course in living comprised of 12 gifts that will challenge the arrogant young man in ways that he could never have imagined nor anticipated. In the weeks that follow, Jason will befriend a terminally ill child (Abigail Breslin) and her grief-stricken mother (Ali Hillis) while attempting to determine whether it is money or happiness that truly matters in life.
Hopefully, you will watch (or consider watching) one of these movies at your next movie night. Enjoy!