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My Ten Favorite Religious Movies by John Waters
Details Magazine, February 1996.

The Green Pastures

1936, Marc Connelly and William Keighley
Racially incorrect by today's standards, this fish-fry-in-the-sky features an all-black cast led by "De Lawd" as he retells tales from the Old Testament as a young child might imagine them.

Mother Joan of the Angels aka The Devil and the Nun

1960, Jerzy Kawalerowicz
A priest, sent to cure a pack of possessed Polish nuns, takes on their madness and commits two murders in the name of Christian love.


1961, Luis Bunuel
Favorite scene - the infamous orgy where the drunken beggars freeze in the exact position of the apostles in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

King of Kings

1961, Nicholas Ray
Widely known as "I Was A Teenage Jesus." Jeffrey Hunter stars as the first Hollywood pinup on the cross.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

1964, Pier Paolo Pasolini
The only religious movie that ever made me feel reverent without irony. Pasolini definitely went to heaven for this one.

Imitation of Christ

1967, Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey
Brigid (Polk) Berlin and Ondine play the parents of the moody, silent beauty Patrick Tilden, as Nico reads aloud from the holy book for which the film is named.

Hail Mary

1985, Jean-Luc Godard
"The Father and Mother must fuck over my body and Lucifer will die," rants Mary in this artier-than-thou religious treatise that baited humor-impaired Christian pickets by the busloads in the 1980's.


1986, Alain Cavalier
The scary and beautiful minimalist ode to the teenage saint who drank the bathwater of lepers and had a big-time crush on Jesus.

The Last Temptation of Christ

1988, Martin Scorsese
Willem Dafoe, the first uncut Jesus.


1995, Victor Salva
Is the character "Powder" Michael Jackson, a gay saint, or Jesus Christ himself? You be the judge.