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Top 10 Redemptive Films of 2019


In 2019, we have seen a range of redemptive films for all ages and in many genres: dramatic, documentary, bio-pic, animated, and more. There have been many powerful, profound, redemptive movies this year and many more to anticipate in 2020. We celebrate this continuing process of rebirth, renewal, and refreshment in movies and TV streaming.

Many of the following movies are now available on DVD or through various forms of streaming. They are excellent picks for personal, church, and public libraries. See other top pick lists by years and categories on IMDb.

 Here are the Top 10 Redemptive Films of 2019 (In Alphabetical Order):

#1 Breakthrough

Breakthrough rated PG, is a biographical drama based on the true story of John Smith. John is a 14-year-old boy who drowned in Lake Saint Louis in January 2014 and was dead for nearly an hour. CPR was performed on John for 27 minutes to no avail in the emergency room. John’s adoptive mother came into the emergency room, praying loudly and suddenly, there was a pulse. John was revived. However, the miracles continued because two weeks later, he walked out of the hospital with no brain, lung, or other physical impairment. Today John is alive and well. He is graduating from high school and preparing to study ministry.

This movie based on a true story can be rented or purchased at minimal cost or on Amazon Prime Video.

#2 – Emanuel

Emanuel is a documentary about the horrifying event that took place on June 17, 2015. A white supremacist walked into a bible study and murdered nine African Americans. This powerful documentary is about the victims and survivors. This movie shows how goodness can overcome difficult circumstances and evil. This film portrays Christian values that enable those who encounter great odds to emerge as victors rather than victims. Emanuel is a gripping documentary that examines how faith, hope, and forgiveness healed a devastated community after the heinous church shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. This captivating, compelling film weaves the history of race relations in Charleston, the significance and impact of Mother Emanuel Church, and the hope that somehow emerges in the aftermath. Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members, it is a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, and examines the healing power of forgiveness.

This captivating movie based on a true story can be rented at minimal cost or purchased on iTunes or Amazon Prime Video.

#3 Kingdom Men Rising

Kingdom Men Rising explores what it means to be a real man. In the midst of cultural confusion about masculinity, Dr. Tony Evans addresses God’s Purpose for men. Respected pastor, author, and broadcaster, Evans explores the biblical intentions of masculinity and encourages believing men everywhere to take up the mantle of God’s original purpose. This documentary film is an extension of two of Evans’ books, “Kingdom Man” and “No More Excuses.”  This movie provides an honest portrayal of today’s man that is countered by God’s original design. This powerful documentary explores what it means to be a real man in a modern age. It addresses many of the unique challenges men face today related to significance, priorities, race, passivity and more. He challenges men to step more actively into their purpose with no more sitting on the sidelines, no more excuses.

This compelling documentary about faith and counter-cultural courage can be rented at minimal cost or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

#4 – The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story

The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story rated PG-13,  is based on the powerful true story of Graham Staines, who is a missionary in India. This movie is most suitable for teens through adults. Australian missionary Graham Staines serves the leper population in India. With his sons, he meets an unexpected, tragic fate that his wife handles with great Christian courage, faith, and dignity. Their story is told through the eyes of a fictional young journalist who goes undercover with the intention of exposing Staines as illegally proselytizing leprosy patients. However, he surprisingly finds instead a man who has given himself completely and unselfishly as a missionary to those patients. This sacrificial humanitarian becomes a martyr, but he and his family show the world what true forgiveness is. Shot on location in India, this movie beautifully shows the power of love, hope, and forgiveness to overcome hate.

This deeply inspirational movie based on a true story can be rented at minimal cost or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

#5 – The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story

The Long Goodbye-The Kara Tippetts Story is a documentary based on the life of Kara Tippetts. Kara is a wife and young mother with terminal breast cancer who shares the raw edges of dying with grace, dignity, and love. Kara was a 38-year old pastor’s wife and mother of four young children. She had begun a mommy blog, on which she shared the concept of parenting with kindness. The website had a successful following when she began facing a cancer diagnosis, which she shared on the site. The site became a sacred space, as people around the world were touched by Kara’s faith, honesty, and candor. She allowed the world to walk with her as she chronicled first what it meant to be a young wife and mother battling a disease, and then ultimately what it meant to live and die with love and dignity. During her journey with cancer, Kara was also able to write and publish three books. Jay and Sofia Lyons authentically filmed the documentary in real-time of Kara’s last few months. The Long Goodbye also enables viewers to experience the local community that gathered to help the Tibbetts family in their time of need.

This riveting movie based on a true story can be rented at minimal cost or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

#6 – Overcomer

Overcomer rated PG, is a dramatic sports movie about finding our identity in Christ. This movie is about a high school coach, John Harrison, and his basketball team. They face an uncertain future when their town’s largest manufacturing plant shuts down, causing hundreds of people to move away. John begins to coach cross-country, a sport he doesn’t like. He faces an additional challenge when he begins to mentor and coach Hannah Scott, an unlikely and disabled runner who pushes herself to her limits. Inspired by the words and encouragement of an unlikely new friend, John trains Hannah for the most significant and life-changing race she will face. Inspired by the words and prayers of a new-found friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least-likely runner to attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year. With Coach Harrison’s mentorship and that of his new friend, Hannah overcomes the seemingly impossible on many significant and surprising fronts. Overcomer has left audiences filled with hope, inspired to dream, and challenged to find their real identity in Christ. Learn more about Overcomer in our full article review.

This encouraging movie can be rented or bought on Amazon Prime Video

#7 – Palau the Movie

Palau the Movie is a biographical drama about the amazing life and ministry of Luis Palau and his family. This movie begins with the early life of Argentinian evangelist, Luis Palau, who has had a Billy Graham-like ministry in South America and beyond. The film begins in Argentina in 1944 when Luis goes with his father to evangelize his community. Luis’ father then passes away from pneumonia when he is 34 years of age. Not losing faith in God, Luis’ mother encourages Luis and his sister to focus on God’s goodness. Later, in 1955, Luis, as a young man helps his mother financially by working at a bank. Following his father’s example, Luis reads the Scriptures over the radio and preaches in the street. He meets Ray Steadman, a minister visiting from Palo Alto, California. The two men have coffee together, and Ray sees Luis’ spiritual zeal. Ray convinces Luis to come to the United States for seminary teaching and to be sponsored by his church’s congregation. Learn more about the Luis Palau family, their association, their ministries, as well as their resources on their website.

This compelling movie based on a true story can be rented at minimal cost or purchased on iTunes.

#8 – The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Pilgrim’s Progress rated PG, is an animated adventure movie that is appropriate for older children through adults. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a deeply significant film based on John Bunyan’s powerful classic story. It contains universal themes about the Christian journey of overcoming perils and life/death struggles on the way to the Celestial City. The film has been produced to inspire American families as well as to support missionaries and churches in volatile regions around the world. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a best-selling fiction book in history. It has never been out of print. It is the first novel written in English. This epic story of the journey of Christian and his burden still resonates with readers today, just as it did 340 years ago!  The Pilgrim’s Progress is a film that gives viewers courage to live out their faith in a culture that often stands against it.

This movie about faith and courage in the face of conflict in culture can be rented at minimal cost or bought on Amazon Prime Video.

#9 – Tolkien

Tolkien rated PG-13, is a new biographical drama about J.R.R. Tolkien, his early life and the influences on Tolkien’s Middle Earth stories. It is most appropriate for young to older adults, due to the WWI images and literary elements. This is a lovely inspirational choice for a date-night movie. Tolkien uses strong cinematography and acting to focus on the formative years of the renowned author’s life, as he acquires and develops friendships, inspiration, and courage among a group of young scholarly artists. Their fellowship strengthens as they grow up and struggle with love and loss together. It includes Tolkien’s challenging courtship of Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their bonds apart. Tolkien overcomes the challenges with his classmates, his beloved Edith, his mentors, and WWI to write the profound tales of Middle Earth. The characters and stories portray Christian virtues and character qualities that overcome intense violence, hostile power, greed, and evil.

This movie of refreshing restoration and reborn hope can be rented or bought on Amazon Prime Video.

#10 – Unplanned


Unplanned has had amazing developments this past year. Although this movie is appropriate for teens through adults, it has been given an R-rating due to the abortion subject matter. Stunning the mainstream media and the country, Unplanned has broken barriers, expectations, and records. Unplanned is based on the true story of Abby Johnson, who worked for Planned Parenthood because she thought their goal was to prevent pregnancies. Abby is a young woman from a Christian home who becomes the director of a local Planned Parenthood office. However, after seeing what Planned Parenthood is doing, she eventually leaves her job and Planned Parenthood takes her to court. Read more about Unplanned in our full article review.

This authentic, inspiring movie can be accessed at minimal cost on Amazon Prime Video.


In our present darkness of national and international strife and hostility, redemptive family movies are providing refreshing reprieves. Redemptive family movies with Christian values are showing us how to find healing, unity, and a positive way forward in the intense divisiveness of our day.

Much is at stake with the success of redemptive movies. We can facilitate the impact of inspiring, redemptive movies by seeing and sharing these films with family, friends, churches, and the world.

If You’re Looking for More Movie Options, Check Out These Articles:

Top 10 Thanksgiving Films

10 Films to Encourage Your Faith

8 Redemptive Films to Strengthen Your Marriage

Top 10 Redemptive Christian Films

VeggieTales Reboots With 18 New Episodes Plus New Kids Bible

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Diane Howard
Diane Howardhttps://dianehoward.com/
Dr. Diane Howard is a frontline journalist known for exclusive interviews with leading figures in artistic, redemptive media. She has been involved in decades of qualitative and quantitative research on the verifiable power of role models. She also serves as talent and as a dialogue, dialect, voice-over coach. A former Professor of Performance, Media, and Film Studies with a Ph.D. in Performance Studies (College of Communication, University of Texas, Austin), she has been involved in multiple aspects of artistic, redemptive communication media, regionally to internationally. She can be found online at dianehoward.com. As a free resource for churches, Diane has created an IMDb list of films for church libraries available here: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls090258766/  


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