Choosing a movie for a youth group event is never easy. It is very hard to combine the tastes of both boys and girls, older and younger, and varied levels of tolerance. Since these students are Christian teens, movies rated PG, PG-13, and R need to be carefully considered before showing the movies to the group.
Still, these are some popular movie choices for youth groups. To make your choice you can read a little about the story, why it is a good choice for a Christian teen audience, and also why some Christians may take issue with the film.
While most of these films are widely accepted, there are always Christians that disagree with certain content, so be sure to let people know what movie you are showing ahead of time to avoid any conflict later.
Synopsis: Princess Buttercup meets and falls in love with Wesley, a poor servant. When Wesley goes off to make a living so he can eventually wed Buttercup, he is kidnapped by the Dread Pirate Roberts. This leaves Buttercup in the hands of Prince Humperdink, who wishes to use her as a pawn in starting a war. Eventually Wesley returns to rescue the woman he loves from the evil Prince.
Why It Works: Of all the movies available to Christian teens, this movie seems to have the greatest appeal to everyone. It has action, adventure, romance, and themes of friendship, good v. evil, and more. Most students seem to like the movie, and most parents find it acceptable.
Take Into Consideration: While most parents and youth leaders find this movie acceptable for teen audiences, some parents may have issues with the "magic" performed by some characters. There is also some minor violence and sword fighting.
Synopsis: Meet Luke Skywalker, a young boy adopted by his aunt and uncle, living on Tatooine. Luke longs to get off of the desert planet and be a fighter pilot for the Rebellion. Also meet Princess Leia, kidnapped by the Empire while on her way to the Rebellion's headquarters. Watch their story unfold as they meet enemies like Darth Vader of the Empire, and friends like Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the ever-wise Obi Wan Kenobi.
Why It Works: A futuristic fairy-tale, George Lucas started his epic in the middle of his story. While there is debate as to which episode of Star Wars is the best, "A New Hope" always seems to please. It is a great combination of action and relationships that please a majority of people. It shows clear lines between good and evil, so it is able to spark great debate and conversation. It also has one of the greatest catch phrases of all time, "May the Force be with you."
Take Into Consideration: While "Star Wars" is a beloved story by millions, some Christians take issue with some of the violence in the movies. While there is no blood or gore, there are battles and lightsaber fights. Some characters die. Also, some parents see the Force as a "magic," and may take issue with the concept.
Synopsis: Frodo and his fellow Hobbits embark on an adventure to destroy the evil Sauron's ring. They meet friends like Gandalf and Aragon along the way, enlisting the help of elves, dwarves, and humans in order to defeat an evil that threatens the entire kingdom.
Why It Works: Based on the work of fellow Christian J.R.R. Tolkien, Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" films are considered the gold-standard of Tolkien adaptations. Peter Jackson was able to retain much of the charm and values of the books while compressing the story into compelling drama. Christian teens will be able to relate to the themes of good vs. evil, friendship, and courage.
Take Into Consideration: Even though many Christians read the books and watch the movies, some Christians take issue with the magic and violence portrayed. Many of the characters are able to use magic, especially the elves and wizards. There are swordfights and battles that can get rather intense.
Synopsis: Lucy, the youngest of four siblings, comes across a wardrobe that leads her into the land of Narnia. Narnia is home to a variety of talking animals and mythological creatures. It is under the spell of the White Witch, who has created a perpetual winter. The siblings soon follow Lucy into the land where they join the fight against the White Witch, taking up the cause of Aslan, the lion.
Why It Works: Based on C.S. Lewis' allegory of Christ's life, death, and resurrection, this charming story has enough action for Christian teens and yet important themes that warrant discussion. The movie is entertaining and educational, bringing up themes like good vs. evil, temptation, and faith.
Take Into Consideration: While C.S. Lewis is one of the most celebrated Christian authors of the past century, there are always some Christians that do not like the fact that he used witches and magic to purport his themes. Add to that the battle scenes and intense "death" scene portrayed on screen, and some Christians may disagree with the choice.
Synopsis: Tells the story of the last 12 hours in Jesus' life in a gritty, realistic, and "no-holds-barred" realism.
Why It Works: If you are having a "fun night out," this may not be the movie to show. However, if you are having a night of reflection about Jesus, this is a great movie to spark discussion and prayer. It is an excellent reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for all of our sins.
Take Into Consideration: There is a great deal of violence in "The Passion of the Christ," and there is a great difference in reading about what happened to Jesus during these 12 hours and seeing in on screen. Some parents may not want their children watching the violence.