Chapter 10. Film

  1. Philip Goff Director Professor
  1. Judith Weisenfeld Professor of Religion Associate Faculty

Published Online: 16 APR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324082.ch10

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America

How to Cite

Weisenfeld, J. (2010) Film, in The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America (ed P. Goff), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324082.ch10

Editor Information

  1. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, USA

Author Information

  1. Princeton University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 APR 2010
  2. Published Print: 23 APR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405169363

Online ISBN: 9781444324082



  • commercial film industry in twentieth century - opportunities for Americans to explore religious identity and experience;
  • moviegoing, dismissed as mere entertainments - inconsequential to history of religion in America;
  • immigrants and composition of early film audiences;
  • biblical and religious epics, popular for American viewers in the midst of 1950s Cold War culture;
  • movement for reform of exhibition practices - of early motion pictures, dominated by Christian clergy;
  • Protestants, not uniformly opposed to the new entertainment;
  • enthusiasm of Protestants - embracing religious possibilities of film;
  • Woman's Christian Temperance Union - leaders testifying before Congress, arguing against permitting industry to regulate itself;
  • Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA);
  • Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ - conflicting interpretations of the life of Jesus by Catholic background filmmakers


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography