Material History of American Religion Project

Selected Bibliography on Religion and Film

 In recent years scholars of American religion have been looking at religion in American movies. Project scholar Judith Weisenfeld has put together this bibliography of this scholarship.

Austin, Ronald, ed.  Screening Mystery: The Religious Imagination in Contemporary Film. Special Issue of: Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion 20 (Summer 1998)

Aylmer, Kevin J. “Towering Babble and Glimpses of Zion: Recent Depictions of Rastafari in Cinema,” in Nathaniel Samuel Murrell, William David Spencer and Adrian Anthony Mcfarlane, eds., Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader (Temple, 1998)

Bach, Alice, ed. Biblical Glamour and Hollywood Glitz.  Special Issue of: Semeia 74 (1996).

Black, Gregory. Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics, and the Movies (Cambridge, 1994)

Butler, Ivan. Religion in the Cinema (A.S. Barnes & Co., 1969)

Cambell, Richard. The Bible on Film: A Checklist, 1897-1980 (Scarecrow, 1981)

Couvares, Francis, ed. Movie Censorship and American Culture (Smithsonian, 1996)

Hulsether, Mark. “Sorting Out the Relationships Among Christian Values, US Popular Religion, and Hollywood Films.”  Religious Studies Review 25 (January 1999): 3-11.

Jacobs, Lea. The Wages of Sin: Censorship and the Fallen Woman Film, 1928-1942 (Wisconsin, 1991)

Martin, Joel and Conrad E. Ostwalt, eds. Screening the Sacred: Religion, Myth and Ideology in Popular American Film (Westview, 1995)

May, John R. Image and Likeness: Religious Visions in American Film Classics (Paulist Press, 1992)

May, John R., and Michael Bird, eds. Religion in Film (Tennessee, 1982)

May, John R. “Close Encounters: Hollywood and Religion After a Century,” Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion 20 (Summer 1998): 72-78.              

Mayer, David.  Playing Out the Empire: Ben-Hur and Other Toga Plays and Films, 1883‑1908: A Critical Anthology (Clarendon, 1994)

Miles, Margaret, Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies (Beacon, 1996)                          

Norden, Marty, “The Transformation of Religion in John Sayles’ Matewan, Crossroads: A Journal of Southern Culture 2:1 (Fall 1993/Winter 1994): 87-93.              

O’Brien, Tom. The Screening of America: Movies and Values from Rocky to Rain Man (Continuum, 1990)

Walsh, Frank, Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry (Yale 1996)

Ward, Graham, ed. Film and Religion. Special Issue of: Literature and Theology 12, no. 1 (1998).

Williams, Peter W. “Religion Goes to the Movies: A Review Essay,” Religion and American Culture 10:2 (Summer, 2000): 225-239

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