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Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Christian Movies (2024)

For the last few weeks, we’ve rolled out the nominees for our Plugged In Movie Awards, and we’ve reached our very last category: Best Christian Movie. And what a year it’s been for Christian movies.

It seems like every year we talk about how the quality of faith-based moviemaking keeps creeping upward. But this year felt less like an incremental uptick and more like a bounding leap. Several films that would’ve been nominated in years past didn’t quite make the cut this year. And while it’s sad that some worthy films will be left off this list, it’s great news for the growth of Christian filmmaking.

Moreover, this crop of nominees feels positively diverse: From a Bible-based musical to an R-rated horror movie to a multiverse-hopping sci-fi flick, this list has a little something for everyone.

And a reminder: We’ll be debating all of these categories and their nominees on the March 7 episode of The Plugged In Show and picking our own winners. It always makes for a fun, robust conversation. And, of course, we want you to tell us your picks as well—even if they’re not one of our nominees!

You can cast your votes (or submit your write-ins) in the comments section of this blog below. Or comment on the appropriate posts on Facebook and Instagram, too. You can vote for anything and everything straight through February, and we’ll let you know in our March 7 episode of The Plugged In Show not only what we selected, but what you did, too. (And if you can’t listen in, we’ll be posting all the winners on our blog as well.)

And now, with all that out of the way, here are the Plugged In Movie Awards nominees for Best Christian Movies, in alphabetical order. (Movie synopses written by Paul Asay, Adam Holz and Kennedy Unthank.)

The Hiding Place (NR)

We included The Zone of Interest as a nominee on our PIMA Adults list—a story that takes us to Auschwitz and the horrors therein. The Hiding Place reminds us of some  heroes who did their best to save people from those horrors—and wound up becoming prisoners instead. Corrie ten Boom’s story is familiar to many Christians. She and her family in the Netherlands hid many Jews from the Nazis during the war. But this stage-to-screen production tells that story in a creative, almost poetic way. And while ten Boom was unquestionably a hero, the film reminds us that she was human, too—letting her anger and jealousy and straight-ahead pragmatism filter through. And for anyone who isn’t familiar with ten Boom’s story, this film will introduce you to one of 20th Century Christendom’s most remarkable figures. (Oh, and as an added bonus, listen to our interview with The Hiding Place’s creator, Pete Peterson.)

Jesus Revolution (PG-13)

The latest biopic from directors Jon Erwin and Brett McCorkle (American Underdog, I Can Only Imagine) zooms in a turbulent, transformative season of American history: the late 1960s and early ‘70s. We meet a former hippie-turned-Jesus-follower named Lonnie Frisbee who providentially ends up meeting a struggling pastor in Southern California named Chuck Smith. Chuck’s church is slowly dying, and his few remaining congregants aren’t thrilled with the arrival of Lonnie and his fellow hippies, including a struggling, searching young man named Greg Laurie. Jesus Revolution weaves their stories together, showing how disillusioned countercultural kids challenged Chuck Smith to take a radical risk by embracing a generation that the church had largely rejected. Some subtle references to the excesses of hippie culture turn up here, warranting the story’s PG-13 rating. But we’re also reminded of the fact that God’s Spirit sometimes moves in incredibly unexpected ways through the people we might least expect. (We had a chance to talk with the directors and cast behind Jesus Revolution, too: Check out what they said.)

Journey to Bethlehem (PG)

Christmas and music go together like chestnuts and open fires. But despite all the carols and hymns written about the birth of Jesus, rarely have you seen a toe-tapping musical centered around the real Christmas story. Journey to Bethlehem changes all that, giving us a blend of romance, drama, Glee-style music and Antonio Banderas in one quirky package. Does it work for everybody? Probably not. But does it work for this reviewer? Yeah, it kind of does. Journey to Bethlehem not only delivers a lot of good music and fun dance numbers, but it brings a new sense of humanity to Mary and Joseph, who often are reduced to marble statues in some of our Nativity renditions. And it’s nice to see Christian directors take chances with their work. (Speaking of which, listen to our own conversation with Journey to Bethlehem Director Adam Anders.)

Nefarious (R)

The movie Nefarious is an odd thing: an R-rated Christian horror film. Both the rating and the genre might scare off potential viewers. But there’s still a story that’s potentially worth considering here. We meet psychologist Dr. James Martin, who must certify that a convicted mass-murderer (Edward Wayne Brady) is sane enough to be executed. Martin is supremely confident going into the conversation, despite the prison warden’s warning that Brady will mess with him. And so he does. Brady claims to be possessed by a demon named Nefarious, which Martin initially believes is a scheme to evade execution. But what if the doctor is wrong? What if the condemned man in front of him really is possessed? The back-and-forth conversation between the two reminds viewers at some points of C.S. Lewis’ demonic dialogue in The Screwtape Letters. As for the R-rating, it’s for a violent moment near the film’s end (and you’ll know when to close your eyes or fast forward). Nefarious is undoubtedly intense. But this spookily provocative film might just prompt redemptive conversations about how Satan deceives us, too.

Surprised By Oxford (NR)

As the previous selection illustrates, we’re not the type of ministry to immediately discount a movie from our Christian category just because it has a bit of content. Surprised by Oxford is another illustration. The movie follows the testimony of Caroline “Caro” Drake as her experiences at the University of Oxford and with C.S. Lewis’ spiritual autobiography Surprised by Joy eventually lead her to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Surprised by Oxford doesn’t shy away from Caro and her friends’ problematic lifestyles in the first half of the film—particularly in the form of sexual banter we hear. They aren’t holding themselves to Christian morality, and we shouldn’t expect them to. But as Caro wrestles with the truth of Christianity, many worthwhile theological questions are raised and addressed that will be edifying to many older Christians. Put simply, Surprised by Oxford tells a genuine story about Christian conversion, one that feels more realistic than many Christian films you might find.

Special Mention:

The Shift (PG-13)

Imagine a faith-focused film that mixes the story of Job with a multiverse sci-fi premise, and you’ve got Angel Studios’ The Shift. Kevin Garner’s life is falling apart in every way imaginable: his marriage is a mess, his son has been kidnapped, he’s about to be fired and he just had a car wreck. That’s when a mysterious man known as “The Benefactor” offers a tempting way out: Work for the Benefactor, and he’ll give Kevin anything he wants in an alternate dimension. It’s an offer most people usually take, the Benefactor tells him. But Kevin is a man of integrity and faith, and he rejects the offer. The Benefactor is, of course, the devil. And he’s about to unleash even more diabolical plans on Kevin across a dystopian multiverse. The Shift is an ambitious attempt to merge sci-fi plot devices with a biblical story. Violence is the biggest issue to confront here if this film’s unique premise sounds intriguing to you.

Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

59 Responses

      1. Very good! Have watched it several times and still get more out of it. I would suggest there are 2 difficult scenes, but still worth the watch. I would also suggest 15 and up for viewing

  1. Nefarious should win!!! It was such an inspiring and eye-opening Christian movie that was the first of its kind!

    1. I’m with Ana, this movie was a punch in the face to the spirit of the age. If you’re looking for Christians standing in the gap, this is the movie that shows you where the gaps are!

    2. Absolutely Nefarious should win – it’s the most powerful Christian movie since the Passion of the Christ. I saw it the first time with a theater full of unbelievers who thought it was a horror film (I asked the people standing around while we were waiting for the theater to be cleaned why they were there). None of them walked out and the conversation on the way out was so interesting – seeds were definitely sown.

      If you have not seen this movie – see it right now! I am not a horror fan and don’t really care for the genre, but as a Christian, this movie convicted me in ways I didn’t expect. This is not just for unbelievers. I have shown it to everyone in my small group and family, and took numerous people with me when it was in theaters. Go to Amazon Prime, or wherever you get movies, and watch this movie and then show it to everyone you know.

    3. Steve made an outstanding movie and I hope a prequel, sequel and Carol are all in the works! God bless you and your family!

    4. It is a great movie. But wasn’t the movie based on a book by someone you know…lol

      Can’t wait to see the sequel – A Nefarious Carol.

  2. Nefarious all the way!!! It does an excellent job of showing how society has rested in their modern comfort to not deal with existential truths of spiritual subversion, leading to moral relativism and lethargy in the culture.

  3. Thanks for these titles. Always looking for good Christian movies.
    We enjoyed Jesus Revolution.
    We LOVED Nefarious! This is a movie you need to see more than once to really understand the message. (We saw it 4 times at the theater and bought the DVD). Nefarious portrays how Satan has infiltrated our culture today. We need to be prepared to defend our faith and protected by the full armor of God.

  4. How could you leave off Sound of Freedom? One of the best eye opening Christian movies ever. Shocking to say the least.

  5. It’s Christmas Again was a great kids musical. Watched with my 10 yr old daughter and we loved it

  6. When people talk about ‘Nefarious,’ I always think they’re talking about the documentary ‘Nefarious: Merchant of Souls’ (human trafficking).

  7. Nefarious was phenomenal!!!

    One of the best movies I have ever seen in my life. The acting performances were amazing. Steve Deace and his team did a spectacular job!

    I saw it four times in the theater I liked it so much.

    Nefarious gets my vote.

  8. Nefarious is not only the best “Christian” movie – it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, period. SO well done – it will leave you thinking about it for a very long time!

  9. Nefarious is the winner! The review/synopsis given here of Nefarious in this blog is one of the best I’ve read to gain leery (pearl-clutching) viewers. It encapsulates what the movie is “about” without giving spoilers, but the last sentence drives the actual intent of the film home. I love how unapologetically The Steve Deace Show brings the Christian Worldview into our everyday life!

  10. Nefarious, hands down. It’s subversive to our culture-which is needed. A movie the average sinner can watch all the way through and leave with their world view in tatters. They will be asking all the right questions afterward.

  11. Nefarious, hands down. It shows where we have come as humans, since pushing God away and replacing him with the evils of self.

  12. Jesus Revolution was the Christian movie we have all been waiting for. Captivating story, great filmmaking, and the entire gospel laid out for everyone to see. This film not only shows how to be saved, but how being saved changes your life.

  13. How could you leave THE BLIND off of the list? To me it was the best movie then it would be JESUS REVOLUTION.

  14. Nefarious is the best movie of 2023. It is thought provoking for both the believer and the nonbeliever as the spirit of the age is depicted masterfully, like a blending of Screwtape Letters and Silence of the Lambs, on the big screen.

    Well done.

  15. Nefarious by a mile. I have shown it to fellow believers because it shakes us out of our comfortable, complacent Christianity. We are shown – and reminded – that we have an enemy who hates and mocks us and is insidious in lulling us into an apathetic, ineffective coma.

  16. Nefarious, to me, is the clear winner, with Jesus Revolution in distant second. Jesus revolution shows how Jesus moved in the 60s with a shifting culture. But Nefarious shows the spiritual battle going on now, as well as the tie in Spiritual warfare that has been happening since the garden. It is a wake up call the the Church, the pastors, and the Christians in the pew to get more into culture with the light of Jesus, the salt of the Holy Spirit, and the vision of scripture to reclaim this world for Christ. But before we do that, we must understand “there is a (spiritual) fight” going on. Nefarious shows how much Satan hates us, just cause we are here, and how he want to do anything he can to keep us from any relationship with the God of the universe.

  17. Nefarious by far my number 1 movie for the reason of actually challenging believers on what’s being allowed to happen right in front of our faces.

  18. nefarious for my best pic. will have to check out The shift and surprised by oxford. Hadnt heard of either of thr=em