Ken Boa’s “Safe” Film List (and Other Recommendations)

Following is a list of recommended films from Dr. Ken Boa. Many of these are also on his list of films with spiritual and moral themes, but here, they are categorized according to the level of objectionable content.

“Safe” Films

(Note: By “safe,” I do not mean the film is appropriate for every person or every age group, but that its material is safe for adult audiences and in many cases for young adults.)

• 12 Angry Men
• 2001: A Space Odyssey
• All Quiet on the Western Front
• Amadeus
• Amazing Grace
• Babette's Feast (Babettes gæstebud)
• Beauty and the Beast (La belle et la bête—Jean Cocteau, 1946)
• Ben-Hur
• The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette—De Sica)
• Casablanca
• Chariots of Fire
• Citizen Kane
• Close Encounters of the Third Kind
• Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne—Bresson)
• Double Indemnity
• The Elephant Man
• Enchanted April
• Finding Forrester
• The Fountainhead
• The Hobart Shakespeareans
• Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
• It's a Wonderful Life

• Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring
• La Strada (Fellini)
• Lawrence of Arabia
• Les Miserables
• The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
• A Man for All Seasons
• Metropolis (1927)
• On the Waterfront
• One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
• Rain Man
• Rashômon (Kurasowa)
• Rear Window
• The Scarlet Letter
• The Searchers
• The Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai—Kurasowa)
• The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet—Bergman)
• Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi—Miyazaki)
• Tender Mercies
• To Kill a Mockingbird
• Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället—Bergman)
• The Wizard of Oz

“Be Cautious” Films

The following films are valuable for moral/spiritual themes but contain some objectionable content (noted in brackets). Viewers should use their best judgment and make a decision to watch based on their own sensitivities and proclivities toward sin.

• Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain) [caution: sexual scene]
• Being There [caution: sexual scene]
• Braveheart [caution: sex and violence]
• Chinatown [caution: sex and violence]
• City of God (Cidade de Deus) [caution: violence]
• Crimes and Misdemeanors [caution: violence]
• Donnie Darko [caution]
• Forrest Gump [caution: sexual scene]
• Gladiator [caution: violence]
• Gran Torino [caution: language and violence]
• The Green Mile [caution: language and violence]
• Hotel Rwanda [caution: violence]
• Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella) [caution: violence]
• The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) [caution: sexual scenes]
• The Matrix [caution: violence]
• Memento [caution: violence]
• Saving Private Ryan [caution: violence]
• Schindler’s List [caution: violence]
• The Shawshank Redemption [caution: language and violence]
• Slumdog Millionaire [caution: violence]


Not sure how to decide whether these films are “OK” for you? Want more resources and tips for discerning how and what to watch? Check out this article.