1. “Ben-Hur” – Academy Award for 1959
Judah Ben-Hur and Messala are childhood friends that are separated when in their teens and reunite later in life to find out that they are now unable to resume their friendship because of their heritages; allegiances and life choices have made that impossible. Relationships, hatred, love, mercy, grace and the supreme forgiveness of God are explored thoroughly in this gripping tale based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel.
2. “Schindler’s List” – Academy Award for 1993
A German businessman comes to learn the true cost of doing business in Hitler’s Germany is far too much than he can ultimately bear. This cost is far more than monetary currency. It is the cost of inhuman misery, pain and death. Schindler, after he can no longer turn a blind eye, spends an enormous amount of the fortune he has made off this suffering to save as many of his current factory workers as Hitler’s Reich collapses.
3. “Gladiator” – Academy Award for 2000
This is a movie about what is best and worst in humanity. The lust for absolute power by a man and its corrupting influence on him and an exceptional man to whom that rule does not apply, for he knows how fleeting power really is. What is little known about this movie in the general populous is its tie to my top pick “Ben-Hur.” “Gladiator” is heavily based on the 1964 epic “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” which stars Irish actor Stephen Boyd, as does “Ben-Hur.”
4. “Gone with the Wind”- Academy Award for 1939
It is a touching, heart-wrenching story of the maturity process of a young Southern Bell, Scarlett O’Hara, and her struggles with social pressures, conflict, and relationships. Scarlett begins the film vanity filled and it ends with her crushed in despair and loss, but resolute to win back Rhett, her one true love.
5. “Rocky”- Academy Award for 1976
Rocky is a scrappy, uneducated part-time boxer and a full-time thug with a big heart, who by chance, is given a once in a lifetime shot at the heavyweight title of the world. Rocky takes the chance that is given and though he loses the fight in the ring, he wins the fight in the ring of life. The story is about what true achievement in life is, how it is attained, and how it is truly measured.