I was a student of Digital Media in college, which included the study of film. As I studied film and being a Mormon I realized that members of the Mormon faith love movies but there are certain films that Mormons are more familiar with than other groups. In my list I have excluded certain movies such as Single Ward, RM or other Mollywood (cheesy Mormon films). Here is the list that I came up with:
- The Princess Bride – Although many people outside of the Mormon church have seen this film, for some reason members of the church are aware of this film. When I was in High School and growing up in a Mormon community everybody had seen this movie. Though somewhat popular outside of the Utah most people are not exactly huge fans. This movie is romantic without all of the sexual content that is found in many romantic films and comedies.
- Three Amigos – For some reason everybody I know who is a younger Mormon has seen this film. Steve Martin is in this movie, however, despite popular myth Steve Martin in not a member of the church himself. This movie has some Spanish lines, which makes return missionaries who served in Spanish speaking areas feel special that they know what they are saying.
- UHF – This film was not very popular in the theaters however, has become somewhat of a cult classic in Mormon communities. Despite the unfair PG-13 rating it has remained popular, many members shy away from movies with ratings higher than PG. Not many people know this but the late Billy Barty who played Noodles McIntosh was a Mormon himself. They also played a brief recording of the Mormon tabernacle choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- Johnny Lingo (The original 1969)- Who can forget lines like “Mahana you ugly” or “8 cow wife”. This movie is a classic among Latter-day Saints. This is probably a reason why many people from Utah want to be Polynesian.
- The Legend of Johnny Lingo – Loosely based on the original 1969 BYU film. This movie did not fare so well as they changed the story, however, because of the name sake members have given this film a try, I don’t think it is such a bad movie if you forget you ever saw the original film while you try to digest what is going on.
- Cipher in the Snow – As a youth growing up in Utah this was shown to us every year to try to make us feel guilty and sad. It is the story of a boy who dies because he is unloved at home and school.
- The Phone Call – This movie has been shown for years to try to help teens gain self confidence in themselves. Marc McClure, who played the bumbling Scott also played Jimmy Olsen in the original Superman films.
- Other Side of Heaven – Picked up by Disney, this film shares the missionary experiences of a missionary sent to Tonga. Many people who are not members have seen this movie as it has the ever popular Anne Hathaway as the missionary’s girl friend.
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – I had a hard time sitting through this one but for some reason most Latter-day Saint women have seen and love this movie. The strong reference to large families and musicals make it favorite for female Latter-day Saints.
- Emma – (Actually any film portraying Jane Austen’s work) For some reason women in the Mormon faith love Jane Austen romance books and movies, Emma is just one example. The culture of the time period she portrays is actually a close match to modern Mormon culture.
What draws members of the LDS church to movies tends to be entertaining, moral, originality. They appreciate films that represent the values they cherish and can be enjoyed by the whole family.