Top 10 LDS Films

Dozens of LDS films have been released over the years, starting with Brigham Young in 1940 up to The Cokeville Miracle in 2015. A fairly comprehensive list can be found on the LDS Cinema page on Wikipedia, which can be found here: These films cover a wide range for genres from romance and comedy to drama and documentary. There are many movies in each genre that are worthy of your attention, and I’m sure that everyone has their own favorites. Here is my top 10 list; let’s see how it matches yours. I list them in no particular order.

  1. Saints and Soldiers (2004) –This film is arguably one of the first LDS films with a mainstream target audience, and it won several independent film awards. For having a relatively low budget, I thought that it had high production values, was beautifully photographed and was well-acted. Its deeply psychological, ethical, and emotional themes also resonated with me. It tells the story of five allied soldiers struggling to deliver crucial tactical information from behind German lines.All the while, each soldier copes with his personal struggles.
  1. 17 Miracles (2011) –Beautifully photographed and with deep emotional resonance, this film powerfully conveys the trials and faith of the Mormon pioneers travelling across the plains by handcart. I thought it was well-acted and portrayed the miracles light-handedly. I can’t help but feel appreciation for the pioneers when I watch this film.
  1. God’s Army (1999) –This film is widely considered the first LDS film in the modern era. As such, it highly influenced the development of high production value movies related to Mormon history, beliefs, and pop culture. The movie is somewhat controversial, however. Many consider the film to have multiple inaccuracies in its portrayal of Mormon missionaries and their experiences. Still, it has great dramatic and emotional power as the missionaries serve others and experience miracles in their work. The story follows a new missionary, who is in over his head and feels ready to quit when he is given an older and somewhat strict companion. But the senior companion’s non-conventional approach to missionary work and his unique perspective to what a mission means changes the protagonist’s life.
  1. The Work and the Glory (2005) –Based on Gerald Lund’s award-winning book series, this film follows the story of the fictional Steed family, living in Palmyra at the time of the Restoration. The story and characters are intriguing and portrayed accurately as they are in the book. I found that the movie was well-acted, particularly by the actor playing the role of Joseph Smith Jr.
  1. Ephraim’s Rescue (2013) –This film is a prequel/ companion story to 17 Miracles. All the production values and dramatic qualities of that film are present in Ephraim’s Rescue. It covers the story of the rescuers in the handcart story, specifically the true story of Ephraim Hank and his great works of service.
  1. The Cokeville Miracle (2015) –Based on true accounts by students and teachers who were held captive at Cokeville Elementary, who were exposed to a bomb explosion and miraculously saved from the attack. The students speak of seeing angels protecting them, in answer to their prayers. The film follows the story of Ron Hartley, an investigator and parent to one of the child hostages, whose faith is tested as he tries to make sense of the children’s miraculous accounts.
  1. The Work and the Glory II: American Zion (2005) –This sequel to The Work and the Glory provides the next chapter in Gerald Lund’s series. The film follows the story of the Steed family as in the first, but it grows more dramatic as the family is asked to make sacrifices to get to Zion. It has all the same production values of the first film.
  1. The Saratov Approach (2013) –This film is based on the true story of two American missionaries serving in Russia, who were captured and held for ransom. Their experience of being held captive tries them physically and spiritually, and their relationship to each other, to their captors, and to God changes forever. I found the film to be very well acted with high production values. The story is very dramatic and the truths contained therein resonated with me deeply. This is one of my all-time favorite LDS films.
  1. The Other Side of Heaven (2001) –Although this movie was not produced by an LDS company and overt references to the Church are withheld, I thought that this intriguing story about John Groberg’s experience as a missionary in Tonga represented Mormon beliefs well. If you are in the mood for an adventurous story with good doses of humor, this is a good film to watch.
  1. Meet the Mormons (2014) –This church-produced documentary is the most successful LDS film of all time and was well regarded by its mainstream audience. All the proceeds from this film were donated to the American Red Cross, as this was intended to be a good tool to provide an accurate depiction of what Mormons do and believe. The documentary covers the lives of six very different members of the church and shows what their religion means to them and what role it plays in their lives.