Over at the National Catholic Register, my wife, April and I run down our “Top 10 Eucharistic Movie Moments” just in time for Corpus Christi. Here’s the list, updated from what we filed two weeks ago. Add further suggestions in the comments.
10. Rocky II (1979) … and Rudy, and Cinderella Man.
You’ve got to love Rocky praying in front of the tabernacle, the giant crucifix absurdly close to Adrienne’s hospital bed so that it’s in every shot, and Rocky getting a blessing on the way to the big fight. But Rudy andCinderella Man also have strong Catholic chapel scenes.
9. The Longest Day (1962): A priest puts forth heroic effort on D-Day to rescue his Mass kit.
8. Marcelino Pan y Vino (The Miracle of Marcelino) (1955): This great old movie only treats of the Eucharist symbolically, but the reference is unmistakable and powerful.
7. Romero (1989): Martyrdom at Mass is not just the climactic scene, but the theme.
6. Becket (1964): The saint is killed in Canterbury Cathedral.
5. The Maldonado Miracle (2003): The blood of Christ unites a town and saves souls in Salma Hayek’s directorial debut.
4. Brideshead Revisited (1981): Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons) calls the chapel with an empty tabernacle “just an oddly decorated room” and is renewed when it is reconsecrated and “reloaded.”
3. The Mission (1986): At the end, there is a remarkable scene of enemies firing on a Eucharistic procession led by Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons).
Note to Jeremy Irons: Might God be trying to tell you something by putting you in two of the clearest, most direct Eucharistic movie scenes in the 20th century?
2. For Greater Glory (2012): There are priests martyred next to tabernacles, makeshift Masses on mountainsides, and an altar boy is the bravest hero.
1. The Passion of the Christ (2004): The top place has to go to the movie that takes pains to represent how the Eucharist is a window on the Crucifixion.
The way the movie intercuts between the passion and the Institution of the Eucharist makes it clear that Jesus wanted us to have contact with the first through the instrument of the second.