- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a champion middleweight boxer, is imprisoned for life for murders he did not commit. After exhausting every possibility for appeal, he tells his wife that he wants her to divorce him and to move on with her life, saying, "I'm dead. Forget about me." The Hurricane uses his prison time to read, study, and eventually write a book about his life -- a book that is published and becomes a best seller, but which is then soon forgotten. Years later, a Black teen from the ghetto finds a copy of the Hurricane's life story at a used book sale, and buys it for a quarter. Moved by what he read, the young man, Lesera Martin, writes a letter to the prisoner, and begins a relationship and a process that eventually leads to the overturning of the conviction. At a pivotal moment, the Hurricane notes that it was "no accident" that Lesera had come across that book. He quotes Genesis 49 about himself, "Reuben, my firstborn . . . pre-eminent in pride . . . Unstable as water, you shall not prevail." He then contrasts his name to that of Lesera, a form of the name Lazarus, the one raised from death. The Hurricane tells Lesera that hate had killed Reuben and buried him, forgotten, in the prison walls, but Lesera's love had raised him and given him life once again. (submitted by Mark D. Johns, Instructor of Communication/Linguistics, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa)
- Bringing Out the Dead
I perceive the recent Nicholas Cage movie "Bringing out the Dead" in which Cage plays an ambulance driver to be a paradigm for ministry when its at its worst - always coming into a critical situation when it is just too late - when the patient is terminal. It speaks also to the Savior Complex many clergy have. It is also an example of triage - deciding when and where are efforts can be most fruitful. I am involved in middle judicatory ministry and the images of the film are not unlike what we face when confronted with the situation in many churches. (submitted by Jim Bane)
- Cage saves a patient in the film who probably should have been left to die. (submitted by Jim Bane)
- Three Kings (1999)
- Iraqi rebels and American soldiers save each other.
- The Phantom Menace
- Anakin Skywalker saves the Alliance
- scene where Tarzan "saves" Jane. (See review at Hollywood Jesus)
- A Simple Plan
- Jacob kills himself in order in an attempt to save his brother.
Private Ryan (1998)
- Ryan is searched for and "saved" in the midst of hell.
- Deep Impact
- The space craft cobbled together to carry the bombs to the comet is called "Messiah." (submitted by Michael Clark, Hamilton Canada)
- The Fifth Element (1997)
- Leeloo as the redemptor who lights up the world and explodes evil. (see review at Hollywood Jesus)
- Good Will Hunting
- Sean and Will are savior figures for each other, and the relationship between them redeems both of their lives.
- "To understand the depth of Karl?s sacrifice for Frank, one must pay careful attention to a particular night-time conversation between the two, three-quarters of the way through the film. It is at this time that Karl first relates the details of being given his baby brother to bury in the backyard. Frank is appalled by the story and remarks that those who willingly commit murder "will go to hell." Karl agrees." ("The Messianic Figure in Film: Christology Beyond the Biblical Epic," Matthew McEver, Journal of Religion and Film, 1998.)
- Kolya (1996)
- Who is rescued by whom?
- 12 Monkeys
- James Cole (J.C.) attempts to save the world, but nothing can be done about the deadly virus.
- "Bruce Willis as the Messiah: Human Effort, Salvation and Apocalypticism in Twelve Monkeys," Frances Flannery Dailey, Journal of Religion and Film, 2000.
- Schindler's List
- Schindler saves Jews from the Holocaust. Stern saves Schindler from Schindler's own destructive character.
- The Fisher King
- Jack and Parry save each other's lives in literal and figurative ways.
- Blue Velvet (1986)
- Jeffrey is drawn simultaneously to save Dorothy and to hurt her because of his own shame/guilt/pleasure.
- Taxi Driver
- Travis Bickel attempts to "save" Betsy and Iris from their respective "captivities," and to "save" New York from the "filth" he perceived. He is perceived as a "savior" by Iris' parents and by the press.
- The Searchers
- Ethan attempts to "save" his niece, despite the increasingly obvious fact that she doesn't want/need "saving".
- I'm afraid I disagree with the idea that Ethan was out to save his niece despite her unwillingness to be saved. I think the movies main theme of racial prejudice by both the Europeans and Amerinds does not support the notion of Ethan saving her. Marty realizes Ethan's goal is to "save" Debbie by killing her, hence his determination to stay with the pursuit. (submitted by Dean Cramer)