A great movie is made with skill, dedication, talent, a good story, and some grace. I think that sums up what went into When The Game Stands Tall and what makes it such a powerful film. The tremendous weight of this true story is used as a platform to communicate strong virtues and leadership. This is definitely one of the best Christian sports films ever made, if not one of the best sports films in general.
True Story Movie Review
Let me start by saying that this movie is first rate. The football footage is among the best of any movie ever made. The acting, especially among the kids is excellent. The production value, scripting, effects, everything is top shelf. And it is one of the most amazing true sports stories of all time, and certainly is near the top of the Christian sports movie category.
The plot centers around renowned football coach Bob Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel), who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from out of the shadows to a 151-game winning streak spanning 11 years. The Spartans run into some challenges that test them through-and-through and force them to rally deep down for the strength to keep going. It is really an amazing true story and has been adapted very well to fit the big screen.
I could maybe pick out a handful of imperfections, but I won’t mention them because you probably wouldn’t notice most of them anyway. And I would rather tell you about what really sets this film apart.
Not Your Typical Evangelism
When the movie screening was over they asked me if I thought the film would make a good evangelistic tool. Having taken some time to think about it, my answer is an even stronger yes, but not for the reasons you might think. There is no altar call in this movie, no compelling breakdown of the gospel, no obvious sermon. And that is why it is so powerful.
This movie tells the story of Christians instead of trying to tell a Christian story. What is the difference? It follows their life, their values, their accomplishments, their relationships, and their heart. It does not preach what others should be, it shows you how they lived it.
Living Out Their Faith
This movie is not offensive, anyone can watch it regardless of whether they are churched or not. And while it’s unlikely that they will be converted during the final credits, they will see a picture of Christians living out their faith in a way that is respectful and relevant. And that’s the key. It makes Christianity desirable. You watch this movie and you say “I want to be like them, to have the values, the love, and the heart that they have”. This is not a John 3:16 type of film, it’s a John 13:35 type of film.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
~ John 13:35 (NKJV)
When The Game Stands Tall is a breath of fresh air because they really got it right. This is a great movie. It’s full of Christian values so Christians will appreciate it. And they will be encouraged both to excel and to realize that they can live out their faith as a natural part of their life. Likewise, the unchurched will be inspired by the fact that this is an awesome movie. And they will get a taste of Christian love, honor, and strength that may be new to them, and they may find it strangely appealing.
The Cultural Impact is Subtle but Enormous
This film is not likely to convert people directly, rather it is a seed planter and fire stoker. This is a culture changer. Movies like this each gain a little more ground, build people’s mental images, impact perceptions, and create impressions. Long term, this movie will have a tremendous impact that will be hard to measure in this world.
- You need to see this movie.
- You need to share it with everyone you can.
- You need to talk about it for being the GREAT MOVIE that it is.
- You need to integrate films like this into your life and into your social circles as regular quality entertainment.
This movie is evangelism Acts 2:8 style, it is a witness that gives a taste of what the body of Christ can be like.
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