Animals flock to behold and bow before the newborn prince in King's majestic opening. Christian allegorical elements—and catchy Elton John songs—abound in Disney's animated tale of cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), who triumphs over power-hungry Scar (Jeremy Irons) to claim his rightful place on the throne. Forever and ever, amen.
The Lamb of God is lionized again—this time as Aslan, voiced by Liam Neeson and based on the C.S. Lewis classic. Aslan the Liam, er, Lion guides four kids through fantastical Narnia but gets slain by the wicked White Witch (Tilda Swinton). He's later resurrected, thanks to a Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time. Layering lush visuals over spiritual underpinnings, this mighty Lion roars loudly.
Two years before directing Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke helmed this Story from the biggest bestseller of all, the Good Book. The film follows expectant mother Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and hubby-to-be Joseph (Oscar Isaac) on their arduous trip to that little town of Bethlehem, where—spoiler alert!—Jesus is born in a stable. The wisecracking Wise Men provide surprising comic relief while following yonder star.
The first Jor-El, the angels did say, was to be played by acting god Marlon Brando. As his super baby speeds toward Earth, Jor-El says, "They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason…I have sent them you, my only son." Raised by lowly mortals, the child answers his higher call, turns into Christopher Reeve, and does super stuff, including defeating Lex Luthor (which sounds a helluva lot like "Lucifer").
Not your typical pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. This big-screen adaptation of the popular stage musical cranks it to 11 with a guitar-shredding, head-banging score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Ted Neeley rocks (and rolls!) as the titular Superstar, gloriously hitting pop-opera high notes while Carl Anderson as Judas and Yvonne Elliman as Mary provide solid-gold backup.
The virtual world needs a cyber savior in the mind-blowing Matrix. Computer hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) is prophesied as "The One," whose second coming will free the humans enslaved by machines. He even teams with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) to save the city of Zion! Subtle, eh? The Wachowskis blessed us with two sequels, but this first flick is The One, a godsend for sci-fi fans.
Between searching for the Holy Grail and the Meaning of Life, Monty Python birthed this not-so-immaculate conception—a spoof of sword-and-sandal epics. Born in the stable next to Jesus, Brian (Graham Chapman) is frequently mistaken as the Messiah, but he's actually "a very naughty boy." Only those irreverent Pythons, including John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, could turn Brian's crucifixion into a hilarious musical number.
Haven't seen Jesus of Montreal? Blame Canada! OK, no—just seek out this beautiful, inventive Oscar nominee and Cannes Film Festival fave. The flick follows a troupe of actors, including Lothaire Bluteau, who stage an unorthodox version of the Passion Play. The actors' lives begin to mirror the Gospels, as Jesus satirically comments on commercialism and rigid religious doctrine. Righteous, man!
This Cold War-era classic is the bomb! Skip the Keanu Reeves reboot (a different kind of bomb) and catch Michael Rennie as a humanoid alien who visits Earth, assumes the alias Mr. Carpenter (carpenter!), and pleas for galactic peace. He's shot by the military, but resurrected by robot Gort before returning to the heavens. Perhaps the film's famous line "Klaatu barada nikto" is Gort-speak for "Peace on Earth."
Since we're searching the skies for saviors, let's honor the E.T. we love to Reese's Pieces. The alien visitor in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster displays miraculous powers, including curing an "ouch," making kids fly, and returning from the dead to turn on all our heart lights. Sniff! As E.T. ascends, he even leaves behind that godliest of calling cards—a rainbow.
NEXT GALLERY: The 10 Best Christmas Movies