In September it was announced—to a flurry of heart emojis on America’s Facebook page—that Netflix will be producing “The Pope,” an original feature film starring Pope Francis’ doppelganger Jonathan Pryce (“Game of Thrones,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”), with potentially Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict.
Although the announcement caused a stir, this is not the first time Netflix has jumped on the Catholic bandwagon—it is not even the first Pope Francis biopic the streaming service has made available to its audience. “Call Me Francis,” first released in Italy in 2015, follows the life of Jorge Bergoglio in his younger years.
And it’s not just “the Francis effect”; Netflix has a goldmine of content featuring Catholic characters and subjects. In 2017 Netflix released “The Keepers,” an original true-crime documentary that explores the mysterious and tragic murder of a religious sister in Baltimore nearly five decades ago; “Juana Inés,” about the 17th-century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (the so-called “first feminist of the new world”); and “Father Brown,” a mystery series based on G. K. Chesterton’s short stories.
America has compiled a list to help you find all the Catholic entertainment you’ve been looking for but didn’t know was there. (Disclaimer: Not all the content listed here takes its Catholic themes as seriously as others.)
“The Letters” ponders St. Mother Teresa’s letters to her spiritual adviser, in which she describes her struggles with her faith.
“Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the fall of Communism,” is a biographical documentary about St. John Paul II and the role he played in resisting Communism in Poland and later as pope.
“Father Joseph” explores the work of a priest working against great resistance to help people in poverty in Haiti.
Shows about Priests (or Priests-in-training)
“Father Brown” is a British television series about a crime-solving priest. G. K. Chesterton’s stories served as inspiration for the show.
“The Church Men” is an award-winning French series that takes place in a Capuchin seminary, following the trials and tribulations of five different students.
“The Craft” is a 1990s film set at a Catholic school, where the new girl falls in a with a coven of witches.
“The Rite,” starring Anthony Hopkins, is a thriller about a priest attending exorcism training at the Vatican.
“Hostage to the Devil” follows a priest who illicitly performs exorcisms.
"One Day At a Time," is a Netflix reboot that has explored the central family’s Catholicism with humor and sensitivity.
“Secrets of the Shroud” investigates the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.
“Tierra de Maria” is a Spanish-language documentary about an antagonistic attorney who interviews women about their relationships with the Virgin Mary.
“Marias: Faith in Womanhood” is explores what the Virgin Mary means to women in Latin America.
“Full of Grace” imagines what Mary of Nazareth had to say to the disciples after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
“Peter: the Redemption” follows Peter’s early evangelization.
“The Bible” is a cinematic portrayal of the Bible.
“Son of God” is the sequel to “The Bible,” following the life of Jesus.
On the Sex Abuse Crisis
“Spotlight,” reviewed by America, is an Oscar-winning drama that tracks a team of investigative journalists as they uncover the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in the 1990s. America also interviewed the film’s director, Tom McCarthy.
“El Bosque de Karadima” is a drama based on real life, following the victims of a priest convicted of sex abuse crimes in Chile.
“Borgia” is a Netflix original series about the Borgia family’s entanglements in the Vatican and beyond during the Renaissance.
“The Borgias” provides yet another take on the Catholic dynasty, and Jeremy Irons stars.
Coming of Age Catholic films
“Stations of the Cross” tells the tale of Maria, who desperately wants to be a saint—and inflicts the suffering she thinks sainthood entails upon herself.
“The Apostate” is about a young man determined to renounce his Catholicism.
“Amar, Akbar and Tony” is a comedic tale of friendship between a Sikh, a Muslim and a Catholic.
“Little Sister,” reviewed by America, tells the story of a woman in training to become a Catholic nun. She has her faith tested when she returns home to visit her brother, a veteran traumatized by the Iraq war.