Public Domain Catalog

Lost and Rare
Religious Films!

Stories from the Bible, stories of Faith, Family and Inspiration that spread the Gospel to the world through the mediums of film and television from the silent era through the 1960s. These lost films fill a forgotten niche in Christian history. All films available on Mpeg2 or Mpeg4 digital format.

DVD Cover

Feature Films

Constantine and the Cross (1961, color) 120 min. Cornel Wilde. Somewhat fictionalized dramatic account of Late Roman Emperor Constantine, his rise to power, and his establishment of religious tolerance among Roman subjects.

David and Goliath (1960, color) 92 min. Orson Welles stars as King Saul. The story is adapted from the Old Testament: The Philistines declare war on the Israelites and wrench the Arch of the Allience from them. Saul, the king of Israel, listens meanwhile to the words of the prophets who tell him that the new king will be a young shepard called David. But still David has to fight the enemy in form of their mighty giant Goliath.

Esther and the King (1960, color, Italy) 109 min. Joan Collins stars in the biblical story about Esther, an orphan raised by a relative named Mordecai, as she is chosen from all the maidens in the land to become queen. She must risk her life to save her people from a treacherous plan of the charmingly wicked prince Haman.

Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964, Italy, subtitled) 130 min. Director Pier Paolo Pasolini's celebrated life of Christ story stars Enrique Irazoqui as Jesus. Filmed in the actual locations.

Martin Luther (1953) 106 min. The first motion picture portrayal of the incendiary beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. This excellent film brings to life Luther's growing realization that the religion, to which he had dedicated his life, was flawed. His character is shown to mature in believable stages, culminating in acts of ferocious courage.

The Old Testament (1962, Italy/France, color) 89 min. The Jews of Jerusalem are driven out by their Syrian rulers. They gather their forces, and return to drive out their oppressors.

Saul and David (1964, Spain/Italy, color) 113 min. The story of the relationship between David the slayer of Goliath and Saul the King of the Israelites.

Church Films
Films by Family Films, Cathedral Films and similar religious groups to spread the Gospel. These were shown primarily in churches or on Sunday morning TV. Many were intentionally released into the public domain to find the widest possible audience.

All That I Have (1949, Family Films) Dr. Charles Greyson is a famous and wealthy former surgeon. His nephews take him to court to challenge his competency, due to his recent inexplicable gifts of large amounts of cash to the church. Message being that all that we are we owe to God, and the profits gained from our God-given abilities require care and thought before sharing.

The Life of Christ (1951, color) 300 min. Cathedral Films. Each of the twelve programs faithfully illustrate aspects of the teachings and the ministry of Jesus Christ, in chronological order, from the Nativity in Bethlehem, to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Last Supper. The Life of Christ gives historical context with maps and graphics, and the believable dialogue makes these Bible stories come alive. Robert Wilson gives a strong, sensitive performance as Jesus Christ. (aka. "The Living Christ" series.)

Pilgrimage Play (1949,color) 92m. A Roland Reed Production tells the story of the life of Jesus Christ, starring Nelson Leigh as Jesus.

Reaching From Heaven (1948) 80 min. Drama with strong spiritual overtones that concerns itself with the eternal question, "Can the God whose hand formed the sun and the moon and the stars be concerned about the lives of little men?" In a small American town we meet one such "little man," a European immigrant long-separated from his wife by the war.

Power of the Resurrection (1958) 60 min. A young man, facing torture and possibly death for his Christian beliefs, confesses his fears to Peter, who awaits a similar fate. Peter tells him of fear he felt in following Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethesamene, when he denied knowing him three times - and yet Jesus told him that he would be the rock upon which the Church was built. Peter goes on to relate the events of the passion week, including the Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.

The Gospel on Television
Mainstream TV shows with religious themes that were shown around Christmas or Easter.

Hill Number One (1951) 57 min. Family Theater Production. A respectful interpretation of what might have happened among Jesus's followers in the three days before Crucifixion. The story is told in the modern context of an US Army company stationed in Korea during the Korean War.

Jumping Parson (1957) 26 min. Telephone Time Anthology show. Billy Halop is a Chaplin who conquers his fear of jumping from airplanes.

The Nativity (1952) 59 min. Hurd Hatfield, Robert Shaw, Paul Tripp in dramatization of the birth of Jesus was produced for television by Studio One.

Picture of the Magi 25 min. In 1956 Communist-dominated Hungary young Aranka (Judy Morris) stumbles across the hideout of three ruthless blackmarket smugglers. When the girl discovers one of the men is named Melchoir (Walter Coy) she believes they are actually the Three Wise Men.

Pontius Pilate (1952) 59 min. Episode of Westinghouse Studio One TV series. Cast: Geraldine Fitzgerald, Cyril Ritchard, Francis Sullivan. The tale of Pontius Pilate, the Roman administrator of Judea and the man charged with trying and sentencing Jesus to death, in spite of his reservations.

A Star Shall Rise (1952) 29 min. Raymond Burr stars in the story of the birth of Jesus and the visit of the three wise men.

(1955-'57) Half-hour TV anthology series dramatizes the lives of clergymen of all faiths and the problems they face in both their professional and personal lives.

A Bell for O'Donnell (1955) 26m. A reverend learns a lesson in forgiveness when he is swindled by a fast-talking con

Broadway Trust (1955) 26m. A young bank clerk (Lloyd Bridges) with an ailing wife in the hospital becomes despondent after losing $5,000 of the bank's money in a bad land deal.

A Call for Help (1957) 26m. Richard Carlson plays a priest who works with troubled youths, when a gang fight leads to a fatal shooting.

Cavalry in China (1957) 26m. Chinese communists persecute a Catholic priest (Arthur Franz) who heads a parochial school.

Clean-Up (1955) 26m. A pastor (Vincent Price) exhorts his parishioners to take back their city from the gangsters and corrupt politicians who have taken it over.

Dig or Die, Brother Hyde (1956) 26m. A new preacher on the harsh Dakota frontier is severly tested. With Hugh Marlow.

The Gambler (1955) 26m. Dennis Morgan, Robert Hutton. A minister tries to help a member of his congregation who is in trouble.

God in the Streets(1956) 26m. Reed Hadley, Jeff Morrow, Russell Johnson, Phyllis Coates. Story of the Salvation Army helping a man on the edge.

God's Healing (1956) 26m. Vincent Price plays a priest who heals an old woman's embittered heart.

The Good Thief (1955) 26m. US Army chaplain (James Whitmore) is tortured by Red Chinese captors for ministering to his fellow prisoners of war.

A Green Hill Far Away (1956) 26m. Barbara Eden. Though he would have preferred a country parsonage, an Episcopal minister accepts a call to a poor church in Harlem. There he learns that a young boy is imprisoned in the company of hardened criminals and fights to free him.

Hostage (1955) 26m. Don Taylor is a priest called in for the last confession of a condemned prisoner and learns about a dangerous situation..

The Lamp of Father Cataldo (1956) 26m. Brian Aherne, Edgar Buchanan. The friendship of a gold prospector in northern Idaho in the 1870's helps save a priest from false accusations.

Last Strand (1957) 25m. Conrad Nagel It takes a hospital chaplain to find put why a pretty young girl wanted to commit suicide and refuses to help the medics save her life.

The Light (1956) 26m. Donald Woods. Part 2, in the true story of Father Francis L. Sampson, most decorated chaplain of World War 2. Father Sampson parachutes into Normandy on D-Day and finds his faith is a help to others in the heavy fighting.

Miracle of Faith (1957) 26m. Conrad Nagel An Episcopal minister tries to help a woman whose illness has made her a dominating shrew.

Paratroop Padre (1957) 25m. Donald Woods. Part 1, in the true story of Father Francis L. Sampson, Chaplain 501st Airborne, Most decorated chaplain in the United States Army.

Patton Prayer (1957) 26m. Stephen McNally. A chaplain plays a part in shaping General Patton's strategy at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.

Ringside Padre (1956) 26m. Michael Landon, Stephen McNally. Msgr. Harold Engle, director of the Catholic Youth Organization in New York City, is outraged at the disfigurements of teenage boxers. He crusades to make it illegal for a fighter to turn professional until he reaches 18.

Riot (1957) 26m. Pat O'Brien. Prison Chaplain Father Patrick O'Neil unwittingly becomes an accomplice to the plotting of a prison break.

The Sacred Trust (1956) 26m. Brian Aherne. A courtroom drama depicting the historic legal decision in 1813, upholding the inviolability of religious confession.

The Unholy Trio(1955) 26m. A mother who believes her son innocent of a crime goes to her rabbi for help. The boy is due to be executed for murder.