'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe'

Winner! Best Spiritual Film 2006

In choosing the Best Spiritual Film, Beliefnet community members and our panel of judges agreed: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" easily beat out the competition. For both groups, "Brokeback Mountain" came in a distant second.

Below, you can read our panelists' debate about "Narnia."

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to see clips from the film, or explore our full "Narnia" coverage--including more video clips, essays, quizzes, and music--by

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Despite the old Hollywood adage, "If you want to send a message, call Western Union," most movies do have some kind of moral intention. In rare cases, this "message" is specifically religious; it aims to explore the tenets of a particular spiritual path. While many films of 2005 ably convey significant moral, and even spiritual, ideas, only one presents the core thesis of one of the world's great religions. "The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is an adaptation of C.S. Lewis's slim book by the same name, and this fantasy tale includes a Christ-figure as well as a similitude of the crucifixion and resurrection.


So the movie, in addition to being a delightful adventure tale, also imagines how the basic events of Christian history might have played out in a different, parallel world. But the way the sacrifice made by this Christ-figure, Aslan, is understood in the story doesn't exactly match what every Christian would say. Lewis presents Aslan's death as a victory over the White Witch, possible because she failed to understand the "Deeper Magic." In this he echoes a very ancient view that is more common in the Eastern Christianity, less so in Euro-American varieties. This is just one example of the subtleties and complexities of this magical story.

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