One of the Christian authors who has had a huge impact on my Christian thinking is C. S. Lewis (1898–1963). In fact, it was Lewis’s classic book Mere Christianity that was the first Christian book I ever read and it led me to read many of Lewis’s other books and to study his remarkable career as an author, apologist, and Oxbridge literary scholar.1
I often recommend books to people who ask about various topics, but if you like to learn about Lewis and enjoy watching movies, let me recommend three films about him that you can watch in the new year. All three cover similar ground but with distinguishing features and focuses. Check your streaming services for availability or follow the links below.
Three Lewis Movies to Make You Think
The Life & Faith of C. S. Lewis: The Magic Never Ends (2002, not rated, 1 hour)
Narrated by Ben Kingsley, this documentary is a good general introduction to Lewis’s life, career, and faith. It explores his early life and traces the major events that led to his conversion from atheism to Christianity in mid-life. This film’s strength is that it includes interviews with people who actually knew Lewis, such as his stepson Douglas Gresham and his secretary Walter Hooper. It also provides engaging comments from many leading Lewis scholars, especially those from Wheaton College’s Marion E. Wade Center, who specialize in Lewis and the other Inklings.
Narnia’s Lost Poet: The Secret Lives and Loves of C. S. Lewis (2013, not rated, 1 hour)
This fast-moving documentary is engagingly narrated by English writer and newspaper columnist A. N. Wilson who also wrote a biography of Lewis. Wilson offers an insightful psychological portrait of Lewis as he explores some of the key relationships in Lewis’s life and his early aspirations as a poet. This film notes empathetically that Lewis suffered significant losses in his life and, while famous as a Christian writer, he was nevertheless very private about his personal relationships and struggles.
The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C. S. Lewis (2021, 73 minutes)
The most recent of these films is a C. S. Lewis biopic. It’s directed by Norman Stone, who also directed the 1985 television movie Shadowlands, a film about Lewis and his wife, Joy Davidman. The Most Reluctant Convert is unique in that it features theater actor Max McLean as the middle-aged Lewis narrating some of the key events in Lewis’s life. Those events include his acceptance of atheism as a young man, his time as a soldier in the Great War, and specifically the events that led to his rediscovery of belief in God and his conversion to historic Christianity. The movie is based on the McLean play, C. S. Lewis on Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert, and reflects some of the content from Lewis’s famous autobiography, Surprised by Joy (1955).
I know from experience that these three C. S. Lewis documentaries will make you think. Why not start off the new year by making some of your movie-watching both spiritually edifying and apologetically stimulating?
Happy New Year in Christ!
- I write about C. S. Lewis in my book Classic Christian Thinkers: An Introduction, chapter 9.