I've always had a genuine interest in ostensibly "non-religious" films that evoke Christian imagery and yet tell a conventional story. Often, these are more insightful and less melodramatic than movies specifically about Jesus.
One of the most obvious examples is The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Klautu, the alien visitor with an important message for humanity, takes on the name of "Carpenter" while on earth. After being killed by soldiers, he is literally brought back to life amidst a flash of light. Both Hombre (1967) and Cool Hand Luke (1967) feature Christ-like anti-establishment title characters. Likewise, the grandfather (Alan Arkin) in 2006's Little Miss Sunshine is a sort of savior. Sure, he's a heroin-dealing, cocaine-using, porn fan. But his life and death function to guide the main characters out of their nihilistic Hell. After the events surrounding the cathartically chaotic beauty contest, the family returns to their van and ponders an empty linen bed sheet (shroud) which had formerly covered Arkin's corpse.
Films like those listed above perform a tricky balancing act that incorporates, to varying degrees, symbolic elements from the New Testament, such as the Resurrection (a tricky thing in real life too), while retaining a story that stands on its own.
Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) is an another example of such a film. Loaded with Christian imagery, it still holds up as a traditional Western.
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