Celebrating Billy Graham's Legacy in Film | Inspiration Ministries
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Celebrating Billy Graham’s Legacy in Film

by John Farrell

Most people recognize Billy Graham for his preaching. Whether he was on the radio, television, or at one of his wildly popular crusades, the North Carolina-born-and-raised evangelist was just as popular internationally as he was in the U.S.

Graham built one of the largest ministries in the world without getting caught up in scandal, helping solidify himself “among the most influential Christian leaders” of the 20th century.

Not only was Graham influential from the pulpit, but his influence also spread into Hollywood and onto the big screen. In 1951, Billy Graham started a film production and distribution company, World Wide Pictures, with the intent to spread the Gospel through a medium that hadn’t yet been utilized for this purpose.

The first film World Wide Pictures produced was the 1951 western Mr. Texas, starring Redd Harper and Cindy Walker. For the next 50-plus years, the production company created and distributed numerous films that all carry a Christian message. In many of the films, one of the main characters is typically a non-believer with a healthy allotment of cynicism thrown in for good measure.

During November, Inspiration TV is celebrating Billy Graham’s life and his efforts in spreading the Word of God through his movies. Over the next three Saturdays and Sundays, fans of Billy Graham and good, wholesome entertainment can watch a different World Wide Pictures movie each day on Inspiration TV.

  • Last Flight Out (2003) airs Saturday, November 9 at 9 p.m. EST

Dan Hogan, a down-on-his-luck pilot and non-believer, begrudgingly accepts the task of flying into a war-ravaged zone controlled by a relentless crime lord to rescue his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Annie Williams. While in the jungle, Dan learns the importance of sacrifice, family, friendship, and, most importantly, the power of God’s unwavering love.

  • The Heart Is a Rebel (1958) airs Sunday, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. EST

Hal and Joan Foster are at a loss over what to do concerning their son’s long-term illness when a preacher shows up and further complicates the situation. Neither Hal nor Joan are Christians, but after talking with the preacher and hearing their son’s caretaker sing with a church choir, Joan slowly begins to realize that the answer to their prayers lies with God. However, Hal remains a cynic. Will Hal accept the truth before it’s too late?

  • A Vow to Cherish (1999) airs Saturday, November 16 at 9 p.m. EST

The Brighton family is thrown into turmoil when Ellen is diagnosed with dementia. John, Ellen’s husband, struggles internally with infidelity, while their children, Kyle and Teri, are forced to re-evaluate their lives and decide what is best for them and their dying mother. Through it all, they stand strong in their faith and love for God and each other. But to what end?

  • Time to Run (1973) airs Sunday, November 17 at 5:30 p.m. EST

Jeff Cole is lost. He is a non-believer who tries to take a stand against nuclear power and fight for the environment, but how he goes about it is damaging to those who love him most. At odds with his parents over his dad’s nuclear plant and with his girlfriend’s devout faith, Jeff hits the road alone with no destination in mind. He’s searching for answers he doesn’t yet know the questions to. Will Jeff ever find peace, both internally and with those closest to him?

  • The Ride (1997) airs Saturday, November 23 at 9 p.m. EST

Smokey Banks, a former star bull rider, has run out of options. With legal issues hanging over his head, Smokey has two choices: go to jail or teach a boy how to ride a bull. He opts for the latter and reluctantly volunteers at a boy’s ranch where he’s assigned to teach Danny O’Neil everything he knows about bull riding and the rodeo. Smokey struggles to leave his previous life behind, particularly gambling and drinking, until Danny introduces him to the powerful love of Christ.

  • Oiltown, U.S.A.(1954) airs Sunday, November 24 at 5:30 p.m. EST

Black gold (or oil) is the currency that controls Les Manning. As a self-made millionaire in the oil industry, Les has always done things his way, which usually involves shrewd tactics and walking over everyone around him. It’s not until his daughter, Christine, returns home, and Jim Tyler, a rancher, stands up to him that Les is forced to make changes to his lifestyle and way of doing business. Chief among those changes is his introduction to God, whom Les felt he didn’t previously need.

You can watch Billy Graham Classics on Inspiration TV: Saturdays at 9:00 p.m. US Eastern, 21:00 UK, and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. US Eastern, 17:30 UK. Learn more at Inspiration TV.

 

John Farrell is the Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org

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