Monday, May 24, 2010

Redemption & saviour types: Hollywood’s go-to sources

Hollywood is awash in studies on redemption

Some of the greatest movies of all time are explorations and treatments of this redemption theme, including the following popular titles which occupy high spots on the IMDb Top 250:
  • The Godfather 
  •  the Star Wars original trilogy (we're not going to even begin to discuss episodes 1-3 here)
  •  Pulp Fiction  and, of course (wait for it…)
  •  The Shawshank Redemption (and the word is baked-on into the title itself, isn't it? Nothing subtle or mysterious here at all).
Christianity is one of the primary forces that has shaped our Western society and culture, and this world religion holds redemption as a central theme. 

As such, we continue to return to its study as it is part of the foundation of our world view, even if we today are, as a society, more secular and more scientifically atheistic.

However, even if society is more open to seeing the world from different views, more multicultural, and less fundamentally narrow-minded, we still find ourselves enchanted with stories that have some kind of redemption conceptualization.

The Saviour-type is also good for box office success. We love a story in which inevitable doom is somehow thwarted by a hero with other-worldy powers and abilities. Perhaps, we as humans have that sinking feeling that we’re messing things up on this planet, and need rescue from beyond ourselves, and these fears are manifest in stories that portray our hopes in vivid special effects detail, by embodying our hopes in the ideal hero/saviour.

Some may argue that Christianity innovated neither of these saviour/redemption ideas, but rather borrowed them from previous beliefs. Others opine that these ideas were prevalent in other dimensions of existence, peeking through previous beliefs and finally come to a closer truing through the rise of Christianity. Or some variation betwixt the twain.

Whatever. Bottom line is, these types of stories continually sell movie tickets because we remain fascinated by them.

We will explore Hollywood, redemption and the saviour-type in a series of posts. Let us know what you think.


  1. This is a good topic I wish to get into....the redemption theme is a very popular one indeed.

    One this I was wondering though, there also seems to be a growing attraction to the anti-hero in alot of films so to speak. I'm curious to find out of the theme of redemption can also be applied to to a anti-hero character as well..

  2. Oh and for the term "Anti-hero" well one definition could be: "generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis. Some consider the word's meaning to be sufficiently broad as to additionally encompass the antagonist who (in contrast to the archetypal villain) elicits considerable sympathy or admiration." (wikipedia)

    So basicly an anti-hero would be the sort of hero that does goe the heroic path, but not in the traditional heroic way...If that makes sense..

    One good example would be a comparsion to Batman from Superman. Superman in many aspects is the standard hero, noble and true fights for the truth, justice, and the American way etc..

    Batman on the other hand, comes from a tramatzing past, has alot of vurtues simular to a hero, but also has alot of flaws. he works around the geneal laws which other heros in his postion would abide by, but not him Even down to how he dresses (which is almost closer to a vilian than a hero, he is a good-guy nonetheless..

    Hope that clears things up...and heres a list of other anti-hero types...

    Clint Eastwood's characters: The wandering man with no name, or Dirty Harry,




    The Punisher,

    Anikin Skywalker (espcially just before he turns fully to the darkside)

  3. Oh and for people in the bible:

    King David,


    King Saul,

    King Solomon,

    Forgot to add these..even though they all had been Blessed by God, they had signifigant flaws about them...I guess..


What do you think?!