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Religious Affiliation of the Directors and Producers of the
Top 100 Movies
at the American Box Office
(adjusted for inflation)


Related pages:
    - Religious Affiliation of Winners of the Academy Award for Best Director
    - Religious Affiliation of the Directors of AFI's 100 Greatest American Movies

Note that this listing is adjusted for inflation, to smooth out differences in ticket prices and other factors between years. By adjusting for inflation, this list better reflects the relative appeal of various movies across time. [More about this.]

Source of ranked list, as of June 2005: Tim Dirks, "All-Time USA Box Office Leaders", on "The Greatest Films" website (http://www.filmsite.org/boxoffice.html; viewed 5 October 2005)

RankFilm (Year)DirectorReligious Affiliation
of Director
ProducersReligious Affiliation
of Producers
1Gone With the Wind (1939)Victor FlemingChristianityDavid O. SelznickJewish
2Star Wars (1977)George LucasBuddhist MethodistGary KurtzLatter-day Saint
3The Sound of Music (1965)Robert Wise Robert Wise 
4E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)Steven SpielbergJudaismKathleen Kennedy
Steven Spielberg
?
Judaism
5The Ten Commandments (1956)Cecil B. DeMilleEpiscopalianCecil B. DeMilleEpiscopalian
6Titanic (1997)James Cameronvaguely Protestant backgroundJames Cameron
Jon Landau
vaguely Protestant background
?
7Jaws (1975)Steven SpielbergJudaismDavid Brown
Richard D. Zanuck
 
8Doctor Zhivago (1965)David LeanQuakerCarlo Ponti
David Lean
?
Quaker
9The Exorcist (1973)William FriedkinJewishWilliam Peter BlattyCatholic
10Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)David Hand Walt DisneyCongregationalist
11One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)Clyde Geronimi
Hamilton Luske
Wolfgang Reitherman
 Walt DisneyCongregationalist
12The Empire Strikes Back (1980)Irvin KershnerJewish BuddhistGary Kurtz
George Lucas (exec. prod.)
Latter-day Saint
Buddhist Methodist
13Ben-Hur (1959)William WylerJewishSam Zimbalist 
14Return of the Jedi (1983)Richard Marquand Howard G. Kazanjian
George Lucas (exec. prod.)
?
Buddhist Methodist
15The Sting (1973)George Roy Hill Tony Bill
Julia Phillips
Michael Phillips
 
16Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)Steven SpielbergJudaismFrank Marshall
George Lucas
?
Buddhist Methodist
17Jurassic Park (1993)Steven SpielbergJudaismKathleen Kennedy
Gerald R. Molen
?
Latter-day Saint
18The Graduate (1967)Mike NicholsJewishLawrence Turman 
19Star Wars: Episode I -
The Phantom Menace (1999)
George LucasBuddhist MethodistRick McCallum 
20Fantasia (1940)Joe Grant
Dick Huemer
 Walt Disney
Ben Sharpsteen
Congregationalist
?
21The Godfather (1972)Francis Ford CoppolaCatholic (non-practicing)Albert S. Ruddy 
22Forrest Gump (1994)Robert ZemeckisJewishWendy Finerman
Steve Starkey
Steve Tisch
 
23Mary Poppins (1964)Robert Stevenson Walt DisneyCongregationalist
24The Lion King (1994)Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
 Don HahnLutheran
25Grease (1978)Randal Kleiser Allan Carr
Robert Stigwood
 
26Thunderball (1965)Terence Young Kevin McCloryCatholic
27The Jungle Book (1967)Wolfgang Reitherman Walt DisneyCongregationalist
28Sleeping Beauty (1959)Clyde Geronimi Walt DisneyCongregationalist
29Shrek 2 (2004)Andrew Adamson
Kelly Asbury
Conrad Vernon
 David Lipman
Aron Warner
John H. Williams
 
30Ghost Busters (1984)Ivan ReitmanJewishIvan ReitmanJewish
31Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)George Roy Hill John Foreman 
32Love Story (1970)Arthur HillerJewishHoward G. Minsky 
33Spider-Man (2002)Sam RaimiJewishIan Bryce
Laura Ziskin
 
34Independence Day (1996)Roland Emmerich Dean Devlin 
35Home Alone (1990)Chris ColumbusCatholicJohn Hughes 
36Pinocchio (1940)Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen Walt DisneyCongregationalist
37Cleopatra (1963)Joseph L. MankiewiczJewish parents; atheist fatherWalter Wanger 
38Beverly Hills Cop (1984)Martin Brest Jerry Bruckheimer
Don Simpson
Jewish
?
39Goldfinger (1964)Guy Hamilton Albert R. Broccoli
Harry Saltzman
Catholic
?
40Airport (1970)George Seaton Ross Hunter 
41American Graffiti (1973)George LucasBuddhist MethodistGary KurtzLatter-day Saint
42The Robe (1953)Henry KosterJewishFrank Ross 
43Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)Michael Anderson Mike ToddJudaism
44Bambi (1942)David Hand Walt DisneyCongregationalist
45Blazing Saddles (1974)Mel BrooksJewishMichael Hertzberg 
46Batman (1989)Tim Burtonnon-churchgoing Protestant backgroundPeter Guber
Jon Peters
 
47The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)Leo McCareyCatholicLeo McCareyCatholic
48The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King (2003)
Peter Jackson Barrie M. Osborne
Peter Jackson
Fran Walsh
 
49The Towering Inferno (1974)John Guillermin
Irwin Allen
?
Jewish
Irwin AllenJewish
50Spider-Man 2 (2004)Sam RaimiJewishAvi Arad
Laura Ziskin
 
51My Fair Lady (1964)George CukorJewishJack L. WarnerJewish
52The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)Cecil B. DeMilleEpiscopalianCecil B. DeMilleEpiscopalian
53National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)John LandisJewishIvan Reitman
Matty Simmons
Jewish
?
54The Passion of the Christ (2004)Mel Gibsontraditionalist CatholicBruce Davey
Mel Gibson
Stephen McEveety
?
traditionalist Catholic
?
55Back to the Future (1985)Robert ZemeckisJewishNeil Canton
Bob Gale
 
56The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers (2002)
Peter Jackson Barrie M. Osborne
Peter Jackson
Fran Walsh
 
57The Sixth Sense (1999)M. Night ShyamalanHinduismKathleen Kennedy
Frank Marshall
Barry Mendel
 
58Superman (1978)Richard Donner Alexander Salkind
Pierre Spengler
 
59Tootsie (1982)Sydney PollackJewishSydney Pollack
Dick Richards
Jewish
?
60Smokey and the Bandit (1977)Hal Needham Mort Engelberg 
61Finding Nemo (2003)Andrew Stanton
Lee Unkrich
 Graham Walters 
62West Side Story (1961)Robert Wise
Jerome Robbins
 
Jewish
Robert Wise 
63Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)Chris ColumbusCatholicDavid Heyman 
64Lady and the Tramp (1955)Clyde Geronimi
Wilfred Jackson
Hamilton Luske
 Walt DisneyCongregationalist
65Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)Steven SpielbergJudaismJulia Phillips
Michael Phillips
 
66Lawrence of Arabia (1962)David LeanQuakerSam Spiegel 
67The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)Jim Sharman Michael White 
68Rocky (1976)John Avildsen Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
 
69The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)William WylerJewishSamuel GoldwynJewish
70The Poseidon Adventure (1972)Ronald Neame Irwin AllenJewish
71The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Peter Jackson Barrie M. Osborne
Peter Jackson
Fran Walsh
 
72Twister (1996)Jan de BontCatholicIan Bryce
Michael Crichton
Kathleen Kennedy
Gerald R. Molen
?
believes in God
?
Latter-day Saint
73Men in Black (1997)Barry SonnenfeldJewishLaurie MacDonald
Walter F. Parkes
 
74The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)David LeanQuakerSam Spiegel 
75It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)Stanley KramerJewishStanley KramerJewish
76Swiss Family Robinson (1960)Ken Annakin Bill AndersonLatter-day Saint
77One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)Milos FormanJewish father; Protestant motherMichael Douglas
Saul Zaentz
half-Jewish
?
78M*A*S*H (1970)Robert AltmanCatholic (lapsed)Ingo PremingerJewish
79Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)Steven SpielbergJudaismRobert Watts
George Lucas (exec. prod.)
?
Buddhist Methodist
80Star Wars: Episode II -
Attack of the Clones (2002)
George LucasBuddhist MethodistRick McCallum 
81Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)Chris ColumbusCatholicMark Radcliffe
Marsha Garces Williams
Robin Williams
?
?
Christian Science; Episcopalian
82Aladdin (1992)Ron Clements
John Musker
 Ron Clements
John Musker
 
83Ghost (1990)Jerry ZuckerJewishHoward W. Koch
Lisa Weinstein
 
84Duel in the Sun (1946)King VidorChristian ScienceDavid O. SelznickJewish
85Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Gore Verbinski Jerry BruckheimerJewish
86House of Wax (1953)Andre De Toth Bryan Foy 
87Rear Window (1954)Alfred HitchcockCatholicAlfred HitchcockCatholic
88The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)Steven SpielbergJudaismGerald R. Molen
Colin Wilson
Latter-day Saint
?
89Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)Steven SpielbergJudaismRobert Watts
George Lucas (exec. prod.)
?
Buddhist Methodist
90Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)James Cameronvaguely Protestant backgroundStephanie Austin
James Cameron
B.J. Rack
vaguely Protestant background
91Sergeant York (1941)Howard HawksChristian ScienceHoward Hawks
Jesse L. Lasky
Hal B. Wallis
Christian Science
Jewish
?
92Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)Ron HowardProtestant (Methodist?)Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Aldric La'Auli Porter
?
Protestant (Methodist?)
Latter-day Saint
93Toy Story 2 (1999)John Lasseter
Ash Brannon
Lee Unkrich
 Karen Robert Jackson
Helene Plotkin
 
94Top Gun (1986)Tony Scott Jerry Bruckheimer
Don Simpson
Jewish
?
95Shrek (2001)Andrew Adamson
Vicky Jenson
 Jeffrey Katzenberg
Aron Warner
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
John H. Williams
John Garbett
Jewish
?
?
?
?
Latter-day Saint
96The Matrix Reloaded (2003)Andy Wachowski
Larry Wachowski
 Joel SilverJewish
97"Crocodile" Dundee (1986)Peter Faiman John Cornell 
98The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)Rex Ingram Rex Ingram 
99Saving Private Ryan (1998)Steven SpielbergJudaismIan Bryce
Mark Gordon
Gary Levinsohn
Steven Spielberg
?
?
?
Judaism
100Young Frankenstein (1974)Mel BrooksJewishMichael Gruskoff 

Note: With only a few exceptions, we have included in the table below only individuals credited as "producer." Individuals credited as executive producer, co-producer, associate producer, etc., have not been listed, except in a few cases for the sake of clarity.

Notes from the source page, by Tim Dirks:

Rankings of American/Hollywood (Domestic) Box-Office Blockbusters have been compiled from various recent sources (through early June, 2005). The rankings are based upon domestic theatrical box office receipts (including some theatrical re-release receipts) and do not include video rentals, TV rights, international box office figures, or other revenues...

The adjusted (for inflation) list of domestic box-office champs - with rankings that don't vary much from month to month (and isn't updated as regularly) - takes into account inflationary factors such as ticket prices and any re-issues or re-releases, and is more reflective of a film's actual appeal. The escalating price of theatre tickets would otherwise bias a list of all-time blockbuster films to recent releases. [It is inflation-adjusted to the 2005 average ticket price of $6.40. Most pre-1980 pictures achieved their totals through multiple releases.]

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Webpage created 5 October 2005. Last modified 14 May 2007.