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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)

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