Directed by Rosalind Ross, ‘Father Stu’ centers upon the inspiring story of Stuart Long, a boxer-turned-priest. He kickstarts his career as a boxer, but an injury makes him switch gears. Consequently, he moves to Los Angeles in search of money and a stable career. Soon after, a pretty woman catches his eye, and he rethinks his beliefs for her. For the woman, Carmen, Stuart starts going to Church and eventually finds his true calling – to become a Catholic Priest.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Teresa Ruiz, and Mel Gibson, the movie features various aspects of finding oneself, rediscovering one’s faith, and unwavering human conviction. Moreover, it also focuses on getting second chances and what one makes of that opportunity. The drama film comprehensively covers all the facets of Stuart’s life. If you’re looking to watch movies that focus on similar themes, then the following movies are perfect for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Father Stu’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Woodlawn (2015)
Set in 1973 against the racial discrimination backdrop, a high school footballer, Tony Nathan, struggles to prevail over a negative atmosphere. His teammates and the locals collectively get over the hatred when a kind outsider ignites a fire in them. The underlying anger and spite get rooted out to make space for kindness and positivity. Directed by Jon Erwin and Andrew Erwin, the sports drama movie witnesses the sports team face a challenge in the form of their most resilient rival and not back down. At the core of both ‘Father Stu’ and ‘Woodlawn’ lies a message of peace, positivity, and unity.
7. Chariots of Fire (1981)
A cult classic movie, ‘Chariots of Fire’ features the 1924 Olympics, and the story chronicles two British runners, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. After facing many troubles in their lives, they devote all their energy to sports and give their best at every turn. Intertwined with the themes of faith, troubled relationships, and human conviction toward sports, the Hugh Hudson directorial has inspired many viewers since its premiere. These themes are strikingly similar to those portrayed in ‘Father Stu’ as well. In addition, both movies are centered on sports and the subsequent impact of faith on athletes’ lives.
6. Dead Man Walking (1995)
This 1995 crime drama movie follows the life of Matthew Poncelet, who spends his life in prison and ultimately faces the death penalty for killing a young couple. He requests Sister Helen Prejean to help him out. Subsequently, the latter gets to know the convict as the film focuses on a stirring depiction of the death sentence. Directed by Tim Robbins, ‘Dead Man Walking’ is a representation of the spirituality of humankind in the best ways possible. Similar to ‘Father Stu’ where Stuart Long puts his faith in second chances and redemption of people even from their worst crimes.
5. First Reformed (2017)
The thriller drama movie, with Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried in the lead, follows the life of a pastor that turns upside down after a series of harrowing experiences. Written and directed by Paul Schrader, ‘First Reformed’ explores the innermost feelings of a man of faith when life has taken almost everything away from him. Like ‘Father Stu,’ this movie also dissects the modern take of people on religion and faith. Navigating through complicated relationships and the past further adds to the similarities in both movies.
4. Walking With Herb (2021)
Directed by Ross Kagan Marks, ‘Walking With Herb’ explores the life of an amateur golfer who deals with a tragic incident. Consequently, a conflict arises within him, and he struggles to keep his faith alive. Suddenly, he has a revelation that he has to inspire the world as he is the chosen one. The movie focuses on very real aspects of human discord that question faith. Besides that, the comedy movie makes use of humor to put the point across. Both ‘Father Stu’ and ‘Walking With Herb’ feature the protagonist’s journey towards reclaiming their faith and prospering in the same.
3. Calvary (2014)
Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, this movie focuses on an honest priest who loves his job. A death threat from a stranger leaves him struggling with a community full of hatred and spite. With Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, and Domhnall Gleeson leading the star cast, the drama movie does not shy away from shining a light on the more negative aspects of organized religion.
Aside from the obvious religious parallel, ‘Father Stu and ‘Calvary’ tackle difficult family dynamics through the perspective of their characters. Furthermore, the 2014 movie exemplifies the same through Father James’ troubled connection with his daughter, as both strive to attain genuine forgiveness for previous transgressions in a limited time period.
2. The Survivor (2021)
As the title suggests, ‘The Survivor’ is a story of grit, determination, and survival of a prisoner of war in Auschwitz. After going through the worst life experiences possible, Harry Haft participates in boxing to make a name for himself. Helmed by Barry Levinson, the drama movie stars Ben Foster, Dar Zuzovsky, and Billy Magnussen in pivotal roles. Moreover, ‘Father Stu’ and ‘The Survivor’ embody the willpower and resilience of the human spirit. Both protagonists have a stint in boxing, which leads them toward the questions of faith and love.
1. Soul Surfer (2011)
‘Soul Surfer’ centers upon a skilled surfer named Bethany Hamilton, who undergoes a tragedy and loses an arm to a shark in the sea. With the unwavering support of her friends and family, the champion surfer reignites her faith in the almighty and surfs again. The 2011 movie is a biographical adaptation of professional surfer Bethany Meilani Hamilton’s autobiography, ‘Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.’
Directed by Sean McNamara, the drama movie captures the significance of human strength. Bethany gets back on her feet after a tragic experience, just as Stuart does after his motorcycle accident. Like ‘Father Stu,’ ‘Soul Surfer’ is also based on a true story and a journey of self-discovery and second chances.
Read More: Is the Real Father Stu Still Alive?