There are questions that will forever be a part of the human experience. What happens when we die? Which religion has it right? Are atheists the ones who have the best understanding of it all? Over the years, there have been many Hollywood movies that have taken on this universal subject, and some of them have been better than others. In this article, we list 13 of the best “Life After Death” movies. Some of them are inspirational, others dark & scary, and there are even others which have been based on real-life events. So take a look below, you might just find a film or two that could be your afternoon viewing for the upcoming weekend.
Heaven Is For Real
The movie Heaven is for Real (released earlier this year) is based on a book of the same name about a young 4-yr-old boy who goes through a dire, near-death medical emergency. When he gets better, the young child recounts stories about meeting Jesus and seeing the Virgin Mary. He even recounts stories of meeting his unborn sister and seeing his great grandfather who died 30 years before he was born. It’s one of those movies that really makes you think seriously about what happens when you take your final breath.
There are not too many movies that can combine the themes of romantic drama, and supernatural crime thriller, but that’s exactly what the 1990 movie Ghost was able to do. The movie starred Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg; the plot centered on Moore’s character using a medium to communicate with her murdered husband. The movie was extremely emotional and it truly connected with the masses. It was the highest grossing moving of 1990, and it made over $500 million at the global Box Office. The most impressive aspect of this is that the film only cost $22 million to make.
The Sixth Sense
Who can ever forget the remarkable 1999 movie The Sixth Sense that firmly put the writer/director M. Night Shyamalan on the map? The move starred a young Haley Joel Osment as a timid kid who could see and hear dead people wherever he went. And of course, there was a major twist in the end that involved the character of Dr. Malcom Crowe (played by Bruce Willis), a child psychologist trying to help the ghost whispering child. If you haven’t seen that movie, we won’t play the role of spoiler, but this is one film you definitely to see.
This thriller was released in 1990 and it featured an impressive list of stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin and Kevin Bacon. The plot goes as follows: A group of young, thrill-seeking medical students find a way to investigate life after death by briefly dying and then allowing themselves to be instantly resuscitated. But things start to go sideways when they start experiencing haunting supernatural experiences after their visit to the other side. If you’re looking for a good scare, this movie is certainly what the doctor ordered.
Five People You Meet In Heaven
The movie Five People You Meet in Heaven is a movie that was based on the book written by Mitch Albom (he also wrote the acclaimed novel Tuesdays with Morrie). The movie centers around an old man who works at an amusement park. He loses his life when trying to save a young girl from a potentially fatal accident at the park. When he gets to heaven, he meets five people he met during his life which make it clear to him what the deeper meaning of life actually is. The movie was released in 2004 and the lead role was played by actor Jon Voight.
The Lovely Bones
Peter Jackson, the movie director behind the unstoppable Hobbit movies was the auteur behind the 2009 movie The Lovely Bones. This is another movie that had a whole lot of stars: Mark Wahlberg, Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Michael Imperioli. The plot revolves around a young girl who gets raped and murdered but is trapped in purgatory or the “in-between.” While there, she must choose between moving on or staying in her “nowhere” state to watch over her family. The movie won several accolades including a Golden Globe and an Oscar, and it’s certainly an emotional, heart-wrenching film.
Charlie St. Cloud
The bond between brothers is a very tight one indeed – and this bond is explored in the afterlife drama Charlie St. Cloud. The movie stars the young Hollywood leading man Zac Efron, and he plays the role of a young man who loses his brother in a fatal car accident. He grants a last dying wish to his brother and promises him that they will always be together. He keeps this promise, and even gives up on a scholarship just to be close to his brother’s grave. However he eventually meets a woman and falls in love, and he must decide between hanging on to the spirit of his dead brother or moving to explore a new and more enriching life with his newfound love.
Meet Joe Black
Brad Pitt has played a whole variety of roles in his career – boxer, soldier, hitman etc – but in the 1998 movie Meet Joe Black, he played the role as a young and handsome angel of death. The movie also starred the incomparable thespian Anthony Hopkins. He played the role of a billionaire media mogul who is being summoned to the afterlife by Brad Pitt’s character. Things start to get complicated when the good-looking angel of death falls in love with the mogul’s youngest daughter. You can only imagine the complications that could arise from that situation. For all Brad Pitt fans, this is a movie that should certainly be on your list.
For a movie that had so many stars, the supernatural thriller Awake released in 2007 was pretty under the radar. The movie starred Jessica Alba, Hayden Christensen and Terrence Howard amongst others. The script centered around Christensen’s deceitful wife (Alba) who colludes with a corrupt doctor to murder her husband while he’s undergoing surgery. While he is under anesthesia and hovering between life and death, he figures out the nefarious plot and a lot of gripping twists and turns ensue. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable movie and perfect watching for a lazy Saturday afternoon.
What Dreams May Come
Robin Williams will always be remembered as one of the greatest actors and comedians of his generation. His suicide this year was definitely a heavy blow to the film and entertainment industry. One of his memorable movies was the afterlife emotional drama titled What Dreams May Come. The movie also starred Cuba Gooding Jr., and Williams portrayed a man who is trying to navigate his path in the afterlife after he dies. He becomes aware of his wife committing suicide and he embarks on a post-life mission to find his deceased wife. The movie was visually absorbing, and it won the academy award for Best Visual Effects.
Just Like Heaven
Reese Witherspoon is one of America’s sweetheart actresses. Similar to other stars like Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock, she has the ability to charm viewers and draw them in to her captivating screen presence. In 2005, she acted in the film Just Like Heaven in which she played the role of the spirit of an attractive deceased woman who becomes the love interest of lonely landscape architect. The architect’s role was played by another talented actor, Mark Ruffalo and the movie does a really good job in merging the romantic comedy/supernatural genres.
City of Angels
Say what you want, but Nicolas Cage is a living legend in the world of Hollywood. His sterling film career includes remarkable films like Leaving Las Vegas, National Treasure, Bad Lieutenant, Face Off and so many more. In 1998, he starred in the film City of Angels in which he played an angel in Los Angeles who becomes enamored with a beautiful and dedicated female doctor (played by Meg Ryan). The heavenly angel falls so deeply for the doctor that he considers losing his “wings” to become human so he could be with this doctor. It’s a really intriguing premise for a film, and if you’re a Cage fan, this is one you should see.
Field of Dreams
If you’re a looking for a feel good afterlife movie, then Field of Dreams should be top on your list. The movie stars the always capable Kevin Costner, and he plays the role of a simple Iowa farmer who receives divine inspiration from the ghost of a disgraced baseball player to build a baseball diamond in his farm fields. This labor of love eventually becomes a place that offers salvation and a second chance to people who have given up on their lives.