...shining light on the media, one review at a time
Through the many years of Billy Graham crusades, thousands of individuals came forward when he challenged them to put their trust in God. Before and after Graham, other crusades have reaped the same kind of harvest—countless people who have made professions of belief at evangelistic events. They all lived happily ever after, right?
For Pete’s Sake!, a film produced by Billy Graham’s own World Wide Pictures, is not afraid to show the truth of what happens to many people who take a leap of faith at a crusade, only to land with a thud in their normal lives afterward. The ramifications of a decision to follow God are far-reaching and, for new believers, far from easy.
Foregoing the unpopular “conversion scene,” For Pete’s Sake! gives an inside look at what happens after one’s life is changed forever. Ultimately, this well-acted and skillfully produced film shows that what God promises to believers is not a jump onto easy street, but eternal, joyous freedom.
The Harper family thought they were just getting to see some free evening entertainment. They had no idea when they went to the Billy Graham Crusade, that they would be changed forever. Pete, Marge, and their young son Ronnie walk away from the Crusade with a new outlook and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
When they return home to their normal lives, the Harpers start floundering. Are they supposed to be different now? How do they tell others about what happened to them? Should they go to church? These questions are slowly answered, but not always in the way the Harpers expect.
Through the daily grind and unexpected tragedy, they discover that being Christians is no ticket to a happy life, but it is the ticket to the only real, joyous one.
Even in the first films by World Wide Pictures, this production company was ahead of the game for Christian filmmakers. The remarkable features of For Pete’s Sake! are the strong acting and realistic script. Headed by Robert Sampson as Pete, the cast is filled with actors who are experts at just being. These masters of authenticity never call attention to their performance, but rather spend all their time living and breathing the characters.
Sampson and Pippa Scott, who plays Pete’s wife Marge, are the best at this organic approach. They manage to deliver lines, which might sound corny or stilted coming from other actors, with such realism that there is no question they are new believers, enjoying and grappling with their fledgling faith.
While these actors are good enough to handle awkward dialogue if it were given to them, their performances are made easier by a script that is equally realistic. Many scenes achieve a simplicity and reality that puts modern films, which concentrate more on the spectacular than the ordinary true-to-life, to shame.
This emphasis on authenticity and a moving story makes For Pete’s Sake! a classic worth revisiting. Because of some mature content, this film is best for teens and adults, though parents may deem it appropriate for some older children.
In our age of “religious” intolerance, Christians will probably get the most out of this movie that might turn off unbelievers merely with its storyline. There is plenty for Christians to gain from watching this film: tips for evangelism, Scriptural truths, encouragement for Christian living, and a moving story that you won’t soon forget.
Check out these similar titles:
Something to Sing About (WWP, 2000)
Power Play (WWP, 1994)
The Restless Ones (WWP, 1965)
For more ideas, visit our What to Watch page!