By G. Connor Salter, Crosswalk.com
People have been adapting the story of Noah onto film at least since 1909, in a short cartoon called A Tale of the Ark, where a girl dreams about her toy animals becoming the animals on Noah’s ark. The adaptations have ranged from silly songs like Schoolhouse Rock’s song using Noah’s ark to teach kids math, to 1980s TV episodes where time travelers help Noah with his ark, to live-action comedies where Noah gets interviewed about his ark project. Here are 10 of the best Noah movies for learning this famous Bible story, from full-length movies to short children’s cartoons.
Editor’s Note: These movies’ inclusion in this article does not mean Crosswalk.com endorses the companies who produce the movies or any dramatic license taken with the material. Readers are encouraged to research the movies for their own conclusions.
Further Reading: How Old Was Noah When He Died
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/JoeLena
1. Noah’s Ark (1928)
The first (and until 2014, the only) feature-length Bible movie exclusively about Noah, this movie follows a similar structure to the 1923 film The Ten Commandments. Both films are silent (although Noah’s Ark has a few sound elements here and there). Both films combine telling the Bible story with a modern story. In this case, the modern story is set in WWI and follows some civilians hiding in a ruined building from German gunfire. As they wonder whether they’ll live, a minister starts telling the story of Noah’s ark, and the film shifts to telling that story.
The special effects are still impressive today. The connection between the modern-day story and the Bible story feels didactic but also clever. Historians have noted how many WWI-era pastors talked about the war in apocalyptic terms, and it was believed to be “the war to end all wars.” Pairing a WWI story with the story of Noah makes for an interesting combination, especially considering that this movie came out when many believed that no one could surpass WWI’s carnage.
Further Reading: What Is the Meaning and Significance of Noah’s Ark?
Photo Credit: Warner Bros
2. The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966)
The 1950s-1960s saw dozens of Biblical epics, but none focusing on Noah’s story (probably because giant arks are expensive). John Huston’s The Bible: In the Beginning… devotes about 40 minutes to Noah’s story as the middle part of his long epic about Genesis’ events from the earth’s creation to Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac.
The section on Noah is funnier than the others, maybe because Huston played Noah himself, and he usually played folksy eccentric characters. So, viewers see Noah getting the commands from God, then walking through a water trough as he counts on his fingers, figuring out how much wood he needs. The humor makes The Bible: In the Beginning… fun to watch with kids or adults. The humor also highlights what comedies like Evan Almighty struggled to capture fully. Noah’s task was important but would surely have seemed like a silly, crazy thing to do. Leaning into that humor, instead of making the whole story deeply serious, can be a clever way to recognize this is a strange story about how God’s ways aren’t our ways.
Further Reading: What We Can Learn from Noah Building the Ark
Photo Credit: Twentieth-Century Fox
3. Noah’s Ark (1989)
Based on a children’s book by Peter Spiers and released as part of the Stories to Remember DVD series, this animated movie takes less than half an hour and is narrated by acclaimed actor James Earl Jones. The story begins describing the sinful world that Noah lived in and ends with Noah planting a vineyard in the post-flood world. The script doesn’t deviate from the Bible, except in short descriptions of how awesome it was to see all the animals arrive. There are some clever little visual moments—animals tossing around in the boat as the ark tosses in a storm—that give the cartoon a sense of humor without creating whole new subplots. The animation is simple, but the funny moments, and Jones’ impressive voice, make Stories to Remember: Noah’s Ark a better-than-average Bible story retelling. If you’re teaching a Sunday school class or introducing your children to the story of Noah, and you’re looking for one Bible cartoon for kids with minimal additions, this is a great option.
If you’re looking for something a little longer that reads less like a storybook and more like a cartoon movie, The Beginner’s Bible: Noah’s Ark is also great (and easy to find).
Further Reading: Noah’s Ark Bible Story - 20 Important Lessons from It
Photo Credit: Lightyear Entertainment
4. Genesis: The Creation and the Flood (1994)
Like The Bible: In the Beginning… this movie isn’t exclusively about Noah, but it presents a great look at Noah’s place within the larger Genesis narrative. Like the Moses movie Ballads of the Exodus, it starts by showing someone telling the story to someone else. In this case, the film opens at a modern nomad camp in the Middle East, where a man tells the Genesis story (from Adam and Eve to Noah) to his young grandson. On one occasion, the grandchild observes they were people “just like us.”
The footage cuts back and forth between the nomad camp, simple depictions of the events, and sometimes modern-day war footage that illustrates humanity’s sins. This low-budget approach doesn’t make for great Sunday school viewing, but it presents an important challenge to grownup viewers who may not have thought about the story in a while. By identifying the Biblical characters with modern-day nomads, the movie reminds viewers that Noah and his family weren’t white Europeans and didn’t live modern lifestyles. By adding modern footage, the movie reminds viewers that the sins of Noah’s time haven’t stopped.
Further Reading: 4 Lessons of Hope from the Story of Noah and the Ark
Photo Credit: Rai 1/Lux Vide/Lube/Beta Film
5. VeggieTales: Minnesota Cuke and Noah’s Umbrella (2009)
VeggieTales started in the early 90s with short videos that combined Bible stories (with some tongue-in-cheek references), spoofs of classic stories like The Grapes of Wrath, and various song-and-dance sections. Minnesota Cuke and Noah’s Umbrella was VeggieTales’ second spoof of the Indiana Jones series, following adventurer Minnesota Cuke and his friends as they seek Noah’s fabled umbrella. Villains believe the umbrella will bring rain, allowing them to control the world’s weather. Cuke’s quest to stop them will involve chases, puzzles, and a lot of help from his friends as he tries to remember what happened in the story of Noah.
Like almost every one of the original VeggieTales videos, the story finds a great balance between stuff for kids and stuff for adults. Kids will enjoy the slapstick, action, and the Bible message reminding them what Noah’s story was really about (hint: it’s not about the umbrella). Adults will enjoy the in-jokes about the Indiana Jones films.
Further Reading: What Kids Can Learn about Bullying from Minnesota Cuke
Photo Credit: Pure Flix/Big Idea Entertainment
6. Days of Noah (2022)
Recommended for Kids: No
This movie appears in three parts (currently available to watch for free online) and takes an unusual approach to Noah’s story. Instead of telling it in English, it follows various people speaking foreign languages. The time period is before the flood; the setting is villages that surround Eden. A group of men (one of whom may be Noah) take a journey to find food, watching out for the Nephilim and other threats. Without giving away the ending, the film finds clever ways to immerse audiences in the brutal world that Noah lived in, yet pushes them to realize that humanity thought it would still survive without God. As Jesus reminded his disciples, “people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24:38). Days of Noah encourages viewers to consider what that looked like, and therefore the tragedy as almost all humanity was washed away.
Further Reading: What are the Nephilim in the Bible?
Photo Credit: FAI Studios
7. Pomp and Circumstance (2000)
Disney has done several cartoons about Noah’s ark, including the 1933 singalong Father Noah’s Ark and the 1959 stop-motion Noah’s Ark. Sadly, both cartoons were released on rare DVDs that aren’t easy to find anymore, making them hard to watch legally. Pomp and Circumstance, one of the many great cartoons-set-to-music segments in Fantasia 2000, is much easier to find. The cartoon retells Noah’s ark with Donald Duck as a helper who must collect the animals. Once he’s gotten the various animals onto the ark, the helper must make sure his wife (Daisy Duck) is on the ark.
While there have been several Noah cartoons with music, few of them have ever really worked. Here, the bombastic music perfectly fits the big bombastic story about floods and ark-building. Inserting a Disney character into the story becomes a clever way to consider how frightening a flood is, and the mixed joy of starting life over while knowing that the world has changed so much.
Further Reading: 10 Popular Disney Movies That Have Powerful Biblical Lessons
Photo Credit: Disney
8. VeggieTales: Noah’s Ark (2015)
VeggieTales adapted many Bible stories (David and Goliah, Esther, Daniel) during their early years. It wasn’t until the end of their original video series that they covered Noah. By that point, the spinoff TV show VeggieTales in the House was also playing, with different character designs and fewer Bible lessons. While this video uses the VeggieTales in the House style, it keeps the Bible message that was always so important to the original series. The jokes and songs are catchy, and the moral, to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense, couldn’t be clearer.
Further Reading: Jaci Velasquez Seas the Message in Veggie Tales: Noah’s Ark
Photo Credit: Big Idea Entertainment
9. Sight and Sound: Noah (2019)
Sight & Sound Theaters is known for its huge musical productions, usually featuring live animals and unexpected stage effects. Their production of Noah doesn’t disappoint, telling the story from Noah getting God’s call to the animals leaving the ark. As with all Sight & Sound productions, it’s a family-friendly production, so the world’s evils are mostly communicated by pagan leaders trying to destroy the ark or use it for their purposes. The conflict worsens because Noah has a brother who wants him to get with the rest of the world’s program. There’s also an interesting cameo by Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, portrayed as a devout man who supports Noah but passes away before the ark sets sail. Unlike some Noah movies, the songs and dances are pretty good and fit naturally with the story. There’s also plenty of comedy as Noah’s sons engage in good-natured squabbling. A well-handled, accessible take on the story of Noah for any age group.
Further Reading: 5 Things You Should Know about Sight & Sound’s MOSES
Photo Credit: Sight & Sight Theaters
10. The Ark (2015)
This TV movie made in the United Kingdom (sometimes advertised as Noah’s Ark) adds to the story in some interesting ways. Noah is depicted as the patriarch of a loving family getting ready to expand (his newly married sons wonder about moving away, so they don’t feel cramped). His youngest son (an invented extra son) feels drawn to the city, away from his family’s protection. These family problems make Noah’s sudden announcement that God wants him to build an ark more difficult. There’s plenty of modern humor (Noah’s wife sees his ark plans and says, “Please tell me you’ve made some horrible sizing mistake”), and most of the time everyone talks in modern language. Viewers also see a few last-minute believers who join Noah on the ark, but no animals.
While these changes definitely make The Ark a movie for grownups who already know the story, they aren’t all unusual changes. Most Noah movies add subplots about one of his children falling in love and feeling torn between the ark project and the world outside. The lack of animals (presumably because they didn’t fit a TV movie budget) and having more than Noah’s family on the ark is a bit odd, but the other changes essentially highlight the themes in the Bible story. Seeing Noah’s family life highlight how Noah’s mission meant huge changes for his family, even while he was still building the ark. Seeing one of his sons drawn into a pagan city highlights the chaotic yet attractive pagan society the world had become, and why sin seemed so attractive to so many people.
All told, the movie proves to be a fun, if not always faithful, Noah movie that gets viewers thinking about the story’s implications.
Further Reading: 5 Things to Know about Noah in the Bible
Photo Credit: BBC
Honorary Mention: Noah (2015)
Not precisely a cartoon, this animated comic book uses art and dialogue from Kingstone Comic’s graphic novel about Noah mixed with some CGI for the larger scenes. It’s an interesting approach, and the script makes a choice that most short Noah cartoons avoid: telling the entire story. While the 1989 cartoon Noah’s Ark and The Beginner’s Bible: Noah’s Ark are great Noah movies for little kids, they deliberately tone things down for their audience. The story of Noah’s subsequent drunkenness (Genesis 9:20-29) gets left out, and the sinful society being judged by God is deliberately generic. This short Noah movie, an animated version of a graphic novel by Kingstone Comics, is a good Noah movie for slightly older kids ready to hear the full story. There are scenes of Noah’s sons running into trouble when they buy supplies in a town. Noah’s full story, from being honored by God to making himself foolish when he’s drunk, gets told in a G-rated but honest way, highlighting how Noah was fallible too.
Further Reading: 5 Lessons from the Story of Noah that We Still Need Today
Photo Credit: Kingstone Studios
If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy the following articles about Bible movies: