Today’s Prayer Focus

Angels and Demons

also known as “Angels and Demons,” “Angeli e demoni,” “Ángeles y demonios,” “Angeles y Demonios,” “Andelé a démoni,” “Anjos e Demónios,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material.

Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem

Moral Rating: Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Crime Mystery Drama Prequel Sequel
Length: 2 hr. 20 min.
Year of Release: 2009
USA Release: May 15, 2009 (wide—3,400 theaters)
DVD: November 24, 2009
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Sony Pictures Releasing

HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH—“I would never be a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites.” Answer




SCIENCE—How is it possible for reasonable, intelligent, well-educated people to hold such diametrically opposite views as Evolutionism and Creationism? Answer

Roman Catholic Church


What else does the Bible teach about angels? Answer

Demons in the Bible

copyrightedIs THE DA VINCI CODE “the most serious assault against Christianity”? Answer

Was Jesus Christ only a legend? Answer

Mary Magdalene

Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer

If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer

Was Jesus Christ God, manifest in human form? Answer

Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer

Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer

Mary, mother of Jesus

What is “blasphemy”? Answer

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer

How can the Bible be infallible if it was written by fallible humans? Answer

Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death and Resurrection
Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
SALVATION—Answers to frequently-asked-questions

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring Tom HanksRobert Langdon
Ewan McGregorCamerlengo Patrick McKenna
Ayelet Zurer … Vittoria Vetra
Stellan SkarsgårdCommander Richter
See all »
Director Ron Howard
Producer Columbia Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony, Dan Brown, John Calley, William M. Connor, Brian Grazer, Todd Hallowell, Ron Howard, Ute Leonhardt, Kathleen McGill, Louisa Velis
Distributor: Sony Pictures. Trademark logo.
Sony Pictures Classics
, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Prequels: “The Da Vinci Code” (2006)

Sequel: “Inferno” (2016)

One wonders exactly to what or to whom the movie title “Angels & Demons” refer. Does it mean to convey that these heavenly opposites are one-in-the-same, or does it mean to emphasize the specific foes at two ends of the spectrum? It could be argued that both are meant, as there are actually multiple stories rolled into one here.

On the one hand, there is the untimely death of a Pope, for which the Vatican is earnestly seeking a replacement. All of its focus is directed toward that end, until something messes up the works and stalls the proceedings. Enter our old friend, Professor Langdon (Tom Hanks), from the previous blasphemous installment of Dan Brown’s novels-made-movies, “The DaVinci Code.” In “Angels & Demons,” the Vatican calls upon their agnostic nemesis for his unparalleled expertise as a symbologist to solve an immediate problem that may destroy their city.

And what does Langdon know that may be of help? He knows everything about the Illuminati—a group that Brown would have us think is ubiquitous in its influence, and which was born as a reaction of smart people against ignorant Christianity. The fact is, the Illuminati are more alive in the minds of conspiracy theorists like Brown than in current or even past reality. The movie presents them as being the greatest members among the scientifically enlightened, and because the Church supposedly opposes scientific inquiry, the Illuminati have plotted to finally eliminate the superstitious super-Institution, in our day, with the latest discovery of scientific technology: anti-matter.

So, on the other end of the story is science. Particle physicists develop an amazing energy source that could potentially become a beast with tremendous destructive force, if it were to fall into the wrong hands, which is what happens. Though it’s held in a lab, to which access is protected by retinal scan technology, the worst is realized as access is easily overridden by the forces of anarchy who utilize a murdered man’s eyeball as a key.

The question is, are the forces angels or demons? As for religion, does it really oppose and contravene research and learning? Are religion and science at odds? That is the question, and the Church takes a beating as the all time quasher of enlightened advancement. Is it, in actuality, a bastion of spiritual pretense with all the political motives of Hell, or is it a cautious friend of knowledge? Are religion and science necessarily enemies, and if so, which is the angel and which is the demon? In the end, will science destroy the church or save it? This is what we finally find out.

One of the interesting elements of the movie is the character of the Vatican’s Camerlengo (sort of an emergency Pope-sub) played by Ewan McGregor of “Star Wars” fame. He played the religious defender that exposed Darth Vader in that series, and the twist in Angels is the revelation of a “Dark Father” in the Vatican. What is bothersome about the movie, is that Langdon is too smart. He’s always sharper than the police and more educated in the church’s laws than the priests, bishops and cardinals. His skeptical intelligence and superior knowledge of arcane history lead the story. Langdon seems to be the altar-ego of Brown, who thinks that everything the church believes is suspect, at best, and diabolical, at worst (it oppresses truth, disseminates ignorance, and causes problems for civilized man).

While it is the case that the Roman Catholic Church is perpetually singled out as the bad guy, it seems more representative of all things Christian, thereby including all people of faith in the film’s denunciations. While “The DaVinci Code” was a worse offender by pretending to destroy the Christian church’s foundation, “Angels & Demons” seems to make the Catholic Church itself a place of discord, confusion, backward beliefs, violent zealots, and deceptive policies. Some Protestants may agree with this assessment, but again, Brown wouldn’t know a Catholic from a Quaker, so I believe organized Christianity in general is under attack.

The Roman Catholic Church divided during the Reformation, so that Protestants do not identify with much, if anything, after the Council of Trent. But everything before then, we all share in common, and if it is claimed that the “catholic church” did evil prior to that time, then it was to everyone’s shame. Likewise, we all share in the glories of the historic catholic (universal) church up to that time.

Thinking Christians will likely feel encouraged to know more about such charges in the movie and how to answer them. This is typically a positive result of religious exposé, be it fictional or real. Persecution nearly always strengthens us.

The movie is not uninteresting, it’s fairly fast-paced and visually impressive, but it is rather far-fetched, and as expressed, irritating to people of faith. There is a positive element to the film, in that some of the religious characters actually come off looking spiritually wise. However, amidst all the intrigue and shenanigans at the top, as well as apathy, the perception is that it’s a rarity, and the really sharp folks are not religious.

As for objectionable peripherals, the bad language is milder and less frequent than a lot of movies with the same rating. “God” & “Hell” do get uttered several times in exasperation, as does the use of the term for a fatherless offspring. These are not especially exaggerated, so they may escape the viewer’s notice, at times.

There’s nothing sexually explicit in the film, unless the sight of bare-chested men, or seeing professor Langdon in a Speedo, counts. There is a discussion about the nude statues in Rome that supposedly had their genitals removed and replaced with fig leaves, but then you see the fig leaves, and that’s about it.

Smoking is not seen as unusual, and is especially typical among clergy in the film. The violence in the movie proliferates. Of note: there is an immolation, a modernized burning at the stake, many people shot to death at close range, a throat cut, several people are branded with glowing hot irons, a dead man is exhumed, corpses are being eaten by rats, people are hit by debris after an explosion, blood sprays out of the chest of a CPR subject, and other less graphic, but still violent scenes could be noted.

If the viewer is of strong constitution, perhaps this movie should be seen for its cultural value, and received as a catalyst for more diligent study of church and the Bible. What “Angels & Demons” can do for us is direct our defense against the destructive onslaught of anti-Christian opinion that may develop in the minds of our lost population of movie-goers. Ignorance will kill us, and one thing to remember is that religion and science are not mortal enemies. Today’s science stands on the shoulders of scientists past, and most of them were churchmen who believed in God.

In one of the final comments of the movie, the Camerlengo explains to our protagonist, “The church is flawed, but that is because man is flawed.” His comment could not be truer, and that’s why it also applies to the scientific community. Christ came for just this very thing, to save flawed and fallen man.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—My wife and I have viewed this film and we are pleased to report that with the exception of the discussion of the nude statues in Rome that the film is free from any other filthiness of this nature. Furthermore we found no problem with the language—the name “god” is used as a vain word, but being so generic (it could be applied to anyone’s “god”) we took no offense unlike if the name of Jesus Christ were used.

My wife and I are Christians and our view is that the film is definitely anti-catholic, but not anti-Christian. We disagree with the reviewers comments that “we all share in the glories of the historic catholic (universal) church up to that time” and we do not believe that to be factually correct. One need only look back to the work of the early reformers and other great Bible expositors of the period to understand that Christians were markedly different and separated from the self styled. “Universal Church”. These days of course no one wants to mention the not so distant past and most seem to do all they can to align themselves along side of the “holy father”.

The film draws attention to how the Church of Rome is steeply set in tradition, pagan beliefs and superstitions and we found this to be quite interesting. Seeing the church clergy smoking is in fact factually correct—they are very ordinary people with a guise or cloak of Christianity.

Seeing the murder and treachery carried on inside the doors of the Roman Catholic Church is again not far from the truth at all. One need only to pick up any good history book of the Catholic Church to see that bloodshed, murder and corruption were the order of the day for over 1,000 years of their history. Popes also were not immune from being murdered by their peers when they feel out of favour.

Quite an enjoyable film overall.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Karl, age 40 (Australia)
Positive—Having never read Dan Brown’s book, I had nothing to compare with while watching this movie. I found it entertaining which is the only reason most anyone goes to the theater.

I’m not Catholic, but I notice that in most movies where the Catholic church is prominent they never have any “power.” Such is the case in A&D. Yes, the murders are disturbing and the betrayal and cover-ups inside the Vatican should not come as a surprise when men are put in positions of ultimate unquestionable authority.

I don’t quite understand why so much weight is put on one person--the Pope when it’s Jesus who is the head of the church.

Being a fan of Tom Hanks I find that he didn’t disappoint (acting), and Ron Howard did a pretty decent job and kept things moving right along.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Reba, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—“Angels and Demons” is very unlike its predecessor. I saw this movie twice so I was able to get a real feel for the film. It focuses more on what humans have done to the image of God. The film does not attack Christianity at all, it attacks the Catholic Church and for good reason. The ritualistic practices and the abnormal amount of respect given to priests, bishops, and the pope is flawed, it is Christ that deserves this respect—not mere men. The movie does a great job at picking apart the atrocities committed in early Catholic Church history and the Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor) does a fantastic job at trying to intertwine science and religion, as Tom Hanks points out in the movie, they both tell the same story, just in different ways. I also liked at the end when the Camerlengo said, “Religion is flawed because man is flawed, including this one”; this again is true; we mess up how others perceive God because of our sin. There are few curse words in the movie, only a couple of “hells” and “damns”, one use of “bastard”, and one “g**damn”, the violence is moderate, there are dead bodies, two men are seen burning, and several men are seen being shot, otherwise a very clean film. It’s a great film and shows man for what we really are—sinful. Overall, an excellent film that I highly recommend!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
Elisa A. Walker, age 20 (USA)
Positive—What can I say? I loved this movie. It was nothing like the Davinci Code (excuse my spelling) This movie kept me thinking I knew the way it would turn out then it would surprise me!One major cuss word a G_d d--m, however it was spoken quickly and not very loud. Other than that this movie was overall clean, and for Dan Brown, He becomes born again before its over! This movie had many spiritual overtones in it, while portraying the Roman Catholic church for past sins, it also showed the Catholic Church sincerely sorry for past sins and mistakes.

However, that is not what I am getting to. The scene where Tom Hanks is asked, “Do you believe in God,” this was a very powerful moment in the movie, and I hope that it may be a heart cry from Dan Brown himself. There are other very positive elements in this movie, and if you love a suspense mystery thriller this movie is for you! In my opinion it was the best movie of 2009! keep in mind that the violence is intense in several scenes which makes this a movie for adult viewers. But I have to tell you, if you can read between the lines you will find much positive spiritually in this movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Pastor Shane Mason, age 30 (USA)
Positive—I thought this was a good movie. I disagree with one commenters that felt it was anti-Catholic. It was “on the edge,” but I do not feel it was anti-Catholic or anti-Christian at all. There was no nudity… Greco Roman statues don’t count… no bad language… I thought on the whole that it was very well done. I liked how, in the end, the new pope tried to lead Langdon to the church. I give it a 4.5 stars. Very good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Claire Guthrie, age 39 (USA)
Neutral—This was a very interesting movie. It makes you think and question every character’s motive. Its references to history test your own knowledge, and it seemed like the audience needed to be slightly educated in Catholic culture to completely understand the film. Visually, the movie was very appealing.

Morally, it did have some objectionable content. God’s name was used in vain and Hell muttered in an objectionable manner. Another aspect to be aware of is the graphic scenes of gore and death. Usually these negative qualities are enough to force not to see a movie and deem it offensive. However, due to its views on the Catholic Church and the inevitable discussion it will create between nonbelievers and believers, as a believer I felt it profitable to be educated on the content of the film.

As far as its perception of the Catholic Church and Christianity in general, it does present many negative views of the Catholic Church, but not necessarily all of Christianity. Personally, I feel that the movie realistically presented varying views on Christianity and the concept of faith, and accurately indicated that even devout members of the Church are not perfect and are subject to the same desires, temptations, and corrupted thinking that the devil persuades everyone else with.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Dorian, age 19 (USA)
Negative—I love this movie, but I am giving it a negative not for the movie making quality but its portrayal of Christianity. Mainly, I have seen many anti-Catholic comments here, also suggesting Catholicism cannot be identified with Christianity. However, most movie goers all around the world will definitely get the message the Church or Christianity is wrong. Also, the protagonist refused to say a clear answer to the question whether he believes in God. (He is not even saying he is an agnostic, as we would know), this is simply to make the hero secular, and modern—like the modern trend or fashion. Thus the writer also sustain his “integrity and modern outlook.”

Movie makers and writers love to make Roman Catholic Church as a bad guy, when the Christians agree with it, it’s fueling the church bashing pop culture. Do they dare to make a movie like this against the Muslims, NO! Christians wouldn’t matter as they identify themselves not as Christians but Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, etc. Whether we like it or not, Rome is considered as the capital of world Christianity, especially to non-Christians Pope is like the most leader of Christianity, and when a movie portrays (along with a long line of others) that symbol negatively there is nothing to be proud of, or being neutral by thinking “it’s against their church not our church…” The movie is not based on facts but just quasi truths and fiction and myths, so there is no justification. As a thriller, I liked it but anything that portrays Christianity in a negative light should be voiced against…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Cyril Thomas (Roman Catholic), age 29 (India)
Comments from young people
Positive—I am a Bible-believing Christian, and I have viewed this film, and I base my comments on the infallible Word of God. I do believe it s true that the Roman Catholic Church is the church of the anti-Christ, who will rule the world in the last days, as the Bible foretold… the world must know that there is one Savior Jesus (not good works, baptism, or church membership). Satan is the father of lies! Believe the Bible.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Matthew, age 15 (Philippines)
Positive—Yes! I just watched this movie last night, and I loved it. It was perfectly clean except for a few swears. The plot was extremely well thought out and kept you guessing the entire time. It was also highly entertaining throughout. Ron Howard proved his genius once again and Tom Hanks did an amazing job as Dr. Robert Langdon. I must tip my hat, though, to Ewan McGregor who perfectly played his character. The violence in this movie was graphic in parts, (although tastefully done), but was necessary to the plot and feel of the movie. I recommend this great movie, but not to younger audiences. Go See This Movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Noah Dimitrie, age 12 (Canada)
Movie Critics
…The movie contains revisionist history and a slanderous tone of smearing Christianity through false information. …
…The end result, then, feels less like a religious treatise (or thinly veiled propaganda statement, as was the case with the last adaptation of a Dan Brown novel, The DaVinci Code) and more like a spiritualized mash-up of National Treasure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, CSI and 24. …If there’s content to be especially wary of here, it isn’t dodgy theology, it’s gory violence. …
Adam R. Holz, PluggedIn
…“Angels & Demons” is excessive in its violent shock treatment. The film does contain several disturbing images, including torture, in-your-face shootings and blood-splattering executions—not to mention one guy setting himself on fire and burning up before our eyes. …
Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…The setup here is tailor made for discussion about the apparent conflicts between faith and science. This new science that has the power to do so much good is being used for evil. What is incredibly refreshing about Angels & Demons, is the many times characters pause to consider this conflict and offer thoughtful reflection—and in most instances, viewers are left with the feeling that faith and Christianity are inherently positive forces in the world. …
Stephen McGarvey, Crosswalk
Comments from non-viewers
This film attempts to present the Illuminati as a group seeking scientific truth, when in fact the whole Illuminati story, as known to Mr. Brown, is just a cover story. I am a Christian, and Christians, in general, are ignorant to the fact that this dangerous group still exists and orchestrates world affairs as directed by their “god,” who they refer to as the bearer of light or Lucifer. All I can say to true, Bible-believing Christians is to please dedicate time to research and understand that we live in a society built on the principles and occult practices of the Illuminati. The Bible clearly warns us that Satan is the prince of this world—and rest assured it’s not only through sin. Think and Question and your eyes will be opened.
J, age 28 (USA)