Here are three lists of films that can help provide some context of the history, politics, and culture of Muslims and the Islamic world. This includes top 10 documentaries and both historical and contemporary feature films.
10. Prince Among Slaves. The True Story of an African Prince Who Survived Slavery in America.
9. The Road to Guantanamo. A docu-drama about a trio of British Muslims held in Guantanamo Bay for two years until they were released without charge.
8. Taxi To the Dark Side. In 2002, a cab driver picked up a few passengers near his home in Afghanistan. He never returned.
7. Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. The story of the Prophet of Islam, not only historically but how the legacy unfolds, into the homes, mosques and workplaces of American-Muslims
6. Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Koran. A documentary about the Qu'ran, which has shaped the Muslim faith and continues to influence the world.
5. Blood and Oil. The film shows how oil has been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years—rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable.
4. New Muslim Cool. Puerto Rican American rapper Hamza Pérez ended his life as a drug dealer and started down a new path as a young Muslim. This film follows his journey.
3. Koran by Heart. HBO film follows three Muslim children from the Maldives, Tajikistan and Senegal who go to Cairo to attend a Quran memorization contest.
2. Inside Mecca. A National Geographic special following three Pilgrims from different parts of the world on a journey of their lifetimes.
1. Islam: Empire of Faith. History of the Islamic Empire.
10. The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam. Kamran is a 12-year-old-boy in the present day who discovers that his ancestor is Omar Khayyam, 11th century mathematician, astronomer, poet of Persia.
9. Al-Ghazali, the Alchemist of Happiness. A film about the philosopher Al-Ghazali and his parallels with our own times.
8. Laal Salaam. Although not specifically about Muslims, the film is about the “other” tribes and cultures that do not fit into mainstream India and their treatment by the authorities. There are many parallels to the conflict in occupied Kashmir, a source of conflict between India and Pakistan.
7. The 13th Warrior: The story of Ibn Fahdlan. This is about a refined Arab courtier of the powerful Caliph of Baghdad, who encounters a band of Viking warriors on their journey to the barbaric North.
6. Fatih. An animated feature about Ottoman Ruler Mehmet II, who conquered Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).
5. Lion of the Desert. A film about Omar Mukhtar, who fought against the Italian conquering of Libya in WWII.
4. Kingdom of Heaven. Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people against Saladin.
3. The Battle of Algiers. A film based on the bloodiest revolution in modern history, Algeria’s war of independence from the French.
2. Malcolm X. The life and times of controversial African-American civil rights leader who joined the Nation of Islam and then finally converted to Islam.
1. The Message. An epic film about the story of the life of the Prophet of Islam, his message and challenges.
10. Dil Se. The clash between love and ideology is portrayed in this love story between a Hindu radio executive and a beautiful Muslim revolutionary, set in Kashmir.
9. The Visitor. A college professor comes to the rescue of an Arab-Muslim who is detained by US. Immigration.
8. Arranged. A Jewish and Muslim woman become friends in a Brooklyn school.
7. Belvedere. A film about the legacy of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in Bosnia.
6. Mooz-lum. Tells the story of an African-American Muslim family whose lives are changed by 9/11.
5. Paradise Now. An Oscar-nominated film about two childhood friends who are recruited for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.
4. Takva. A promotion brings a Muslim’s relationship with God into question.
3. Bagong Buwan. A film about the Muslim rebellion in Mindanao, Philippines and its effect on civilians.
2. Khuda Kay Liye (In the name of God). Three interleaved stories based in the U.S., UK, and Pakistan and how they are impacted after 9/11.
1. Syriana. A politically charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.