Friends Media Project

Project Archive

Quaker Depictions In Film & Video


These movies and television programs show any characterization of Quakers, not necessarily the best. Many are bit parts and most are fictional. They are listed in order of the year they were produced. This list does not include documentaries.

Most of the films below are available in video. Links are to websites with information about these films. Most but not all links are to the Internet Movie Database. Those films available in video can often be found at Amazon.com or through IMDB.com.

Please Note: What some reviewers might call a Quaker character - may in fact not be a Quaker character. Some Quaker portrayals may be stereotypes and possibly offensive.

If you know of any films that could be added to this list please email publisher@friendsmedia.org.
  1.   A Quaker Mother (1911 - Silent)
    No plot information is available. Produced by the Vitagraph Company of America.

  2.   The Quakeress (1913 - Silent)
    No plot information is available. Probably based on the Broadway play "The Quaker Girl" which ran in 1911. Starred Louise Glaum and William Desmond Taylor.

  3.   Bred in the Bone (1915 - Silent)
    No plot line available, though several characters are described as Quakers. Starring Dorothy Gish.

  4.   The Dancing Girl (1915 - Silent)
    Includes a minor character called "A Quaker" played by Malcolm Williams.

  5.   Beauty's Worth (1922 - Silent)
    Marion Davies plays a Quaker girl raised by two very strict aunts. In this Pygmalion-like story - Davies transforms from plain duck to lovely swan with lots of Hollywood glitz. She tries to win the heart of an insincere jerk, but eventually falls for the artist who awakens the real beauty within her.

  6.   Down to the Sea in Ships(1922 - Silent)
    Clara Bow plays a supporting part as the tomboy granddaughter of a Quaker whaling magnate. The story is a your basic romantic melodrama with scheming villains and star crossed young lovers. However, the film is well known for it's authentic depiction of 19th-century whaling.

  7.   Listen Lester (1924 - Silent)
    Comedy includes character of William Penn.

  8.   Penn of Pennsylvania(1941)
    This British film is the tale of William Penn and his journey from English aristocracy to his founding of the state of Pennsylvania in the U.S. The film includes his famous trial, which established the English right of trial by jury. Deborah Kerr appears in one of her earlier roles.

  9.   The Lady from Cheyenne (1941)
    Fictionalized story about women's suffrage in Wyoming Territory. In 1869 in the newly founded railroad town of Laraville, a Quaker schoolmarm Annie Morgan secures a lucrative real estate deal and then has to fight for the vote in order to keep it. Stars Loretta Young and Robert Preston.

  10.   Bedlam (1946)
    Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, fiesty Nell Bowen the ward of Lord Mortimer tries to bring reform to the notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Starring Boris Karloff as what else? - the villain.-

  11.   Angel and the Badman (1947)
    John Wayne plays an outlaw who is sought after by Prudence Worth (palyed by Gail Russell) a Quaker girl. He falls in love with her and eventually becomes a member of her community, giving up his evil ways.

  12.   The Beginning or the End (1947)
    This docudrama portrays the research, development, and deployment of nuclear weapons, as well as the attack on Hiroshima. It includes a character that is a Quaker scientist. Stars Brian Donlevy and Robert Walker.

  13.   Forever Amber (1947)
    Melodrama set in the court of England's King Charles II directed by Otto Preminger, starring Linda Darnell and Cornell Wilde. The story is supposed to have a very minor Quaker character.

  14.   High Noon (1952)
    Considered THE classic western, Gary Cooper plays a retiring lawman about to leave town with his new bride- a Quaker - played by Grace Kelly. Cooper tries to give up the gun and get the town's people to be their own police, but in the end violence prevails. High Noon (1977) (TV) - High Noon (2000) (TV) - High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane (1980) (TV).

  15.   John Wesley (1954)
    Biographical drama about the founder of Methodism, includes a small part called "Beaumont, a Quaker.".

  16.   Friendly Persuasion(1956)
    Jessamyn West's classic story of a family of Quakers in Indiana as the Civil War breaks out. They and their neighbors struggle to maintain their faith and way of life in the face of war's turmoil. Ironically, a copy of this film was given by President Ronald Reagan to Russia's President, as a symbol of our peace loving nature. Remade for television Friendly Persuasion (1975) also called "Except For Me & Thee" starring Richard Kiley and Shirley Knight, it is actually from the novel's sequel of the same name.

  17.   Moby Dick (1956)
    The most famous version of this seafaring tale Herman Melville's novel of the same name was based on and includes the predominantly Quaker fishing village of Nantucket - though the story does not focus on Quakersim. John Barrymore (1930), Gregory Peck (1956) and Patrick Stewart (1998) (TV) have all played the obsessed Captain Ahab chasing the white whale. The Discovery Channel has also produced the documentary: Moby Dick: The True Story (2002 - TV).

  18.   The Deep Six (1957)
    Allan Ladd, a successful ad executive who is a Quaker by religion, is called to war when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, but his moralistic stance against killing causes much friction among his fellow Navy crewmen. Eventually he questions his beliefs in order to survive and rejoin the woman he loves back home.

  19.   Maverick (1957 - TV)
    This is James Garner's television series about traveling gambler Bret Maverick, a sort of American Robin Hood, and the people he meets in the old West. One episode, with the lead played by Jack Kelly as his brother Bart Maverick, involves Bart's efforts to help a naïve community of Quakers sitting on a gold strike who are about to be swindled by a land speculator. He saves the day and the pretty Quaker girl, despite their foolish trust in the bad guy.

  20.   The Proud Rebel (1958)
    Starring Allan Ladd and Olivia de Havilland this is a heart warming western set in post civil war Utah. Cecil Kellaway plays Quaker Dr. Enos Davis.

  21.   The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)
    Made famous first by the poem of the same name, this historical drama stars Trevor Howard, Vanessa Redgrave and John Gielguld. It includes a minor character that is a "Quaker preacher."

  22.   Raid on Rommel (1971)
    Richard Burton stars as Captain Alex Foster who is charged with raiding German-occupied Tobruk with a select group of commandos. Some how hend ends up working with a medical unit led by a Quaker conscientious objector. Despite their differences they succeed with their mission.

  23.   Days Of Hope (1975)
    Nominated for two BAFTA awards this was a British television mini series of four films with stories from the Great War to the General Strike. The main character, Philip Hargreaves (played by Nikolas Simmonds) is a Quaker, and there are some smaller Quaker characters in the first episode when they attend a Friends' meeting.

  24.   Roots (1977) (TV Mini-series)
    Alex Haley's seminal work on the African American experience includes Quaker abolitionist characters.

  25.   The Winds of Autumn(1976)
    Starring Jack Elam, this is the story of a Quaker family in Montana after the Civil War. They live near a prison farm and are terrorized by a family of outlaws who liberate one of their own from the prison. The standard Quaker theme of surviving as peaceful idealists in a violent world is played out. The cinematography is beautiful, but he acting is un-notable.

  26.   A Special Friendship (1987 - TV)
    This is a Civil War story, which includes a Quaker character played by William Newman.

  27.   Northern Exposure (1990 - TV)
    This quirky TV series about a small town in Alaska, includes Quaker actress Peg Phillips as the town's wise and kind general store owner. Adam Arkin plays a recurring role as acerbic but talented chef who likes to visit occasionally. In one story line he explains that he is Quaker as he discusses the medical philosophy of his pregnant girlfriend - a Christian Scientist.

  28.   She Stood Alone (1991 - TV)
    Mare Winningham plays Prudence Crandall who started her own girls school in early 19th century Connecticut in order to help educate African Americans. Prudence was a Quaker but left the faith. This story takes place at the height of Quaker Quietism when Friends risked ignoring core testimonies in order to remain separate from worldly influence.

  29.   The Scarlet Letter (1995)
    Starring Demi Moore, this version includes the character "Quaker Lady" played by Deborah Tennant. Though it is not clear whether there are Quaker characters inother versions, several silents were made of this classic by Nathaniel Hawthorne as well as the 1934 and 1995 versions which are available in video. It was also produced for television in 1950 but that is unavailable.

  30.   Restoration (1995)
    Robert Downey Jr. and Sam Neil star in this sweeping costume drama. Downey plays an aspiring young doctor, in the service of King Charles II. Through a number of scandalous (and bawdy) soap opera like twists his fortunes rise and fall. Eventually he goes to work in a hospital run by Quakers where he regains his passion for medicine and serving humanity.

  31.   Christy (1994 - TV)
    This is a television series starring Kellie Martin as a young idealistic teacher who goes to rural Appalachia to teach the poor residents and ends up learning about life herself. She gets special help from Quaker Alice Henderson played by Tyne Daly.

  32.   The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1997 - TV)
    This TV mini series includes a minor Quaker character in the story.

  33.   A Prayer in the Dark (1997 - TV)
    In this made for television movie, Lynda Carter plays a modern day Quaker banker in New England whose family is terrorized by an ex-con who is their former foster child.

  34.   Captain Jack (1998)
    Starring Bob Hoskins, this is the story of a modern day captain and his eccentric crew who retrace the course to the Artic in 1791 of a Captain Scoresby. Several of the minor characters are listed as Quaker Man and Woman.

  35.   Dear America: Standing in the Light (1999 - TV)
    In 1763 Pennsylvania, Quakers Catharine and her younger brother Thomas are captured by a group of Lenape Indians as they walk to school. Even though they want to return home they adjust to their new life. But their travails are not yet over. This was part of a limited television series featuring vignettes about American life and history.

  36.   Homicide: Life on the Street (TV - 1993)
    In a special episode on the topic of the death penalty a Quaker Meeting in Baltimore was used in a few scenes. NBC ran other related death penalty story lines in other series the same night.

  37.   The West Wing (1999 - TV)
    A recurring character in this series, played by Marlee Matlin, is a Quaker who works as a political pollster. The episode that references her as a Quaker was about the President's struggle whether to commute the death sentence of a federal convict.

  38.   Law & Order Special Victims Unit (2000)
    Detectives work against the clock to solve a series of rapes before the statute of limitations runs out on them. They believe the crimes were committed by a serial rapist. Finally it is discovered that one of the victims - a Quaker - knows who her attacker was but refuses to reveal his name as a matter of conscience. The detectives break into a Quaker Meeting while Friends worship and confiscate their contact list. All is made clear in the end.

  39.   The Inner Light (2001?)
    This story is set in a Quaker private school where a young man has been sent by his parents in hopes he will absorb a more peaceful non-violent attitude. But he meets a pretty girl, who convinces him to join a fringe group bent on revolutionizing Quaker society. Not in wide release, this independent film may be in the horror or slasher genre, if Brian McKeaney's (the writer) previous credits working on Dean Koontz films are any indication.

  40.   The Baroness and the Pig(2002)
    Directed by Michael Mackenzie, a wealthy Philadelphia woman (some press clips identify her as Quaker) played by Patricia Clarkson, falls in love with and marries a French baron in 1887. They hope to start a fashioanble salon showcasing the newest innovations in arts and letters. A young girl raised in the wild is taken in by the couple which turns their lives upside down.

  41.   Ironed Jawed Angels (2004)
    This is the fictionalized story of Quaker suffragette and human rights activist Alice Paul. It focuses on the her life and nonviolent protests just before passage of the 19th ammendment. Produced by HBO for teens & young adults, it stars Hilary Swank, with Anjelica Huston, Frances O'Connor, Patrick Dempsey, and Julia Ormond.

  42.   Amazing Grace (2007)
    This film is based on the true life story of William Wilberforce, a leader of the British abolition movement along with many Quakers. It tells the story of his spiritual transformation and his epic struggle to pass a law to end the slave trade in the late 18th century.

  43.   Einstein and Eddington (2008 - Docudrama) Story of the friendship between Albert Einstein's and British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington, the first physicist to prove Eintstiens theories expermentally. Eddington's loyalty to his country is challenged when he refuses to fight because he is a Quaker and a pacifist.