"No Greater Love"
What You Need To Know:
END OF THE SPEAR is a powerful, dramatic retelling of the story of five missionaries and their wives who made contact with the vicious Waodani tribe in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. One missionary, Nate Saint, flies over the jungle day after day to find these fierce people, as they are known. Nate drops gifts down in a bucket to the tribe. Eventually, he lands his small plane with four friends on a sandbar in the river. After initial contact, all of the missionaries are brutally killed by the tribe. In an act of true courage, the wives of the missionaries decide to go into the jungle to bring the Gospel to the tribe that slaughtered their husbands. Most of the movie is concerned with that intense drama.
Unlike other attempts to depict this redemptive story, END OF THE SPEAR is extremely powerful. The music does a wonderful job of supporting the story. The casting is very authentic, with the missionaries looking like college students in the 50s. For all of its budget constraints, END OF THE SPEAR has a great look, and the filmmakers are to be commended
(CCC, BBB, Pa, VV, N) Very strong Christian, moral and biblical worldview, some discussion of native pagan beliefs, which is superseded by missionaries bringing the story of God's Son, God is named in the native language, and the name of Jesus is not used though the Son of God is discussed; no foul language; some intense violence including men speared with blood shown, people beaten, natives battle, people hit by machetes, all of which deserves a caution for young children but is not excessive; friendly hugging and kissing, and discussions of woman being pregnant; natives in loincloths and man in boxer shorts; no alcohol; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.
END OF THE SPEAR is a powerful, dramatic retelling of the story of five famous American missionaries who made contact with the vicious Waodani tribe in the jungles of Ecuador in the mid-1950s. The small tribe has almost killed itself off with revenge killings. That is, one small group would attack another, and it was up to the survivors of the attacked group to take revenge.
One of the five missionaries, Nate Saint, flies over the jungle day after day to find these fierce people. When he finally makes contact, his little boy Steve is worried for his father. Nate flies back with gifts and drops them down to the tribe in a bucket on a rope. After several drops, the Waodani put their own gifts into the bucket.
Shortly after the killings, the wife of one of the fallen men and the sister of another go into the jungle to live with the Waodani. Two years later, their message of peace and forgiveness transforms the tribe – the homicide rate falls by 90%.
Nearly 40 years after the death of his father, Steve Saint returns to the jungle to live with his father’s killers. Steve, his wife Ginny, and their four children leave the comforts of North America for the wild unknown of the Amazon. His new life with the tribesmen answers many childhood questions about his father’s death. He now clearly understands the transformation in the lives of these once savage people.
Eventually, he lands his small plane on a sandbar in the river nicknamed “Palm Beach.” The missionaries, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian, make camp, and on January 7th, 1956, three members of the tribe venture out to meet the missionaries. The day after the initial contact, all of the missionaries are brutally speared to death by the Waodani. Headlines around the world proclaim the murders.
In an act of true courage, the wives of the missionaries decide to go into the jungle to bring the Gospel to the tribe that slaughtered their husbands. Most of the movie focuses on that drama.
Unlike some documentaries and other attempts to depict this story, END OF THE SPEAR is extremely powerful. At screenings for a select audience, people were walking out in tears. Thus, the ending of the movie will capture the heart of those who see it.
That said, this movie was done on a relatively small budget. Several of the scenes in the jungle seem slightly repetitive. More cameras would have given greater depth to the direction. However, these points are merely quibbling, because the filmmakers have truly captured the power of this classic story.
At least one young person at the screening did not know the story, which made national news in the 50s, and this youth was slightly confused about the ending. Also, although the movie talks about the Son of God and explains the story of Christ in native language, it does not use the name of Jesus.
The music does a wonderful job of supporting the story. The casting is very authentic, with the missionaries looking like college students in the 50s. For all of its budget constraints, the movie has a great look, and the filmmakers are to be commended.