Documentary Traces Life and Ministry of Billy Graham

By   •   March 13, 2006

Gaither Film Productions spent more than five years delving into archives and conducting interviews across the country to produce the documentary “Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador.” The documentary airs on PBS stations and other national networks April 13-18.

The film traces Mr. Graham’s life, from his birth four days before the armistice that ended World War I, to his decision to follow Christ at a Mordecai Hamm revival meeting in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., to his rise to the most prominent evangelist of the past century.

World-renowned British journalist Sir David Frost narrates the film, which is intertwined with stories from Mr. Graham’s childhood on a dairy farm in Charlotte, where he and his younger brother Melvin played Tarzan in the nearby woods. It covers his courtship with Ruth Bell, whom he was “scared to death” to ask out for a date, pictures from their wedding in Montreat, N.C., and glimpses of Mr. Graham with his family at their home in Montreat.

In addition to preaching to more than 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, Mr. Graham has been a confidant and counselor to U.S. presidents and to leaders throughout the world.

“The reason world leaders have sought his advice is precisely because he doesn’t try to tell them what they should do,” says Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State. “But he does try to show them a way of thinking about the problem that adds a new dimension to their thinking.”

The documentary features a segment with George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows discussing the ministry’s first radio broadcast from Atlanta, Ga., in 1950 and his first television broadcast from the 1957 Madison Square Garden Crusade in New York. It also covers the Civil Rights era and shows footage of Martin Luther King Jr. delivering a prayer at a Crusade. Thousands of people came forward during the invitation that night.

“I hope this documentary reminds people of the significant contributions Billy Graham made to the cause of human civil rights and to the downfall of communism around the globe,” Bill Gaither said. “But what is most remarkable is that this man and his ministry have profoundly changed millions of lives throughout the world, regardless of language or culture. God has seldom had a more effective instrument than Billy Graham in spreading His love and forgiveness and in preparing the hearts of thousands of believers around the world to reach their own people for Christ.”

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