Billy: The Early Years

Theatrical Release: September 10, 2008
DVD Release: July 1, 2010
Billy: The Early Years


You already know who he is–Now find out how he got there.

Most of us know Billy Graham as the self-assured and charismatic preacher who became one of the most important figures of 20th century Christianity. Now, with the release of BILLY: THE EARLY YEARS, we can meet Billy as the earnest and promising young man at the crossroads of faith and doubt, ultimately facing the moment of decision that launched one of history’s most powerful evangelistic careers.

Perhaps most compellingly, BILLY: THE EARLY YEARS paints its portrait of Graham against the backdrop of his relationship with Charles Templeton, another gifted young preacher whose faith would not withstand the onslaught of modern scientific skepticism. He and Graham parted ways and in the film, Templeton comes to personify the rising tide of disbelief into which Graham launched his crusades.

Filmed in Tennessee, BILLY: THE EARLY YEARS captures the feel of the Depression-era tent revival where Graham heeded the altar call, and follows him through the doubt and resolution of the next decade. The film was directed by veteran TV actor/director Robby Benson–the voice of The Beast in DIsney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The movie’s power lays in its honest portrayal of Billy’s struggle with the ideas represented in Templeton’s eventual unbelief and shows how Billy’s faith, so compellingly portrayed in the film, goes on to help change the face of modern evangelism.

Dove Review

This is a wonderful biography of Billy Graham’s early years when he is converted and attends Bible College and begins his ministry. Billy (Arnie Hammer) is played as a likable young man who is a bit green but committed in his walk with Jesus. He has some funny moments, and his awkwardness came to the edge in a few scenes of being a bit much, but there is plenty of drama in this powerful story.

Billy’s talented colleague, Charles Templeton, begins to question his own faith over the issue of suffering in the world. He challenges Billy to ask questions and to examine what he believes. Billy’s faith is solid however, and is helped along by young Ruth Bell, whom Billy takes a liking to.

This film is strengthened by some talented actors including Lindsay Wagner as Billy’s mother, and Martin Landau as an older Charles Templeton. Landau is captivating in his role. This film is well worth watching and will make you thankful for the life of Billy Graham. We gladly award it our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.

Content Description

Sex: Kissing by a couple.
Language: OG-1
Violence: A few graphic images of the holocaust with corpses seen on a film screen; partial nude corpses seen but no frontal nudity revealed; brief image of black man hanging; starving and bony children seen; a wounded girl is seen in the hospital with blood on her shoulder.
Drugs: None
Nudity: A shirtless man.
Other: A character loses his faith and tries to convince Billy Graham that the suffering in the world means there is no God but Billy doesn't agree.


Company: Landis Entertainment
Director: Robby Benson
Producer: Larry Mortoff
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 97 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter