A study of a selection of American disaster movies from the past decades reveals the presence of a certain kind of martyr character. These martyrs do not die for their religious or ideological faith but rather in order to save loved ones, sometimes the entire planet. These movie martyrs differ to a great extent from classical Christian martyrs as portrayed in medieval legends. The modern movie martyrs are usually old, and often social outcasts in different ways. Often they have failed as parents, are alcoholics or criminals. Their death is their way of redeeming themselves.
"Age before Beauty: A Comparative Study of Martyrs in American Disaster Movies and Their Medieval Predecessors,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 11
, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol11/iss1/1