Salvation Army Symbols and References in Film and Music

by John McAlister
Categories: Blog
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For decades, Salvation Army traditional sounds such as brass bands, carollers and bell-ringers have had several references made to them by popular culture. Today these familiar Salvation Army symbols of Christmas continue to raise awareness and funds for the ongoing work of the Army.

In Film

  • A Christmas Story (1983) The Salvation Army’s Northeast Ohio Youth Band appears playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in a Christmas parade.
  • Batman Begins (2005) – Mention of The Salvation Army.
  • Bernard And The Genie (1992) A Salvation Army band is carolling in a shopping precinct. The band comprises genuine members of Croydon Citadel, South London, England.
  • Christmas on Division Street (1991) This features a Salvation Army band carolling.
  • Entrapment (1999) A Salvation Army band plays Christmas carols outside a building in London.
  • Expired (2006) A Salvation Army band is being led by producer/performer Anthony Begonia.
  • The Grinch (2000) The band seen at the beginning is a Salvation Army band.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Shows a glimpse of The Salvation Army.
  • Kettles (2001) A reality show made by Salvation Army members that shows a behind-the-scenes encounter of the age old tradition of bell-ringing.
  • Life (1999) – Mention of Salvation Army bell-ringers.
  • Maid in Manhattan (2002) There is a Salvation Army bell-ringer on a street corner.
  • The Merry Mishaps of Mr Bean (1992) Mr. Bean conducts a Salvation Army band that is carolling.
  • Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas (1980) Salvation Army Christmas carollers are invited into Mr. Kreugher’s house and given hot chocolate to drink.
  • The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) – Bob Hope creates a scam of bell-ringers to raise money for a gambling bet gone wrong. The song “Silver Bells” (inspired by the imagery of Salvation Army bell-ringers) is introduced to the world.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Includes a clip of a Salvation Army band carolling at Christmas.
  • The Other Sister (1999) A Salvation Army band plays Christmas carols at the Los Angeles Union Station. International Salvation Army Euphonium legend Christ Mallet can be seen.
  • Pandora’s Box (1929) A silent film set in London features a Salvation Army band on the march.
  • Seabiscuit (2003) Salvation Army members from a Southern California brass ensemble play “Joy in The Salvation Army” at the train station after one of the races with Seabiscuit. They are also mention in the credits as “Salvation Army Band.”
  • Three Days of the Condor (1975) The Salvation Army band is carolling in the closing scene.
  • Wait Until Spring Time, Bandini (1989) In this Faye Dunaway movie, a Salvation Army singer is featured.
  • Whistle Down the Wind (1961) A band made up of Salvation Army officers/pastors from the U.S. North West Division is featured in the opening sequence.

In Music

  • American composer, Charles Ives, wrote a piece for piano and voice titled “General William Booth Enters Into Heaven”. William Booth was the founder of The Salvation Army and Ives grew up in Connecticut, a neighbour of Booth’s granddaughter.
  • The Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever” was inspired from The Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field children’s home in Liverpool, England. Strawberry Field closed in 2005 as a social centre and is now a prayer and mission centre.
  • Contemporary Christian band Geoff Moore and The Distance wrote a song, “Heart To God, Hand To Man” as a tribute to the Salvation Army. The song was part of the album Evolution, released in 1993.
  • Christian singer Rich Mullins references the Salvation Army in his song “Hold Me Jesus”.

Did we miss any? Let us know!