Steve McQueen: American Icon is a documentary about the life, career, and faith of the square-jawed movie star who captivated audiences with his performances in Bullitt, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and others. But until now, audiences might never have heard of his conversion to Christianity, and the way his perspective on the world changed.
The passion project of Harvest Christian Fellowship pastor Greg Laurie, the film is directed by Jon Erwin, sharing topics explored in Laurie’s book co-written with McQueen historian Marshall Terrill called Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon. Beginning with his upbringing as an abused, troubled boy with no parental oversight, and continuing through his rise to fame, the film shows this successful star later humbled himself before God.
While the film is interspersed with footage of McQueen and shots from his films, the bulk of the documentary is interviews with people who knew McQueen or spent time studying him. McQueen’s wife, the son of his flight instructor who led him to faith, Mel Gibson – these are the kinds of people that Laurie and director Jon Erwin (Woodlawn) pursued to share McQueen’s story.
One of the things that is abundantly clear in the stories McQueen’s friends shared, and identified by his biographer Marshall Terrill, is that McQueen came to realize he was missing something. Whether it was his broken family upbringing or his awareness that his success was fleeting, something clicked for McQueen after passing moments of faith.
In the documentary, audiences will see how the actor found faith, how it changed his life, and how it impacted those around him. It’s an entertaining look behind the current of Hollywood’s fame and fortune, and a vision of a man that several generations believe they know well – but in a way they’ve never expected.
It’s a stunning, moving documentary full of feeling and inspiration, a reminder that just because we think we know our stars, our icons, we’re only scratching the surface. Sometimes, what lies beneath is significantly deeper, like in the case of Steve McQueen.