Looking for motivational movies to watch? Look no further…
Here is a comprehensive list of movies for you to watch. Many of these, or most of these, are considered classics. All are inspiring stories that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
And here is the list:
Rudy – has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.
This ground-breaking feature length movie presentation reveals The Great Secret of the universe. It has been passed throughout the ages, traveling through centuries… to reach you.
The struggles of a world championship boxer… What more needs to be said?
Story of the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team The Pursuit Of Happiness Will Smith and his son star in this story of rags to riches
Akeelah and the Bee
A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee
Facing the Giant
In six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never led his Shiloh Eagles to a winning season. After learning that he and his wife Brooke face infertility, Grant discovers that a group of fathers are secretly organizing to have him dismissed as head coach. Devastated by his circumstances, he cries out to God in desperation. When Grant receives a message from an unexpected visitor, he searches for a stronger purpose for his football team.
Pay it Forward
Like some other kids, 12-year-old Trevor McKinney believed in the goodness of human nature. Like many other kids, he was determined to change the world for the better. Unlike most other kids, he succeeded
The Astronaut Farmer
A NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never give up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government’s threats to stop him
The Shawshank Redemption
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency
Pass It On
Since the dawn of man it has been the innate desire and responsibility to pass evolved knowledge from one generation to the next. The success, setbacks, and triumphs by all preceding societies have been in direct proportion to how well they applied this wisdom.
A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast. He meets his “Yoda”/Schaolin priest/Boss Paul who helps him “git his haid straight” after which he goes on to be comfortable with his athletic prowess albeit not exactly Olympic caliber.
Robin Williams stars as Patch Adams, in this true story of a heroic man, determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. Unfortunately, the medical and scientific community does not appreciate his methods of healing the sick, while the actual patients, medical professors, and hospital nurses all appreciate the work *he* can do, because they are unable to do it
The Great Debater
Denzel Washington directs and stars in this uplifting drama based on a true story about a small East Texas all-black college in 1935 that rises to the top of the nation’s debate teams in a duel against Harvard. A poet and debating coach at Wiley College Professor Melvin Tolson (Washington) sees debating as “a blood sport” and recruits the meanest and brightest including troubled Henry (Nate Parker) driven Samantha (Jurnee Smollet) and the 14-year-old prodigy James Farmer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker).
There’s music in the wind and sky. Can you hear it? And there’s hope. Can you feel it? The boy called August Rush can. The music mysteriously draws him penniless and alone to New York City in a quest to find? Somehow someway? the parents separated from him years earlier. And along the way he may also find the musical genius hidden within him.
A critical masterpiece, GANDHI is an intriguing story about activism, politics, religious tolerance and freedom. But at the center of it all is an extraor- dinary man who fought for a nonviolent, peaceful existence, and set an entire nation free
The Miracle Worker
he story of Anne Sullivan’s struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate
The Karate Kid
When this movie came out in 1984 it was hailed as “The Rocky” of karate movies, and was a sensation.
William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace’s father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland
The Legend of Bagger Vance
A disillusioned war veteran, Capt. Rannulph Junah (Matt Damon), reluctantly agrees to play a game of golf. He finds the game futile until his caddy, Bagger Vance (Will Smith), teaches him the secret of the authentic golf stroke which turns out also to be the secret to mastering any challenge and finding meaning in life
Through three turbulent decades, Forrest rides a tide of events that whisks him from physical disability to football stardom from Vietnam hero to shrimp tycoon from white house honors to the arms of his one true love. Forrest is an innocent at large in an America that is losing its innocence.
Nominated* for two Oscars(r) and hailed by Sports Illustrated and ESPN as one of the best sports movies of all time, this triumphant tale of a high school basketball team’s long-shot attempt to win the state championship is filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense and breathless excitement! Featuring “fast-break cinematography that catches the pace of the game.2 points
The Bucket List
You only live once, so why not go out in style? That’s what two cancerward roommates, an irascible billionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a scholarly mechanic (Morgan Freeman), decide when they get the bad news. They compose a bucket list – things to do before you kick the bucket – and head off for the around-the-world adventure of their lives. Sky dive? Check. Power a Shelby Mustang around a racetrack? Check. Gaze at the Great Pyramid of Khufu? Check.
It’s a Wonderful Life
George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all – and it’s Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all of his good deeds over the years. Will Clarence be able to convince George to return to his family and forget suicide?
Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is just one question away from winning a fortune on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But how has this uneducated young man from the slums succeeded in providing correct responses to questions that have stumped countless scholars before him? And will he ultimately win it all or lose everything, including his true love?
What does Nelson Mandela do after becoming president of South Africa? He rejects revenge, forgives oppressors who jailed him 27 years for his fight against apartheid and finds hope of national unity in an unlikely place: the rugby field
At 14 years old, Lukas is a bit too small for his age, and far too smart for his high school classmates. He’s more interested in symphonies and science fairs than food fights and football. But when Lucas finds himself falling in love with a cheerleader, who only has eyes for the school’s top jock, he grows desperate for her attention, Even if it means risking his pride and his neck at the big game
The Family Man
This is a more modern re-make of the classic “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Here we find very successful man that can have anything he wants – drives an expensive car, has all the women he wants, and can buy whatever he pleases. Then one day he finds himself waking up to a family he could have had with an old flame had he made different decisions in life. Even though he seems to struggle living this middle class life, in the end, he learns to love it. This movie just reminds us of the opportunities that exist for all of us and that we have the power to change our lives significantly depending on which opportunities we choose to follow.
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
Okay – you might be wondering what this trilogy is doing here, but if you take a look at the story, it truly is inspiring. First, take a look at some of the main characters: hobbits – who are a type of people that live in underground dwellings in close knit communities and rarely venture outside their own lands. They live a simple life and could care less of the dealing of outsiders. They are somewhat ignorant as to what lay outside their lands and most of their knowledge comes by way of rumors or extravagant stories. But here you have two hobbits who travel far and wide and encounter countless obstacles, beasts and enemies to save the entire land. With so many other powerful creatures that roam the land, how is it that these two small people, with no special skills or experience, can accomplish so much. No matter how dire their situation was, they were determined and never gave up – something we can all learn from.
If you haven’t seen this multi-academy award winning movie, I’ll give you a brief description. Based on a true story, this all-star cast (Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Broderick) delivers a truly amazing performance about the 54th Massachusetts infantry – an all volunteer, all black regiment – one of the first during the Civil
In a fight to abolish slavery, this regiment was in essence fighting for their freedom and despite the lack of equipment and experience, and despite resentment from other white regiments and the Union army, they prevailed. Eventually they fought and suffered major casualties but were proud to lead the charge at Fort Wagner – a strategic military target. Their success led to the raising of other all black regiments, which helped the Union eventually win the Civil War. It was truly an inspiring movie about those who were willing to fight to the death in something they believed in.
Saving Private Ryan
Amidst all the horror of World War II, we find a small band of men whose sole purpose is to find one man (Private Ryan) deep in enemy territory to tell him he can go home (because 3 of his brothers were killed in action). Eventually, most of these men will lose their lives just to save this one person. At the time, Private Ryan refuses to go back and seems somewhat ungrateful for what this small group of men had to go through. It is only when Private Ryan is old and gray does he realize what that small group of men did for him and as we see Private Ryan with his family and grandchildren do we really see what their sacrifice meant.
American History X
Edward Norton has a superb Tough Guy Physique in this flick, and walks a role of former neo-nazi leader becoming enlightened and trying to prevent his younger brother from following the same path.
Enter the Dragon
It’s Bruce Lee’s finest work in film. Nuff said!
This is a film about a character who is slowly discovering his gifts, and realizing that he has a much greater purpose to play in service to others. The bench press scene is priceless!
They were the ultimate hard-asses. With a fight or die attitude that saw them become one of the most respected armies of history, 300 focuses on the Spartan Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans (with some help from other Greek states), showed up and gave the Persians a run for their money. This movie captures the ‘Never give up attitude’ with a solid masculine grunt to back it up. Gerard Butler makes an excellent Leonidas, both physically and characteristically, creating an unforgettable story. The entire cast had to undergo an extensive and rigorous training regimen (If you have the DVD or Bluray – check out the video on ‘Spartan Training’ under special features). A must watch to make you want to get in the gym!
The Last Samurai
If you can get past the notion that it’s Tom Cruise playing the lead role, this is a pretty decent film and quite inspiring. The idea of discipline is hammered home all-throughout, discipline like most people may never experience in their lifetime. I think Tom did a decent job in this one.
V for Vendetta
You probably haven’t heard of this one, but it’s one of the few that as lead character V says to Evey, “gets me every time.” V is on a lifelong mission to embody an idea of freedom and justice, whilst getting revenge, even if it means denying his fleshly desires and meeting his maker just before his death. This one strikes at the heart of making the hard, right choices, even if it means sacrifice and fighting against overwhelming odds.
Hidden behind aggressive male machismo and immaturity are some important themes that can only understood in the context of the film if experienced with an open mind. Tyler Durden asks us, “How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” You’ll either love it or hate it.
The story of the young Cassius Marcellus Clay as he becomes Muhammad Ali and the World Heavyweight Boxing Champ, only to have his life turn around as he’s faced with the stripping of his title after refusing the Vietnam War military draft, showing sheer determination to work his way out the situation and back to the top, showing why he is ‘The Greatest’. Will Smith underwent a long training regime of boxing and weightlifting to sell the Ali physique. An awes-inspiring movie about one of the greatest athletes of our time, with excellent boxing sequences that thrill any Ali fan.
The movie about the man (and many others) who changed body building and fitness forever. Pumping Iron is a ‘Docudrama’ filmed during what some call the ‘Golden Age of Bodybuilding’. The movie starts off introducing Arnold Schwarzenegger (a.k.a.’ The Austrian Oak’) & Franco Columbu, introducing the world of Bodybuilding, the lifestyle, competition and quite interesting, the ‘Mind games’ that went on at these competitions, particularly by Arnie. An interesting look at Arnold before he was massively famous as the Terminator and an A List celebrity, with a look at some of History’s most famous Bodybuilders. No question, you will feel the need to ‘Pump it up’ after this one.
Dragon: the Bruce Lee Story
Based on the true story of the legendary Bruce Lee, this movie focuses on the achievements of his life, and the massive obstacles he overcame to get there. This movie is very inspiring to anyone interested in fitness or Martial Arts in general, as it has an emphasis on both the physical and mental challenges of becoming all you can be, with an added layer of overcoming racial barriers of being a Chinese in a predominantly Caucasian environment, where acceptance is very minimal. Jason Scott Lee is an excellent Bruce Lee, capturing the spirit and philosophy of Bruce Lee, with the same physical edge that creates exciting fight sequences anyone can enjoy.
This stirring depiction of the battle that turned the tide of the American Civil War has numerous leadership lessons. On the Confederate side it highlights General Longstreet’s efforts to speak truth to power and try to convince General Robert E. Lee that it was foolhardy to attack the Union’s fortified hilltop positions, while General Lee’s hubris over his past successes against long odds made him think the Confederate Army was nearly invincible. On the Union side, it showcases the leadership of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, including how he earned the loyalty and respect of his troops and then lead them brilliantly during the defense of Little Round Top. Chamberlain and Gen. Buford (who used his own initiative to delay the Confederate troops until the Union could occupy the high ground) are both sterling examples of how empowered mid-level leaders can make all the difference between success and disaster.
We Were Soldiers
Inspiring story of Col. Harold “Hal” Moore, commander of the first unit in Vietnam to make heavy use of helicopters for transportation and air support. Moore and his battalion were ordered into what turned out to be a Viet Cong trap. Moore had built a superb team and led by example, promising to be the first to set foot on the battlefield and the last to step off. Shows many terrific examples of how leaders build the trust and loyalty of their followers.
Inspiring story of how William Wilberforce (1759-1833), as a Member of Parliament, struggled for over 20 years to build support for the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire. He did so at the expense of his health and political fortunes. Wilberforce demonstrated incredible integrity and persistence, and his ultimate success demonstrates how a small group of determined people with a clarity of vision can truly change the world.
Inspiring story of Clement Mathieu, a musician who becomes a teacher at a boys’ school run by a strict disciplinarian. Mathieu displays a knack for developing trust with the boys and reaches many of them through music. Includes some great examples of mentoring, leading up, and protecting those below. The music is great too (the soundtrack sold over a million copies in France).
In 1914, explorer Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica in hopes of becoming the first to cross the southern continent. When their ship, the Endurance, became stuck in–and then crushed by– the ice, the crew was left stranded on an ice floe. Thanks to Shackleton’s leadership, not a single crew member was lost. Based on the journals of the crew, this mini-series by A&E is a gripping portrayal of the crew’s 27-month struggle for survival.
Twelve O’Clock High
In World War II England, Brigadier General Frank Savage takes over a troubled bomber group after its commander has a breakdown. Determined to keep his distance while re-establishing a sense of pride and discipline in the group, Savage helps improve the bomber group’s performance dramatically. Includes many great insights about leadership transitions, bureaucracy, and the stresses of command.
Stand and Deliver
When Jaime Escalante became a math teacher at Garfield High School in east Los Angeles, he challenged his underachieving students to take Calculus–and try to pass the AP Calculus test. Accused by his colleagues of setting up his students for failure, Escalante worked long hours with his class and inspired them to apply themselves. A terrific story about the power of high expectations and inspiring goals.
Star Wars IV: A New Hope
Bottom Line: do you feel good when this movie is over? Never better, right? It’s a combination of a truly inspirational theme song, a likable bunch of heroes (Han Solo being the MOST likeable, of course), overcoming obstacles like Darth Vader and a whole Galactic Empire, and did we mention the inspirational music? Bonus points for the triumphant whinny of Chewbacca upon receipt of his medal. Pretty darn inspirational.
My Left Foot
My Left Foot actually ranked on par with Good Will Hunting, scoring higher in the Overcoming Obstacles category, but lower in the Hero Likability category. We don’t remember any particularly inspirational tunes, and the main character wasn’t particularly selfless. We can’t deny the awesomeness that 1) this is based on a true story and 2) the guy learned to paint and write with ONLY his left foot, so this ranks higher on the list than Damon and Affleck’s Opus. Do we feel good when it’s over? Sure. We’re not
Life Is Beautiful
It’s the story of a funny and carefree Jewish man who uses his comic
talent to protect his son from the realities of Nazi occupation
About an unemployed single mother who becomes a legal assistant and almost on her own brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.
A young boy decides to become a ballet dancer and he gets some resistance from his family. He faces many trials as well triumphs as he perseveres to change his family’s narrow minded set ways, inner conflict, and standing on his own feet
About a selfish man who finds out his father left his millions of dollars to an older brother he didn’t even know existed
True life story of Ray Charles and his amazing story of overcoming the impossible
The Diary Of Anne Frank
An inspiring story based on the life of Anne Frank who hides from the Nazi during the invasion.
A pig that is raised by sheep dogs learns how to herd sheep. Gotta love pigs!
Based on the true story of the business man Oscar Schindler who saves thousands of Jews from the Nazi machine during World
(What’s with all these Holocaust films??)
Based on Charles Dickens movie about a young orphan boy and the troubles he finds as he tries to survive in a harsh world
The Jesse Owens Story
The true story about Jesse Owens the African American athlete who proved Hitler wrong about the Aryan physical superiority