A great film strikes through to the heart of what it means to be human, inspiring the mind and moving the spirit.
Underdog stories, tales of incredible transformation, overcoming immense hardship, and the journey of an average person to heroism.
Such tales stay with us forever and inspire in us something that we never knew was there.
Whether you’re looking to be motivated, want to discover a new dimension of humanity, or are looking to be woke the hell up, read on. These are some of the most inspirational movies of all time.
Check out our roundup of the 16 Most Inspirational Movies on Netflix for more movies to watch.
1. Remember the Titans
Nurse: Only kin’s allowed in here.
Bertier: Alice, are you blind? Don’t you see the family resemblance? That’s my brother.
Growing up, Remember the Titans was one of my absolute favorite movies– and not just because the girl I liked loved it too (but that sure helped).
Titans is a movie about winning, perseverance, racism, and unity. It’s about seeing beyond the color of someone’s skin to what lies at the heart, who we truly are. It’s about worlds literally colliding and something absolutely incredible coming forth from it.
If you love sports films, movies with historical relevance, or Denzel Washington and somehow haven’t seen this classic, do yourself a favor and go watch it– now.
Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.
Ali is the story of the one and only boxing great Muhammad Ali played by Will Smith. Will Smith was made for this role and gets to flex his rhyme skills as Ali was known for having some serious skills himself.
But what this story is really about is being a fighter and overcoming all obstacles, a lesson the film displays masterfully. As you’ll see in the film, Ali battles much more than just his in-ring opponents, but the forces of racism and oppression as well.
If you love boxing, historical relevance, Will Smith, or stories of overcoming adversity than you won’t be disappointed.
I want to change their minds, not kill them for weaknesses we all possess.
I first watched Gandhi in high school. Truth be told, before watching the film I knew very little about Gandhi and his mission.
The truth is, most of us are in the exact same boat. Many still are. That is, you’ve probably heard the name Gandhi and seen a few of his quotes about a million times plastered all over the Internet, but do you really know what he did?
Do you know the incredible story of the person who would go on to inspire Martin Luther King Jr. in his own pursuit of equality years later? If you don’t, you owe it to yourself and the rest of the world to make this the next film you watch– no excuses.
…it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
The classic American story of grit and heart, Rocky was the film that shot Sylvester Stallone to stardom, Stallone having to sell his dog for money to buy food just weeks before a studio finally purchased his script for big dineros (don’t worry, he bought the dog back).
If you have a heartbeat, or you just love motivational YouTube videos, you’ve probably already heard a third of the dialogue from Rocky I (slight exaggeration), but you’d be remiss to miss this classic.
5. Forrest Gump
I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happenin’ at the same time.
“Run, Forrest! Run!” Owing to itself possibly the single most well-known line in cinematic history, Forrest Gump is the kind of film that everyone needs to watch.
First, its historical relevance is incredible. For someone who was born in the mid-80s, Forrest Gump was always, for me, an incredible journey through several decades of American history which I wasn’t familiar with; and it illuminated it in a kind of up-close way that history books could never do.
Second, more than just a basic story of triumph over adversity or realizing success, Forrest Gump just feels like…well, life. It’s not all good, or all bad, it’s everything and all kinds of different things all at once. It’s one of the only movies I’ve ever seen that somewhat correctly portrays what it’s like to live– a complicated mess where we, hopefully…eventually, come to a place where we figure it all out. At least enough to be happy.
If you somehow haven’t seen Forrest Gump yet, well, you might need to check your pulse. Otherwise, watch it and enjoy. Say hi to Lieutenant Dan for me.
6. Blind Side
Michael Oher: It’s nice, I never had one before.
Leigh Anne Touhy: What, a room to yourself?
Michael Oher: A bed.
A story about kindness and seeing beyond race, Blind Side follows the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless black teen with a rough childhood, as he’s taken in by Leigh, her husband Sean, and rest of the Tuohy family.
What makes Blind Side memorable is the incredible mix of heartwarming moments and hilarious interruptions from an otherwise tense and challenging journey to grace. I can’t really think of another movie I’ve ever had such an amazing mixture of emotions.
More than just a single person’s pursuit of excellence or triumph over adversity, Blind Side is about what happens when we reach out to another person with kindness and compassion and how that can bring people together.
If you love heartwarming comedies or Sandra Bullock, you can’t go wrong with this one.
You may not look like a winning team but you are one.
Moneyball is unique in that it’s a sports movie but one in which the story is deeply embedded in the inner workings of the sport itself. It’s smart, has tons of depth, and a killer cast.
However, what really gives the movie depth is Billy Beane’s (played by Brad Pitt) relationship with his family and, most specifically, his clever daughter Casey (played by Kerris Dorsey).
In the end, it’s a movie about a man who sets out to do something amazing– and, for all intents and purposes, does it– and realizes what is most important in the process.
If you like smart movies with lots of math, baseball, or Brad Pitt, this is a sure-fire winner.
Paul Child: What is it that you *really* like to do?
Julia Child: Eat!
Julie is a writer who, for the time being, works at a call center. Julia is a chef who really just loves to eat. Together they create an incredible pairing told in a unique story format that allows for simultaneous stories of self-realization and success across time and space (and no, this isn’t an epic sci-fi film).
Julie and Julia is a story about finding your passion and following your heart and it teaches these lessons in a way that is endearing and highly entertaining.
If you love stories of heart, finding your passion, Meryl Streep, or food you’ll love Julie and Julia.
9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Life is about courage and going into the unknown.
For those who haven’t seen the film, this might seem like an odd one. It doesn’t occupy any “great American classics” list and it didn’t even make much noise when it was first released in 2013, but it’s a personal favorite for several reasons.
Walter Mitty is a story we can all relate to. It’s about someone who has ended up living the life he was never meant to live (in a way) and sets out to find himself– who he is and what he’s meant to do– by taking an incredible journey around the world, realizing several important lessons along the way before he arrives back where it all started.
If you feel a bit lost, love epic inner journeys where one must find themselves, and enjoy Ben Stiller (he’s awesome in this) then you’ll love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.