Film’s ability to combine sight with sound in the most captivating fashion has forged some of the most inspiring works of art ever to be created.
Moments of glory, triumph over struggle and adversity, and great courage abound in the vast halls of cinematic legend.
Whether you’re looking for a message of inspiration to get up and do your best work, a reminder of your beauty and worth as a human being, or courage to stand up and face your challenges, there’s a film and a scene that can motivate you to action and inspire a strength you never knew you had.
Here are some of the most motivational movie scenes of all time.
Any Given Sunday
Cuts from Al Pacino’s speech from this 1999 football epic have probably been placed into more motivational Youtube videos than any other movie scene ever. And there’s a good reason: it’s damn inspiring.
It’s often the sports epics that end up having the most inspirational or motivational scenes, purely because that’s the narrative in sports films.
To train and work hard only to falter and have to pick yourself back up. Then, in the furthest, darkest reaches of oneself to find the strength to rise up and do the impossible.
Who doesn’t love a good alien vengeance story? Whatever your opinions about the sequel, the original Independence Day was a great movie and this speech from Bill Pullman playing President Whitmore is perhaps its most iconic moment.
Lord of the Rings
A personal favorite, the Lord of the Rings doesn’t have all that many inspiring moments, but this speech from Aragon in Return of the King is a classic that helped define, in part, the greatness of a cinematic trilogy masterpiece.
Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams’ as John Keating, an English teacher at the fictional Vermont boarding school Welton Academy is one of his few serious roles but easily one of his best.
This scene where Williams speaks with the class was even later used in a primetime Apple commercial (which is pretty inspiring itself).
As a kid who grew up loving basketball, I thought Coach Carter was pretty much one of the greatest movies ever made.
Like in Dead Poets Society, teachers and coaches can be great mentors to us, and if you’re lucky enough to have a really great one, it can make a positive impact on the entire rest of your life.
Coach Carter (played by Samuel L. Jackson) is one of those coaches and this scene where he speaks with the team is one of the greatest motivational speeches ever filmed.
Everyone’s favorite childhood flick, Sandlot has comedy, suspense, horror, and it even manages to fit in a heartwarming motivational speech about following your heart from the Babe himself (or, at least, his fictional ghost).
Remember the Titans
An all-time favorite (who doesn’t love this movie?), Remember the Titans has more than just one incredibly inspiring scene.
The combination of sports and racial tension at a Virginia high school in 1971 is movie magic and made it the benchmark for a great sports film since its release.
This scene with Coach Boone (played by Denzel Washington) is probably the most motivational in the whole film.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Easily one of the most inspiring movies in recent history, The Pursuit of Happyness is one of Will Smith’s best roles.
Will Smith as Chris Gardner is like a reel of motivational scenes, but one scene in particular sticks out more than any other, the scene with this iconic line.
Don’t let others tell you what you can and what you can’t do. The scene where Will Smith gives an inspirational speech to his son is one of my favorite movie scenes ever. You want something, go get it. Period.
Continuing the motivational streak that the Rocky movies were known for (walking up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art while Eye of the Tiger plays? Nothing more motivating), Creed tells the story of Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa, with Balboa (as Stalone) having gone from the young fit boxer he was to an old weathered trainer.
This scene, which involves a conversation Balboa has with his son Robert about his lack of belief in himself, has become one of the most quoted scenes of the motivational variety in recent cinematic history.