Inspiring movies that will motivate you and get you thinking…
Getting all inspired and mooching on the couch don’t usually go together.
But they can.
So, if you’re wanting to chill out and get motivated at the same time, the following list includes some of the best inspirational movies around.
Some of these are deeply inspirational movies based on true stories and some are light-hearted, funny and thought-provoking life changing movies.
All are worth a watch.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
This wonderful movie is inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, a single father who is struggling to provide even the basics for himself and his young son.
His determination, love for his son, hard work ethic and strong beliefs make for one of the best inspirational movies around.
Pay it Forward (2000)
A beautiful movie about human kindness and the movement to ‘pay it forward’.
A school teacher gives his students an interesting assignment: to come up with, and implement, an idea that will change the world for the better (no easy feat).
Twelve-year-old student Trevor comes up with a simple but powerful concept to pass along a big act of kindness to 3 other people…. who will then pass it along, creating a wave of goodwill that brings hope and inspiration to all those around him.
Definitely one of the best inspirational movies that has the power to inspire others to think about small changes or actions that can create powerful and positive changes in the world.
Legally Blonde (2001)
A very light-hearted movie about the young and privileged Elle Woods, who shows determination and hard work to go after what she thinks she wants (a man!) but then learns a lot more in the process (thank goodness!).
Not inspiring in an ‘under-dog’ sort of way, the movie still has the possibility of inspiring you to look outside what you (and others) may think you are actually capable of. And that alone is inspiring.
Based on the inspiring story of Joy Mangano, the movie ‘Joy’ tells the story of a strong woman who has long become the family doormat.
The entrepreneur in her comes up with the idea of a self-wringing mop and she sees through the creation with many bumps and obstacles along the way.
The Blind Side (2009)
Another inspirational movie that was based on the true story of Michael Oher, a teen doing it rough with an extremely unstable home life and total lack of support.
Husband and wife, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy see the potential in Michael and are able to offer the support that Michael needs to fulfil his potential.
Bucket List (2007)
A refreshing and inspiring movie about two terminally ill men who become unlikely friends.
True to the title of the movie, the two men (played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicolson) seek to fulfil their ‘bucket lists’ while they still have time.
A beautiful story about 10-year-old Auggie, who was born with a craniofacial condition, resulting in significant facial disfigurement.
It’s a deeply inspiring movie to watch with the family as you can discuss the notion of kindness, friendships and acceptance as well as looking past physical beauty to see the beauty inside people.
Whilst the story is told mainly from Auggie’s point of view, it was interesting to see the point of view changing to show some of the other people in Auggie’s life. This was a great reminder about perception and also that everyone has their own struggles going on.
The Way (2011)
Played by real life father and son, Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, The Way is a story of a father who must travel to France to reclaim the body of his adult son who had embarked on an adventure along the Camino de Santiago.
Once there, the father decides to complete the trek his son had started – scattering his son’s ashes, meeting interesting travel companions and speaking to his late son along the way.
This movie initially scared the heck out of me… 80,000 children go missing each year in India? That is absolutely heartbreaking.
Despite difficult and extremely poor living conditions, Saroo is a young child who is happy and loved by his mother and siblings.
Due to a series of unfortunate happenings, Saroo becomes separated from his family and essentially lost. Unable to trace his family and home, he is placed for adoption by a loving family and moves across the world to Australia.
If you can withstand the emotionally intense start of the movie, Lion goes on to tell the inspirational true story of family and connection. A beautiful movie.
Wizard of Oz (1939)
Well, yes, it’s technically a musical fantastical movie, but there’s plenty of inspiration to draw from Dorothy and her friends along the way.
And if you haven’t watched the Wizard of Oz since you were a child, I definitely recommend watching it again as there are of course, many new lessons to be reminded of and many wonderful words of wisdom.
All of the many wonderful words of wisdom in the movie are sweet, including the importance of determination, learning, courage, kindness, facing fears, gratitude, perception and the importance of friendships.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
An oldie, but a good one.
Life is not going well for George Bailey, and he’s made the decision to end his life.
But his guardian angel has other ideas and sets out to remind George about all the good he has done with his life – things that George can no longer see about himself.
It’s definitely an inspirational movie to watch, especially a popular choice around the Christmas period.
Forrest Gump (1994)
A movie that you’re likely to have seen. But well worth another watch.
It’s funny, sad, kind and a whole load of other emotions rolled into a long but inspiring film about, well, Forrest Gump.
I watched it again recently and found even more amazing pearls than I had when I originally enjoyed it many years ago. Well worth another viewing!
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
A warm and funny inspirational movie based on the true story of Michael Edwards, aka ‘Eddie’.
Eddie was a British ski-jumper who had total, blind faith in competing in the Olympics – any which way or how, which alone is inspiring!
Facing obstacles, ridicule and lack of support, Eddie has an impressive determination to keep on at it.
There are so many inspirational movies to watch, with many more that can be added to the above list. And if you enjoy these, but don’t quite have the time for a movie, then check out these great motivational speeches, that are all under 10 minutes long.
ella rose clark
Friday 8th of January 2021
this site is awsome
Sunday 12th of July 2020
great list. inspiring indeed :) Thank you
Tuesday 10th of April 2018
Great compilation of inspiring movies Kirsten! I’ve heard of some of these, but haven’t watched very many. :) My top inspiring movies would probably include Lord of the Rings, Secretariat, Soul Surfer, and McFarland USA. Nice post!
Tuesday 10th of April 2018
I love how you included new and older movies to your list. Many I have seen, however, many I have not. I have never heard of: The Way, but it seems like a really good movie!
Tuesday 10th of April 2018
What a great list! I've seen most of these movies, but there are a few I haven't seen that I'm definitely adding to my list.