A Great Film Can Change Your World View
I love movies. I love going to the cinema and watching films at home. I’m always looking for an emotional journey and I’m happy to cry in public. But, I’ve often been disappointed by movies, which may offer a little entertainment value and often feel like a complete waste of time. However, there are a handful that really make you think about yourself, your life and the path you are currently experiencing. These are the movies that may be powerful enough to change the way you think about the world, your perceptions of it, and make you want to take control of your life with a fire that’s burning bright in your belly.
Whether it’s a temporary feeling or a life-changing vision, movies that have the power to move us in this a way should be an inspiration. We have all encountered films like these and I felt it would be a great tool to have a list of feel good movies, motivational and inspirational films, often based on true stories that could make our spare time and weekends that little bit better. Sometimes we just need to be inspired to live life more fully. These movies may give you some ideas, or even the courage, to do just that.
So here’s a list of some of my favourite, powerful, inspiration films in no particular order. I’ve added links to IMDB (internet movie data base) so that you can read more, see the cast and watch a trailer. Get the tissues ready!
Documentary/Drama (2004); Marlee Matlin, Elaine Hendrix
An insightful quantum journey. As Amanda, begins to question her life, career and relationships, the layers to her everyday experiences fall away. The audience benefits from insertions with scientists, philosophers and religious leaders, which impart information to an off-screen interviewer. Slowly, Amanda begins to understand the basis of the quantum world beneath. During her epiphany, as she considers the “big questions” raised by the inserted thinkers, Amanda begins to see the world in a new way.
Comedy/ Drama (2017); Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston
A Hollywood remake of the French film (2011) “Intouchables” and loosely based on a true story. It’s a comedic look at the relationship between a billionaire with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record. Philip feels that life is not worth living, whilst Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his family, is supposed to help Philip with his day-to-day routine. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy employer that life is worth living.
Drama/Romance (2000); Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment
Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother’s alcoholism, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new Social Studies teacher. The assignment: “Think of something to change the world and put it into action.” Trevor comes up with the idea of paying a favour not back, but forward – repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor’s efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution to the lives of himself, his mother and an ever-increasing circle of people.
Documentary (2006); Rhonda Byrne, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield
This documentary reveals The Secret of the universe, which has been passed down throughout the ages. This is The Secret to everything – to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted. All the resources you will ever need to understand and live The Secret. The world’s leading scientists, authors, and philosophers reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of every person who ever knew it: Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare and Einstein.
Biog-Drama (2000); Julia Roberts
An Oscar winning movie based on a true story. Erin Brockovich is an unemployed single mum, desperate to find a job, but having no luck. This losing streak extends to a failed lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident. With no alternative, she talks her lawyer into giving her a job. While no one takes her seriously, with her trashy clothes and manners, that soon changes when she investigates a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. An amazing movie that proves determination is a huge part of success.
Drama (1995); Richard Dreyfus
Oscar winning movie. Glenn Holland is a musician and composer who takes a teaching job to pay the rent while, in his ‘spare time’, he can strive to achieve his true goal – compose one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world. As Mr. Holland discovers ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’ and as the years unfold, the joy of sharing his contagious passion for music with his students becomes his new definition of success. The film is infectious and certainly inspirational.
Comedy/Romance (2008); Jim Carrey
Carl Allen’s life has come to a standstill. He has no future, until the day a friend convinces him to enroll in a personal development program based on a very simple idea… say yes to everything! Carl discovers with amazement the magical power of “Yes”, and sees his professional and romantic life turned upside down overnight: with a promotion and a new girlfriend. He soon discovers that not all opportunities should be taken. This movie is hilarious and really pokes fun at the whole self help industry. Need a laugh? This is the one!
Documentary (2016); Tony Robbins
Watch behind-the-scenes footage for the mammoth seminar “Date With Destiny,” attended by over 2,500 people in Florida. Get an inside view of how one man can affect millions. The film captures Tony Robbins’ powerful and uncompromising approach to achieving success, ensuring the attendees leave with a new perspective on the forces, thoughts and feelings that motivate their behavior and help them take control of their lives. It unveils the inner-workings of this mega event, the participants and Tony Robbins himself.
Happiness can be found even in the darkest of time, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.
Success isn’t overnight. It’s when everyday you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.
Robert De Niro
It’s important not to indicate. People don’t try to show their feeling, they try to hide them.
Documentary (2006); Will Arntz, Betsy Chasse, Mark Vicente
This documentary-style video takes the ideas introduced in the first “What the Bleep” movie, and plunges the viewer deep into scientific findings that say reality is fluid and that we are an integral part of everything – it’s the next evolution! The documentary has plenty of interviews with scientists and authors, animated bits, and uses a storyline to illustrate the link between quantum mechanics, neurobiology, human consciousness and day-to-day reality. Get ready to go down the rabbit hole!
Comedy/Drama (1989); Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson
Successful businessman, John, has to take care of his father after his mother has fallen victim to a heart attack. Although they’ve become estranged to each other, they finally succeed in coming together again, and even John’s son gets involved. As John, his father and his son slowly bond, and even his mother returns from the hospital, everything starts seeming right with the world – until dad goes to have a minor surgery only to come out of it demented and a shadow of his former self. Get the tissues ready for tragic comedy.
Adventure/Comedy (2007); Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman
Corprate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to make a list of all the things they have dreamed of doing in life, but never dared to, and then plan to do them all before they “kick the bucket”. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life. Anyone watching this film will relate to it’s message, expect tears of joy and laughter.
Biographic/Comedy (1993); Sean Astin, Jon Favreau
Based on the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, who grows up in a Catholic, working class family that loves Notre Dame football. He does not have the grades, the size or the talent to get into his beloved school so he follows his brothers and father into work at the steel plant. After his 22nd birthday his best friend Pete, who always believed in him, dies in an accident. Rudy then realises that it is now or never to follow his life-long dream to play for his dream team. Despite fear of failure he leaves to pursue his seemingly impossible goal.
Drama/Romance (2008); Dev Patel, Freida Pinto
This is the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. He becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers. At the heart of this films story, lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love. It’ll make you laugh and cry.
Comedy/Drama/romance (1996); Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger
Jerry is a successful sports agent who seems to have it all. Until one night he questions his purpose and records all of his thoughts in a mission statement. Unfortunately his superiors disagree with his ideas and he’s stripped of his high earning clients. Jerry steps out into the sports business with only one client and his fianceé, to face the impossible task of rebuilding what he once had. Along the way, he learns the harsh truth, which he’d ignored in the past, and a host of hardships that he’d never faced before.
Drama (1985); Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg
The film is adapted from a book by Alice Walker. It is about Celie a young black woman, who is abused by her step-father and becomes pregnant by him, promptly selling the baby. Celie is later married-off to a man that considers her to be worthless and soon her abuse occurs again. She has become a slave to her husband. There is some joy when her sister Nettie visits but is soon forced out by Celie’s husband. The film is beautifully made and very touching. It is considered by many to be a timeless classic, powerful and moving.
Historical Drama (2004); Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte
Don Cheadle gives a riveting performance as the manager of a European-owned hotel in Rwanda, who created a secret refugee camp for the Tutsi people during the brutal genocide committed against them by the Hutu people in 1994. In an era of high-speed communication and round-the-clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. His efforts helped to save 1,200 lives out of close to a million who were killed. Hotel Rwanda shows this man’s incredible courage.
William "Braveheart" Wallace
Every man dies, but not every man lives.
Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.
Alex "Hitch" Hitchens
Life is not the amount of breaths you take. It’s the moments that take your breath away.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Biographical Comedy (1998); Robin Williams
Hunter Adams was a troubled man who voluntarily committed himself into a mental institution. Once there, he finds that helping his fellow inmates gives him a purpose in life. Inspired, he leaves the asylum to become a doctor and help people professionally. However, what he finds at medical school is a sickeningly philosophy that advocates an arms-length attitude to the patients. Adams is determined to find a better way to help them, although the consequences of his defiance of the authorities are severe.
Biographical Drama (2002); Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox
A brilliant pianist, a Polish Jew, witnesses the restrictions Nazis place on Jews in the Polish capital, from restricted access to the building of the Warsaw ghetto. As his family is rounded up to be shipped off to the Nazi labour camps, he escapes deportation and eludes capture by living in the ruins of Warsaw. His gift for music saves his life and the final scene with a German soldier is one of the most emotionally galvanizing scenes you’ll find on the big screen. A moving and heart-wrenching movie.
Sport/Comedy/Romance (1996); Kevin Costner, Rene Russo
Roy McAvoy is a failed pro-golfer who lives in a Winnebago at a shoddy driving range which he owns, in Texas. One day, a beautiful woman, Dr. Molly Griswold, appears at his driving range asking for golf lessons. She turns out to be the new girlfriend of McAvoy’s longtime nemesis, the overly confident PGA superstar David Simms. Molly inspires Roy to start taking himself seriously again, and he decides to try to qualify for the US Open. I’m not a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I loved this rom-com.
Comedy/Drama (2008); Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston
Newspaper writers John and Jennifer Grogan move to Florida after getting married. In an attempt to stall Jennifer’s “biological clock”, John buys her a puppy. As the puppy Marley grows into a 100 pound dog, he loses none of his puppy energy and gains no self-discipline. Marley’s antics give John rich material for his newspaper column. As the Grogans mature and have children of their own, Marley continues to test everyone’s patience by acting like the world’s most impulsive dog. A film for the whole family.
Comedy/Romance (1989); Pauline Collins, Tom Conti
Shirley is a middle aged housewife, taken for granted by her husband Joe and spending her days cooking, cleaning and quite literally talking to the kitchen wall. She longs for some adventure and thinks back to her days as a carefree and rebellious teenager. Her chance for adventure comes up when her friend Jane asks her to accompany her to an all expenses paid holiday to Greece where she meets Lothario Costas, who makes her feel young again. When it’s time to return home, Shirley must make a decision.
Drama/Thriller (1991); Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis
Louise is working in a diner as a waitress and has some problems with her boyfriend Jimmy, who, as a musician, is always on the road. Thelma is married to Darryl who likes his wife to stay quiet in the kitchen so that he can watch football on TV. One day they decide to break out of their normal life and jump in the car and hit the road. Their journey, however, turns into a flight when Louise kills a man who threatens to rape Thelma. They decide to go to Mexico, but soon they are hunted by American police. Oscar winner for best screenplay.
Biography/Drama (2005); Samuel L. Jackson, Rick Gonzalez
Ken Carter accepts the job of basketball coach for his old high school. As much dismayed by the poor attitudes of his players as well as their dismal play performance, he sets about to change both. He imposes a strict regime and demands respectful behavior, a dress code and good grades for players. Any initial resistance is soon dispelled as the team under Carter’s tutelage becomes a undefeated competitor. When the overconfident team’s behavior begins to stray, Carter takes immediate action.
Romantic Comedy (2009); Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston
Burke is a motivational speaker whose book about dealing with grief is a best seller. His wife died in a car accident three earlier. He’s in Seattle to lead a week-long workshop on healing. He’s a closet drinker, he won’t ride elevators, his moods swing and he’s very much alone. In a hotel hallway, he bumps into a woman arranging flowers, tries to chat with her, and gets the brush-off. She’s Eloise, a local florist who’s just broken up with a boyfriend. They eventually go to dinner – it goes badly. Can the physician heal himself?
Romantic Comedy (2009); John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph
A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Phoenix, Tucson, Madison, Montreal, and Miami are all marked for a trial period as the two try to figure out who and what they would like to raise their family around. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover “home” on their own terms for the first time. A wonderful movie by Sam Mendes.
Comedy/Drama (1996); John Travolta, Andie MacDowell
This is a warm and winning comedy-fantasy with a great performance from John Travolta. He gives one of his breeziest and most likable performances as Michael, an archangel whose quiet existence at the home of a lonely innkeeper, named Pansy, is disrupted when she reports his presence in her home to a newspaper. The editor sends reporters to the motel to check it out, but they have a hard time accepting they’ve met an angel, especially when you see what fun he gets up to. A life affirming movie and Travolta is a hoot!.
Drama/Sport (2004); Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson
“Miracle” follows the true-life story of Coach Herb Brooks and his team in there goal of winning the 1980 Olympic games in hockey. Standing against them is the seemingly invincible Russian squad who the team must overcome. The film follows the team from training, to the cut lists, and right to the Olympics. The scenes on the ice are beautifully filmed. You feel as if you are part of the team and feeling everything they do. Some of the sons of the actual players are in the movie. You don’t need to like hockey to enjoy this movie.
Sport/Drama (1999); Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz
Tony D’Amato is the head coach of the Miami Sharks, owned by the Christina Pagniacci, who is using the Miami Franchise only for profit. Trouble stirs up after long time star quarterback Cap Rooney is injured. A third string quarterback is brought in, and becomes the face of the franchise after having great game after great game. The only problem is, he plays with his head and not with his heart, with an aging team that needs an emotional leader to guide them to victory. Plenty of stars in this film and possibly the best sports film ever!
Freedom Writers, What’s Love Got to Do with It?, Remember the Titans, Music of the Heart, Greatest Game Ever Played, The Jesse Owens Story, The Blind Side
Stand and Deliver, Phenomenon, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Braveheart, The Rookie, Radio, Lorenzo’s Oil, Hoosiers, Invincible, Steel Magnolia’s, Beyond the Sea, Glory Road, Sarafina, The Natural, American History X, Without Limits, Breaking Away, Norma Rae, October Sky, Cinderella Man,
Shine, Seven Years in Tibet, Million Dollar Baby, The Green Mile, Spirited Away, Rush, Life of Pi, Awakenings, My Left Foot, Life is Beautiful, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Dead Poets Society, The Pursuit of Happyness, Saving Private Ryan, Cool Runnings, Chariots of Fire, Schindler’s List, Gandhi, A Beautiful Mind, Amistad, Apollo 13, Rain Man, Australia, Dances with Wolves, A Time to Kill, Dangerous Minds, Forrest Gump, The Pledge, Glory, Scent of a Woman, I am Sam, Black Hawk Down, The Hurricane, Love Liza, Malcolm X, Harrison’s Flowers, Ray, Man on the Moon, The Aviator, Walk the Line, Bruce Almighty, Dreamer, Powder, The Children of Huang Shi, Men of Honor, Extraordinary Measures,
John Q, Field of Dreams, Facing the Giants, Ali, Life is Beautiful, The Shawshank Redemption
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