When you’re feeling low or overwhelmed by responsibilities, work and relationships, you just need a spark of inspiration to get you back on your feet. Movies give you just that —a temporary but effective escape from the nitty-gritties of life — and fill the void for the time when you’re feeling lonely.
We usually watch movies for entertainment, but some inspirational movies leave an indelible mark on our minds. Of course, movies have a different effect on every individual, but some movies are universally relatable. The depictions of love, friendship, strength, acceptance and perseverance may inspire you and help you get through difficult times.
So, if you’re just tired of life and need a distraction, gather some munchies, curl inside your blanket and get started on a movie marathon because we have picked out 25 best inspirational films for you to watch.
1) Dead Poets Society
This is one of the most inspirational movies for students. The movie is set in 1959. Robin Williams plays the role of a newly appointed English teacher at an exclusive boys’ school. He uses unconventional methods to inspire his students to explore literature and study classic poetry.
2) Eat Pray Love
This movie is about everything that we go through in our daily lives. The story is about a simple woman, Elizabeth Gilbert, who is recently divorced and is at a crossroads in her life. She gets out of her comfort zone, risks everything and sets out on a journey to find herself once more. Eat Pray Love reminds us that it’s never too late to step out of your shell, get to know yourself and indulge in good food!
3) The Pursuit of Happyness
If you feel your life is hard, you’ll identify with the character portrayed by Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. He plays the role of a salesman who is rendered homeless and faced with challenges, a failed marriage and the responsibility of his kid. As the movie progresses, you’ll see how he never once gives up and stands firm to achieve his goals. It also depicts the strong bond between a father and his son.
4) Life of Pi
One of the most inspirational and picturesque movies ever made has the plot revolving around an Indian man, Pi Patel, and his adventures. Pi narrates his story to a novelist — an incredible tale of how he survived a shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean at the age of 16. His family dies, and he is stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger.
5) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The movie stars Jack Nicholson who plays the role of Randal P. McMurphy. The protagonist is a maverick who feigns madness to escape a prison term causing mayhem during the process. Watch it for the comedy and drama put together beautifully.
6) The Pianist
World War II was one of the darkest times in history, and The Pianist portrays the remarkable fight for survival put up by a Polish pianist. It is based on the autobiography of a Polish-Jewish pianist and composer, Władysław Szpilman.
7) A Beautiful Mind
This American biographical movie is based on the life of Professor John Nash, a Nobel laureate in Economics. A Beautiful Mind is about the struggle of John Nash with his periods of paranoid schizophrenia and how he finally learns to overcome his condition.
8) Forrest Gump
You cannot help but fall in love with the character of Forrest Gump played by Tom Hanks. It’s a beautiful story of a man with sub-normal IQ who overcomes all hardships with his ability to love and his inner strength.
9) Schindler’s List
Set during the time of the Holocaust, Schindler’s List is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational movies ever made. The characters in the movie prove that with determination and strength, you can achieve what you want, even if it seems impossible.
10) Million Dollar Baby
Another brilliant movie, Million Dollar Baby is about a waitress who dreams of becoming a professional boxer and an underrated boxing trainer who is haunted by the ghosts of his past. He attains atonement when he helps the underdog amateur waitress-boxer become a professional.
11) Stranger than Fiction
Will Ferrell stars in this comedy-drama as an introvert, Harold Crick, who starts hearing a voice in his head narrating his life like a novel in which it is stated that he will die soon. He frantically seeks to prevent the ending. Does he succeed? Watch and find out.
12) To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee Harper’s novel of the same name is the inspiration behind this movie. To Kill a Mockingbird is a roller-coaster of emotions in which familial relations and friendship take centre stage. Gregory Peck plays the role of Atticus Finch, the protagonist, and makes the character stand out with his impeccable acting skills.
13) October Sky
Based on a true story, October Sky is all about chasing and making your dreams come true. The story revolves around a small-town boy who goes against his father’s wishes and instead follows his dream of building rockets.
14) Cast Away
This movie is another example of awe-inspiring survival drama film. Tom Hanks stars as a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after a plane crash. The story is about his struggle to survive in the God-forsaken place using the remnants of his plane’s cargo and returning to society a changed man.
15) The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption is a movie you’d want to watch again and again for the fabulous cast and engrossing plot. A man is sentenced to prison for life on the count of murder despite his claims of innocence. The story takes you through how he discovers himself while he is locked up for the rest of his life.
16) Life is Beautiful
This Italian comedy-drama is set during the time of World War II. It is about a Jewish-Italian book shop owner who uses his imagination to shield his son from the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.
Awakenings is a story of a British neurologist, Oliver Sacks, and is based on his memoirs. He discovers a drug to awaken catatonic patients, and after administering the cure, the patients awaken after decades of catatonia. They are faced with the challenge of dealing with life in a new time. Watch it for the brilliant performances by Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.
The film is based on The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book. Nicolas Cage plays the role of Charlie Kaufman, a self-loathing writer who has been hired to write the screenplay adaptation of the book, The Orchid Thief. He faces a writer’s block and through the course of the film, overcomes it.
This movie is about the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers, Niki Lauda and James Hunt, both contending for the World Title. Lauda suffers and overcomes an appalling accident during the process. This thrilling account of the race between the skilled drivers will set your heart running as well.
20) The Theory of Everything
One of the most inspiring scientists of our time, Stephen Hawking, is the inspiration for this movie. It is based on Travelling to Infinity: My Lifewith Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking, her memoir, and relationship with her ex-husband, Stephen Hawking. The story of the genius who speculated that black holes may have been part of the creation of the universe, his struggle with motor neurone disease and his success is sure to bring hope to everyone.
21) Freedom Writers
The story revolves around a high school history teacher who inspires her students to write journals and through the process, transforms their lives. Though she loses the support of everyone around her, including her colleagues and husband, she earns the respect of her students.
Braveheart is the story of William Wallace, a 13th Century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward of England. The undaunting spirit, patriotism, love and loyalty of the characters will make you watch this movie more than once.
23) Edward Scissorhands
Edward Scissorhands (played by Johnny Depp) is an artificial man created by an old inventor who dies before completing his creation. Edward has scissors blades for hands and is adopted by a saleswoman, Peg Boggs, who finds him in a Gothic mansion all alone. Edward falls in love with Boggs’ daughter and after going through a lot of trouble, is forced to go back to his mansion.
24) The Imitation Game
The movie is loosely based on the biography of Alan Turing, a real-life British cryptanalyst who decrypted German intelligence codes for the British government during World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of Alan Turing and delivers an outstanding performance in the film. Watch this movie if you’re frustrated by the repeated failures in your life. There’s nothing more inspiring than the life of this misunderstood genius.
Lincoln needs no introduction. This epic historical drama depicts the political genius of President Abraham Lincoln and covers the final four months of Lincoln’s life