Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web 79 79 people found this article helpful The 20 Most Inspirational Movies of All Time Get motivated with a few feel-good movies by Robert Earl Wells III Writer Robert Wells is a professional writer and amateur game developer. His specialties include web development, cryptocurrency, and cybersecurity. our editorial process LinkedIn Robert Earl Wells III Updated on September 22, 2020 Around the Web Browsers Cloud Services Error Messages Family Tech Home Networking 5G Antivirus VPN Web Development Around the Web View More Tweet Share Email Feeling down, apathetic or stuck in rut? Here's a list of 20 inspirational movies to choose from when you need a good laugh, cry, or spark of motivation. What makes a film inspirational? That's up to the viewer, but the motivational movies on this list were chosen for their appeal to wide audiences, so grab some tissues and get ready to be moved. 01 of 20 Most Inspirational Road Trip Movie: The Straight Story (1999) Amazon.com What We Like The movie was filmed along the route the real Alvin Straight traveled. Viewers get to enjoy the beauty of rural Iowa and Wisconsin. What We Don't Like Like a 1966 riding lawn mower, the movie progresses at a leisurely pace, which may seem boring to younger viewers. The Straight Story chronicles the real-life journey of Alvin Straight, a 73-year-old stroke patient who drove his John Deere riding lawn-mower hundreds of miles across the American heartland to visit his dying brother in 1994. David Lynch's brilliant directing makes Straight's pilgrimage feel just as inspiring today as it was back then. 02 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie About Mental Health: A Beautiful Mind (2001) Amazon.com What We Like An outstanding cast backed by Ron Howard's directing made this movie a contender for numerous awards upon its released. What We Don't Like The movie leaves out many details about Nash's life. Read the book by Sylvia Nasar for a more complete biography. A Beautiful Mind tells the story of Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash and his struggle with schizophrenia. After revolutionizing the field of game theory as a young man, Nash descends into a dangerous world of delusions that he is able to overcome thanks to the support of his doctors, friends, and family. 03 of 20 Most Inspirational Film About Family: Rain Man (1988) Amazon.com What We Like The chemistry between the two lead actors, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, makes the relationship between the brothers feel authentic. What We Don't Like Rain Man doesn't reflect most patients' experiences with autism, but the story is touching nonetheless. Rain Man is a humorous yet heartfelt story about two estranged siblings. After their father dies, a young hustler tries to trick his autistic brother into giving up his portion of the inheritance money. Eventually, he evolves into a caretaker role and the brothers develop mutual respect for one another. 04 of 20 Most Inspirational Film for Feminists: My Brilliant Career (1979) Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images What We Like Judy Davis's liberating performance as the headstrong feminist author makes the film worth a watch. What We Don't Like Viewers may be put off by the protagonist's self-centered attitude. Then again, the story is about placing your needs before others. Based on a novel of the same name by Australian feminist Miles Franklin, My Brilliant Career is a loosely autobiographical story about a young female writer named Sybylla Melvyn, who turns down marriage and traditional life to pursue her passion for writing. 05 of 20 Most Inspirational Christmas Movie: It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Wikipedia Younger audiences may think It's a Wonderful Life is too cliche for a list like this, but the film still holds up more than seven decades after its release. Even if you're not a fan of old movies, everyone should see this holiday movie classic at some point. 06 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie for Journalists: Cry Freedom (1987) Amazon.com What We Like The acting, cinematography, and musical score are all top notch. The director did an excellent job of capturing the beauty of South Africa. What We Don't Like The story is more about the main character's escape from authorities rather than the politics of the country. Cry Freedom holds an interesting place in history as a movie about South Africa's Apartheid regime before Apartheid ended. The story follows Donald Woods, a white South African journalist, as he investigates the persecution of young black activist Steve Biko. After becoming a police target himself, Woods must flee for his life. 07 of 20 Most Inspirational Courtroom Drama: 12 Angry Men (1957) Amazon.com What We Like The energy of the cast makes what sounds like a boring premise into a riveting drama. What We Don't Like If you're not a fan of courtroom dramas, then 12 Angry Men might put you to sleep. This study of the American judicial process is just as relevant today as it was in 1957. Twelve men selected for jury duty are tasked with deciding the fate of a young minority teenager accused of murder. During their deliberations, prejudices and personal issues threaten to undermine justice, but the truth ultimately prevails. 08 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie for Activists: Erin Brockovich (2000) Amazon.com What We Like It's easy to see why Roberts won the Academy Award for best actress in 2001 thanks to this performance. What We Don't Like The plot drags at certain points, but Roberts and the rest of the cast do a great job at keeping viewers engaged. Julia Roberts portrays the real-life Erin Brockovich, a former beauty queen who swears like a sailor and never gives up. In 1993, Brockovich spearheaded a massive lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric for contaminating the water supply of Hinkley, California. The suit resulted in a $333 million settlement, the largest in American history. 09 of 20 Most Inspirational High School Movie: Remember the Titans (2000) Amazon.com What We Like Coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, is an inspirational figure. What We Don't Like Even though it's based on a true story, Remember the Titans follows many sports movie cliches. Set in Alexandria, Virginia, Remember the Titans deals with the racial integration of a high school football team in 1971. When a black man is selected to be head coach, racial tensions bubble between students and faculty, but teamwork ultimately prevails over prejudice. 10 of 20 Most Inspirational Romantic Film: Rocky (1976) Amazon.com What We Like Burgess Meredith steals the show as Mickey, the tough-as-nails boxing coach we all need in our lives. What We Don't Like In retrospect, the relationship between Rocky and Adrian is sometimes more awkward than charming. Even if you've never seen Rocky, you can probably recognize the film's many famous quotes and scenes. Sylvester Stallone portrays a small-time boxer who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to battle the world heavyweight champion. No one believes in him except his coach and his girlfriend Adrian, who push Rocky to try his best. 11 of 20 Most Inspirational Sci-Fi Film: The Truman Show (1998) Amazon.com What We Like Viewers who aren't used to seeing Jim Carrey in serious roles may be surprised to find out he's a very talented actor. What We Don't Like Contemporary viewers may nitpick some of the plot points, but keep in mind this movie was exploring new territory. Reality TV wasn't nearly as prevalent two decades ago as it is today, so it's hard to imagine how The Truman Show was received when it first released. If it came out in 2018, the story might end much differently. Nonetheless, the main character's decision at the film's climax will have you pumping your fist. 12 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie About Education: Stand and Deliver (1988) Amazon.com What We Like Edward James Olmos' often parodied performance as Escalante makes the film worth viewing. What We Don't Like The film slightly embellishes Escalante's legacy. The writing and acting is a bit hokey. Stand and Deliver conveys the somewhat true story of Jaime Escalante, a math teacher who introduced an A.P. calculus program at an underperforming L.A. school. Despite opposition from both students and faculty, Escalante succeeds in pushing his pupils to succeed. 13 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie Based on a Book: Still Alice (2014) Amazon.com What We Like An all-star cast including Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart does an excellent job bringing the novel to life. What We Don't Like The story takes a dark turn that may be triggering for some viewers, but everything turns out O.K. in the end. In Still Alice, Julianne Moore plays a linguistics professor struggling with early-onset dementia. As she slowly loses her ability to think and speak, her husband and children must become her caretakers. Based on a book by the same name, Still Alice paints an accurate picture of what families go through when a loved one suffers from Alzheimer's. 14 of 20 Most Inspirational Animated Movie: The Brave Little Toaster (1987) Disney, inc. What We Like Each of the appliances have distinct personalities, which makes their interactions a joy to watch. What We Don't Like The songs and animation are not on par with most 90s Disney films, but that doesn't detract from the film's charm. The Brave Little Toaster puts a strange twist on a common formula. A toaster, a lamp, a radio, a vacuum cleaner, and an electric blanket embark on a cross-country adventure to be reunited with their owner who seemingly abandoned them after moving. If you enjoy this animated film, check out the sequel, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars. 15 of 20 Most Heartfelt Inspirational Movie: Forrest Gump (1994) Amazon.com What We Like Tom Hanks’s performance as the lovably simple-minded Forrest is among his best in a career full of stellar roles. What We Don't Like The movie has a lot of profanity and some nudity, so it’s not appropriate for all ages. This quirky story about a man born with limited mental faculties proves that heart often matters more than brains. Although the story is fictional, the main character is impacted by many real-life events that defined a generation, such as the Vietnam War and the AIDS crisis. 16 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie About Criminal Justice: Dead Man Walking (1995) Metro Goldwyn Mayer, inc. What We Like Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn give painfully realistic performances as the nun and the inmate. What We Don't Like Some viewers will not like how the story ends, but the themes of forgiveness and redemption make Dead Man Walking worthy of this list. Inspired by the memoirs of Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking unabashedly tackles the issue of capital punishment from all sides. When a nun gets a letter from a death row inmate who claims he is innocent, she sets off on an emotional journey to uncover the truth. 17 of 20 Most Inspirational Disney Movie: Moana (2016) Disney, inc. What We Like The music and animation are top notch, which is to be expected from Disney. What We Don't Like Moana follows most of the typical Disney tropes, so if you don't like Disney films, this one won't convert you. Also known as Disney's apology for Pocahontas, Moana is a CG-animated feature about an indigenous teenager who eschews the wishes of her family and sets sail on a mission to save her tribe. Along the way, she's helped by her ancestors and some talking animal friends. 18 of 20 Most Inspirational Movie Based on a True Story: Hidden Figures (2017) Amazon.com What We Like The movie brings light to important women who have been neglected for far too long. What We Don't Like As is often the case, the book Hidden Figures is better because it goes into greater detail about the true story. Before you go see First Man, learn about the team of African-American women who made John Glenn's historic space mission possible. Despite facing discrimination while working for NASA, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson became the unsung heroes of the space race. 19 of 20 Most Inspirational Historical Movie: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) Amazon.com What We Like More so than Cry Freedom, Mandela accurately depicts the horrors of Apartheid. What We Don't Like Condensing Mandela's entire life story into one movie is impossible, so a lot of history necessarily gets left out. Nelson Mandela led a revolutionary movement while imprisoned for two decades. After his release, he ran for President and oversaw the reconciliation of South Africa. This is the life story of an extraordinary man who championed democracy and peace over vengeance. 20 of 20 Most Inspirational Sports Movie: A League of Their Own (1992) Amazon.com What We Like An eclectic cast including Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, and Tom Hanks make this inspirational movie a memorable experience. What We Don't Like Some viewers may take issue with Tom Hanks getting top billing in a film about women's baseball. A League of Their Own is a sports comedy based on the true story of the All-American Girls Baseball League. Formed in 1943, the first all-female league dominated the world of sports while male players were serving in World War II.