Advertising
Advertising

35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life

35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life

The best inspirational movies leave an indelible impression on the viewer. In this selection I’ve chosen 35 — from Oscar winners to cult favorites, they’re worthy of anyone’s DVD collection.

In an attempt to avoid this list being cliché, I’ve picked films you may not have seen before, and ones which may have slipped from your memory. As a result, you won’t find certain well known films below, such as Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, and Shawshank Redemption. The exceptional films on offer should, hopefully, make up for it!

1. Amadeus

    Photo credit: Source

    This wonderful period epic, loosely based on Mozart’s genius, boasts fine performances and exceptional music.

    “This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing.” A description of Mozart’s music.

    2. The Madness of King George

      Photo credit: Source

      King George III loses his mind, throwing government into chaos. Revolutionary medical man Dr. Willis is called in to restore order in this brilliant drama.

      “No life is without its regrets yet none is without its consolations.” King George III.

      3. Mary and Max

        Photo credit: Source

        A quirky, life-affirming claymation film. Two loners become pen pals and strike up a long distance friendship.

         “My fifth job was a garbage collector. I cleaned up after litter bugs and didn’t have to talk to anybody. Sometimes I liked to pretend I was an intergalactic robot.” Max.

        4. Princess Mononoke

          Photo credit: Source

          A sweeping masterpiece from Studio Ghibli. Young warrior Ashitaka fights to restore order between supernatural forces and the human world.

          “This is what hatred looks like! This is what it does when it catches hold of you!”Ashitaki.

          5. Spirited Away

            Photo credit: Source

            Schoolgirl Chihiro is inadvertently transferred to the spirit world, forcing her to work in a Japanese bathhouse to reclaim her freedom.

            “Once you’ve met someone you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.” Advice for Chihiro

            6. The Kings of Summer

              Photo credit: Source

              Three teenage boys, annoyed by their families, take to the woods to live in a house they’ve built, embracing life along the way.

               You’re right, it’s a classic kidnapping. They took our children and the canned goods and pasta.” Frank, an irritated parent.

              7. Rush

                Photo credit: Source

                A thrilling account of the 1976 Formula 1 season. James Hunt and Niki Lauda battled for the World Title, the latter overcoming an appalling accident in the process.

                Advertising

                “It’s impossible to perspire through a skin graft, so sweat will never run into my eyes again, which is good for a driver.” Lauda following his accident.

                8. Punch-Drunk Love

                  Photo credit: Source

                  A quirky romantic drama. Adam Sandler’s eccentric loner Barry Egan is wooed by Emily Watson’s mysterious Lena.

                  “I have a lot of puddings, and in six to eight weeks it can be redeemed. So if you could just give me that much time, I think I can get enough mileage to go with you wherever you go.” Barry to Lena.

                  9. Of Mice and Men

                    Photo credit: Source

                    Gary Sinise’s excellent adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novella. Strong willed George, and mentally disabled Lennie, travel around America as farm hands, dreaming of one day owning their own land..

                    “We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.” George.

                    10. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

                      Photo credit: Source

                      Based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s book, this poignant French film tells of his life after a paralysing stroke. Suffering locked-in syndrome, he nevertheless wrote a novel.

                      “I decided to stop pitying myself. Other than my eye, two things aren’t paralysed, my imagination and my memory.” Bauby. 

                      11. The Squid and the Whale

                        Photo credit: Source

                        A couple divorce, forcing their children (Walt and Frank) to cope with the psychological games which erupt between their parents.

                        “We’d look at the knight armor at the Met. The scary fish at the Natural History Museum. I was always afraid of the squid and whale fighting.” Walt.

                        12. The Illusionist

                          Photo credit: Source

                          Sylvain Chomet’s sublime animated tale of a struggling magician as he travels across Europe, bonding with a young fan on the way.

                          “Magicians do not exist.” The Magician’s note.

                          13. Adaptation

                            Photo credit: Source

                            Anxiety ridden Charlie Kaufman (Nic Cage) is a screenwriter adapting a difficult novel, becoming increasingly unstable during his attempts.

                            “All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I’ll still be ugly, though.” Charlie.

                            14. Beasts of the Southern Wild

                              Photo credit: Source

                              This fantasy drama centres around six year old Hushpuppy. As her community is stricken with environmental issues, she learns to adapt to a new world.

                              “I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.” Hushpuppy.

                              Advertising

                              15. Life of Pi

                                Photo credit: Source

                                The story of Pi’s fight for survival whilst stranded in the Pacific Ocean. A volatile Bengal tiger is his sole company.

                                “The whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” Pi.

                                16. Awakenings

                                  Photo credit: Source

                                  Based on neurologist Oliver Sack’s book. Robin Williams stars as introverted Dr. Sayer, who discovers a drug which awakens catatonic patients.

                                  “Another awakening took place; that the human spirit is more powerful than any drug—and THAT is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. THESE are the things that matter.” Dr. Sayer.

                                  17. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

                                    Photo credit: Source

                                    Jack Nicholson stars as Randal P. McMurphy. A maverick, he feigns madness to escape prison time in a mental institute, causing mayhem in the process.

                                    “What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin’? Well you’re not! You’re not! You’re no crazier than the average asshole out walkin’ around on the streets.” McMurphy.

                                    18. The Straight Story

                                      Photo credit: Source

                                      WWII veteran Alvin hears his estranged brother has had a stroke, so sets off on a 240 mile journey to see him—via his tractor.

                                      “There’s no one knows your life better than a brother that’s near your age. He knows who you are and what you are better than anyone.” Alvin.

                                      19. The Pianist

                                        Photo credit: Source

                                        Roman Polanski’s account of Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman’s remarkable fight for survival during Nazi deportation of Jews in WWII.

                                        “[taking off his watch] Here, sell this. Food is more important than time.” Szpilman. 

                                        20. My Left Foot

                                          Photo credit: Source

                                          Daniel Day-Lewis gives an exceptional performance as Irishman Christy Brown. He suffered with severe cerebral palsy, yet became a noted writer.

                                          “This is Christy Brown, my son. Genius.” Christy Brown’s father.

                                          21. Life is Beautiful

                                            Photo credit: Source

                                            Roberto Benigni’s WWII film of a father who uses his imagination to protect his son from the horrors of war.

                                            “This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.” The son narrates.

                                            22. Rescue Dawn

                                            Advertising

                                              Photo credit: Source

                                              A tense survival tale by Werner Herzog, featuring Christian Bale as POW Dieter Dengler. A true story, Dengler’s bravery and charmisma are truly inspiring.

                                              “Empty what is full. Fill what is empty. Scratch what itches.” Dieter Dengler.

                                              23. Empire of the Sun

                                                Photo credit: Source

                                                Young Brit Jim becomes a POW at a WWII internment camp. Over the years, whilst fighting for survival, he matures from a petulant child to a mature young adult.

                                                “First one side feeds you and the other side tries to get you killed, then it’s turned around; it’s all timing.” Advice for Jim.

                                                24. Mud

                                                  Photo credit: Source

                                                  Two teenage boys discover the enigmatic Mud living on a sparse island. As they become friends, it’s soon apparent the law are after him.

                                                  “There are fierce powers at work in the world, boys. Good, evil, poor luck, best luck. As men, we’ve got to take advantage where we can.” Mud.

                                                  25. Sideways

                                                    Photo credit: Source

                                                    Following a painful divorce, struggling author Miles heads off for a wine tasting weekend with hedonistic friend Jack. Chaos, and new love, ensues.

                                                    “Its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.” Miles.

                                                    26. The Truman Show

                                                      Photo credit: Source

                                                      Truman Burbank lives an ordinary middle class life, unaware he’s actually the star of the most popular TV show on Earth.

                                                      “There’s nothing fake about Truman himself. No scripts, no cue cards. It isn’t always Shakespeare, but it’s genuine. It’s a life.” Christof, the show’s creator.

                                                      27. 127 Hours

                                                        Photo credit: Source

                                                        Aron Ralston traps his arm whilst hiking, leading to an unnerving realization.

                                                        “This rock… this rock has been waiting for me my entire life.” Ralston.

                                                        28. Léon: The Professional

                                                          Photo credit: Source

                                                          Léon is a hitman and loner. Suddenly forced to care for a child (a young Natalie Portman), he finds his humane side and seeks a change.

                                                          “You’ve given me a taste for life. I wanna be happy. Sleep in a bed, have roots. And you’ll never be alone again, Mathilda.” Léon.

                                                          29. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

                                                            Photo credit: Source

                                                            Advertising

                                                            Shy Joel and hedonistic Clementine begin a relationship, unaware they already share a unique history.

                                                            “Are we like those bored couples you feel sorry for in restaurants? Are we the dining dead?” Joel.

                                                            30. Million Dollar Baby

                                                              Photo credit: Source

                                                              A rags to riches story. Maggie, a humble waitress, makes a break as a boxer and rapidly shoots to stardom.

                                                              “It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.”

                                                              31. The Savages

                                                                Photo credit: Source

                                                                Estranged siblings Jon and Wendy Savage are reunited when their father displays signs of dementia.

                                                                “This upward mobility fixation of yours, it’s counterproductive and, frankly, pretty selfish. Because it’s not about Dad, it’s about you and your guilt.” Jon Savage.

                                                                32. The Descendants

                                                                  Photo credit: Source

                                                                  When his wife is hospitalized, wealthy Matt King (George Clooney) and his family must adapt to sweeping changes.

                                                                  “You give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.” Matt King.

                                                                  33. Another Year

                                                                    Photo credit: Source

                                                                    A British drama focusing on a happily married couple. Over four seasons they observe their unhappy friends as they attempt to structure their lives.

                                                                    “Young people. Everything’s for young people. Those bars, you know, they’re full of young people shouting about nothing.” A friend laments life.

                                                                    34. Stranger Than Fiction

                                                                      Photo credit: Source

                                                                      Will Ferrell performs against type as introverted Harold Crick, who starts to hear a voice in his head (Emma Thompson) narrating his every move.

                                                                      “I’m cursing you, you stupid voice, so shut up and leave me alone!” Harold Crick.

                                                                      35. Gravity

                                                                        Photo credit: Source

                                                                        Last but not least, 2013’s thrilling sci-fi epic. Boasting exceptional special effects, this inspiring look at space is a visual treat.

                                                                         “Either I make it down there in one piece and I have one hell of a story to tell! Or I burn up in the next ten minutes.” Dr. Stone.

                                                                        Besides all these inspirational movies, you may also like these:

                                                                        10 Movies You Need To Watch To Be More Successful

                                                                        12 Best Foreign Movies Of All Time That Will Expand Your Worldview

                                                                        10 Movies You Should Watch To Boost Your Mood And Energy

                                                                        More by this author

                                                                        Alex Morris

                                                                        Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

                                                                        10 Relaxing Games to Play Online to Help Chill You Out 53 Fun Things You Can Do This Weekend 35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life 21 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life 16 Educational and Inspirational Classical Music Compositions

                                                                        Trending in Lifestyle

                                                                        1 How to Find Workout Motivation When You Hate Exercise 2 60 Workout Motivation Quotes for Tough Workouts 3 Coffee Vs Energy Drinks: Why Coffee Gives You A Better Boost 4 The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You 5 20 Unusual Uses for Coca-Cola That You’ve Never Considered

                                                                        Read Next

                                                                        Advertising
                                                                        Advertising
                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        Last Updated on February 11, 2021

                                                                        The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

                                                                        The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

                                                                        Instagram allows you to see exactly what inspires people and how creativity is drawn from their everyday life. We use Instagram to capture what makes us smile, what brings joy to our life, and what we are passionate about, and the accounts listed below are sure to inspire you in turn.

                                                                        Here are our 20 top creative Instagram accounts that you should be following today.

                                                                        1. Humans Of New York

                                                                        Brandon Stanton walks the streets of New York City taking street photography, and he gets his subjects to open up about life details that even many family members may not know about them. It makes you smile and connect with the images at a new level.

                                                                         2.  Paris in Four Months

                                                                        Carin Olsson moved to Paris and is documenting every part of her experience, from the macaroons to the Eiffel Tower with all of its shimmering lights. If you want to go to Paris but can’t get there today, Carin will take you.

                                                                        3. Civilized Caveman Cooking

                                                                        George Bryant offers up more than his love for cooking Paleo cuisine as he shares more about life, joy, and happiness. His coined hashtag is #hugsandbacon.

                                                                        4. Andrew Knapp

                                                                        Andrew has taken the world by storm with his adorable version of Where’s Waldo? His version is Find Momo, and stars his border collie.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        5. Idafrosk

                                                                        Ida Skivenes has developed a knack for food art. From the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Strawberry Fields Forever, she has recreated it all with food.

                                                                        6. GrandmaBetty33

                                                                        Grandma Betty is fighting cancer and is inspiring others to smile and be happy in life. She brings a smile to your face instantly and is like having your grandma right beside you.

                                                                        7. Maya_on_the_Move

                                                                        Tania Ahsan captures the world of her cute bulldog, Maya, on her adventures in New York. Maya makes appearances that will make you smile, laugh, and inspire you to go out and create something special.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        8. Leoleoparis

                                                                        Leo captures the life on the streets of Paris. Most of his work is done in black and white, offering that iconic Parisian look.

                                                                        9. Jacob Santiago

                                                                        Jacob Santiago creates stunning, vibrant images around New York City, showcasing the architecture and streets. I’m sure you haven’t seen the streets of NYC like this before.

                                                                        10. Julie’s Kitchen

                                                                        Julie Lee showcases how everyday produce can create colorful art designs. At first glance, you think it is just a design; then, a second take illustrates that it is really fruits and vegetables.

                                                                        11. iloveplaymo

                                                                        iloveplaymo brings together photography and Playmobil toys in action. The images are up to date with current world events and everyday life.

                                                                        12. “Red” Hong Yi

                                                                        Red Hong Yi loves to paint without a paintbrush. Her style uses daily items to create lovely images.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        13. Alexis Diaz

                                                                        A breathtaking artist from Puerto Rico who loves to paint murals. Alexis’s work is featured all over the world.

                                                                        14. Murad Osmann

                                                                        Murad Osmann is a music video producer, but his claim to fame on Instagram has been his photographs with his girlfriend leading him by her hand.

                                                                        15. Simone Bramate

                                                                        Simone Bramate is a storyteller who just so happens to take delightful photos as well.

                                                                        16. Willie Kessel

                                                                        Willie Kessel brings beach life right to your smartphone. Amazing surf and lifestyle images that take your mind off of all of the work and stress in your life.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        17. Nick Ulivieri

                                                                        Nick Ulivieri is a talented photographer who loves to capture the windy city of Chicago and skies, especially during storms. His images are gorgeous and make you realize how wonderful life really is.

                                                                        18. Jo Jerry

                                                                        Jo Jerry’s landscape photos around Santorini, Greece, make you want to book a flight immediately. The bright colors and simplicity in the images make his photos stand out from the rest.

                                                                        19. GoPro

                                                                        GoPro uses fan-sourced images on their account that are all captured with a GoPro. Creativity to the max is used in these images and range from the grocery store to incredible surf.

                                                                        20. Vin Farrell

                                                                        Vin Farrell is a creative who works on the agency side for large clients and has a knack for photography. His iPhone captures amazing aerial images around NYC and the world.

                                                                        Featured photo credit: Andy via flickr.com

                                                                        Read Next