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Last Updated on August 6, 2018

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

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    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

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      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

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        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

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          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

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            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

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              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

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                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.

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                “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

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                  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

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                    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

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                      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

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                        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

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                          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

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                            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

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                              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.

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                              15. Life of Pi

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                                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

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                                  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

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                                    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

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                                      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

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                                        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

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                                          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

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                                            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

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                                              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

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                                                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

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                                                  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

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                                                    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

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                                                      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

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                                                        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

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                                                          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

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                                                            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

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                                                              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

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                                                                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

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                                                                  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

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                                                                    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

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                                                                      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

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                                                                        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

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                                                                        Alex Morris

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                                                                        Last Updated on December 2, 2018

                                                                        How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

                                                                        How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

                                                                        Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

                                                                        The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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                                                                        The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

                                                                        Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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                                                                        Review Your Past Flow

                                                                        Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

                                                                        Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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                                                                        Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

                                                                        Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

                                                                        Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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                                                                        Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

                                                                        Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

                                                                        We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

                                                                        Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

                                                                          Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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