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The Best Inspirational Movies 

Ranker Film
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Updated January 18, 2020 15.7k votes 2.2k voters 92k views 110 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest movies that leave you feeling inspired.

This is a ranked list of the best inspirational movies as voted on by men and women. This inspirational list includes sports movies, romantic movies, family movies, biopics, and dramas. Movies make us want to believe, be inspired and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. But what are the best inspirational movies?

Whenever you are looking for motivation or courage you can watch one of these movies and it will be sure to inspire you. This list of most inspiring movies includes such titles as Rudy, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 12 Years a Slave, and The Shawshank Redemption. These movies vary in their genre but they all have the ability to lift our spirits and inspire no matter how many times we’ve seen them.

Whenever we are lost, the films on this list have the ability to provide that extra needed boost. After each viewing they will leave you feeling invigorated and as though you can achieve your dreams.

Vote up your favorite inspirational film below or add one that always lifts your spirits if it isn't already on the list.
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1
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright

Released: 1994

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more

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2
The Shawshank Redemption... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

Released: 1994

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more

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3
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
slaft added Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell

Released: 1999

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars ...more

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#48 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #26 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

4
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel

Released: 1998

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more

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5
Philadelphia is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Julius Erving

Released: 1993

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

Philadelphia is a 1993 American drama film and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by ...more

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6
Apollo 13 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ed Harris

Released: 1995

Directed by: Ron Howard

Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, ...more

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#53 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #32 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Matt Damon

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and ...more

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8
The Pursuit of Happyness... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
slaft added Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

Released: 2006

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more

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9
Dead Poets Society is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Lara Flynn Boyle

Released: 1989

Directed by: Peter Weir

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the ...more

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10
Rocky is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

Released: 1976

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer (Sylvester Stallone) gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion (Carl Weathers) in ...more

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#86 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #157 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

Released: 1995

Directed by: Mel Gibson

Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more

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12
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard

Released: 2001

Directed by: Ron Howard

A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva ...more

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13
The Blind Side is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
eilish added Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It was written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael ...more

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#703 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #392 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
It's a Wonderful Life is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
RobLein added James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Released: 1946

Directed by: Frank Capra

It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren ...more

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15
Rain Man is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino

Released: 1988

Directed by: Barry Levinson

Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive and selfish yuppie, Charlie Babbitt, who ...more

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16
Rudy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau filmography

Released: 1993

Directed by: David Anspaugh

Rudy is a 1993 American sports film directed by David Anspaugh. It is an account of the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who harbored dreams of playing football at the University of ...more

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17
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Released: 2000

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin. The screenplay, written by Gregory Allen Howard, is based on the true story of ...more

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18
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

Released: 1984

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more

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19
Slumdog Millionaire is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan

Released: 2008

Directed by: Loveleen Tandan, Danny Boyle

Slumdog Millionaire is a 2009 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and produced by Christian Colson. It was co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan. It is an ...more

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20
The Sound of Music is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Wise

The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is an adaptation of the 1959 Broadway ...more

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21
Field of Dreams is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner

Released: 1989

Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson

Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy-drama film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay, adapting W. P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe. It stars Kevin Costner, Amy ...more

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22
Gran Torino is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
slaft added Clint Eastwood, Dreama Walker, Scott Eastwood

Released: 2008

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood's ...more

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23
Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
slaft added Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank

Released: 2004

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. This film is about an ...more

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24
Erin Brockovich is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Sazonana added Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger, Aaron Eckhart

Released: 2000

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Erin Brockovich is a 2000 biographical film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Susannah Grant. The film is a dramatization of the true story of Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia ...more

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#25 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #9 of 54 The Best Biopics About Womenlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
Glory is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Inspirational Movies
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick

Released: 1989

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, based on ...more

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