Watchworthy

The Best Movies About Not Giving Up 

Ranker Film
Updated May 21, 2020 1.9k votes 355 voters 38.9k views 42 items

List Rules Movies about not giving up on your dreams. Vote up the best films about sticking it out.

There’s nothing more inspirational than hearing a story of a person surviving against all odds, holding on to hope with all their might, and making it through the dire straits of difficult situations. Many uplifting movies have been made that highlight the tenacity, strength, and triumph of the human spirit. What are the best movies about not giving up? Vote up the best films about not giving up below and see where your favorites rank!

The movies on this list are some of the best in movie history. Many of these films feature real life stories that have inspired us for years and left us feeling encouraged and hopeful. Whether you’re in the mood for a drama, a thriller, comedy, or romance movie there is sure to be a movie on this list for you.

This list features the best movies about not giving up including, Cinderella Man, 300, Life Is Beautiful, Braveheart, Lone Survivor, Freedom Writers, Good Will Hunting, The Notebook, and Million Dollar Baby. Vote up the best films about perseverance below or add one you love that isn't already on the list!
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
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

More The Pursuit of Happyness 

#17 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #14 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #518 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

2
Ranker Video
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

More Braveheart 

#23 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #88 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Ranker Video
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

More Rocky 

#30 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #91 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Cast Away is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Not Giving Up
looksharp added Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Chris Noth

Released: 2000

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Cast Away is a 2000 American adventure drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane accident ...more

More Cast Away 

#119 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #18 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #390 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

5
Ranker Video
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

More Million Dollar Baby 

#1,106 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #29 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Not Giving Up
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

More Good Will Hunting 

#56 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #140 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Ranker Video
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

More Rudy 

Things About The Real Rudy That The 'Rudy' Movie Purposely Misrepresents #86 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #470 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

8
Ranker Video
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2001

Directed by: Peter Jackson

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the first ...more

More The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 

#20 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #38 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Ranker Video
Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Lena Headey

Released: 2006

Directed by: Zack Snyder

300 is a 2006 American fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae which took ...more

More 300 

This Is Sparta and These Are The Best Quotes From '300' #68 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #249 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

10
Ranker Video
looksharp added Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jack O'Connell

Released: 2014

Directed by: Angelina Jolie

Unbroken is a 2014 American biographical drama film, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, ...more

More Unbroken 

#191 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #125 of 222 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #10 of 22 The Greatest Lost at Sea Movies Ever Made

11
Ranker Video
Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ron Howard

Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by ...more

More Cinderella Man 

#33 of 243 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #251 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #38 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

12
Ranker Video
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

More Dead Poets Society 

#64 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #61 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Ranker Video
Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Ashanti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter, based on the true story of the Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter. Controversy ...more

More Coach Carter 

#24 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #53 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #4 of 37 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

14
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes

Released: 2007

Directed by: Rob Reiner

The Bucket List is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner, produced by Reiner, Alan Greisman, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, written by Justin Zackham, and starring Jack Nicholson ...more

More The Bucket List 

#52 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #264 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #325 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

15
Ranker Video
looksharp added Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Released: 2008

Directed by: Pierre Morel

Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative (Liam Neeson) sets about tracking down his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and her best friend ...more

More Taken 

#308 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #393 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #60 of 92 The Most Rewatchable Action Movies

16
Ranker Video
Tehprotector added Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy

Released: 2002

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

8 Mile is a 2002 American hip-hop biopic film written by Scott Silver, directed by Curtis Hanson, and starring Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Michael Shannon and Kim Basinger. The film ...more

More 8 Mile 

Behind The Scenes Of ‘Lose Yourself’ And Eminem’s Starring Role In ‘8 Mile’ #1,083 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
Ranker Video
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1980

Directed by: Irvin Kershner

The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story ...more

More Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 

Here's Why The Last Jedi And Empire Strikes Back Are Pretty Much The Same Movie #5 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
Ranker Video
Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana, Taylor Kitsch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Peter Berg

Lone Survivor is a 2013 American film written and directed by Peter Berg, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana. The film is based on the 2007 ...more

More Lone Survivor 

#261 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #158 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #175 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

19
Ranker Video
Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel

Released: 1997

Directed by: Roberto Benigni

Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his ...more

More Life Is Beautiful 

#261 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #45 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Ranker Video
James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan

Released: 2010

Directed by: Danny Boyle

127 Hours is a 2010 British-American biographical survival drama film directed, co-written and produced by Danny Boyle. The film stars James Franco as real-life canyoneer Aron Ralston, who ...more

More 127 Hours 

The True Story Of '127 Hours' Where A Man Cut Off His Own Arm To Survive #19 of 243 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #392 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

21
Leap! is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Not Giving Up
wangwendy730 added Leap! Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler

Released: 2016

Directed by: Eric Summer, Eric Warin

Ballerina (titled Leap! in the United States) is a 2016 English-language internationally co-produced 3D computer-animated musical adventure comedy film co-directed by Éric Summer and ...more

More Leap! 

#323 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #120 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #35 of 49 The Best Family Comedy Movies On Netflix

22
Ranker Video
Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner

Released: 2004

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a ...more

More The Notebook 

These Quotes From 'The Notebook' Will Have You In Tears #117 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #258 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

23
Ranker Video
Valley Forge added Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Steve McQueen

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free ...more

More 12 Years a Slave 

#161 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #23 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
Ranker Video
mert_meco added J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Miles Teller

Released: 2014

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Whiplash is a 2014 American drama film directed by Damien Chazelle. A promising young drummer (Miles Teller) enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored ...more

More Whiplash 

#12 of 209 The Best Movies About Music #14 of 14 The Most Horrifying Non-Horror Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
Ranker Video
Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen, George Takei

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical action-comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The 36th animated feature in the Walt ...more

More Mulan 

'Mulan' Fan Theories That Just Might Be True #44 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #54 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever