Entertainment

The Best Movies About Not Giving Up  

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 338 voters 36.7k views 41 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!
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1
Cast Away is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Not Giving Up
looksharp added Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Chris Noth
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

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#258 of 304 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #38 of 409 The Best Rainy Day Movies #150 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

2
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Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
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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#16 of 717 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #30 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cryfeaturing The Sad Tale Of Chris Gardner, The Man From The Pursuit of Happyness

3
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Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson
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 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #58 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith
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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#29 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #10 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
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Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank
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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#35 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies #1,080 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
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looksharp added Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jack O'Connell
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

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#223 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #142 of 220 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #25 of 45 The 35+ Best Drama Movies About Survival

7
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
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

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#31 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books #49 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
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Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau filmography
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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#287 of 304 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #97 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Moviesfeaturing Things About The Real Rudy That The 'Rudy' Movie Purposely Misrepresents

9
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Not Giving Up
Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Matt Damon
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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#67 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #25 of 409 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
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Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Lena Headey
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

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#23 of 382 The Best War Movies Ever #310 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Moviesfeaturing This Is Sparta and These Are The Best Quotes From '300'

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Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti
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

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#42 of 240 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #282 of 547 The Greatest Movies for Guys #130 of 307 The Best Movies for Men

12
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Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Lara Flynn Boyle
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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#79 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #52 of 409 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti
Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter portrayed by Samuel L. ...more

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#29 of 717 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #6 of 40 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time #53 of 180 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

14
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mert_meco added J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Miles Teller
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

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#5 of 205 The Best Movies About Music #14 of 14 The Most Horrifying Non-Horror Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
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Valley Forge added Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch
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

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#78 of 717 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #32 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Tehprotector added Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy
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

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#78 of 304 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timefeaturing Here's What The Cast Of "8 Mile" Is Up To And Looks Like 15 Years Laterlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana, Taylor Kitsch
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

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#214 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books #11 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #247 of 601 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

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Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes
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

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#178 of 409 The Best Rainy Day Movies #66 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #288 of 547 The Greatest Movies for Guys

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James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan
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

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#47 of 240 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #278 of 547 The Greatest Movies for Guysfeaturing The True Story Of '127 Hours' Where A Man Cut Off His Own Arm To Survive

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Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis
Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical drama survival film written and directed by Sean Penn. It is an adaptation of the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer based on ...more

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#45 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #22 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Booksfeaturing Everything That Had To Go Wrong For Chris McCandless To Meet His Fate

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looksharp added Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
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

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#80 of 409 The Best Rainy Day Movies #673 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #104 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

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Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
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

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Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen, George Takei
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

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#22 of 599 The Best Animated Films Ever #165 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing 'Mulan' Fan Theories That Just Might Be True

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RobLein added Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb
12 Angry Men is a 1957 American drama film adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. Written and co-produced by Rose himself and directed by Sidney Lumet, this trial film tells ...more

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#348 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #10 of 264 The Best Ensemble Movies #5 of 25 The 25 Best Movies That Take Place in One Day

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Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel
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

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#250 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #68 of 220 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever