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The Most Inspirational Movies Ever 

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Updated January 8, 2020 47.8k votes 3.8k voters 476.4k views 241 items

List Rules Feature films that portray characters in situations where they overcome hardships; films that inspire you

This inspirational movies list, with videos, includes some of the most uplifting films of all time. Inspiring films do not come by very often, but nevertheless, there are many inspirational movies in Hollywood. This list of the most inspirational movies ever includes classics like It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as well as newer films like Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, and Unbroken. 

What are the most uplifting movies of all time? Only some Hollywood movies with inspiring storyline have made it to this list. You can copy this list of top 100 most inspirational movies ever to make a list of your personal favorite inspirational movies. These movies will definitely make you feel good about yourself. Some may even motivate you to look at the world in a different way, or to go out and try to change it. If you're looking for some great motivational movie time, try one of the flicks on this inspiring list.
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list ordered by
1
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Robert Zemeckis (1994), starring Tom Hanks, Sally Field & Robin Wright
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
2
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Steven Spielberg (1998), starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon & Vin Diesel
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
3
The Shawshank Redemption... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Frank Darabont (1994), starring Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth & Tim Robbins
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
4
The Lord of the Rings fi... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
The Lord of the Rings is a film series consisting of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. They are based on the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The ...more
5
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Wolfgang Petersen (1984), starring Gerald McRaney, Limahl & Moses Gunn
The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young ...more
6
Lawrence of Arabia is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by David Lean (1962), starring Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole & Alec Guinness
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic adventure drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the ...more
7
The Ten Commandments is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Cecil B. DeMille (1956), starring Charlton Heston, Vincent Price & Yul Brynner
The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American religious epic film produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision, and released by Paramount Pictures. It dramatizes the biblical story ...more
8
The Truman Show is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Peter Weir (1998), starring Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti & Ed Harris
The Truman Show is a 1998 American satirical social science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol. The cast includes Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, Laura ...more
9
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Ridley Scott (2000), starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix & Michael Sheen
Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, ...more
10
Philadelphia is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Jonathan Demme (1993), starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington & Julius Erving
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
11
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Ron Clements and John Musker (1989), starring Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes & Pat Carroll
The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more
12
Toy Story 2 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by John Lasseter and Lee Unkrich (1999), starring Tom Hanks, Kelsey Grammer & Tim Allen
Toy Story 2 is a 1999 American computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Lee ...more
13
Dirty Dancing is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Emile Ardolino (1987), starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey & Jerry Orbach
Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, the film stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles, as well as ...more
14
Big is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Penny Marshall (1988), starring Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz & Elizabeth Perkins
Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood ...more
15
Up is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Pete Docter (2009), starring Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner & Laraine Newman
Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an ...more
16
WALL-E is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Andrew Stanton (2008), starring Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman & Kathy Najimy
WALL-E is a 2008 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Andrew Stanton, the story follows a ...more
17
Ranker Video
Dir. by MiloŇ° Forman (1975), starring Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito & Christopher Lloyd
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 drama film written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman and directed by MiloŇ° Forman.
18
Homeward Bound: The Incr... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Duwayne Dunham (1993), starring Sally Field, Michael J. Fox & Frank Welker
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 American remake of the 1963 film The Incredible Journey, which was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Sheila Burnford. Directed ...more
19
Shane is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by George Stevens (1953), starring Jack Palance, Jean Arthur & Alan Ladd
Shane is a 1953 American Technicolor Western film from Paramount. It was produced and directed by George Stevens from a screenplay by A. B. Guthrie, Jr., based on the 1949 novel of the same name ...more
20
The Fault in Our Stars ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
harmoniaclaire added Dir. by Josh Boone (2014), starring Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe & Laura Dern
The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 American romantic drama film directed by Josh Boone, based on the novel of the same name by John Green. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat ...more
21
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by John Hughes (1985), starring Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald & Anthony Michael Hall
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John ...more
22
King of Kings is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
RobLein added Dir. by Nicholas Ray (1961), starring Orson Welles, Rip Torn & Robert Ryan
King of Kings is a 1961 American biblical epic film made by Samuel Bronston Productions and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Nicholas Ray, the film is a dramatization of the story ...more
23
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Rob Reiner (1986), starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman & John Cusack
Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more
24
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Gus Van Sant (1997), starring 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
25
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by George Lucas (1977), starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher & Mark Hamill
Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more