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The Most Inspirational Movies Ever 

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Updated June 22, 2020 48.3k votes 3.8k voters 478.9k views 243 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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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

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2
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 2 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

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3
The Lord of the Rings fi... is listed (or ranked) 3 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

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4
The Shawshank Redemption... is listed (or ranked) 4 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

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5
Lawrence of Arabia is listed (or ranked) 5 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

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6
The Ten Commandments is listed (or ranked) 6 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

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7
Up is listed (or ranked) 7 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

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8
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 8 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

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9
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 9 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

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10
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 10 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

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11
The Truman Show is listed (or ranked) 11 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

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12
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 12 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

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Stand By Me' That Prove The Film Shaped The Child Actors #35 of 350 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #11 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

13
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 13 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

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14
Ranker Video
Dir. by Steven Spielberg (1982), starring Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak & Debra Winger
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, featuring special effects by Carlo ...more

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15
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Dir. by Miloš 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 Miloš Forman.

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16
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Richard Donner (1985), starring Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin & Sean Astin
The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. The film's ...more

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17
King of Kings is listed (or ranked) 17 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

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18
Shane is listed (or ranked) 18 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

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19
The African Queen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by John Huston (1951), starring Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart & Robert Morley
The African Queen is a 1951 adventure film adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by C. S. Forester. The film was directed by John Huston and produced by Sam Spiegel and John Woolf. The ...more

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20
City Lights is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Charlie Chaplin (1931), starring Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow & Virginia Cherrill
City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin's Tramp as he falls in love with a blind ...more

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21
An Officer and a Gentlem... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Taylor Hackford (1982), starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger & Louis Gossett
An Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 American drama film that tells the story of a U.S. Navy aviation officer candidate who comes into conflict with the Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who is the ...more

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22
Invincible is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Ericson Core (2006), starring Elizabeth Banks, Mark Wahlberg & Randy Couture
Invincible is a 2006 sports film directed by Ericson Core set in 1976. It is based on the true story of Vince Papale, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978. Mark Wahlberg ...more

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23
Good Morning, Vietnam is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Inspirational Movies Ever
Dir. by Barry Levinson (1987), starring Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker & J. T. Walsh
Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American comedy film written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson. Set in Saigon in 1965, during Vietnam, the film stars Robin Williams as a radio DJ ...more

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24
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Dir. by Ron Clements and John Musker (1992), starring Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried & Frank Welker
Aladdin is a 1992 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Aladdin is the 31st animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

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25
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Dir. by Tony Scott (1986), starring Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan & Val Kilmer
Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim ...more

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