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Top 10 Motivational Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Melissa Kusiolek. Are you ready to be inspired, people? In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 motivational movies. These are the films that never fail to deliver that punch in the gut that makes us get off our asses and do something. They inspire us to reach beyond our limits, and maybe, just maybe, even change the world. And, just so you know, a few of these might have mild spoilers, so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users Alex Poggetti, beastlanky, Ardin Jovie Bautista, Andrew A. Dennison, hollyjayneleah, just_some_ideas, Abdulrahman Almuqhawi and Chris King for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Melissa Kusiolek.

Top 10 Motivational Movie


Are you ready to be inspired, people? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Motivational Movies.

These are the films that never fail to deliver that punch in the gut that makes us get off our asses and do something. They inspire us to reach beyond our limits, and maybe, just maybe, even change the world. And, just so you know, a few of these might have mild spoilers, so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: “Rocky” (1976)

This sports drama chronicles the rise of struggling Philadelphia heavyweight boxer Rocky Balboa. While working as a debt collector to make ends meet, Rocky gets a chance to fight world champion Apollo Creed and sees it as the only chance he’ll ever get to escape his meager existence. Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against him, with a little help from his supportive and hardnosed trainer, this Italian Stallion gives Creed an unexpected run for his money and serves as an inspiration for underdogs competing in sports of all kinds.

#9: “Dangerous Minds” (1995)

LouAnne is a former U.S. Marine who tries her hand at teaching a classroom full of kids from the wrong side of the tracks. Although she’s met with scrutiny from her superiors in the school’s administration, LouAnne tries unconventional methods to engage her students, achieving varying levels of success in reaching them both academically and in their treacherous home lives. This educator’s drive and motivation to teach her students and encourage those forgotten by the system net this based-on-a-true-story film an A+.

#8: “The Blind Side” (2009)

This biographical film depicts the upbringing of real-life NFLer Michael Oher. Escaping from the foster care system, he’s saved from homelessness by a wealthy family who eventually become his legal guardians. With the help of his adopted family and supportive teachers, Oher improves his grades, joins the high school’s football team and parlays his physical prowess on the field into a college scholarship. This uniquely American rags-to-riches tale is one motivational journey that’s a sure touchdown.

#7: “Forrest Gump” (1994)

He may not be a smart man, but he knows what love is. Forrest Gump has had a life many of us could only dream about and we’re glad he isn’t shy about sharing his inspirational story. This film follows the titular character throughout his many adventures, as he wrestles emotionally with his true love and leaves a trail of coincidental meetings with notable figures in his wake. Although not much was ever expected of Gump, his passion, good nature, and simple outlook on life helped him rise above his station, and make his tale a box of chocolates we’re delighted to sink our teeth into.

#6: “Good Will Hunting” (1997)

This drama follows 20-year-old Will Hunting, an unnoticed and reluctant genius who works as a janitor at MIT. When faced with incarceration after he assaults someone, Will trades his jail-time for tutelage under a math professor as well as therapy, discovering in the process that no amount of mental capacity can save him from confronting his demons, his past, and his dysfunctional relationships. With stunning performances from Matt Damon and Robin Williams, this tale of overcoming inner demons is one you don’t need to be a genius to understand.

#5: “Rudy” (1993)

Despite lacking the physical characteristics necessary to play college football, Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger will stop at nothing to play for prestigious Notre Dame University. Armed with raw determination and a desire to fulfill his dream, he ascends the obstacles placed in front of him, gets into his dream school, and pesters coach after coach until he’s able to play in a game. Rudy shows us that with a little perseverance and a lot of heart you can make your wildest dreams come true.

#4: “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

Jimmy Stewart stars in this iconic Christmas film about George Bailey, a man at the end of his rope. After contemplating suicide because of some misplaced bank money, George is visited by his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence shows him an alternate reality that demonstrates how his family and friends would be worse off without him. This Frank Capra classic invites us to ponder how we all change the world in countless small ways, and if we remember the lives we’ve touched any number of hopeless of situations can be overcome.

#3: “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006)

Starring Will Smith and his real-life son Jayden, this biopic tells the story of down-on-his-luck salesman, Chris Gardner. After investing his entire life savings in state of the art bone-density scanners and taking an unpaid internship in an attempt to climb the corporate ladder, Gardner finds his family’s financial stability falling apart, leaving him and his son homeless. Despite their dire circumstances, Gardner’s ability to stay focused on his goals, while remaining a caring and supportive parent, helps him escape his financial difficulties and is a perfect demonstration of inspired tenacity that also tugs at the heartstrings.

#2: “Dead Poets Society” (1989)

Working in a conservative New England prep school in the late-1950s, English teacher John Keating sticks out like a sore thumb. Despite the academy’s motto of discipline, Keating promotes self-expression in his students through the teaching of poetry. However, as it turns out, his rejection of the school’s traditional format not only electrifies his students’ desire to learn, but also lands him in hot water with the administration. With a powerful performance by Robin Williams in the lead role, this flick a must-see for anyone who seeks a life filled with art and critical thinking over one focused on career and money.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- “Invictus” (2009)
- “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995)
- “Coach Carter” (2005)
- “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014)
- “Hoosiers” (1986)

#1: “Pay It Forward” (2000)

After receiving an assignment from his social studies teacher encouraging him to start a project that might change the world, 11-year-old Trevor McKinney devises a plan to set off an ever-expanding network of good deeds. The idea is: every beneficiary of a random act of kindness must pay that favor forward to three other people. This network has significant consequences for Trevor’s family and helps resolve many of the problems affecting his mother’s life, which helps her regain her self-worth and leaves behind many other karmic gifts he could never have imagined.

Do you agree with our list? Which movies get you motivated to change the world? For more Entertainment and Top 10 lists published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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