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30 Best Motivational Movies To Lift You Up

Written By Sushma Singh

Today’s generation has grown up with the internet, technology and social media. These things have had a positive impact on the world but they have also made people less social and emotionally tired. The day to day life and race to success has made many people dejected. Humans have always looked towards art to get inspired and motivated and young people of today are no different. There are many wonderful movies that will make you feel motivated and change your mood. In this article, we are covering some of the best motivational movies for you to watch. We also have a list of the best motivational movies on Netflix as it is the most famous platform for movie watchers.

30 Best Motivational Movies To Lift You Up

Watching a movie is a wonderful experience. You switch off from the outside world and enter the lives of the characters. Movies can have a great impact and can change the way we live. They show us that anything is possible and that in the end, all is not lost and there is hope. The movies given below are some of the finest and have motivated many over the years.

1. The Theory of Everything

One of the best motivational movies in Hollywood is based on one of the most motivated people in the history of the world, Stephen Hawking. The movie gives an account of the life of one of the greatest physicists to ever live who at the age of 21 was told that he only had 2 years to live. He would go on to suffer so badly that he would not be able to walk, swallow or breathe but that didn’t stop him from doing what he loved, making great discoveries in the world of science and writing his name in the golden book of human history. Eddie Redmayne playing the role of Stephen Hawking seems to be the case of perfect casting for me.

2. Dead Poets Society

No list of motivational stuff is complete without a teacher-student bond being a part of it and this list has it early on. This is the story of an English teacher and his students. The teacher wants his students never to give up and to seize the day no matter what the circumstance is. If it comes to it then break the societal norms, that is the kind of lesson these kids are receiving, and while it makes us wonder why we didn’t have a teacher like this it surely does more than that and motivates you to be the change that you wish to see.

3. October Sky

There is surely got to be one parent-child conflict in any list of motivational stuff as well. This story is of NASA astronaut, Homer H. Hickam Jr. Being a coal miner’s son surely had its own set of hurdles, and on top of that your father standing in your way only increases the problem but that didn’t stop Homer from achieving his dreams. The launch of Sputnik 1 inspired him and today his story motivates many around the globe to pursue their dreams no matter what. If you love space as I do then you know which movie you should watch next.

4. Good Will Hunting

Ever feel like you are made for more than what the world thinks of you or that you are secretly much more capable but can’t show it to others? In that case, this is the movie that you absolutely should watch. This is the story of a janitor working at MIT who is smarter than a few students at his workplace. In fact, he goes on to solve the toughest math equation in history as a joke. This gets him the town’s attention and his own self-doubting as to how he could be that smart.

The movie not only motivates you but backs you to believe in yourself and who knows what you might end up being capable of, like this movie that was initially a project as well. I think this could be the movie that can bring you back on track if you feel out of place.

5. Whiplash

A very talented friend of mine who is a guitarist said that Whiplash was his favorite movie. I guess this is where I should have known that his great movie must be because just like his own journey the movie is based on the life of a 19-year-old kid hellbent on being the best jazz drummer in the world. And he more than anyone else knows how much hard work goes into stuff like this, and you cannot give up and continuously need to push the boundaries set to become the greatest. If you are pursuing a career in music then you surely need to watch this one for motivation.

6. The Man Who Knew Infinity

Some of the greats of the world have emerged from India and they are spread in almost every field. One such great, Srinivas Ramanujan, a mathematician who taught it to himself is the subject of this film. A book has also been written on the same subject. This movie teaches you a lot of lessons and motivates you to strive for things that you want. Talent and hard work are okay but also being alert and open to the right opportunities in life and grabbing them at the right time are important and that is what you learn from this movie.

7. The Social Network

Sometimes the way to success comes at a personal cost of betrayal and this one is one of them. The film follows the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. We all know about the story of Facebook but we didn’t back then and it is thanks to this movie that we know what we know. It is one of the best motivational movies on Netflix and we can all agree on why. The movie shows what elements like friendship, jealousy, class, power, etc. can do to people and how some people won’t stop at anything to achieve what they wish for.

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8. The Imitation Game

We return to having a motivational movie based on the life of a real person. This one talks about Alan Turing, his life and his work. Alan was a code breaker, mathematician, and early computer scientist. Alan came in handy to the British government during World War II when he decrypted German intelligence messages for them. Who can think of a man being so ahead of his time that he was doing what others could only think of at that time? The movie surely should motivate any of us to push behind the boundaries and strive for more than we think we are capable of.

9. Legally Blonde

Not many would have thought that they would see the name Legally Blonde on a list of movies like this. Sometimes our intentions might not be the right ones but they can still work wonders for us if the destination is and that is what this movie teaches us. The story follows the life of a girl who wants to win her ex-boyfriend back, who dumps her for a smarter girl. In trying to win him back she enrolls in Harvard Law School and ends up becoming a successful lawyer. If you need some motivation to succeed in life then maybe you don’t need heartbreak but need to watch this movie.

10. The Blind Side

A list of motivational movies is incomplete without a sports movie on it albeit one based on the life of a real person. The movie is based on the life of Michael Oher, an American football player who played in the NFL after being raised by his adoptive parents. There is also a book written on the same subject and it goes on to tell how motivational a story this was to be adopted in multiple formats.

11. 42

We now switch from rugby to baseball as we shift our focus to Jackie Robinson. It is the story of the first black person who played in Major League Baseball, so you know what the big deal is about. It is a true story of motivation when you come to know that a black man had to go against all the odds to become a sports player. Such was his impact on the sport that all the teams in MLB retired the number 42 worn by him. Again, this a must-watch for aspiring sports people out there who feel the world is against them and how you can overcome it too.

12. The Shawshank Redemption

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman should alone make a good case for this movie. When I watched this movie I knew what the plot was and yet somehow didn’t see what was coming. That is how great the movie is and it keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. It also meets the criteria for being one of the best motivational movies which you will know once you have watched this movie. If life has knocked you down and you wish to get back up then this might be the movie to help you do so.

13. Forrest Gump

Sometimes you watch a movie and feel for the characters in it and that is how you know that the movie has worked its wonders in making you fall for a fictional character. This movie did that to me, the story and the lead character both had me feeling bad in general but boy was the movie motivating. You see Tom Hanks’s character keeping going throughout the movie no matter what challenge is thrown at him and that is all you can think of.

14. The Pursuit of Happiness

If you want to watch a movie that will touch your heart then there might be very few movies that compete with this one. A man almost down and out tries to find work and raise a child together and that is what makes you feel bad for Will Smith’s character in the movie. However, this film is based on the life of a real person and that is all the reason I need to be interested in a film.

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15. Life of Pi

I don’t know why I was reluctant to watch this movie but I feel good that I did end up watching it which is why I am suggesting you watch it as well. Most of us would have lost the battle before we even begin it when the challenge includes surviving an ocean and a few wild animals on a small boat. The movie might seem fictional but that does not take away credit from it for being one of the best motivational movies Hollywood has to offer. I can only say that you are missing out on some quality content if you haven’t watched this one yet.

Best Motivational Movies on Netflix

Netflix is the biggest streaming service out there. It has brought the magic of movies into our living rooms. You can any kind of movie on Netflix and of course, they have many which are motivational. Some of the best motivational movies on Netflix are mentioned below.

1. Moonlight

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In the very first place, a movie on the subject of homosexuality that too of a black person in itself is a good start as to why this movie is on this list. When a kid grows from a child to become an adult he or she goes through a lot of change and is faced with a lot of choices. Introduce the problems of understanding one’s sexuality and finding their identity and you know how difficult it gets for anyone. To that add physical and emotional abuse and you will know how much more difficult it gets to pick oneself up and keep moving ahead. It is one of the best motivational movies on Netflix.

2. Julie and Julia

Having a motivational story based on the life of one real person is astonishing now make it two and our minds are blown. The story is based on Julie Child and Julia Powell of which the former is a cooking teacher who had a book of 524 dishes published and the latter is an author whose aim is to make all those dishes within a year. It had to be on this list of best motivational movies on Netflix and you can see why. The star cast is great and so is the movie. It was also the first motion picture to be based on a blog and shows the motivation that you need to have to commit to a challenge.

3. Miracle

You can’t keep a sports movie away from this list for long. Miracle is the story of the United States men’s ice hockey team who won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 1980 against Soviet Union who were the favorites. Back then this feat was indeed termed a miracle on the ice which is what makes the movie motivational other than also being realistic.

4. Silver Linings Playbook

The motivation factor in this movie is not an out and visible but instead a subtle feature in the background. The story is about a man with bipolar disorder who is discharged from a psychiatric hospital. He is now determined to reconvene with his estranged wife a task in which he is to be helped by a young widow. To win his wife back he has to train and take part in a dance competition with the widow, with whom he later falls in love. Nope, it is not all romance and drama, the widow and the lead actor are both going through their personal problems which they overcome to get their happy ending and that right there is your motivation factor.

5. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The best motivational movies Hollywood has produced include The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The film is based on a book which is written in the life of William Kamkwamba. When you are starting in the face of adversity you either rise to the challenge or break down amidst it and what you do decides if you will end up being remembered by history or will be forgotten.

When his village faced riots and droughts hopes seemed to be dying for everyone before William decided that this is not how it will end for him and his village and went ahead and found a way for his community to self-sustain. It’s not his win that is motivating but rather the fight that he put up with the natural order of things. This movie deserves a spot on the list of best motivational movies on Netflix.

6. Spotlight

Sometimes a movie does not give you motivation but you have to find it for yourself in it. That is the case with this movie where an investigating newspaper unit goes out of its way to uncover a dark truth and bring it out in the public domain. The film did great, the actors were great and the team behind the film was great and all of them received awards for their work. However, what’s the most important thing to know about the film is that it is based on a secret that was never supposed to be out which makes it more watch-worthy and motivating in the sense that when you can do the right thing don’t leave it up to chance.

7. Lion

The film is based on Saroo Brierley who wrote a book on his story. Saroo as a 5-year-old kid got separated from his family and this is when he was adopted by an Australian couple. After those years the hidden motivation of Saroo came to the forefront when he decided 25 years after separation from his real parents to go and find them.

He could have moved on, life had given him a second chance but that is not how all stories work especially in reality. He had other plans for himself and his motivation forced him to go out and look for real parents and that is what he did. Never giving up is an option that you choose and this movie teaches us that. It is the reason why it belongs on this list of best motivational movies on Netflix.

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8. The Truman Show

It is movies like this that make a strong case for being one of the best motivational movies on Netflix and I can vouch for this one from my experience. A movie concept that is so good that it felt so real and life-like even after being fictional. This movie follows the life of a person stuck in an artificial world built around him. He always felt something was fishy and never gave up on his instinct until one day he was sure of it. Now he is faced with the choice of living this fake life that he has known all his life and is very familiar with or quitting it after facing his worst fears.

Most of you would have settled for the easy and same old but his motivation to go out in the real world leaving behind all comfort triumphed and that is the sort of motivation and drive we should all aspire to have.

9. Seven Pounds

When it’s Will Smith who headlines the cast list of a film there is a good chance that it will have something nice to offer to the audience. This film of his offers motivation to the people. We have all been taught that helping others is a good deed and it is something that all of us should not only preach but do as well and that is exactly what Will Smith does in the film. His character makes it a point to change the lives of seven people. If you are looking for one of the best motivational movies on Netflix, then check this one out.

10. Into the Wild

The movie is based on the life of Christopher McCandless, a person who chose to live a nomadic life. Before the film came out his story was also adapted into a book. This is about a man/adult who gave up all his possessions and decided that he will move around America by hitchhiking. On his journey, he faced situations that changed him as a person before he eventually died in 1992.

The motivation factor in the film is following the path you choose for yourself and not caring what others might think of it. Have something in mind? Go ahead and get it done. If something is stopping you from leaving your comfort zone and succeeding in life then I suggest you watch this movie to get the right kind of motivation.

11. 4 Minutes

Last on the list of best motivational movies, this one is a must-watch. This is the story of a disturbed piano girl who finds herself in jail for murder. The hero of her story is an elderly piano teacher who teaches her and other imprisoned people piano. She discovers the natural talent possessed by the young girl and takes it upon herself to hone her skills.

What can be more motivating than seeing a jailed person find purpose or rather some positive talent in themselves and finding someone capable to place their trust in them and help them up? I would suggest if you are comfortable watching a movie from another language then this should be one of those on your list.

12. Schindler’s List

History enthusiasts this one is for you. Movies on the best motivational movies list don’t get much better than this historical movie. To add to the excitement the film is based on the life of a real person which makes it even more interesting to watch at least for me. If you have studied Hitler and Jews and want a visual representation of how bad it was then this movie might be the one to watch.

13. Hotel Rwanda

Once my professor mentioned this movie during a lecture of ours and since then this one has been on my radar. Based on a real piece of history is the factor that plays well for me and should for you too as well. Just like its predecessor, the movie is based on saving the lives of refugees and takes place in the African nation of Rwanda. The movie is sure to be high on suspense and thrill factor which should be a good thing for viewers of the genre. You should watch the movie next if you haven’t already.

14. Marriage Story

If Scarlett Johansson is in a movie then you should stop looking for any more reasons to watch it and get right to it. The movie is based on a divorce story instead of a love story which is a breath of fresh air from all the common clutter. Also, the cast is amazing and I hear the movie got good reviews so what is the harm in watching a movie of this kind? Moreover, the movie also serves you with the motivation that you might be lacking and so it is a win-win situation.

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15. The Karate Kid

I doubt I would find someone who would have not watched this gem of a film. The story is about a kid and his journey to becoming a top karate kid as the name suggests. This movie is a classic tale of overcoming adversity which in the movie is shown in the form of bullying. It shows that with hard work and dedication you can master anything. The movie is easily one of the best motivational movies on Netflix and hence on this list as well. If you still haven’t watched this one then you probably should do so quickly.

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