Most Inspiring Movies Of All Time

I know, that's a catchy name and now that I have your attention, please take a moment to go through the list.

This list should be seen as a non-exhaustive work in progress. More movies are added in due time. If you have suggestions or criticism, please use the comment section. I would kindly ask for a mild-mannered discussion though.

An inspiring movie to me is a movie where someone has to overcome adversity/hardship and makes the best of life.
During this process they may also make you feel very uncomfortable by forcing you to choose as well.

My ranking should not be seen as judgement based on quality, but which movies came to mind first.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young and truth seeking boy travels to an isolated lake, where an old Buddhist master lives on a small floating temple. (103 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
“ Not a very known movie, unfortunately, but one of the most profound movies I have ever seen in my life. When I recommend this movie to others, I always half jokingly say the dialog fits on one piece of paper, which is actually true. This movie does not need many words to reveal a part of human nature and the human struggle in each and everyone of us. ” - matrixus-1
 
2.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (142 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
“ I remember my uncle telling me about how this was supposed to be the best movie of all time, back in the 90's and to be quite honest, I was, and still am, a bit sceptic when something is claimed to be the "best", which is ironic considering this list ;-) After watching it though I must say it is a masterpiece and definitely worth the accolades it received. Great performances all around. ” - matrixus-1
 
3.
Lorenzo's Oil (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A boy develops a disease so rare that nobody is working on a cure, so his father decides to learn all about it and tackle the problem himself. (129 mins.)
Director: George Miller
“ I watched this when I was a measly 10 years old and it left a great impression in me, as well as shedding many tears. The struggle and hardship these parents had to go through is almost beyond comprehension. ” - matrixus-1
 
4.
Ray (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s. (152 mins.)
Director: Taylor Hackford
“ Besides just being one of the greatest musicians of our time, Ray was also a great person and this movie highlights the cornerstones of his life, learning to deal with his blindness. ” - matrixus-1
 
5.
The Kite Runner (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble. (128 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
 
6.
Schindler's List (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. (195 mins.)
“ Perhaps the epitome of an inspirational movie. One of Spielberg's finest movies in my opinion. ” - matrixus-1
 
7.
Patch Adams (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The true story of a heroic man, Hunter Patch Adams, determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. He ventured where no doctor had ventured before, using humour and pathos. (115 mins.)
Director: Tom Shadyac
 
8.
Philadelphia (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit. (125 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
“ Let me set the scene: Just two years after the legendary Freddy Mercury was consumed by an illness thought to be the doom of humanity, Philadelphia portrays the gut-wrenching life of Andrew Beckett suffering from the same disease, deciding to fight against the establishment and clichés accompanying AIDS. This movie not only came at the right time, it was also perhaps one of Tom Hanks best performances. ” - matrixus-1
 
9.
Pay It Forward (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance. (123 mins.)
Director: Mimi Leder
 
10.
The Intouchables (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver. (112 mins.)
 
11.
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
While not intelligent, Forrest Gump has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ Another stellar performance by Tom Hanks. He manages to bestow dignity to an oftentimes ridiculed character, and makes us question the meaning of happiness. Forrest Gump is hilarious at times, but the movie never forgets to hint at the zen-like state one can achieve when concentrating on the important issues, not overcomplicating things, regardless of intellect. ” - matrixus-1
 
12.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional career. (117 mins.)
 
13.
Seven Pounds (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A man with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers. (123 mins.)
 
14.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed. (112 mins.)
Director: Julian Schnabel
 
15.
The Bucket List (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. (97 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
 
16.
Billy Elliot (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family. (110 mins.)
Director: Stephen Daldry
 
17.
The Pianist (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. (150 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
18.
V for Vendetta (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman. (132 mins.)
Director: James McTeigue
“ Perhaps an unlikely movie to be added to this list, but it has a very powerful message to stand up against authoritarian governments. ” - matrixus-1
 
19.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. (126 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
 
20.
Cast Away (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island. (143 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
21.
The Terminal (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An eastern immigrant finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there. (128 mins.)
 
22.
Lincoln (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
As the War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. (150 mins.)
 
23.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
 
24.
Finding Neverland (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of J.M. Barrie's friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan. (106 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
 
25.
United 93 (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A real-time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot. (111 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
“ In light of how relatively recent the events depicted in this movie occured, this is a very haunting and yet inspiring film. ” - matrixus-1
 
26.
Hunger (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike. (96 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
 
27.
Milk (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official. (128 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
 
28.
Everything Is Illuminated (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of an eccentric local. (106 mins.)
Director: Liev Schreiber
“ Again, at first glance you might say this is an unlikely candidate, but the writing, acting and feel of the movie was just inspiring. This one might be the odd one out from the other ones, but might be worth a look.

What struck me most was how Liev Schreiber not only co-wrote the script, but also directed it, which is amazing if you were solely judging him based on Scream. ” - matrixus-1
 
29.
The Soloist (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A Los Angeles journalist befriends a homeless Juilliard-trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper. (117 mins.)
Director: Joe Wright
“ An underrated movie in my opinion. Both Downey and Foxx excel here. ” - matrixus-1
 
30.
Pirate Radio (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A band of rogue DJs that captivated Britain, playing the music that defined a generation and standing up to a government that wanted classical music, and nothing else, on the airwaves. (135 mins.)
Director: Richard Curtis
“ Another movie highlighting the importance of music and how we as a people need to overcome the powers that be. ” - matrixus-1
 
31.
Hook (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy. (142 mins.)
“ A wonderful movie for the entire family, which also exemplifies the adult's desire to reclaim youthfulness. ” - matrixus-1
 
32.
The Way Back (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India. (133 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
 
33.
Gridiron Gang (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Teenagers at a juvenile detention center, under the leadership of their counselor, gain self-esteem by playing football together. (125 mins.)
Director: Phil Joanou
 
34.
American Violet (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A single mother struggles to clear her name after being wrongly accused and arrested for dealing drugs in an impoverished town in Texas. (103 mins.)
Director: Tim Disney
 
35.
The Help (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. (146 mins.)
Director: Tate Taylor
 
36.
My Father and My Son (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The family of a left-wing journalist is torn apart after a military coup in 1980's Turkey. (108 mins.)
Director: Çagan Irmak
“ This is the movie that actually caused me to register an account on IMDb, simply because I had to give this movie the rating it deserved. Not sure what happened to the votes in the mean time, but this is an amazing movie about the relationship between three generations of men in Turkey. A boy, his father, and the grandfather (from the boy's perspective) and each generations problems in dealing with the other.
A very inspiring and heart-warming story altogether. ” - matrixus-1
 
37.
The Last Emperor (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The story of the final Emperor of China. (163 mins.)
 
38.
Defiance (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants. (137 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
39.
The Great Debaters (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. (126 mins.)
 
40.
Remember the Titans (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit. (113 mins.)
Director: Boaz Yakin
 
41.
The Blind Side (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. (129 mins.)
 
42.
Field of Dreams (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come. (107 mins.)
 
43.
Rudy (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame. (114 mins.)
Director: David Anspaugh
 
44.
50/50 (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (100 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Levine
 
45.
Life as a House (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father. (125 mins.)
Director: Irwin Winkler
 
46.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China's takeover of Tibet. (136 mins.)
 
47.
Rain Man (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country. (133 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
 
48.
What Dreams May Come (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After he dies in a car crash, a man searches heaven and hell for his beloved wife. (113 mins.)
Director: Vincent Ward