Stepping Into Growth


Inspiring Movies You Need To See

Lets be honest we all love a good movie. They are a great way to relax and unwind and can be enjoyed either by yourself, with friends or with family.  It’s such an amazing feeling to become truly immersed in the story lines and characters of a movie. I am sure you have all had that feeling you get when you come out of a movie theater and you realize that you became so immersed in a movie, that  you momentarily forgot about the world around you. Or you finish a movie that was so good that it leaves a lasting impression on you in some way.

Sadly however, not all movies are made the same and it seems these days that a great majority of movies, that we have come to call “entertainment” are nothing more than over top action movies. These movies have little to no story line other than kill as many of the “bad guys” as possible, the more gruesome, the better. I have never been one for these types of movies, especially ones with over the top violence.

Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy the odd comedy and am still a sucker for big Hollywood blockbusters like the latest Star Wars movie. But the majority of the time I like to watch a movie that I can gain something from,  that teaches me something and leaves me feeling a little better or inspired in some way. Life is about learning, and I think movies are a great way to convey an important message to an audience or teach people something.

Over the years I have made it my mission to watch as many of these types of movies as possible, I eventually started making a list of all the movies I was watching and now I have decided to share this list.

Some of the movies on the list you will most likely heard of, while others you may not have heard of.  Each of these movies have left a lasting impression on me in some way and it is my hope that they can do the same for you.

So without further ado I present to you a massive list of over 60 of the most inspiring, motivating and intriguing movies I have seen to date. This is no ordinary list, only the very best have made it onto this list. So enjoy and happy watching!

P.S Most of the these movies can be found on Netflix  🙂


Newly added:

The Little Prince (2015):


I would highly recommend this movie to everyone although it is portrayed as a children’s story it has some very meaningful lessons that could only be understood from an adults perspective. I stumbled upon this movie by chance and decided to give it a go, it’s a netflix original so if you have a Netflix account and are looking for something to watch then I would highly recommend you check this movie out. I will guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Watch the trailer:


The Fundamentals of Caring (2016):


Another Netflix original that I decided that was extremely inspiring. A writer (Paul Rudd) retires after a personal tragedy and becomes a disabled teen’s caregiver. When the two embark on an impromptu road trip, their ability to cope is tested as they start to understand the importance of hope and friendship. This truly was a beautiful movie try and one that I would highly recommend.

Watch the trailer here:






Bridge of Spies (2015):

Bridge of Spies Launch One Sheet

This was an extremely inspiring movie that had me completely engaged right until the end.  It follows the true story of an American lawyer who is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy during the time of the Cold War. Given such a tense time this movie is a true testament to an amazing man who was able to able to set aside prejudice and circumstance and treat the so called enemy with the same respect and rights as any other human being. I highly recommend this movie.

Watch the trailer






1. The Way (2010)




An incredibly moving and inspiring true story of a father who heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself. This movie really left a lasting impression on me.

Watch the trailer.





2. Salmon Fishing in Yemen (2011):



This was an extremely beautiful movie, I can’t quite put my finger on why I loved it so much but something about it spoke to me.Basically it is about a fisheries expert who is approached by a consultant to help realize a Sheik’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert. I know it may sound boring to some but I urge you to give it a go. The movie helps to show that anything is possible if you truly believe in what you are doing.

Watch the trailer





3. 12 Angry Men (1957):

Poster - 12 Angry Men_03



Found this to to be an extremely compelling movie on how one man can have an affect on many and of the importance of following your own conscience even when everyone else disagrees or if all evidence says otherwise.  The movie surrounds a juror in a murder trial  who slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.





4. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962):



Yet another incredible movie that shows the importance of following ones own conscience and doing what is right even when even if you are the only one. To quote the main character of the film Aticus Finch “before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”  This movie truly is one of the greatest, it is no wonder it is top 100 movies of all time. I would highly recommend it to anyone.





5. Saving Mr Banks (2013):




A  heartwarming true story of how Mary Poppins was adapted into the well known movie. As it turns out the idea for Mary Poppins was actually based on P.L Travers (the writer) own life. It is an incredible well done movie and Tom Hanks does a fantastic job of playing Walt Disney.

Watch the trailer





6. Testament of Youth (2014):




This was truly a remarkable movie that shows that hope can be found even in the darkest of times. I would highly recommend it. It follows the life of writer Vira Brittain who wrote an autobiography of the same name following World War I

Watch the trailer





7. Seven Years In Tibet (1996):





This was an incredibly inspiring and beautiful 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.

Watch the trailer





8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011):



I found this to be an inspiring and beautifully made movie that made me fall in love with India, inspiring me to one day visit there. While I could not relate to some aspects of the movie it certainly had many important lessons in it and some great messages.  The story follows British retirees who travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

Watch the trailer




9. The Shawshank Redemption (1994):


A list of inspiring movies could never be complete without this movie, especially when it is ranked the top movie of all time on IMDB. It’s an incredible story and I am sure that most of you have seen it by now but if you haven’t then I greatly urge you to watch it. It chronicles the experiences of a formerly successful banker as a prisoner in the gloomy jailhouse of Shawshank after being found guilty of a crime he claims he did not commit. The film portrays the man’s unique way of dealing with his new, torturous life; along the way he befriends a number of fellow prisoners, most notably a wise long-term inmate named Red.

Watch the trailer




The Legend of Bagger Vance (2001):




An extremely inspiring movie that is based on the book of the same name. It is uses golf as a metaphor for life and has some pretty insightful messages. It follows a war veteran, Captain Rannulph Junah,  who reluctantly agrees to play a game of golf. He finds the game futile until his caddy, Bagger Vance, teaches him the secret of the authentic golf stroke which turns out also to be the secret to mastering any challenge.

Watch the trailer




10. Music Within (2004):





A extremely heartwarming and inspiring true story of  Richard Pimentel, a brilliant public speaker with a troubled past, who returns from Vietnam severely hearing -impaired and finds a new purpose in helping those with disabilities.

Watch the trailer





11. Soul Surfer (2011):





An incredible true story of  teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton who returns to surfing despite a shark attack, a truly inspiring movie this one.

Watch the trailer






12. Freedom Writers (2007):




This was an extremely touching and inspiring movie about a young teacher who inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.

Watch the trailer






13. The Kings Speech (2010):



This was an extremely inspiring movie based on the true story of  King George VI who has a speech impediment which causes him too stutter.  Given the advent of the radio at the time it is vitally important to he  is able to speak clearly, so his wife hires an Australian actor and speech therapist, to help him overcome his stammer. An extraordinary friendship develops between the two men, as Logue uses unconventional means to teach the monarch how to speak with confidence.

Watch the trailer




14. Rudy (1993):




I am not a sporty person and don’t usually watch sports movies.  But this movie was extremely inspiring even if you are not much of a sports fan.  I have no doubt that you will be extremely inspired but this fantastic movie which is a true story about a young man named  Rudy who since he was born aspired to play football at the University of Notre Dame despite many obstacles.

Watch the trailer





15. The Best Of Men (2012):





This was a truly beautiful and inspiring true story of how the Paralympics came to be.  It follows the the pioneering work of Dr Ludwig Guttmann  and his work with paraplegic patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.






16. Life Is Beautiful (1997):



This truly would be one of the most beautiful movies I have seen to date. Even though the film is foreign and is spoken in Italian and German the entire way,  I had no trouble following the story line and becoming engrossed in this incredible movie.The movie follows an Jewish librarian and his son  who become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Watch the trailer





17. Into the White (2012):




Based on an incredible true story from World War II. The movie follows a group of British and German soldiers who find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to survive the winter is to place the rules of war aside.

Watch the trailer





18. Unconditional (2012):




A tragic yet truly inspiring and heartwarming film. The story follows a woman whose idyllic life is shattered when her husband is killed in a senseless act of violence. As she prepares to take matters into her own hands, two unexpected encounters begin to change everything.

Watch the trailer





19. Life of a King (2013):





Yet another great movie inspired by a true story.  The movie follows an ex con  who is determined to help at-risk youths avoid the mistakes he made, forms a chess club to offer them an alternative to running with street gangs.

Watch the trailer





20. We Bought a Zoo (2011):




Following his wife’s untimely death, Los Angeles journalist Benjamin Mee decides to make a fresh start by quitting his job and moving his children to an 18-acre property containing the Rosemoor Wildlife Park.  This was a truly beautiful and touching film.

Watch the trailer






21. Mandela Long Walk to Freedom (2013):




I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in the life of Mandela, I never realized there was so much more to his story than I previously thought. He truly was an incredible man and this movie was a fantastic testament to his life and his incredible transformation into the peaceful and loving leader he ultimately became to be known for.

Watch the trailer





22. McFarland USA (2015):




Again I am not normally one for sports movies but this one was extremely inspiring and what’s more is that it’s a true story. The story follows coach and teacher named Jim White who is forced to move to one of the poorest cities in America: McFarland, California. There he discovers buried potential in several high school boys and slowly turns them into championship runners and brings them closer than even he could ever imagine.

Watch the trailer




23. That’s What I Am (2011):




Follows the story of a boy  who learns about appearances, tolerance and other concepts when his teacher pairs him with a misfit student to work on a class project.

Watch the trailer






24. The Emperors Club (2002):




An extremely inspiring movie that shows just how much impact one person can have on someones life.  It follows the story of a an idealistic school teacher at a prestigious all boys school who attempts to redeem an incorrigible student.

Watch the trailer






25. If I had Wings (2013):



A slightly lower budget film with some somewhat average acting at times, but the message of the movie is still very strong. The story follows a young man named  Alex who dreams of running on his high school cross country track team but  believes its out of reach due to his blindness. He finds an unlikely training partner, a troubled youth who makes a deal to help Alex to stay out of jail.

Watch the trailer





26. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005):





This was an extremely touching and inspiring film about a young man who aspires to play in the U.S Open despite his upbringing and upper class prejudice.

Watch the trailer





27. Healing (2012):




An incredible true story about a man who after serving a 16 year sentence is sent to low security pre-release prison, where he forms a bond with an injured game bird.

Watch the trailer




28. Peaceful Warrior (2006):



Dan Millman is a gifted athlete whose desire for success drives everything he does. When a mysterious stranger opens Dan’s eyes to a new vision of strength and understanding, the Olympic hopeful finds that he still has much to learn and more sacrifices to make.




29. October Sky (1999):





An extremely inspiring true story about a young man named Homer Hickman, who grew up in a coal mining town where just about all the men once leaving school were forced to work in the mines, including homer. However after seeing the first Sputnik launch, he is inspired to take up rocketry against his father’s will.

Watch the trailer




30. Into The Wild (2007):




An incredible true story of young man who after graduating from University as a top student and athlete, realizes he doesn’t  want the so called “normal life” and decides to leave home, sell his car, give his entire life savings to charity and begin a journey to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

Watch the trailer






31. Good Will Hunting (1997):



This is an extremely inspiring movie, with what I think is some of the best acting from Matt Damon and Robin Williams. Basically it is about an extremely intelligent young man who has no ambitions to do anything with his life  and is working as a Janitor at MIT, one day when no one is around, he answers an equation that the teacher had set up to be almost impossible. Once the teacher finds out, he endeavors to convince the young man to pursue his talent, by convincing him to see a therapist to help sort his life out.

Watch the trailer




32. Dead Poets Society (1989):




I truly fell in love with this movie, and I think you will too if you watch it. It’s about a teacher at an all boys boarding school who teaches his students to love poetry and to seize the day. It’s a extremely profound movie showing just how much impact people can have on our lives.

Watch the trailer






33. The Book Thief (2013):




This was a beautiful, emotional and inspiring ride, I still remember being speechless when the movie was over. Basically it is story about a young girl named Liesel who finds solace in stealing books and giving them to others during the horrors World War II Germany.

Watch the trailer





34. The Railway Man (2013):





This would have to be one of the most touching movies I have  ever seen. It follows the true story of a former British Army officer, who was tormented as a prisoner of war during world war II, discovers that the man responsible for his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him.

Watch the trailer





35. Finding Neverland (2003):




An amazing and heartwarming true story of J.M Barrie and his friendship  with a family which inspired him to create the well known classic play Peter Pan.

Watch the trailer






36. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009): 




A true story of the deep bond between a college professor and an abandoned dog he takes into his home after finding it at a train station. This movie truly shows the tremendously deep bond that humans and dogs can have with one another, it will make you want to hug your dog when it’s over that is for sure.






37. Awakenings (1990):




An absolutely beautiful true story about victims of the encephalitis epidemic who had been in a catatonic state for most of their lives, suddenly have the ability to walk, talk and move freely again, thanks to a new trial drug.

Watch the trailer






38. Short Term 12 (2013):




This is such an amazing movie on so many levels,  something about it just really spoke to me. It’s about a home run for troubled and orphaned teenagers, and the turmoils and triumphs they encounter along the way.

Watch the trailer






39. Reign over me (2007):



This is about the only serious role I have ever seen Adam Sandler do, and if you not a fan of Adam Sandler I urge you to still give this movie a chance, you won’t regret it. It’s heart-warming and sometimes heart-breaking story of a man who lost his family during September 11 and a college rooms mate who runs into him one-day. The rekindling of their friendship seems to be the only thing that is able to help him try and recover from his grief.

Watch the trailer






40. Seven Pounds (2008):



A man with a terrible secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by drastically changing seven strangers lives.

Watch the trailer








41. The impossible (2012):




An extremely powerful and inspiring true true story about victims of the boxing day tsunami, this movie truly is a testament to the human spirit. 

Watch the trailer







42. A Beautiful Mind (2001):




A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

Watch the trailer







43. The Truman Show (1998):




A fantastic comedy with a deeper underlying meaning. The basic premise of the movie is about a insurance salesmen who discovers his entire life is a TV show.

Watch the trailer







44. Dallus Buyer Club ( 2013):




A true story set in 1985 Dallas of a man named Ron Woodroof  a drug addict and alcoholic who  doesn’t care about anyone but himself, that is until he is diagnosed with AIDS, which changes his life forever.

Watch the trailer







45. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: (2013):



A very inspiring movie about a man who has done nothing with his life, and so to escape from the mundanities s of his life, day dreams of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and adventure. But when his Job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he decides to take action in the real world and embark on a global adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.

Watch the trailer






46. Cloud Atlas (2012):




This movie is beyond words. It is a phenomenal story of souls meeting again and again in different lives and times, it is a pretty long movie as you might expect but it is well and truly worth the watch.

Watch the trailer







47. 12 Years a Slave (2013):




An absolutely incredible true of a free black man who was living in New York, and was abducted and sold into slavery. This movie really is amazing.

Watch the trailer








48. Another Earth (2013):          




As far as original and unique movies go this would have to top the list. It is an independent science fiction drama about a duplicate earth suddenly appearing over night in the sky and the meeting of a young student and composer who cross paths after a tragic accident.

Watch the trailer






49. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004):



This is a really nice comedy/drama with a deeper meaning. Basically a couple’s relationship goes sour and they both find out about some new technology that can erase certain memories, so they both opt to remove all memories of one another and go about their lives as though they never met.  But years later they somehow find one another,  by what seems to be chance, but it turns out to be much more than that.

Watch the trailer






50. Gandhi (1982):




We have all heard of Gandhi but most of us don’t know his incredible story and how  truly amazing of a he person he really was. I would now put this down of one of the greatest films I have seen, there is no denying Gandhi was one of the most inspiring men of all of history.  I was deeply touched by this movie, and I know you will be too. Everyone can learn something from what this man was able to achieve using only love.






51. Patch Adams (1998):



This would probably be one of, if not the most most beautiful and heartwarming movies I have ever seen.  It is based on a true story of a man who studying  at medical school to become a doctor, treats patients with humor and kindness, treating each person he meets as the person they are, instead of just seeing them as another ‘patient’ to treat. It is an extremely moving film that reinforced even further for me, that there really isn’t anything more important or rewarding than helping others.

Watch the trailer





52. August Rush (2007)




This is an absolutely beautiful movie about young orphan who uses music to reunite with his parents, this is a movie that just about anyone would love.

Watch the trailer






53. The Thin Red Line (1998):



This would have to be one of the deepest war movies I have ever seen to date, I am not one to usually watch war movies but unlike many war movies which usually show the ‘heroes’ and the ‘Villains’, this one showed the true nature and cost of war,  depicting the war from both sides, and how both lose something.

Watch the trailer







54. The Kite Runner (2007)





This would have to go down as one of my most favorite movies. It is a truly beautiful story redemption and friendship.


Watch the trailer




55. Interstellar (2014)



This would have to best space movies I have seen to date.  Christopher Nolan has a way of just being able to take you to another world. I would say that this would have to be one of the most profound movies I have ever seen, left me thinking about it long after the movie was over. I would highly recommend everyone see it.

Watch the trailer








56. Intouchables (2011)

The Intouchables



This is an absolutely beautiful movie that shows that the most unlikely of people can become best friends, and just how much another person can have a dramatic affect on our lives. It is a foreign film so much of the film is subtitled but you do eventually get used to it and the story is so strong that it doesn’t matter in the end.

Watch the trailer






57. The Giver (2014)




Set in a dystopian future where all differences have been eradicated, pain has been removed and the ability to see colour has been taken away, in order to create a peaceful society.  A young man however begins to question the world he is living in.

Watch the trailer





58. I Origins (2014)




An extremely profound movie that will leave you thinking about it well after it is finished. I don’t want to reveal too much,  the basic premise of the film is about a molecular biologist who begins to find evidence that defies scientific reason.

 Watch the trailer






59. The Elephant Man (1980)





The true story about a man who was born extremely disfigured, however beneath the disfigurement is a man of intelligence and sensitivity.






60. Schindler’s List (1993)



I can safely say that this is one of the most inspiring movies I have ever seen. It is based on the incredible true story of Oskar Schindler a German Businessman who gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis. If you have never seen this movie please take the time to watch this movie, it can be hard to watch at times but the overall story is just incredible.

Watch the trailer





And there you have it! I hope you were able to find something on this list and if you have any movie suggestions that you believe deserve to be on this list please comment below and I will take the time to view them and decide whether they deserve to be on this list 🙂

7 Comments Inspiring Movies You Need To See

  1. Steve

    Great list of movies. I’ve watched half of these and I’ll check out the other movies when I get a chance. If I were to make a similar list of movies that had a profound effect on my thinking, I would add:
    Little miss Sunshine
    Lost in Translation
    Up in the air
    Metro Manila

    1. Isaac Blencowe

      Thanks for the comment Steve I will certainly check these movies out and add them if I think they fit the list 🙂

  2. Ramon Thomas

    This is a great list. I will certainly add the ones I have not seen to my Watchlist on IMDB. Maybe you can feature them in a weekly blog with a longer post on why you love them so much, adding in the trailer video. Good luck with your new blog

    1. Isaac Blencowe

      Hey Ramon,

      Thanks for the comment! I have actually already added a link to each movies trailer already 🙂 I previously thought about adding the trailers into the post but it was causing a lot of issues so I just provided links to the trailers instead.

  3. Norma_Cenva

    A great list for sure. Am a bit surprised you did not include Darren Aronofsky’s (2006) “The Fountain” but do hope it will show up in later lists/posts. Keep up the great work!

  4. bobloblaw

    Wonderful list. I am not a fan of people who say things like, “wish this movie made the list”, but that is exactly what I am doing right now :/

    “Motorcycle Diaries” is an incredibly inspiring movie in my opinion. And I feel it could be a great addition to your list.

    Anyway, I have to now go and watch Into The Wild again, not that I am complaining 🙂


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