10A League of Their Own (1992)
Our top 10 inspirational movies list begins with baseball. As America’s stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up in the Midwest to fill the void. Competitive sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty) spar with each other and scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) and grumpy has-been coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) do the same.
9An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
#9 on our list of top 10 inspirational movies is An Officer and a Gentleman. Even guys will get misty-eyed at the storybook ending to this great film. Zack Mayo (Richard Gere), a new member of the U.S. Navy, has a bad attitude. When he signs up for the Aviation Academy he is met with the strict leadership of Sgt. Emil Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.), who lets Zack know immediately naval pilot training will not be easy. Through Foley’s guidance, and an unexpected romance with Paula (Debra Winger), Zack learns some tough lessons and discovers what he truly wants out of life.
8Norma Rae (1979)
Sally Field has embodied many roles, but none are as moving as this audience favorite. Like a lot of her family before her, Norma Rae (Sally Field) works at the local textile mill. The pay is hardly commensurate with the long hours and crappy conditions. But after hearing a rousing speech by labor activist Reuben (Ron Leibman), Norma is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism. Her decision rankles her family, her fiancé, Sonny (Beau Bridges), and provokes contempt from her employers.
7The Miracle Worker (1962)
#7 on our list of top 10 inspirational movies is the story of Hellen Keller. A timeless tribute to the phenomenon that was Hellen Keller. Blind and deaf after suffering a terrible fever as a baby, young Helen Keller (Patty Duke) has spent years unable to communicate, leaving her frustrated and occasionally violent. As a last chance before she is institutionalized, her parents (Inga Swenson, Andrew Prine) contact a school for the blind, which sends half-blind Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) to teach Helen. Helen is initially resistant, but Annie gradually forms a bond with her and shows Helen ways of reaching others.
6Good Will Hunting (1997)
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams).
At the halfway mark on our top 10 inspirational movies list is Glory. The cast of Washington, Freeman, Broderick and more bring the civil war to life. Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is offered command of the United States’ first all-African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip (Denzel Washington) and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman). The unit is limited to menial tasks at first, but the 54th regiment earns its place on the battlefield and the history books.
4The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murdering his wife and her lover. However, only Andy knows he didn’t commit the crimes. A friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman) helps him cope with the brutality of prison life. There is light at the end tunnel however, as the movie’s ending is priceless.
We’re getting closer…#3 on our top 10 inspirational movies list is Rocky. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). While training with feisty former bantamweight contender Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), Rocky begins a relationship with Adrian (Talia Shire), the wallflower sister of his meat-packer pal Paulie (Burt Young).
2It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
#2 on our top 10 inspirational movies list is a Christmas classic. No matter how many times you watch the story of George Bailey (James Stewart), this top 10 inspirational movie will bring you to tears. George’s wish of never being born–due in part to his forced dealings with crooked businessman Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore)–is fulfilled by angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), but Mr. Bailey soon realizes how many lives he impacts. In short, Clarence does a fine job of earning his wings.
1The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
To say Will Smith has made a lot of hit movies is a gross understatement. Certainly one of his most inspirational is The Pursuit of Happyness. It is the ultimate rags to riches tale based on a true story about Chris Gardner (Smith) as he struggles to create a halfway decent life for himself and his young son after his wife leaves him. Sleeping on trains, bathroom floors, and homeless shelters created the motivation in him to do more. A chance encounter with a successful stock broker put Gardner on a path to riches and “happyness”.