We can't be at our best all the time, something brings us down and we need a bit of a help to climb back. Thankfully, these movies will help with that, while at the same time being a great entertainment on their own.
This is no doubt on top of every inspirational movie chart and for a good reason. Rocky Balboa, a small time boxer, gets a one in a lifetime opportunity to face off against the heavy weight champion. He sets up his goal and works his hardest to achieve it, and while we keep watching inspirational montages(with one of the best themes ever) the characters are revealed to us, their depth making painting them as realistic human beings we can feel close to. There are no villains here, just you and what you aspire to be. The sequels are not bad but the original will remain as a classic.
The Karate Kid
Another oldie but goodie, The Karate Kid is relevant even today. The teenage years are a mess. We don't know what we want to be, what we want to do. Our hormones are raging and some of us fall on the wrong path. Bullying is prevalent, but is it possible for it to be used as a motivator? Sure, why not, train your ass off and show the world you are someone not to be messed with. Do something with your life instead of crying in the corner. The characters may be a bit off sometimes and the sequels are genuinely bad, however the original Karate Kid(and partly its remake) will teach you a thing or two.
Good Will Hunting
Some people love it, some people hate it. It takes a major negative point for the unrealistic genius of its main characters but once we look deeper, there is so much more to see. Said genius actively denies his gift and instead lives an unfulfilling life, until someone finally breaks his shell(not a girl this time). The dynamics and growing respect between the leads are astounding, they fills us with emotion and bring home the point that yes, life is unfair, but we must keep going and trying to improve it. Don't give up, there are many years ahead of you.
Freedom! Yes, Mel Gibson is not what he used to be and yes, the film is historically inaccurate, but these points aside it is very inspirational. As long as you enjoy a good deal of medieval violence. It is one of the most powerful war movies, where the men are manly, the cause is just and the villains are asking for it. One part entertainment, one part never give up motivation and one part yelling while charging the enemy. The history be damned.
The Shawshank Redemption
So you've been wrongfully accused and sent to prison. The warden exploits your skills, the psychotic security beats you for fun and a group of inmates are after your ass, literally. Can't go much lower than that. But there is hope and when there is hope there is motivation, and when there is motivation there is success. It is if not the best at least in the top ten best movies ever for a very good reason, the hours you spend watching it will not leave you indifferent. Who could have guessed the horror master Stephen King's best book to movie adaptations are non horror.
It is at its core an Asian martial arts movie, no doubt about that. People saw it mostly because of the fighting. But unlike most of the "fight only" flicks it has depth, character, realization and respect attached to it. The plot is simple, an arrogant guy learns a harsh lesson of humility and gets to fight for his country's honor as a bonus. The overall message is of non violence, again, something outside of the mold of the majority of the martial arts films. Could very well be Jet Li's best.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Being poor is harsh, being a five year old poor kid even more so, but being the father of said kid? Man, how do you even manage?? Well, Will Smith manages somehow. It can be said that this movie is the story of the American Dream. Work hard and you'll eventually catch this happiness by the horns. The depiction of the world while you are trying your best though, now this is heartbreaking. But it is also the whole point, to keep on trying regardless of the environment. The pursuit we all go through.
Million Dollar Baby
The Rocky of our generation? Eh, perhaps. It still shows us the dream of hitting it big as a professional boxer but the tone is darker, colder. The characters are flawed and while they are getting to know each other better they are bonding and improving together. Clint Eastwood was never one for the easy answers when he started directing and this film of his will leave you thinking long after its finished. Million Dollar Baby is not really all about achieving this one singular goal, but more about dealing with life and the deeply rooted problems we can't just uproot easily. It is a masterpiece.
This could have been easily called Robinson Crusoe. The plot is simple, a modern day man gets stranded on a deserted island so he has to survive in a primitive way without the help of modern society. It is powerful because of how many things we take for granted and how helpless we'll become when they are taken away from us. A timeless story of survival, in which man proves he still has what it takes to overcome nature. Even if he only has a volleyball ball for a friend.
An inspirational film, which is both a romance and a comedy. Yes, it can work. The gimmick is in the time loop the main character has to go through, living the same day over and over again. You can see him going bad, suicidal, carefree, until he is finally on the right path and discovers what it is to really care about others. Bill Murray delivers in this one and the transition from an a-hole to an everybody's favorite is very smooth and believable. Groundhog Day is here so we don't have to go through the same time loop to emerge as better people.