Friday, October 02, 2015

My Ten Greatest Inspirational Movies of All Time (Part II)

When we talk about inspirational movies, we're usually talking about sports films. However, there's a wide range of movies that didn't involve sports that were also inspiring. For my list, the rules are simple.

One, I have to have seen the film.

Two, the film needs to have have an impact on me in a visceral way. I know that sounds strange when you're making a list of inspirational films, It's just, how many times do you see movies like Brian's Song, released in 1971, on that list, and the writer is under thirty. Not that it isn't a good story, but come on.

Like most lists, this is completely subjective. And I'd love for your feedback as to movies I missed and ones that I should have included.

One final note. A movie doesn't have to be about someone achieving something, whether they become champions or famous, to be inspirational. That needs to be said, because I'm sure a number of people will look at some of these choices and may wonder how they're inspirational. That's why a list like this is subjective.

These films inspired me, and as such, have probably been watched multiple times.

If you're looking for films that didn't make the list, but might interest you, check out my Friend's Suggestions on yesterday's post. 

So here they are, my top five inspirational films of all time!

#5 A Knight's Tale

Paul Bettany makes every movie he's in a good place to go, and (the departed) Heath Ledger is wonderful here, too. So is the rest of the cast. Call this movie "airy" or "silly" if you like, but if you want to be inspired, throw this one on. You won' regret it.

Favourite Moment: As with alll these films, there are so many. But I particularly love when the Black Prince exonerates William and knights him. Great stuff.


This film won best picture, and then was criticized as being "an idealist's choice." Nonsense. It's clever and accessible, and both Joseph Fienes and Gwyneth Paltrow do their best work here. There just isn't anything that isn't inspiring here for me. Wonderful, wonderful film.

Favourite Moment: The final play, when Paltrow plays the role of Juliet. The ending is fantastic as well.


It has stood the test of time. Surprisingly, it wasn't nearly as popular when it was released. But the basic question is one that can't help but get you, and Stewart's performance may me be his best. A Christmas tradition, and a movie that never does anything but inspire you.

Favourite Moment: Auld Lang Syne. Nothing else needs to be said. Oh, and pass the Kleenex.


I was going to include the trailer, but the trailers they made forty years ago were garbage. Anyway, this film still holds up after so many years. For me, it's one of the best romantic films in the past forty years. (Both I and II) After that, the films devolve into entertainment. But this film won eight Academy awards for a reason.

I watch this film a few times a year, sometimes more. With its low budget and gritty framing and terrific writing (by Stallone), it never feels "untrue." I can't think of a better compliment. Forget how Stallone became a caricature of himself and watch Rocky again. He was great, and so is this is this film.


When I first started compiling this list, I thought the race for Number One would be complicated. Difficult.

It wasn't.

Without question, this is the greatest inspirational movie of all time. It's based on a true story, and while the film takes some fictitious license, that license is limited.

I grew up a Catholic, a third-generation Notre Dame fan, but what makes this film work is the earnestness of a true underdog trying to do something that no one believed he could possibly achieve. More, he didn't win a championship, this isn't that kind of film. It's focus remains solely on an underdog who does everything he can to attain his dream. Glorious.

Favourite Moment: When he sits on the rock and finally opens that acceptance letter from Notre Dame. Tears. Every. Single. Time.

And THIS is my greatest inspirational film of all time.