Ten Life Changing Movies

As strange as it may sound some films have the power to change lives. Life changing movies draw on emotions, allow you to connect with complex characters and identify with stories that are both inspiring and informative. With this in mind, here are ten life changing movies I felt genuinely inspired by:

1- The Pursuit of Happiness

 Chris Gardner, as a determined entrepreneur, presents his one-year struggle to achieve success in business and stay off the streets as a homeless salesman. He speaks for the hard workers struggling to keep a minimum wage and working long hours to achieve ‘happiness’. He details the long journey of the road to success and the need to keep the faith and to be assured that things will work out in the end. Despite rejection, money issues and competition, we’re reminded to never give up.

2- Million Dollar Baby

This is a brilliant tearjerker and makes you question the meaning of life. After much nagging and determination, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) persuades boxing trainer, Frankie Dunn (played by Clint Eastwood), to train her to become a successful female boxer. Maggie, as a supposed ‘nobody’ rises up from her poor, unprivileged background and demonstrates the ability to work hard and achieve no matter her background or status. The dramatic end sums up the importance of living everyday to the full and leading a fulfilling, passionate life.

3- Inside Out

This animated film by Pixar is not to be underestimated. While it contains moments of light-hearted comedy and adventure, it also addresses important issues of mental health. Following the mind of Riley, the emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust bear witness to the importance of addressing feelings and taking care of our mental health. In life we face many rejections, failures; this can make us feel terrible. Inside Out teaches us that it’s okay to feel sad. Where there’s sadness there’s also hope. Sadness can encourage you to reach out for support and to help get your life back on track. Life is full of complexities, including complicated emotions. Working out how to balance all of these nuances can make life more enriching and joyful.

4- The King’s Speech

This heartfelt film tells the story of King George VI in his early years as king. Like everyone he has insecurities, the most poignant being his stammer, which he sees as a debility. With the help of Lionel Loque, a speech and language therapist, he takes on the challenge of coming to terms with his insecurity. After months of struggling, self-doubt and lack of confidence, George becomes a strong leader for the country during the wartime Britain and successfully achieves his goal of delivering his first wartime radio broadcast to declare war on Germany. Not only does the film underline the importance of conquering fears but also it highlights the support of others in developing a network of love and care around you.

5- The Theory of Everything

The telling of Stephen Hawking’s road to success is both moving and touching. Despite his debilitating disease, his passion for science leads him to uncover important discoveries and to never give up despite the difficult obstacles in his way. Hawking’s ability to start from square one, learning how to communicate in a different way and undergoing surgeries are a testament to his determination to highlight that ‘there should be no boundaries to human endeavour’.

6- The Terminal

Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a native of Krakozhia who arrives at JFK airport and discovers that his passport is no longer valid. Due to a military coup in his country, he is unable to return home or enter the United States. For this reason, he becomes trapped in the airport. With hard work and a little luck gradually he works his way up to become an important worker in the airport and a successful man. He wins the hearts of workers in the airport, becoming a beacon of hope and optimism for his colleagues. He encourages people to remain positive and do what you can in spite of adversity.

7- Eat Pray Love

This inspiring story, based on the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story of her journey across three places, Italy, India and Indonesia. At the start of the film, Gilbert has it all: she’s married, successful in work and exudes intelligence. Yet she is unhappy. After her divorce, she makes a drastic and important change in her life, exploring the world and finding things out about not only the people around her, but also herself. She deals with cultural differences, spirituality, love and finding yourself during a period of independence and isolation. Gilbert shows that change can be thrilling.

8- Dead Poets Society

Set in an elite boarding school in Vermont, the arrival of a new supply teacher transforms the way the school’s pupils approach the art of poetry. Moving away from conservative ideals and rigid structure, John Keating introduces creativity and innovation into the classroom. The students reject the mathematical view of poetry and start to explore style, voice and imagination. The film is a testament to freedom of expression and the courage to be different and to dream. Carpe diem.

9- Forrest Gump

This is one of the all-time classic life changing movies. Forrest, an extremely generous and kind individual, becomes an unexpected hero. He recounts defining experiences in his life, many related to important cultural and historical events. He symbolises the unsung hero, taking every tumble as a ‘fact of life’ and a part of the journey. He remains dedicated to the ones that he loves and so should we.

10- Wild

Reese Witherspoon interprets the character of Cheryl Strayed who, recently divorced, sets her sights on the Pacific Crest Trail. Throughout her journey of 2,650 miles, she relives flashbacks of painful times and comes to terms with them. The journey is an important means of self-discovery and accomplishments. Throughout life we all go through tough times, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  The character of Strayed teaches us the significance of past experiences shaping us as people and the need to look to the future as a period of healing and optimism.


Similar to inspiring songs life changing movies often resonate with people on a personal level, collecting inspiring and emotional stories, some of which change the way we look at the world and the way we view ourselves. Having read ours, which would make your list of life changing movies?



Photo courtesy of pixabay
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