Fun Fact: Watching one great movie is equivalent to the lessons learned from one entire year of living life.
I read this quote from the Psych2go page on Facebook (which I recommend you check out, it’s really interesting), and it got me thinking about the movies that have inspired and influenced my life. Below is a list of the top 8 most inspirational movies that I’ve seen, but not only do they teach and motivate us, they’re also incredibly made!
The Pursuit of Happyness
“The Pursuit of Happyness” is a biographical drama film that was released in 2006. The movie is based on the true story of Chris Gardner’s nearly one-year struggle of being homeless, alongside his son. This incredibly emotional movie taught me a key lesson about life: you can’t let people discourage you from your dreams just because they have been unsuccessful themselves. This clip of the scene where Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and his son, Christopher (Jaden Smith) are on the basketball court explains exactly what I mean, and shows part of why I love this movie so much. I also admire how the film reveals that the road to happiness is full of setbacks but nonetheless, the main character never gives up on himself. He was always willing to keep going, take risks, and still remained hopeful during the darkest of times. This is exactly what I strive for and the film portrays these life lessons in such a meaningful way.
This part of my life… this little part… is called ‘happiness.’ – Chris Gardner
The Basketball Diaries
This movie is yet another biographical drama, but also including crime. It is the film adaption of Jim Carroll’s life as an American teenage punk who fell into the world of drug addiction. This 1995 movie is definitely a must-see and was one of my favourites as soon as I watched it. I particularly loved how the movie followed his collection of edited diary entries. Being an amazing writer, Jim Carroll’s poetry throughout the film allowed it to flow. It’s pretty much what inspired me into writing bits of poetry here and there. The story begins to reveal themes of alienation, addiction, sexual abuse, and violence in the inner-city of New York. I believe it has the potential to teach teenagers about the dangers of drugs, and how they could potentially ruin one’s hopes and career (or becoming a professional basketball player in Jim’s case). One of the film’s biggest strengths is in its strong cast, not to mention pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio who had me mesmerised as soon as the movie started. I have a feeling he had most viewers captured, if you like Leonardo DiCaprio, you’ll love this one!
First, it’s a Saturday night thing when you feel cool like a gangster or a rock star- just something to kill the boredom, you know? They call it a chippie, a small habit. It feels so good, you start doing it on Tuesdays… then Thursdays… then it’s got you. Every wise ass punk on the block says it won’t happen to them, but it does. – Jim Carroll
The Place Beyond The Pines (Spoilers)
“The Place Beyond The Pines” was one of the most engaging movies I’ve seen. The way the film escalates and links everything together is what I love about it, it just works. This crime, drama was released almost four years ago in 2012 and includes an epic cast. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Dane DeHaan, just to name a few, how could it get any better than that? Well, by teaching us that everybody is human. Cops, thieves, everyone has responsibilities and everyone makes mistakes, so we have to learn to forgive. Forgiveness is really key to everything, without it, what kind of life would we be living? Not such a positive and happy one we could assume. The film also teaches us to keep out of trouble, such as when Avery (Bradley Cooper) decides to come clean at work about the stolen money. The two most inspirational things I got out of the movie were however:
- What goes around comes around – The ending of the film connects each character to one another, and Avery has to face his karma for what he has done.
- The simple word, “sorry,” could change anything when said sincerely – It’s not exactly clear why Jason doesn’t get complete revenge on Avery, but I believe it’s because of the way Avery repeated his apology in a shaky voice. I think that was enough to allow Jason to move on, which was what I honestly hoped for.
If you ride like lightning, you’re going to crash like thunder. – Robin
The Art of Getting By
Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore are exactly the type of actors you would expect to be in this drama and romance film. The story follows George (Freddie Highmore), a lonely teen who has made it to his senior year without having done ANY work. It’s a pretty good movie for a chilled night in, and teenagers who are into indie films like these. I thought it was interesting to see Freddie Highmore now that he was older. George is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts), a popular but complicated girl who finds George’s attitude towards school work rather interesting. This movie follows a few clichés at times, but expresses the inexpressible through art, which I admire. Towards the end, George’s parents are fighting, and he must complete a year’s worth of homework in two weeks’ time or face expulsion. It is really the type of movie that connects to teenagers, especially those in their last year of high school, like myself. It expresses the importance of working towards SOMETHING, and doing great things with your life. For me, it truly emphasized what I was working towards and how important it was not to slack off. If you need a bit of motivation in your life, “The Art of Getting By” is a good one!
I read a quote once when I was a kid ‘We live alone, we die alone. Everything else is just an illusion.’ it used to keep me up at night. – George Zinavoy
The Breakfast Club
One of my favourite movies “The Breakfast Club” includes five high school students and different stereotypes that all meet in detention on March 24, 1984. They discover that they have a lot more in common than they originally believed. I love how the film encourages teens to break out of their safe cliques and seek other individuals that challenge them in a great way. Differences should be embraced, not feared and we should take a chance to reach out to someone different and learn something new. Something else this movie inspired me with was to not be quick to label people. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Conforming to traditional stereotypes is a waste of time; we should go out and find what makes us happy! Life is way too short for labels.
The lunch montage in this film is amazing. Each lunch more ridiculous than the last – from an entire plate of sushi to a single can of Coke, every individual has specific tastes and preferences. They should be expressed as often and as clearly as possible. “The Breakfast Club” reminds us that almost every teenager feels misunderstood, especially to the adult world. Each of the teens has a greater back-story to be told. They all go through difficult times at home and it was when Andrew (Emilio Estevez) asks, “My god, are we going to be like our parents?” that I felt most connected to this movie.
Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place. – John Bender
Dead Poets Society
“Dead Poets Society” is all about inspiration. English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) inspires his students to discover their love for poetry and seize the day. The movie reveals to us just how much impact one person can have on the lives of others. From their English teacher Mr Keating, to Neil Perry’s father, everyone in your life has the power to influence you. Throughout this movie the boys take risks, find their passions and attempt to accomplish things they had never dreamed of before. Professor Keating provided me with four life lessons in this movie:
1. It’s not who you are but what you do that defines you.
It’s not about race, gender, age, or even experience. People are measured by what they accomplish and Keating encourages his students to take action. He wants them to pursue their passions.
2. Change your perspective. He encourages independent thinking and wants his students to avoid conformity. When you think you have everything figured out, look at it from a new perspective. I personally love this point.
3. Act as if you have nothing to lose. Take risks. In the end, the worst thing that can happen can’t really be THAT bad. It’s okay to take risks and fail, you’ll be amazed by how much you will eventually accomplish.
4. Carpe diem-seize the day. Action is what allows our dreams and thoughts to become a reality. Talking and planning will get you nowhere unless you put it to action. The time we waste today is gone forever.
Great, amazing and inspirational movie. That’s all I can say, besides repeating the fact that you shouldn’t underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life.
Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary. – John Keating
V for Vendetta
I absolutely love this movie, it’s full of action and thriller and it’s just something different. The film is set in the future of Britain, a freedom fighter in a Guy Fawkes mask known as “V” plots to overthrow the fascist government with the help of a young woman, Evey Hammond. I felt quite inspired by the spirit of revolution, how one single figure managed to bring together thousands of people on the 5th of November. As well as that, I’d like to point out V himself and his vivacious vocabulary. His introduction to Evey (Natalie Portman) was pretty incredible, not to mention overwhelming. Oh my alliteration did he use a lot of Vs. Check it out -> here
- “We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But a hundred years later an idea can still change the world.”
- “The past can’t hurt you anymore, unless you let it.”
- “Everybody is special. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell.”
Life of Pi
Full of adventure, drama and fantasy this movie has the most stunning visual spectacle. It follows the story of Pi Patel, a young man who survives a disaster at sea and goes on an epic journey of discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor, a Bengal tiger. The movie teaches us that religion is not the end; it is simply our own personal understanding of the world and beyond. It also emphasizes that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Pi and Richard Parker find ways to make the best of their experience. They are alone (obviously), stranded in the ocean, but they still manage to keep from being lonely through the magic they witness all around them. Moreover, “Life of Pi” further supports my previous statements from the other movies on my list, such as:
– Forgiveness is always the right choice. We may never forget, but we can always forgive.
– Don’t give up. No matter what obstacles you face along the path.
– Perspective changes everything. How we choose to see a situation is the situation. It’s always up to us, whether it’s good or bad. We have the power to change our perspective and therefore change any outcome of a situation.
But one other thing “Life of Pi” reveals to us is that stories are our greatest teachers. We can cope with tough situations through the use of imagination. It’s helpful for our own understanding as well as it is for others. Sometimes, it’s all we really have.
I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye. – Pi Patel
There you have it, movies that have inspired me and influenced my life. 8 films, 8 reasons why.
If you haven’t seen any of these movies yet, I highly suggest that you check them out – they’re all definitely worth the watch. If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comments, I’ll definitely check them out too!