Hollywood is filled with movies that inspire us to be the best version of ourselves, push us to work harder and achieve more, and touch our hearts with the words of some of history's most famous performers.
We all have goals that we want to achieve someday, and watching these Hollywood motivational movies is the way to inspire yourself to start now! Whether it's in your career, with family, with a hobby, or just the inspiration to get up and change your life, these motivational movies are the way to go!
So here’s our compilation of the top Hollywood motivational movies that inspire us, and hopefully will do the same for you.
1. The Pursuit of Happyness
We’re starting with one of the greatest Hollywood motivational movies of all time. After single father Chris Gardner and his son are evicted from their home, they’re left stranded and without a place to stay.
Without the money to find a proper place to live, and an internship that pays nothing, the two are forced to live in shelters and find places to go. However, Chris stays motivated through it all and is determined to enhance himself and his son's lives, despite the numerous obstacles.
The movie teaches the importance of persevering and never giving up, and is a must-watch for anyone!
2. Into the Wild
Next on the list of top Hollywood motivational movies, is Into the Wild. After graduating with flying colors from Emory University, Christopher McCandless decides to make a change in his life.
Rather than pursuing a renowned and prosperous career, he decides to donate his money, sell his belongings, and move into the Alaskan wilderness.
It sends the important message that happiness and fulfillment can be found anywhere, whether surrounded by wealth and people or if it's alone and simple.
3. 127 Hours
Based on the real events of Aron Ralston and his autobiography, 127 Hours is a Hollywood motivational movie about the importance of appreciating life and what you have and living it to the fullest.
The film follows mountaineer and explorer Aron Ralston as he explores a secluded canyon in Utah. During the trip, he finds himself caught after a rock falls on his arm, leaving him unable to move.
Over the course of five days, Ralston is forced to evaluate his life and weigh his alternatives, which ultimately leads him to the decision of amputating his arm or staying stuck, juggling the possibility of dying either way.
4. The Theory of Everything
Telling the tale of Stephen Hawking, the world's most brilliant and well-known physicist, The Theory of Everything follows his time in Cambridge and his time with Jane Wilde, whom he fell in love within the 1960s.
However, when he is diagnosed with motor neuron disease, he and Jane work together to achieve accomplishments in the fields of medicine and science before he runs out of time.
It’s an inspiring story of one of the most prominent people in our world’s history and inspires us to achieve anything we dream of, regardless of the obstacles. It is indeed one of the best Hollywood motivational movies.
5. A Beautiful Mind
Inspired by the real-life of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr, A Beautiful Mind follows this life when he discovers startling mathematical ideas, finding himself on the verge of receiving international acclaim.
However, we continue to follow a different part of his life, as he learns to tackle through society, as well as his mental illness. This inspiring story takes us through the mind of a genius, and we understand the process and thinking behind it.
It’s one of the greatest Hollywood motivational movies that you must check out!
6. Life of Pi
After selling their zoo in India, Santosh and Gita Patel decide to move to Canada with their sons, bringing a few of their animals with them.
However, during the journey, the freighter is sunk, leaving one of the sons, Pi, as the only human survivor. Along with him is one of their Bengal tigers, leaving the both of them aboard a lifeboat, stranded. Weeks develop into months, and the two are forced to trust each other to survive.
The film teaches us the importance of spirituality and religion, family, and faith. It is truly one of the best Hollywood motivational movies.
7. Schindler's List
Schindler's List follows the story of Oskar Schindler, a German entrepreneur during the Holocaust.
While initially attempting to use the Holocaust as an opportunity to employ Jewish workers at his factory despite being in the Nazi party, he soon begins to protect them from extermination to keep his factory open, which he soon realizes that he’s saving lives along the way.
The movie portrays both good and bad, compassion and evil, and understanding the different sides to every story.
8. Forrest Gump
This feel-good film follows intellectually impaired Forrest as he narrates the events of his life.
The primary connection between these events is that he’s somehow found himself in the middle of some of the largest historical events, including meeting JFK, inspiring John Lennon’s Imagine, meeting the Black Panthers, etc.
Other than that, he also recounts his memories of this childhood crush, Jenny, and his encounters with her over the years. It’s an absolutely beautiful film, filled with feelings of love, sadness, grief, and heartbreak, and inspired us to chase after our dreams, romantically and career-wise.
Next on the list of top Hollywood motivational movies is Invictus. Based on the true events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, we follow as President Nelson Mandela tackles racism in South Africa, particularly in the sports field.
After realizing that their country's all-white Rugby team isn't supported by the black fans of the same country, Mandela decides to use this opportunity to unite the country by inspiring them to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
This Hollywood motivational movie inspires the theme of change and unity, fighting against racial discrimination and bringing people together.
10. The Shawshank Redemption
The highest-rated movie on IMDb as well as one of the greatest films of all time, The Shawshank Redemption is not only heartbreaking, exciting and friendship, but acts as an inspiration to never stop believing and keep hoping for the best.
We watch as Andy Dufresne, a banker, is falsely accused of murdering his wife and her lover, and is sentenced to life imprisonment.
However, he is set on making a change and makes life-long friends along the way. If you’re looking for inspiration from one of the best Hollywood motivational movies, remember the quote “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
11. The Blind Side
After being adopted by a caucasian family, African-American teen Michael is inspired to both improve his education, something he’s always struggled with, as well as pursue football, something that’s new to him.
This film taught us the importance of having someone who has your back and pushing the people in your life to live up to their potential. We’re inspired to take our life into our own hands and make the future that we think we deserve.
12. The Imitation Game
Based on a true story from World War II, genius mathematician, Alan Turing, is recruited by MI6 to crack Nazi codes using a language called “Enigma” to find out information about incoming German attacks.
Turing creates a machine to decipher the codes with the help of Joan Clarke and his team, as they attempt to achieve what was believed to be unachievable. This Hollywood motivational movie encourages us to not give up, and persevere even when the going gets tough.
We follow the rough and challenge-filled life of Louis "Louie" Zamperini through Unbroken. Right from his childhood, he’s constantly in trouble. However, encouraged by his brother, his enthusiasm is channeled into running, and he qualifies for the 1936 Olympics.
Following this, he enlists in the military during WW2, when his plane crashes in the Pacific, leaving him stranded for over a month. He’s then taken by the Japanese navy as a prisoner of war, and targeted by one of the commanders.
This is a film about perseverance, resistance, and survival. We watch the hardships during this time, and how Zamperini overcame them no matter what, inspiring us to do the same with the challenges we see every day.
14. Million Dollar Baby
Los Angeles veteran and boxing trainer Frankie Dunn is introduced to Maggie Fitzgerald, who seeks out his training.
He’s initially unwilling, but they eventually establish an unbreakable relationship that will forever alter them both. It’s an incredible Hollywood motivational movie about chasing your dreams and achieving whatever you set your mind to.
15. Dead Poets Society
English teacher John Keating starts a new job at an all-boys school known for its high expectations and traditions. A class plagued by stress and parental expectations, Keating attempts to help the students break out of their comfort zone and learn to chase their aspirations.
It teaches us to look at things differently while keeping an open mind. It’s one of the most celebrated Hollywood motivational movies and is a must-watch thanks to its discussions of friendship, youth, education, sexism, and more.
42 is set in the 1940s, during the post-World War II time. Renowned manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, makes the impactful decision to break racial barriers in Major League Baseball, which he does by adding Jackie Robinson to the organization.
Despite putting them both in the sights of the press and public, they’re pushed to show their courage and discipline, regardless of the racism that Robinson is confronted with.
When the unbeaten fighter's intended opponent is injured, Rocky Balboa, a small-time fighter from suburban Philadelphia, is randomly picked to face the defending world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed.
Rocky enters the ring in an attempt to gain recognition and fame, oblivious to the painful journey that awaits him. It’s a Hollywood motivational movie about respect, ambition, and competition, and encouraging others about the importance of hard work to achieve your goals.
18. October Sky
West Virginia coal miner John Hickam is known to love his job, further shown through his high expectations for his sons to follow in his footsteps. However, both Jim and Homer pursue their interests to the dismay of their father.
We particularly follow Homer, who, upon learning about the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, being launched into space, is motivated to construct rockets.
19. The Truman Show
Insurance salesman Truman Burbank’s entire life is played for the world as a 24-hour reality show, and everyone around him (from his family to friends) knows it. Everyone but Truman himself.
As the truth begins to reveal itself, Truman attempts to escape his reality, and discover the truth about the world he lives in. The message of this Hollywood motivational movie is to never stop dreaming, even if it’s dreams that are larger than reality.
20. Freedom Writers
Set in a segregated Los Angeles school, a committed professor is encouraged to help her class of at-risk teens, who have been pushed aside by the other educators based on their background and color.
Rather than surrendering, she encourages them to take control of their future, inspiring them to understand their lives and how they can take a greater interest in their education. The film inspires the message of patience, hope, and literature.
21. The Green Mile
After being accused of the murder of two girls, prison guard Paul Edgecomb encounters convict John Coffey. However, as he gets to know John better and understands the kind of person he is, Paul begins to doubt Coffey's involvement in the crime.
The message of this Hollywood motivational movie is understanding the injustices in our world, contrasting with the message that in the most unlikely of settings, miracles may occur.
22. The Pianist
As World War II unfolds, a pianist at a Polish Jewish radio station witnesses the steady transformation of Warsaw. The war breaks his contact with his family, and as the situation escalates, he’s further forced to hide in Warsaw’s ruins for survival.
The Pianist's most essential premise is survival. During German rule, we see Szpilman and his family try everything and persevere, even if it's one step at a time.
Next on the list of top Hollywood motivational movies, is Rush. In Formula One racing in the mid-1970s, Rush follows the rivalry between flamboyant playboy James Hunt and perfectionist Niki Lauda.
We watch as both are pushed to the brink to win, and inspires us to do the same. We’re meant to do our best to achieve what we want in life, and Rush is the perfect example of just that.
24. Life Is Beautiful
Guido Orefice, a kind Jewish-Italian waiter, meets Dora, a lovely schoolteacher, and charms her into being his bride and the mother of his child, Giosue.
However, the family has split apart when Guido and Giosue are brought to a concentration camp. Guido convinces Giosue that their stay in the camp is only a game to protect him from the atrocities around them.
This Hollywood motivational movie depicts the Holocaust's tragedies in a manner that is both compelling and realistic, and the struggles that Jews had to overcome in that time.
25. Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting follows Will Hunting, a mathematics genius who works as a janitor at MIT. After solving one of the hardest math problems in minutes, he is recruited by a professor at the school, but not before finding a therapist to treat him after he attacks a member of law enforcement.
We watch as he attempts to navigate through his life, both intellectually, socially, and romantically. This Hollywood motivational movie inspires us to make the best of what we have and to live up to our potential no matter what that may be.
26. The Great Debaters
The next Hollywood motivational movie on our list is The Great Debaters, an inspiring film about passion, dignity, and the struggle for racial justice. We follow Melvin B. Tolson, a poet and professor teaching at Wiley College in 1935 Texas.
It’s one of the only predominantly black colleges, causing several differences between them and other schools in the area. Regardless, he chooses to form a debate team despite the shock it receives.
He overcomes the challenges and gathers a group of strong-willed, bright young kids, and they become the first black debate team to take on Harvard's most famous debaters.
27. Cast Away
Next on the list of top Hollywood motivational movies, is Cast Away. Chuck Nolan finds himself stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash that killed everyone who came with him.
With no way to escape the island or find help, Nolan is forced to find a way to survive alone on the island, with a volleyball as his only friend. We watch the struggles that Nolan goes through, and his constant attempts to fight against them and survive, and his inability to give up the hope that one day, he will be rescued.
This film inspires us to stay optimistic and never give up, even when everything seems to be fighting against us.
28. The Intouchables
A quadriplegic Parisian nobleman recruits a young guy to be his live-in carer after a paragliding accident. Despite their differences, the two form a strong relationship.
This film demonstrates the advantages of taking risks, as well as the importance of friendship and respect. It’s a great Hollywood motivational movie that anyone will love.
29. Like Stars on Earth
After being transferred to a boarding school after receiving low marks at school, Ishaan meets art teacher Ram, who soon recognizes that Ishaan has dyslexia, and assists him in realizing his full potential.
It teaches us that everyone has a unique skill, therefore we should strive to figure out what that talent is so that we may help them identify their true potential.
30. The Fighter
For the Ward family, boxing is their tradition. Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky team up to get their fighting careers on track. However, with a tough manager (their mother) and an untrustworthy trainer (Dicky), Micky realizes this team may not be the one to lead him to victory.
Despite the theme of family, the primary message of this Hollywood motivational movie is the challenges in life, and how everyone must overcome them to achieve greatness.
31. It's a Wonderful Life
His life, one plagued with challenges and problems, is on the line, as George Bailey contemplates a suicide attempt on Christmas. We watch flashbacks from his life as the angels debate whether he lives or dies.
As he prepares to jump, he rescues Clarence, who ends up being his guardian angel. Together, they realize the number of good deeds George has done over the years and the positive change he has caused for those around him.
We’re taught that everyone’s life has a purpose, regardless of how little you think that purpose may be. "Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" says Clarence, as we realize the important role that George has played, even though he never realized it.
32. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This Hollywood motivational movie inspires us to pursue our dreams romantically and to never give up on love. We follow the love story of Joel and Clementine, however, what they don’t realize is that they’ve been together before, but had their memories erased after a rough ending.
During the process of losing his memories, Joel realizes he doesn’t want to let Clem go, and attempts to fight against the process to keep his memories of her alive.
We watch as they fall in and out of love, both in the past and in the present, and are inspired by Joel’s relentless attempts to keep his love alive, despite the hardships they went through.
August, a young child with a unique facial deformity, is enrolled into the 5th grade after spending his childhood being homeschooled. For the first time, he’s forced to try and fit in, and faces struggles with bullies and making new friends.
Based on the novel by R. J. Palacio, Wonder is an inspirational story spreading the importance of kindness, and the message that we must be caring to everyone around us, regardless of who they are.
34. The Man Who Knew Infinity
The Man Who Knew Infinity is a biographical drama about Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematician who lived during British rule. The film follows him as he flunks out of his college despite his knowledge.
Regardless of this setback, he doesn’t give up hope and approaches Professor G H Hardy, who invites him to join Trinity College to pursue his dreams.
35. The Founder
Mac and Dick McDonald, who ran a burger joint in California in the 50s, meet Ray Kroc, a struggling businessman from Illinois.
Pleased by the brothers' quick meal preparation method, Kroc recognized possibilities for a franchise. He quickly moves into a situation where he can wrest control of the firm from the brothers and turn it into a conglomerate worth billions of dollars.
Based on the true story, it tells us the importance of innovation, ambition, and success.
36. Hacksaw Ridge
Based on the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, Hacksaw Ridge is an incredible Hollywood motivational movie about his experience after being drafted into WWII.
While he was initially ridiculed by fellow troops for his anti-war beliefs, he risked his life and saved 75 soldiers in the Battle of Okinawa, gaining love and appreciation for his courage, humility, and kindness.
37. Seven Pounds
After making a blunder that resulted in the deaths of seven people, Ben Thomas sets himself on a mission. He attempts to change the lives of seven unknown individuals to make up for the lives he cost by becoming an organ donor for those in need.
The film's major theme is centered on life goals, leaving viewers wondering what their life's purpose is.
38. Searching for Bobby Fischer
Josh Waitzkin, a 7-year-old, is recognized for his brilliance after defeating his father in a chess tournament. While Josh learns speed chess from a hustler in the park, his parents hire a professional to teach him, which Josh soon realizes is not the way he wants to go.
He learns that even a chess genius can't make all the perfect moves.
Driven jazz drummer Andrew Neiman aspires to be the best at his prestigious music college. Renowned instructor Terence Fletcher is known for his teaching techniques, and discovers Andrew's talent, transforming the young man's life forever.
The movie follows him as he is pushed beyond the realms of logic, as his desire to attain perfection rapidly becomes an obsession.
40. Remember the Titans
High school football is a lifestyle in Virginia, where each game is honored and grandly celebrated. But when an African-American is named the new coach of a high school team, they play as an interracial team for the first time, overcoming barriers they didn’t know that they could.
The concept that "friendship can conquer prejudice" was the major message in this incredible Hollywood motivational movie.
41. Cinderella Man
Ex-boxer James J. Braddock lives as a day laborer during the Great Depression. When his former manager offers him a one-time showdown against a promising competitor, he returns to the ring full-time.
The story teaches the audience about the importance of family, and devotion and dedication to inspiring courage in others.
Based on Michael Lewis's novel, Moneyball follows Billy Beane, an Oakland Athletics' manager, who had a revelation one day. He realized that baseball's common knowledge is all incorrect and that he must rebuild his squad on a short budget, outsmarting the richer teams.
He plans to disrupt old ways by teaming up with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand.
43. Coach Carter
Ken Carter returns to his former high school in Richmond, California to rehabilitate the basketball team. He succeeds in putting the squad on an unbeaten run by enforcing strict regulations and rigor. Carter, however, rethinks his decision when their performance starts negatively impacting their academic life.
After receiving criticism from the team, he plans to help the team thrive in the classroom and on the court.
Coming from a four-generation family, we follow Joy Mangano as she attempts to overcome adversities and establishes a thriving business empire. As a divorced mother, she faces challenges both at home and at work despite facing deceit, loss of identity, and the wounds of affection.
The movie is about success and encourages hard work to achieve greatness in life.
The last Hollywood motivational movie on our list is Amelie, which follows a young waitress who strives to help others find happiness while being trapped in her own universe.
Her mission to promote happiness takes her on her own journey, one that finds her happiness as she brings the same to others.
These films have inspired us all time and again, and are a constant reminder of hope, success, innovation, passion, and challenges. We all face struggles in life, and these Hollywood motivational movies inspire us to work harder to achieve greatness in life.
They are all absolute must-watches, and they will always inspire us at any time in our lives. Do let us know in the comment box below, which ones are your favorite from this list, and what movie you love watching to bring inspiration to your life.
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