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Life is challenging and it can get a little tiring at times. That’s why people turn to movies, to escape from their own realities and to be entertained. But sometimes these entertainment sources can provide answers, answers that can leave a mark on your life, provide direction when you most need it. I decided to write this article on 15 movies that provided me with what I need.. Each and every one of these movies has the ability to create better thoughts and inspire change. Download them or buy their DVDs to keep them in your collection. I have provided the summary and relevant links of these 15 timeless movies below:
1. Life is Beautiful
Release: December 20, 1997 (Italy)
Director: Roberto Benigni
This Italian masterpiece is a triumph of a cinema. But the reason why this movie was included in my list is its ability to change how we look at life. It is a celebration of the power of human imagination and our ability to love. As we take an unforgettable journey with the family of Guido Orifice, we are shown that life is as beautiful as we make it to be. The film teaches us that any challenge or suffering that life puts on us, is only as intense as we perceive it to be. And as long as the power of love and imagination are with us, we are always winning. So by the time you are done with this movie, you will surely say to yourself, “Indeed, life is beautiful!” and next time life puts you in a distressed situation, you’ll be able to face it with a whole different spirit.
Imdb link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/
Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Is_Beautiful
2. Into the Wild
Release: September 21, 2007 (USA)
Director: Sean Penn
This is a film adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s bestseller nonfiction book of the same name. Here we see a university graduate with high prospect to set out on a journey of self discovery into the wilderness of America instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career for which he was meant to be by society’s standard. This movie questions the society defined nature of success and happiness. It is true that it contains extraordinary scenic beauties and the protagonist’s journey gives you a liberating experience. But I think the film stands out because it inspires us to have the courage to live on our own standards, defie our own happiness and ultimately, live a life that is, in fact, our own.
Imdb link: Into the Wild (2007) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: Into the Wild (film) – Wikipedia
3. The Motorcycle Diaries
Release: February 6, 2004 (Norway)
Director: Walter Salles
This is a film based on the iconic and revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara’s memoir of the same name. The film recounts the journey across South America, initially by motorcycle, by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado, on a break before their last semester of medical school. Here we see how Ernesto, the carefree and ambitious doctor transformed into a rebellious counterculture symbol by his experiences acquired in the motorcycle journey from Brazil to Peru. Guevara and Granado meet many poor and unfortunate people on their way and their grievances change the mentality and attitude of young Ernesto. This movie inspires us to have a broader perspective on life, it teaches us to explore other people, care about them. It shows us how to feel responsible for others, how to connect to them. And its rebellious tone makes us brave, it brings out the revolutionary in every single one of us.
Imdb link: The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: The Motorcycle Diaries (film) – Wikipedia
4. The Truman Show
Release: June 1, 1998
Director: Peter Weir
This movie is a story about a man who’s every moment in life is actually a television show. In this 21st century, when the rapid development in technology is both inspiring and terrifying, this film is now more relevant than ever. It is a film with lot of statements about our present social structure and the place of technology in it. It compels us to think about our freedom, our choices and the purpose of our activities. Ultimately, I believe the Truman Show is a reminder to ourselves that we must always question the reality that is presented upon us. We must question every statement that is being told and try to find the truth in everything. So, the people around us who are immersing themselves into the pretentious world of social media or wasting hours looking at screens, this film might be an eye opener for them.
Imdb link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120382/
Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Truman_Show
5. The Shawshank Redemption
Release: September 22, 1994
Director: Frank Darabont
Shawshank redemption is a story of hope, a narration of life, a portrayal of perseverance. It teaches us how to pick ourselves even when we are at our lowest, how to adjust to every situation, and make the most out of it, the values of friendship, of Andy Dufresne trying to cope up with the inmates of Shawshank prison and how he finally wins them over, how the walls of the Shawshank prison enclose them as a family, how they learn to care about each other, how to keep oneself constantly occupied with productive things even when it seems impossible. Ultimately it tells an eternal story of hope. Because, according to the movie, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Imdb link: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: The Shawshank Redemption – Wikipedia
6. It’s a Wonderful Life
Release: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
This movie is a classic which is still one of the most watched movies on every christmas in America. “It’s a Wonderful Life” might not be deeply complex and serious as a story, but It has some extra-ordinary points at its core. It shows us that our lives are defined by the connections we make, by the differences we make in lives of people around us. It celebrates friendship and family and all the things that makes our life- “wonderful.” Because those are the things that matters, not wealth, not power, not authority, but the people in our lives who cares about us.
Imdb link: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: It’s a Wonderful Life – Wikipedia
7. The Pursuit of Happyness
Release: November 2006
Director: Gabriele Muccino
This movie is a loving tale of a father-son’s struggling journey through life. It is actually a true story, the story of a stockbroker Chris Gardner, who once had no food to eat and no house to live, now runs his own international holding companies with offices in several states in the US and lives a prosperous life. It is a very inspiring film with a lot of life lessons to offer. It teaches us to never run away from our responsibilities in life. It inspires us to be a protector of our dreams. It shows us how we should not be stopped by other’s opinions. Ultimately, this movie leaves us with a positive mental attitude and a lot of inspiration.
Imdb link: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: The Pursuit of Happyness – Wikipedia
8. The Intouchables
Release: November 2, 2011 (France)
This film is also inspired by a true story. Here we see an aristocrat, quadriplegic since a paragliding accident, to hire a poor young man to be his live-in caretaker. We see these two very different man to develop a loving friendship in front of us. It’s moving, funny and a genuine story. It offers us a valuable reminder about how you can’t assume anything about anyone by just judging their wealth, education, or physical abilities. The two main characters, Philippe and Driss’ trusting, open relationship proves that race, status, and disability don’t have to be obstacles to understanding and unconditional friendship. Disability also doesn’t have to stop a person from finding love. Overall, it inspires us to be an open-minded person who has a positive outlook towards life.
Imdb link: The Intouchables (2011) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: The Intouchables – Wikipedia
9. My Dinner with Andre
Release: October 11, 1981 (USA)
Director: Louis Malle
In this fascinating film, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with his friend the theater director André Gregory at a restaurant and talks for almost 2 hours. That’s all there is to the film. I know, it sounds exhausting. But in reality I found it to be one of the most captivating films ever made. In the film, the conversation proceed through topics like love, death, money, and all the superstition in between and that in a very enchanting way. Ultimately it leaves you with two very contrasting perspective on life and compels you to think for days after.
Imdb link: My Dinner with Andre (1981) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: My Dinner with Andre – Wikipedia
10. Fight Club
Release: September 21, 1999
Director: David Fincher
Man, where do I even begin to talk about this epic of a film? It has the most complex plot you will ever stumble upon with marvelous cinematography and audacious music, true. But what’s astonishing to me is that how ahead of its time this movie really is. Firstly, it is like slap on the face of the ever growing consumerism that itself is consuming us. Secondly, it wants us to find our own true self, not the things we own or the things we do, but our place in the world, our purpose. Thirdly, the movie tells us to rise to our full potential by finding what drives us. It tells us to become the best version of ourselves. It also talks about persistence, ego, control and meaning etc. Maybe on the surface, the movie will seem like crazy madness to you, but in truth, this is one of the most thought provoking movie that was ever made.
Imdb link: Fight Club (1999) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: Fight Club – Wikipedia
11. The Before Trilogy
Release: January 27, 1995 (USA)
Director: Richard Linklater
This is a love story. A story of how we love, why we love, when we love, what we love and everything that there is, to love. Three movies together tells a 18 year old long story only with a few captivating conversations between two very same persons that will make you think and contemplate your ideas about love and life again and again. Other than being an amazing experience as a film, this film has the capacity to influence your life decisions for the better and make you appreciate the beauty of loving a little more.
12. Waking Life
Release: October 19, 2001 (USA)
Director: Richard Linklater
Screenplay: Richard Linklater
For millennia, mystics around the world have believed that life is a dream, and that our spiritual goal is to be awakened. Director Richard Linklater has created a masterpiece of philosophy on this very message with Waking Life. This movie relentlessly asks the questions, with the earnestness of a true seeker, “What is it all about? What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of reality and dream?” The movie not only asks them but also tries to answer them. Also this has a visual style unlike any other animated film ever produced. This movie is a treat for those who are curious about the nature of our existence. For others it might be a bit tedious, but a good movie nonetheless.
Imdb link: Waking Life (2001) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: Waking Life – Wikipedia
13. Dead Poets Society
Release: June 2, 1989 (USA)
Director: Peter Weir
Dead Poets Society is one among those films that will get under your skin, never to come out. It will change your life, subtly altering your perceptions of reality, almost always for the better. Robin Williams’ breathtaking performance as Mr. Keating will inspire you, captivate you and ultimately change you. It will inspire you to do what you love, be what you want to be. Modern society will try to crush those dreams, but this movie tells you have to rise above it. You have to seize every day you live, that’s what will make your life meaningful. Also, as a bonus, this movie might instigate your interest in poetry, which is also an awesome thing,
Imdb link: Dead Poets Society (1989) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: Dead Poets Society – Wikipedia
14. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Release: December 19, 2013 (Italy)
Director: Ben Stiller
This is one of the personal favourites. The director himself portrays the titular role here and he has a definite voice, a definite message to convey. The film challenges a person to see things beyond their comfort zone and reach for them. We all have daydreams, a life we imagine we could live. The real essence of the the story is to go beyond the daydreams and live them.
Wikipedia link: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013 film) – Wikipedia
15. The Theory of Everything
Initial release: November 7, 2014 (USA)
Director: James Marsh
This biopic of Dr. Stephen Hawking is surely one of the most inspiring films ever made. The film beautifully portrays every aspect of Professor Hawking’s life. His life, his passion, his thoughts, his humor, all put together as a pearl beads in a necklace. The movie depicts that even greatest of the minds that have ever lived had their weak moments when they were shattered, lost, hopeless but they carried on and that’s what made them stand apart from the rest of us. Our dreams aren’t our alone. We share them, with our friends, family, and love is the force that makes us keep going, however tough the life seems.
Imdb link: The Theory of Everything (2014) – IMDb
Wikipedia link: The Theory of Everything (2014 film) – Wikipedia
So to inspire you, these 15 powerful films are my picks. If you watch these with willingness and a sense of positivity, they can inspire new thoughts, directions and even dreams. So if you are free, download one of them right now and see what positive change it brings you!
This article’s audiobook is read by Sadia Raisa
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