Rocky is one of the best if not THE best movies about underdogs out there. How can you not root for Rocky Balboa? We see a little of ourselves in the down-and-out fighter with a heart of gold.
Rocky is an uneducated and kind-hearted working class failing amateur boxer who’s been working as a debt collector in Philadelphia. The world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed decides to spice things up and offers a local a shot at the belt. After scouring the city for opponents, Apollo picks the biggest loser as his challenger, Rocky Balboa.
In the film, Rocky isn’t exactly the luckiest man out there. He’s a loser. Things never go his way. It’s as if life and the universe in general decided to make Rocky its doormat. Still, Rocky perseveres and fights on. His resilience is uncanny. Whatever life throws at him, it’s just his will to go the distance and love for Adrian that pushes him forward. Now THAT is the human spirit. Deep down, there’s a Rocky Balboa in all of us.
Though not in the original movie, 2006’ Rocky Balboa gave us this inspiring gem:
Try watching that without wanting to take on the world. Also, you might just grow a beard and some biceps after viewing.
3. Schindler’s List
Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List is a masterpiece, and one that paints an incredibly harrowing portrait of the Nazi occupation.
In World War 2 Poland, Germans have forced Polish Jews into the overcrowded Kraków Ghetto. Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German, arrives in the city and sees an opportunity to make a fortune with the Nazi’s rise to power. He is a cold, uncaring man, only worried about making money. He starts a factory that makes utensils and uses bribes to win military contracts. He staffs his plant with Jews from the ghetto. The way he sees it, he has a good money-making scheme with a dependable but unpaid workforce. It’s only when Oskar witnesses a massacre of Jews including a little girl in his neighborhood that he has a change of heart. From then on, it became his mission to save as many Jews as possible from impending death at concentration camps. Trust us, this synopsis does not do the film justice at all.
In the end, Oskar Schindler was able to save more than 1,000 lives. Still, he was ashamed and felt that that it wasn’t enough. His factory workers gave a tearful Schindler a ring engraving “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”
To see Schindler true story and act with such courage even amidst such violence and life-threatening circumstances should serve as an inspiration to us all.
2. Forrest Gump
If you’ve never seen Forrest Gump, you are seriously missing out. Get up under your rock and watch this masterpiece.
The film opens with Forrest Gump sitting on a bench in a bus stop, telling his life story to strangers next to him. What follows is an epic story of an Everyman, from running, to serving in the Vietnam War, to table tennis, to exposing the Watergate Scandal, and more, while chasing the love of his life, who falls into one unfortunate circumstance after another.
Why is this movie so inspirational? For one thing, Forrest Gump is stupid. “Stupid is as stupid does.” He’s a man with below average intelligence, but that never stopped him from helping his fellows. Being “special” never stopped him from being selfless. Being “special” never stopped him from saving lives and for never forgetting a friend. Being “special” never stopped him from being successful. And that’s why Forrest is so inspirational. Whatever cards he had in life, he just ran with it.
1. Shawshank Redemption
And here it is, without a doubt the king of all inspirational movies (sorry, It’s A Wonderful Life). This is a movie that is without question one of the most beloved films of all time.
Banker Andy Dufresne is wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife. He gets sentenced to life imprisonment at Shawshank State Prison. He meets Ellis “Red” Redding a lifer who takes him under his wing. It is in prison that Andy witnesses and experiences its brutal reality. He sees vicious beatings and suffers the same and even gets raped by prisoners who want to assert their dominance. Still, Andy does not crumble. He relies on hope and his skills and, after some time, gets transferred to the prison library and starts managing the finances and investments of the prison staff. In turn, he is able to elevate the value of his inmates. He’s able to instill respect among them.
When another inmate tells Andy that another inmate has confessed to his wife’s killing, Andy’s revelation fell on deaf ears. He is put under solitary confinement and Red sees for the first time, that his friend who’s always saying that hope is what gets him through this tough time, look like he’s about to end his life. And that’s exactly when Andy has a surprise for everyone.
Again the little synopsis isn’t enough to describe how awesome this film is. It’s beloved for a reason, because it’s uplifting. It tells us that “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” We see Andy get brutally beaten up. He gets raped. He suffers in the worst way imaginable. But it is hope that helps him get through. It is hope that gives him strength and helps him become resilient and persevere past his breaking point. That’s exactly what it is, we always have to hope for the best.
The movie also gave us the unforgettable line “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Every second you spend here on earth is important. How are you going to use it? Are you going to spend it moping, asking what ifs, or are you go out there and make it look good?
These are just some inspiring movies to help you get through. Needless to say, there’s more out there like It’s A Wonderful Life, Awakenings, Little Miss Sunshine, Amelie, and more. What are your favorites? Sound off in the comments section!