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December 26, 2008 / compassioninpolitics

Top 21 Inspirational Movies of All Time from 1980 to 2008

Twenty One of the Best Inspirational Movies from 1980 to 2008 : Your Guide to the Most Inspiring Films, Movies and Videos of Our Generation

disney-magic-and-movies-for-kids-and-inspirationHere is a short list of some of the all time greatest and most inspirational movies.  Check out the short video of the best movie speeches remixed together at the end….  Enjoy!

1) Sea Biscuit
Sea Biscuit on YouTube
2) Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society Carpe Diem Speech on You Tube
3) Erin Brockovich
Erin Brockovich on You Tube
4) Braveheart
Braveheart on You Tube
5) Ray
Ray on You Tube
6) Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire on You Tube
Chariots of Fire on You Tube
7) A Beautiful Mind
A Beautiful Mind on You Tube
8} Mr. Holland’s Opus
Mr. Hollands Opus on You Tube
9) Hoosiers
10) Stand and Deliver
11) Shawshank Redemption
12) Forrest Gump
13) Rudy
Rudy on You Tube
14) Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams on You Tube
15) Pursuit of Happyness
Pursuit of Happyness on You Tube
16) E.T.
17) The Rookie
The Rookie on You Tube
18} Miracle
Miracle on You Tube
19) Pay it Forward
Pay it Forward on You Tube
20) Finding Neverland
Finding Neverland on You Tube
21) The Bucket List
The Bucket List on You Tube
Bonus: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Imporium
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Imporium on YouTube
What movies would you add to this inspirational movies list?

More inspirational movie speeches on American Rhetoric. If you like movies or liked this post, you might also like my 25 best movies for families and kids.

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes



Leave a Comment
  1. Jon / Dec 26 2008 10:49 pm

    No Rocky? Come on!

    • machtspiele / May 12 2011 2:54 am

      yeah without rocky it’s missing the oxygen in air !

    • jason / Oct 2 2011 4:50 am

      Rocky was 1976 (I believe)

  2. Andy / Dec 27 2008 1:30 am

    The Mission

  3. compassioninpolitics / Jan 24 2009 1:50 pm

    Andy and Jon,

    Great additions! I’ll have to watch the Mission again. Its been ages since I’ve seen it…

    Thanks for stopping by and chatting. Any additions (or thoughtful criticisms) from other readers???

    • mark / Jan 27 2012 5:40 pm

      the fisher king…..’being there’ w/ peter sellers-1979-funny/great writing-un-sung classic—-‘the corporation(great documentary)….

      • Nathan Ketsdever / Jan 28 2012 10:26 am

        Sorry I don’t see “The Corporation” as inspirational. Its more of a documentary…..and it portrays companies and the people in them in a rather uni-dimensional way. When I was in grad school I might have been interested in such things–but 10 years hence, I see the critique and those like it as perhaps too one sided and simplistic.

        Companies actually do good things in the world. And capitalism is a bit like democracy–its a “bad” form of government–except all the others (are worse). Capitalism helps provide goods, innovation, and provides a reason for price competition.

  4. compassioninpolitics / May 1 2009 11:21 am

    I’m a big fan of “Men of Honor” A fantastically inspirational film about strength of will and character. Thanks for reminding me…and adding to the discussion.

    Any other suggestions for inspirational flicks from my readers?

  5. Gary / Jun 8 2009 8:15 pm


    I know Rocky came out in 1976, but it must be at the top of the list as it basically re-created the genre.

  6. Chan / Jun 9 2009 4:48 am

    No Kevin Costner movies? I would like to add American Flyer and Bull Durham to the list

    • razz / Oct 30 2010 5:11 pm

      i’m sure kevin costner is in the field of dreams.

  7. Swati / Jun 17 2009 7:35 pm

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996 )

  8. Nancy / Jul 13 2009 3:59 pm


  9. Bernard Bonomo / Oct 3 2009 1:15 am

    you should check out this modern inspirational documentary called, “The YES Movie” (Young Entrepreneur Society)

    It’s jam packed with powerful, practical entertaining stories & strategies from the nation’s youngest self-made millionaires & business experts.

  10. vidadeluisa / Dec 3 2009 1:16 pm

    Cinderella Man …the title sounds dumb but the movie was great.

  11. sirdalmi / Dec 18 2009 5:42 am

    Lord of the Rings… all 3 movies have some amazing speeches and great line.

  12. KRISHNAKUMAR / Jan 21 2010 7:52 am

    1.World’s Fastest Indian
    2.Forrest Gump
    3.Kite Runner
    4.Seven Pounds

  13. compassioninpolitics / Jan 21 2010 2:43 pm

    Forrest Gump is a classic. Its quite inspirational and entertaining.

    Seven Pounds was both inspirational and depressing.

    Cars was only mildly entertaining.

    In terms of other options in the cartoon space, I think Kung Fu Panda and Bee Movie are far better from an inspirational and entertainment perspective. Shrek and Finding Nemo are entertaining as well. (I haven’t see Horton, Wall-E, or Up–which are all three probably worth checking out)

    I don’t believe I’ve seen the other 3 movies you mentioned.

    Thanks for your perspective Krishna K.

    • Someone / Feb 5 2012 8:09 am

      If you have not seen Apocalypto then you must live under a rock. Why would you make such a list if you have such a gap in your viewing list?

  14. Calvi / Jan 25 2010 3:31 am

    “A Walk To Remember” is a very inspirational movie to me.

  15. compassioninpolitics / Feb 8 2010 6:33 am

    Just saw “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Up”–both were highly impressive. Up was a tad better as a story.

  16. Amit Khare / Feb 13 2010 4:36 pm

    Forgetting Cinderella Man!!
    has anyone watched it?????
    definitely deserves to be in the list of top inspirational movies of all time….

    • Ankush / Oct 29 2011 8:14 am

      Agree with you

  17. compassioninpolitics / Jun 2 2010 4:08 am

    “Dreamer” is a Dreamworks film with Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning–I’m currently watching for the 2nd time….one of the more inspiring films for sure. Like “Seabisquit” its storyline is grounded in horse racing.

    I think I also omitted “A Beautiful Mind,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” or “Jerry Macquire.”

    Oh….I have not seen “We are Marshall,” “Coach Carter,” “Remember the Titans” or “Tucker”, but other folks seem to think they are inspirational–so I’ll assume they deserve mention.

  18. B M Softwares / Jun 7 2010 8:26 am

    I like pursuit of Happiness the most….And also Invictus is one of the best inspirational movie….

  19. mike / Jun 11 2010 10:16 pm

    where is Remember the Titans?

  20. Nathan Ketsdever / Jun 12 2010 11:46 pm

    Extraordinary Measures is also quite inspirational–its the inspiration story of a father who attempts to solve his daughter’s sickness.

    It received lackluster reviews on IMDB, but is actually pretty good with Brendon Frasier, Harrison Ford, and Keri Russel. To me one of the better parts of the movie is the realism of hitting roadblocks and challenges and the arguments Frasier and Ford have. It doesn’t just candy coat everything. I wonder if that caused viewers to be more critical of an otherwise good movie.

    Many in the inspirational category are for kids–this one isn’t particularly a good fit for kids–at least compared with other movies.

  21. Kirby Horton / Jun 21 2010 1:17 pm

    Don’t forget “Remember The Titans”. Also, “Jerry Macquire” had some valuable life lessons for the right age group.

  22. samantha / Aug 3 2010 2:33 am

    A walk to remember has to be on here, it’s incredible although i wouldn’t watch it with young kids as it’s emotional.

  23. compassioninpolitics / Aug 16 2010 8:10 pm

    There are several teacher movies like “Freedom Writers” which is pretty good as well as “Mona Lisa Smile” is inspiring from a feminist perspective.

    Ghandi, To Kill a Mockingbird, Erin Brockovich, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Apollo 13 all probably deserve mention along with several Denzel Washington movies I’m forgetting.

  24. Shantanu / Aug 16 2010 9:28 pm

    How about movie Gandhi?

  25. Jowel / Sep 21 2010 1:24 pm

    i think the following movies should be included: Life is Beautiful, Men of Honor, John Q and Good Will Hunting

  26. Adem Pinar / Oct 7 2010 5:53 pm

    Beautiful Mind/ The Last Samurai/ Facing the Giants/

  27. compassioninpolitics / Nov 16 2010 8:55 pm

    Finally, you might put some of these inspirational movies or your favorite inspirational movies into which is a recommendation engine. Very cool:

  28. Alexandra / Jan 18 2011 8:24 pm

    A Good Year! and August Rush

  29. brothersage / Jan 28 2011 8:48 pm

    I am glad to see that some other bloggers were like…wheres ROCKY!!! I was seriously about to reply this before scrolling down to see other movie enthusiasts who found the score and movie line to captivating and inspiring everytime I watch it… Good post btw…

  30. mohan / Feb 23 2011 2:01 pm

    american history x,blind side ,empire of the sun …inspire each in a different way. Also, music within and october sky.

  31. compassioninpolitics / Feb 24 2011 4:25 am


    Interesting choices. I would have to agree with Blind Side and haven’t seen Music Within or October Sky. American History X isn’t uplifting….its kind of a downer of a movie, to be honest.

    If thats the criteria for inspiring, then almost every movie is inspiring–but that makes the term inspiring kind of useless.

  32. Holly / Mar 20 2011 2:15 pm

    Antwone Fisher (Denzel). Great movie!

  33. r.p mcmurphy / Apr 29 2011 6:01 pm

    American Beauty !! That movie was really inspirational to me!

  34. Sully / Apr 30 2011 4:15 pm

    Gladiator I thik is a insperational movie and a mind opener to what america has come to

  35. Ramesh / May 3 2011 4:09 pm

    Million Dollor baby is a good one too!!

    • imrran / Jul 16 2011 11:16 pm

      cast away?????/

  36. Nam Nai / Jul 24 2011 8:09 pm

    how come OCTOBER SKY isn’t in the list?????

  37. fnjsakng / Aug 15 2011 2:53 am


  38. theresa / Aug 16 2011 7:48 pm

    I need someone to suggest a movie to give my teenager self esteem and to stay in school she only has one more year.

  39. amit / Sep 3 2011 11:28 am

    Yeah Rocky is the most humbling and most inspirational of all time…..

  40. ivyeo / Nov 3 2011 2:34 am

    Letters to God
    The Bucket List
    Facing the Giants
    A Walk to Remember
    The Ultimate Gift

  41. ivyeo / Nov 3 2011 2:35 am

    added to that.
    Soul Surfer

  42. rai / Nov 3 2011 8:29 pm


  43. Marian / Nov 7 2011 1:12 pm

    Life is Beautiful

  44. Shawon / Nov 21 2011 7:02 pm

    i dont know why they forgot about life is beautiful it was a awesome movie that i ever seen!!

  45. Vikas Athavale / Nov 23 2011 2:38 am

    Soul Surfer sould be included

  46. Gopal Kumar / Dec 11 2011 1:15 pm

    Armageddon is the most inspiring and classy movie of all. No other movie can make you life, think, cry, hope, or fear as armageddon des.

  47. Aryan Meena / Dec 13 2011 5:21 pm

    Coach Carter,The King’s Speech,The Hurt Locker…lets check some Indian(Hindi) Movies like “Chak De India” , “Udaan” , “I Am Kalaam” & The Most Inspirational Movie ever for me “IQBAL” 🙂 cheers

  48. rahul / Jan 16 2012 4:38 pm

    Men of Honor must be in the list …it the most motivating movie that i ever see in my life..

  49. Monica Zoe Guzman / Jan 27 2012 5:10 am

    A walk in the clouds
    Like water for chocolate
    The Bucket list
    seven pounds
    You’ve got Mail
    Schindler’s List
    Karate Kid 1

    • sachin arora / Feb 7 2012 8:45 am

      walk the line….. must watch

  50. ashish / Feb 16 2012 7:36 am

    rocky should have been there in the list!!!!!!!!!!!
    fighter’s fight!!!!!!!!!!

  51. zen city / Feb 17 2012 4:02 am

    Truly the most inspiring movie I’ve seen is A Friend Indeed – extraordinary!
    The fist 5 minute are a bit slow – but it gets amazing.
    You can find it here:

  52. Nathan Ketsdever / Mar 17 2012 8:04 am

    Pride. A movie about the sport of swimming & life:

    It doesn’t have the best reviews, but is decent. Its not my first choice–but it has some decent life lessons in it.

  53. Sunil Balhara / Mar 20 2012 7:24 am

    For love of the game
    Breaking Away
    Cinderella man
    A walk to remember
    Glory road
    Brave heart
    and for sure Rocky all the sequels are very inspirational too.

  54. zen city / Aug 9 2012 9:43 pm

    and the best movie EVER – the story of Bill Sackter – A Friend Indeed !!
    enjoy –

  55. dr. bilal / Aug 11 2012 10:09 pm

    im happy there is a beautiful mind, seabiscuit nd dead poet s society in it,,, thanks

  56. anneknown / Sep 23 2012 6:20 am

    freedom writers 🙂

  57. Akash Yadav / Feb 25 2013 4:15 pm

    i think “chak de india” an indian movie must be on the list , its a heart touching story of a coach who made shatterd indian women hockey team wining their way to finals every one must watch that in his life time

  58. Amelia / Dec 16 2013 12:25 am

    Like Stars On Earth
    Patch Adams
    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
    Freedom Writers

    • Amelia / Dec 16 2013 12:29 am

      And even the original Karate Kid (with Daniel, not Julie)

      • Amelia / Dec 16 2013 12:36 am

        And Fried Green Tomatos


  1. Best Movies about Dreams, Dreaming, and Imagination « Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Non-Profit Organizations, Social Justice, & Random Theology
  2. Our Top Inspirational and Family Entertainment Posts for 2009 « Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, & Base of the Pyramid/BOP Solutions
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