I’ve written many types of lists of movies for teens, but until now, I hadn’t thought of writing a list of movies that inspire. There are so many inspirational movies that I have seen and loved, but when choosing movies for this list, I included only movies that I think teens will enjoy. I also did not include any R movies on this list of inspirational movies for teens.
My 10 Inspirational Movies for Teens: (in alphabetical order)
1. The Blind Side (2009) – A semi-biographical story of Michael Oher, football player for the Ravens. The movie follows his youth of poverty, foster care and living on the streets, until Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Oscar-winner, Sandra Bullock, takes him in and makes him part of her family. This act of kindness changes his life.
2. Dead Poets Society (1989) – Robin Williams stars as an unorthodox English teacher who inspires his students at a boys prep school. Famous movie quote: “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” Highly acclaimed movie!
3. Forrest Gump (1994) – Tom Hanks stars in this Oscar-winning movie as Forrest Gump, a slow-witted man, who things just seem to work out for. He manages to be present for many of the defining moments of the 1950s-80s and sometimes even influences them. Extra stars for the music.
4. Groundhog Day (1993) – Who says comedies can’t be inspirational? In one of his best movies, Bill Murray’s character learns to be a better man by being forced to relive the same day over and over and over again until he gets it perfect.
5. Karate Kid (1984) – Ralph Macchio (Daniel) is the new kid in high school and is being tormented by a group of students using a vicious form of Karate. Mr. Miyagi takes Daniel under his wing and teaches him Karate and life lessons. The finale is a classic underdog vs. The big bad guy.
6. The Miracle Worker (1962 original film, 1979 and 2000 TV updates) – The story of a baby, Helen Keller, who becomes blind and deaf and the teacher, Annie Sullivan, who teaches her how speak, read, and understand. If your teens won’t watch black and white, then I recommend the 1979 version with Patty Duke as Anne Sullivan and Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller.
7. October Sky (1999) – October Sky is based on the true story of a coal miner’s son (played by a very young Jake Gyllenhaal) who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry, against his father’s wishes, and become a NASA engineer.
8. Rocky (1976) – One of the classic underdog stories and inspirational sports stories of all time. Rocky Balboa fights Apollo Creed. Famous quote: “Yo, Adrian!” If the song “Gonna Fly Now” comes on, you can’t help feeling inspired. Numerous sequels. Made Sylvester Stallone a superstar.
9. Rudy (1993) – Another sports inspirational movie, in which Sean Astin stars as Rudy, whose dream is to play college football at the University of Notre Dame, but there are obstacles in the way.
10. Soul Surfer – This movie is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a surfer who was attacked by a shark and lost an arm. After she recuperates, she doesn’t give up and goes back into surfing and helping others.
Did I leave any great inspirational movies for teens off this list? Are there any on the list that you don’t think belong? Please share in the comments below.
See also: 40 Movies for Teens 2014